Using a business consultant can be a big investment but there are many benefits to justify doing so (see Benefits of Using a Consultant). In this post we will cover a client’s reasons for employing a consultant, or the sort of things a client would employ a consultant to do.
A client’s reasons for employing a consultant may include:
To provide a strategic overview of the organisation’s position in its marketplace or environment and to recommend mid to long-term strategic directions. The ideal consultancy here is one that has experience of the client’s particular industry and can give insight into how other sectors have coped with analogous problems or decisions.
To independently review a proposed course of action, or the choice between two or more, typically tactical, decisions, based on knowledge of how such decisions have been effected in other organisations.
To catalyse change by recommending alterations to management processes and organisation. Often the client will have a clear idea of problems and solutions, possibly as the result of previous consultancy, but is unsure of ‘how to get from A to B’.
To strengthen a team. Client and consultant may create a joint team to develop in-house capabilities. Once strengthened, the in-house team can continue without consultants.
To implement a new system or process e.g. Environmental or Quality. The implementation of a new system may be beyond the client, not due to lack of skills but because those skills are fully deployed in other tasks. If there is no longer-term justification for strengthening the in-house team, it may make sense to hand the implementation over to consultants.
To be involved in the long-term operation of the organisation. Particularly with IT, the best management solution may be to employ the consultants on a long-term contract to manage particular processes or systems. This is outsourcing rather than a consultancy, and should be contracted for like any other outsourced service. The consultancy that identified this option will not necessarily be the practice best placed to provide the service.
As mentioned above, it can be a big investment to employ a consultant. Luckily there are also many sources of funding and grants available to put towards this cost such as the Manufacturing Growth Programme. Please also see our list of grants available to Norfolk and Suffolk businesses.