Many companies hire consultants but how widespread is the practice? The consulting market across the world is valued at 262 billion dollars.
Are you trying to figure out why companies hire an external consultant? Read on to learn how consulting professionals can help your business.
Do you ever have problems that seem beyond your experience? Perhaps they’re not unique to your business. They’re outside of your area of expertise.
There will be a consultant that’s solved that problem before and can offer you the benefit of their expert advice. It needn’t be a major project or a long term relationship.
For example, you might have a small technical problem with Office 365. You need someone who can advise on products from Microsoft pay now and get it fixed quickly.
Specialized skills are expensive to develop in-house and you might only need them occasionally. Better to buy the expertise in when you need it and reserve your investment for core activities.
Change of Perspective
An external perspective can be very helpful sometimes. When you and your team are too close to a situation it’s difficult to see the wood from the trees. A fresh external perspective can often help to see things that you don’t see.
One reason why this phenomenon occurs is that being involved in the day to day running of the organization encourages feelings of attachment. The emotional connection tends to limit how you see the possibilities available to you. An external consultant has no such limitations and is open to different perspectives.
An external consultant that works with several companies in an industry can bring their wider experience to your business. Your problems may have been faced and solved by other companies in your industry. A consultant can share industry best practices with you.
A consultant may also be able to identify ways in which you can gain a competitive advantage. Their industry experience may help them see opportunities for your business that you could never know about unless you had worked for other industry players.
Have you ever felt like your team needs some inspiration? The same people, facing the same problems in the same old ways. It can be depressingly predictable that they will get the same poor results.
A new team member, even if it’s for a short period of time, can re-energize the team. An external consultant can bring a breath of fresh air and excite everybody. Newly motivated, the team can go on to achieve much more than you expect.
Support the Team
Sometimes your team has an increase in workload and pressure that it can’t cope with. It’s time to draft in some help but recruiting more people is expensive and slow.
New, directly employed team members might be able to fill the gap but what do you do when the crisis is over? You might have to let them go. That can be difficult to do, de-motivating for your existing people and bad for your reputation as an employer.
You don’t always need a long-term increase in the team’s resources. It may be that you just need an extra pair of hands to help support the team through a temporary crisis. Time to draft in an external consultant.
External Consultant’s Connections
External consultants typically work for a series of clients or even a number of clients simultaneously. This means they develop a network of connections. These relationships may be very valuable to you.
The consultant’s connections may give you access to potential new customers. It may provide you with new suppliers that may be better than the ones you have. These connections could be your connections too as part of the consultant’s services.
Change is a constant reality but it’s no less of a headache for that. External consultants are very helpful agents of change. They can identify the need for change, manage the change program or support the change.
Because an external consultant has not worked in the organization for some time, they are limited by the natural resistance to change that many people have. The status quo has no merit for them. They are psychologically free to make the change happen and get help others to do so too.
Any organization has politics going on all the time. Vested interests and personal power plays may at best limit thinking. At worst it can sabotage the corporate strategy.
The objectivity a consultant can bring to the company can help business decisions break out of petty politics. An independent consultant can elicit more truthful feedback from stakeholders such as employees or customers if they feel that their views are being handled independently.
Take the Pain
Some situations in business life can be painful. “Downsizing” or “letting people go” are sanitized terms for what can be unpleasant for the people involved.
An external person can sometimes handle these situations with both compassion and professional detachment. This may make the process easier for both the people being let go and the people doing the letting go.
Back You Up
When you are making a proposal for a change or project it can sometimes be difficult to get a hearing from the decisionmakers in the company. Sometimes, internal voices don’t have the credibility of external ones.
Have an external consultant run their eyes over the data or the details of a plan. It can provide legitimacy for the proposal that the decision-makers need. It can also be helpful if other parties, such as a bank, want validation for a financial business plan.
When consultants are hired they aren’t always brought in to do a task. They may be brought in to enable others to do it. This training makes any change sustainable by transferring knowledge from the consultant to the company.
Problem to Solve?
Do you see an opportunity for an external consultant to make a difference to your business? Perhaps there is an opportunity to add value or a problem to solve. An external consultant might make all the difference.
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