Hire A Management Consultant - Your Friend, Philosopher And Guide
Humans are social animals, we thrive on society and work in groups, very similar to animals who move in herds. We have built a civilization, which makes us interdependent and we enjoy the privileges of the total production of society. Different people possess different skill sets and that is their contribution to society. We have medicines to cure and help in various kind of ailments today and for that, we can thank specialized chemists, researchers, scientists, pharmaceutical companies and doctors among many others. Each of these players has an important role in the process and can be deemed an expert in their subject. We consult our doctor because he is an expert in the science of health and medicine.
Similarly, any company from time to time could need, some specialized guidance on their business and that is exactly what a management consultant provides. A management consultant is an expert in the field of management and its various parallels, who assists the company in attaining their goals.
Consultants are essentially industry professionals, well versed with the industry standards and current practices. They have a foot in the real world and can guide you to follow the best practices. They are here to solve your problems and help you run your business with ease and confidence. All said and done, you might be wondering what is it that consultants actually do. Well, let's find out.
What do management consultants do?
As mentioned above, they are experts in various fields, willing to offer your company their services for a price. Simply said, they can be called problem-solvers, who will help you solve the problem your company might be facing. Let's look at some of the functions that a consultant can provide.
1. Provide Solutions
There could be times when you and your top executives may not be able to figure out a plan for a problem your company might have. It could be a strategic problem and you need to make decisions about products or product chains or pricing or competitors or a new market. It could also be a problem regarding execution like manufacturing defects or low sales. Whatever may be the crisis, management consultants can provide a plan and a solution to everything. They are excellent at crisis management, having been greatly experienced at it. They will offer the solution, which will help the crisis and will offer guidance on avoiding the same crisis in the future too. They can look at things holistically and provide useful answers to your problems.
Some businesses might need help in implementing some policies or processes. For example, marketing consultants can not only help in creating a marketing plan but will also implement it for you.
Whether you are a startup or multinational enterprise, everyone is constantly growing, even more so in today's digital age. Whether it is about adopting a new process or implementing new strategies, we need to train our employees in order to keep them updated with current business trends. Consultants are experts in business trends and can provide the guidance and training required to modernize your business and help you in keeping up with competitors.
4. Expertise in Specific Areas
Apart from assisting in strategizing at the top-level, consultants also help with their expertise in specific departments. For example, a company might need a consultant to create quality management and control processes. Hiring a consultant to do that is a great idea because it will bring in objectivity to the process and also support the company in achieving higher quality due to their familiarity with the best of industry outputs.
Certain companies might find it cheaper to outsource some processes to eliminate the cost of hiring and training new employees. Data consultants work as outsourced data partners, who collect, analyze and engineer data to give you the results of it and also help in strategizing based on the results.
How do they do it?
Below you will see a basic series of steps that a consultant would take.
1. Defining the problem.
The first thing the expert does is clearly define the problem that needs to be solved. It could be something as customer complaints or even related to the launch of a new product line. Defining the problem gives direction to the consultant and erasing the problem becomes the goal. Strategies are much easier to formulate when there is a clear goal in mind.
2. Investigating the problem.
Once they know what the problem is they can begin to investigate it further. They will follow different approaches for different problems, for some they might need to interview or conduct workshops or meetings with, the top-level management, whereas in other cases they might need to conduct extensive research by speaking to employees or clients or customers. They do whatever is required to understand everything they can about the problem.
3. Secondary research
Apart from getting information from direct stakeholders, consultants also might need to conduct secondary research to understand the competitors or the market or standard practices.
4. Data analysis
After gathering all the data that they need, they start analyzing the data to understand what needs to be changed or improved upon. This gives them a clear picture of where the actual problem lies.
5. Provide a solution
Upon careful analysis of the data, they come up with possible solutions and present the most viable options to the company. These solutions are customized to the company and the problem at hand as they have been crafted based on the specific problem and the research undertaken for it. This advice from them is what companies pay them for, to present a solution to the problem.
Lastly, they guide the company in executing the solution and also offer recommendations to avoid similar problems in the future.
Why do we need them?
If the above reasons are not enough, take a look at the basics of what they offer.
As already discussed, this is the biggest reason why companies hire consultants.
2. Objective opinion
Consultants are external bodies who aid us in solving our problems. Many a time, the owners, executives, and managers can get greatly involved in a project and they may not be able to objectively make decisions and that is where a consultant helps by providing his neutral unbiased opinion.
3. Human Resource
Think of consultants as intelligent executives who can be hired at the time of a crisis and then let gone off. It saves the company a whole lot of hiring and training costs and keeps the company lean.
4. Greater understanding
Many companies might know that they are not meeting the required sales or are overspending on resources but they might not be able to narrow it down to the problem, which is obstructing their strategies. Consultant companies conduct thorough research and lead to the main problem. For example, a company might be facing high rates of employee turnover but they might not know the cause behind this. A human resource consulting company will not only find the reason behind the problem but will also provide a solution to overcome it.
As seen, hiring a consultant company to get rid of your company's problems or to help your company in achieving its goals, both would work really well. Consultants are like executives who are highly competent and have great experience in helping businesses thrive. Hiring management consultants might be the best decision you will ever make as in this untrustworthy and highly competitive world, they can truly be your friend, philosopher, and guide.