An article by Jake Fox of Whitecap Consulting.
From filling a short term staffing gap to strategy re-focus to the implementation of a major programme of organisational structural change, consultants can provide valuable expertise and insights to help companies achieve their goals and execute a strategy.
But when is the right time to hire a consultant, how do you choose a good consultant, and what on-going steps should you take to ensure you get the best out of a client consultant relationship?
External validation: Consultants will have a broad overview, understanding, and external perspective. A second opinion can provide reassurance prior to making a key business decision.
More time and cost effective: A consultant can be tasked to focus on a specific project and see it through on deadline, without distractions and day-to-day pressures. This often makes bringing in a consultant much more time and cost effective than running a project in-house.
Specific knowledge, skills and experience: Consultants give business leaders the opportunity to bring in niche skills on a “pay as you go” basis, without the commitment of employing someone.
Ability to challenge: Their objective position means consultants can bring a fresh perspective. A good consultant should not be afraid to challenge, and their unique position means they can do so without the fear of reprisals that employees might have.
Impartial advice: Hiring consultants can offer business leaders a way to reach or justify a desired conclusion and avoid internal conflict. This can be particularly valuable in difficult situations such as job cuts and major operational or strategic changes.
Knowledge of best practice: Consultants are working with multiple clients in the same sector and often serving various clients facing similar problems across different sectors.
Access to information and resources: Consultants that specialise in niche areas or particular business functions are able to bring in data and systems that may not be financially viable for their client companies.
Overall, consultants bring a wealth of strengths to your business and can deliver a wide range of services. So, if you’re seeking a solution to a particular business problem, undergoing organisational change or can see new market opportunities but lack the resources to follow them up, a consultant may be the answer you need.