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As business consultants, we work with clients on strategy, planning and problem solving, and help clients develop business skills and knowledge. These topics range from designing a business model or marketing plan, to determining which marketing techniques to use and how to use them.
A consultant may be hired to identify problems. Sometimes a business discovers it can save thousands of dollars a week by hiring consultants when they are needed rather than hiring full-time employees. They also can save additional money because they don't have to pay benefits to the consultants they hire.
As Consultants, we are paid to share our expertise and knowledge to help businesses attain goals and solve problems. Businesses often hire consultants to supplement their staff and save the costs of hiring a full-time employee. As a person new to the company or organization, consultants view the situation from a fresh perspective. Because a consultant isn't beholden to any particular corporate culture, co-worker scrutiny or morale, consultants can act as the catalyst for change.
While there are no degree requirements for a consultant, they do need to have vast knowledge and experience in a particular field. In addition to expertise, a consultant should have a track record of past accomplishments. Individuals with higher levels of education and experience will generally receive greater compensation for their services. Consulting is a broad area of interest and, from businesses to personal services, there's a consulting opportunity for practically every industry.
Job Duties of a Business Consultant
Job duties can vary depending on the industry in which a consultant is working and based on the specific field of expertise. Fixing or improving a particular component of client's business is the broadest duty for which consultants are hired. Consultants may sometimes be asked to teach a business' employees how to manipulate a new software program or some other skill that increases productivity or generates more revenue.
They're also expected to provide advice, make recommendations and excel at problem solving. Consultants are often used prior to, and during, the start-up of a new business or to re-energize a failing business. Consultants are also brought in when a business needs reorganization, including the termination of individual employees or entire departments. A client will retain a consultant's services until the goal or obligations of the particular endeavour have been met.
The time period for consultancy can vary in length, depending on the needs of the client and on any unforeseen problems or additions to the project for which the consultant was hired.
Successful consultants derive their skill set from a combination of learned techniques acquired from higher education and, to a lesser degree, innate personality traits. These skills include the following:
1. Logical reasoning
5. Ability to work well with others
Top 10 Reasons Organizations Hire a Consultant
- A consultant has the right expertise. This is where it pays not only to be really good in your chosen field, but also to have a track record that speaks for itself. For example, Riddle says he knows that every client who hired him did so partly on the basis of his track record.
- A consultant may be hired to identify problems. Sometimes employees are too close to a problem inside an organization to identify it, that’s when a consultant rides in on his or her white horse to save the day.
- A consultant can supplement the staff. Sometimes a business discovers it can save thousands of dollars a week by hiring consultants when they are needed rather than hiring full-time employees. They also can save additional money because they don't have to pay benefits to the consultants they hire. Even though a consultant's fees are generally higher than an employee's salary, over the long haul it makes good economic sense to hire a consultant.
- A consultant can act as a catalyst for change. No one likes change, especially corporate America. But sometimes change is needed, and a consultant may be brought in to implement the changes. A benefit to the company is that the consultant can do things without worrying about the corporate culture, employee morale, or other issues that get in the way when an organization is trying to institute change.
- A consultant provides much-needed objectivity. Who else is more qualified to identify a problem than a consultant? A good consultant provides an objective, fresh viewpoint without worrying about what people in the organization might think about the results and how they were achieved.
- A consultant may be hired to teach. Consultants are called on to teach many skills. Of course, it's the consultant's task to keep up with developments in their field of expertise so they're always ready to teach new clients what they need to stay competitive.
- A consultant by be hired to do the "dirty work." Let's face it: No one wants to be the person who has to make cuts in the staff or to eliminate an entire division. An impartial outside consultant is the perfect person to handle such unpleasant tasks.
- A consultant can bring new life to an organization. If you're good at coming up with ideas that work, then you won't have any trouble finding clients. At one time or another, most businesses need someone to administer "first aid" to get things rolling again.
- A consultant may be hired to create a new business. There are consultants who are experts in this discipline. But it does require special skill, so make sure you have it before you market yourself as a business development consultant.
- A consultant may be hired to influence other people. Do you like to hang out with the rich and famous in your town? If so, you may be hired to do a consulting job based on whom you know.