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PROFESSIONAL SERVICES


The business case for using a consultant


There may come a time when your business needs a boost from outside help. You might need information on new markets, want to streamline processes to minimise costs or are lacking the vital skills needed to grow. When you’re in need of expert advice, a business consultant can provide the right solution. Business Network explores the different types of consultant and outlines the ways in which they can help.


FEATURE


TYPES OF CONSULTANT Management and strategy: Possessing a deep understanding of your particular market and the industry, a management and strategy consultant can help you expand your market, build your portfolio or buy out a competitor.


Marketing: From advice on branding to making an impact in a new market position, a marketing consultant will provide a fresh, creative outlook and help you generate new ideas to gain and retain customers.


Human resources: Want to hire the best staff, retain your top talent or improve employee satisfaction? A HR consultant will help you get the best out of your people using strategies that align with your business goals.


Operations: If you’re looking to improve your production process, an operations consultant will help you create and adopt new ways of doing just that. Ways in which they can help include streamlining your processes, reducing costs or defects and improving quality.


IT and Technology: Are you keeping up with the latest technological advances impacting your industry? Do you need to develop new systems but don’t have the expertise? A technology or IT consultant can help you enhance your capabilities to better meet the needs of your business and your customers.


WHY USE A CONSULTANT? Expertise: One of the qualifications of a top consultant is expert knowledge of your industry, and a consultant can help plug knowledge gaps within your company and identify problems that you may not even be aware of yet. They will also have extensive experience of the market and its trends and can help you stay one step ahead of your competition.


Save time and money: Maybe you want to grow and improve your business but you don’t have the time to step


away from the day-to-day operations of your business. Or maybe you’re not quite sure of the next step, resulting in a lot of costly trial-and-error experiments. Although using a consultant might at first seem like an unnecessary or extravagant cost, they can actually help you save time and money in the long run, by working out the next steps for you and enabling you to focus on your business. You can employ a consultant for the exact amount of time you need them, which means the job will get done fast.


A fresh perspective: A consultant can help you generate new ideas and provide a brand new way of looking at the problem. Your staff might be hamstrung by the old, tired ways of conducting business, or work too closely to the source to see the bigger picture – but a voice from the outside can inspire your staff to step back, gain a new perspective and develop better ways of thinking and working. A consultant can also provide impartial objectivity and implement change without fear of offending those in charge.


Planning: Running a business is time and attention- consuming and, while you focus on daily operations, you may have lost track of your long-term goals. A consultant can not only help you manage your time better, but they can also help you develop a timeline for growth and put strategies in place that will run concurrently to your daily duties, allowing you to keep one eye on the now and one eye on the future. These strategies will ensure that you are able to handle an influx of new customers and sudden growth as it comes.


Complement your staff: You may find that your existing staff don’t have the skills to tackle a particular problem – but a consultant may save the hassle and expense of hiring someone new. In addition to temporary filling a skills gap, a consultant can also share their expertise and train your existing staff, which has many advantages. As well as boosting your workforce, you will be demonstrating your commitment to their ongoing development, all while avoiding a costly recruitment campaign.


business network August/September 2020 41


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