5 Frequently Asked Questions About Business Consultants

January 29, 2019

Growing and managing a business can be hard work. Sometimes, hiring a business management consultant to assist you to identify and deal with the issues facing your company can make all the difference.

1. How can a consultant help?

Business management consultants typically have experience in the corporate sector. This allows them to take a look at how your business operates, whether that be its financial reporting or management structure. Then, they will make proposals or suggestions on how you could make changes to your operations to achieve desired outcomes.

You may hire a consultant to examine a specific issue or to identify a problem that isn’t yet clear. Based on their knowledge of how other companies work, they will produce a report containing detailed proposals for you. In some cases, they may also help in the implementation of new ideas.

2. How does a consultant work?

When you hire a consultant for your company, they may approach their job in different ways. Some consultants may begin by attending regular staff meetings held by your business or examining company documents to understand how your business is run. Others may visit facilities run by your business, such as a store or sports centre to gather information.

If you’ve hired a consultant to focus on a specific issue, such as how to improve employee retention at your company, they may approach the task by meeting with members of staff responsible for that area. For example, in the case of recruitment, a consultant may hold a series of meetings with your business’ recruitment team, and meetings with senior managers to look at policies towards new hires.

3. How will a consultant present their findings?

The way a business management consultant presents their advice or findings to you will depend on the extent of their work. If you’ve only been meeting with a consultant on one or two separate occasions to discuss particular questions you have, the consultant may provide most of their advice in verbal form, or in the form of a short-written case study.

However, a consultant will generally complete their work by writing up an extensive report on their findings. Such reports often contain an executive summary, which concisely presents their main findings and recommendations. Additionally, there will be sections going into more detail on the research methods they used in their work and how they arrived at their conclusions.

4. How can a business consultant’s advice be used?

After you receive the consultant’s conclusions, you’ll need to discuss with other responsible members of your business how or if you want to implement them. This could involve holding meetings to agree on new ways of doing things, or it may involve more fundamental changes like alterations to your business structure, or the hiring or firing of more staff.

In some cases, the business consultant may ask for your opinion on certain proposals they make before proceeding with further work. In this situation, they may provide you with an interim report with different options to be examined further. Once you and your colleagues advise them on how you wish to proceed, the consultant will continue with their work.

5. How much do I pay a consultant?

Some business management consultants offer their services on an hourly basis. Hourly rates can vary depending on the level of a consultant’s expertise, and their experience in specialized areas of business management. For larger, longer-term projects, consultants may agree to a fixed fee for a particular service.

For example, you may agree a payment to a consultant who you’ve hired to review your business’ management structure and prepare a report on how it can be made more efficient.