Business Consultants Compared What Makes Consultants DifferentBusiness. Business consultants are as many as there are diverse industries in an economy. The skill set and operation of consultants therefore varies from one consultant to another. If you take a large corporation or medium sized business for example, you will discover that there are different levels of operation in a business. There are administrative, managerial, legal, accounting, human resource and marketing functions in an organization at the bare minimum. Some large corporations have huge I.T. departments and public relations departments to handle such aspects of their business. All these departments work to help an organization achieve its overall objectives.
When a company engages the help of a business consultant, it does so with the understanding that it is bringing an expert on board who will give the company expert advice and help solve its problems. Consultants can therefore be defined based on their area of specialization.
Having understood that consultants are largely defined by their areas of specialization, there are different kinds of consultants and it will be prudent to mention a few.
1. I.T. / Technology Consultants
Companies world over understand the role that technology plays in the day to day running of their business. System security is always at risk from hacking and social engineering. This is a very big threat to businesses. As if that is not enough, companies need to update their systems regularly and upgrade their software to match the changing dynamic business environment. The role of technology in business today cannot be understated. It is important for companies and small businesses to have the most efficient technology that will address their business needs. Management of information systems is an integral part of business. It is what defines the success of business in a burgeoning economy.
Technology consultants specialize in advising companies how to implement the I.T. function in line with an organization’s objectives. Such consultants may include programmers and I.T. experts.
2. Public Relations Consultants
The public relations function is very important to any business. The public relations department handles all communication relating to the company and the business world. This includes the employees, shareholders, management. It is essentially the voice of the company. Public relations consultants help manage this function well by projecting a company’s message to the business world in a very professional manner.
3. Financial Management / Investment Consultants.
Companies and small businesses need to invest. There are numerous financial investment vehicles that if left entirely upon the discretion of a company’s management to choose will be hard to determine which is profitable. Financial management consultants help individuals and corporations develop a sound strategy for raising funds and channeling their profits to proper investment vehicles. Financial management consultants will analyze the options available for investing and advise their clients appropriately as to which ones are profitable in the long or short run.
4. Marketing and Sales Consultants
The marketing function is a very important cog in the wheel for business to operate and run smoothly. If it is not properly taken care of, it may lead to the failure of business. Marketing consultants help streamline the marketing function of business by developing strategies that ensure that products are well positioned in the market. They analyze and make changes in the distribution chain, propose changes in the brand name and make sure that a company’s products and services are well advertised. They essentially make sure that a company increases its presence in the market and achieves it profit objectives.
Sales are the life-blood of companies and goes hand in hand with marketing. Sales and marketing consultants ultimately help a company achieve its bottom line and target new business frontiers.
5. Legal Consultants
There are so many legal issues facing a company in the business world. A legal consultant will handle all legal aspects on behalf of their clients and will bring in their expertise to solve legal problems. Legal issues may range from employee to tax related issues.
Employee related legal issues may arise out of their employment and or subsequent termination from a company. Manufacturing companies for example are faced with legal issues when it comes to intellectual property rights. All these issues cannot be comfortably handled by a company thus the need to hire a consultant to take care of them.
6. Human Resource (H.R.) Consultants
No business can succeed well without employees. Human resource consultants help companies frame policies that are friendly to employees and at the same time comply to local and international labour lows. They also advise companies on how to restructure their human resource capacity, handle lay-offs, attract and hire employees, talent management and management synchrony in cases of mergers and acquisitions. Companies hire human resource consultants to manage this function for them.
7. Management and Operational Consultants
Companies restructure their management systems from time to time. Mergers and acquisitions bring in a different set of management form acquiring or parent companies so the help of a management consultant will be necessary to streamline this. Operational systems are subject to change within an organization and it takes the skill of a consultant to organize this in a way that will help a company achieve its objectives. Operational consulting may be needed in situations where there is a manufacturing function. A company may want to increase productivity in a certain line and reduce system downtimes in their production lines. An operational consultant will help achieve this in the long run.
The choice of a business consultant entirely depends on the particular business interest at hand. You need to carefully specify and analyze your business problem before making a choice of business consultant to hire. The areas of business are not limited to the examples above and depending with the industry, one is bound to make a decision based on the problem at hand. The consulting function is an integral part of business as it plays a critical role in providing skills and expertise that is currently not available within an organization. It is critical therefore to do an industry analysis before you settle for a consultant.