They make big claims about the results they can achieve, but if you’re going to make good choices about how you spend your money you need to be informed about what management consultants can do for your business. Unfortunately making tactical use of their expertise is harder than walking into one of the strategy consulting firms London hosts and asking them to make your business better! So today we’re looking at what management consultants can actually do for your business so you can make informed decisions about how, when and if to use them.
Expertise and Specialism
The most important point is that there are many different kinds of consultant companies, offering different services and expertise. Operations consultants focus on the practicalities of your business: how your processes get products in front of customers in order to find the most efficient way of doing that. ‘Management consultants’ proper look at your managerial strategies and structures and recommend changes in favour of more effective leadership. Brand consultants focus on the brand you’re trying to build and ensure that it’s consistent, coherent and telegraphed to as many people as possible. Strategy Consultants help you build for the long term future of your business.
There are also specialists who may not style themselves as ‘consultants’ but fulfil this niche of supplying expertise and analysis you can build on – market researchers, competitor analysts, even business lawyers.
The key to making a wise investment among these specialists is recognising where you don’t have that expertise and where it can significantly improve outcomes for your business. Look not just for promises, but details of where and how ROI has been achieved – for example with market research and marketing companies, look for the uplift their insight has delivered to the businesses who use them: have their products been more successful? Have they improved footfall? Have their adverts achieved higher rates of conversion?
Your Own Input
The truth that few want to acknowledge about consultants is that they cannot deliver their results alone. Consultants make recommendations but it’s for you to put them into practice. One of the worst ways to waste money on consultants is by getting good insights and advice and then failing to put them into action.
If you’ve identified an area of your business where an injection of outside expertise would make a difference, make sure you’re going into the consulting relationship ready to hear things that might sound counter-intuitive, and do the work that the consultants recommend. If you’re prepared to contribute as well, you’ll find you can build a good relationship that creates good results for your business.