Top 5 Myths About Business Consulting
What's the Role of a Business Consultant?
When organizations start to see a decline in sales, productivity, or success in general, they’ll hire a business consultant. Since the rise of this trend, many myths and misconceptions have surfaced surrounding consultants and what they actually do. We break down 5 of the most common ones here.
Myth #1 – Consultants Tell You What You Already Know
Clients often face tough problems that they can’t solve on their own. A lot of the work in tech consulting comes from gathering data to deliver solutions that are most pertinent to the client.
This can take countless hours of listening, with a well-trained ear, and the rewards are well worth it.
Insights are often gathered by asking the right questions to multiple people. Often, a company will be aware of many different problems. However, it may take a business consultant to discover that all those issues are just symptoms of the problem.
A trained business consultant will spot these connections and address the root issue. They're looking to get at the source of your problem and create solutions that change your business. That's because they understand that addressing the symptoms doesn't fix the problem. So, they dig deeper.
They don't want to tell you what you already know. Effective business consultants want to position themselves as part of your team. As a result, they're invested in the long-term growth of your company. And they want to prove their worth.
You can expect trained consultants to surprise you. They'll be able to clearly lay out the problems plaguing your business and how connected they are. They'll also provide solutions that can change how your business functions.
Myth #2 – Business Consultants Are Expensive
Often when people think of a business consultant, they think of big money, big organization, and extravagant expense. However, consultants are a great investment for companies of any size.
Startups make great clients because they are seeking a business plan that lasts. Without the ideal plan in place, growth plateaus can happen at any stage, and they cost your business money.
The sooner you invest in a strategy that works, the sooner you’ll maximize your profit and continue growing. As far as actual costs are concerned, investing in a consultant when needed will more than pay for itself in the long run.
In fact, the time and resources most companies save with streamlined systems and workflows often inspire them to continue long-term relationships with their business consultants.
Myth #3 – Consultants Overbill and Under-deliver
How do you make sure you get what you pay for?
The first step in working with a consultant is to make sure you both agree on the deliverables that will mark the end of the transaction.
If you decide to take the leap, think of it as an investment in your business. A trusted business consultant will set realistic expectations and fair prices for their services.
As a business consultant with software expertise, I think it’s a great idea to choose a partner who can leave you with something tangible at the end of your engagement with them. That way, you have a product that will protect the great insight you received, and help it adapt along with today’s progressive technology.
According to the Harvard Business Review, the significant trend is that managers are seeking more than just expert advice, but also practical help in improving the organization’s future performance.
Myth #4 – Business Consultants Don't Stick Around
Understandably, a business might worry about getting left with no more than broad concepts, power points, and a plan they aren’t confident about executing solo. While it’s a valid concern, that is not the case when you hire a strong consulting company.
Chances are your expert has seen the problems you’re facing many times over. And they'll want to see your company successfully adapt their new approach before sharing other potential improvements.
If you keep your business consultant on retainer or choose one who specializes in long-term engagements, you can go back and ask quick questions to ensure you’re right on track with the new strategy.
Myth #5 – You Can’t Trust a Consultant Who Knows More Than You
This is the age-old concern, that managing an expert is a tricky business for the simple fact that they know more than you. You might picture the crooked mechanic who keeps adding additional items to his list of things that need ‘fixing’.
The truth is, there will be crooks in any arena.
But, just because they exist, doesn’t negate the need for the service in the first place. In the same way that people continue to go back to a good mechanic or dentist, an expert can just as easily be a ‘partner consultant’ who is worthy of trust.
How do you find a consultant you can trust?
Look out for signs of altruism.
A good technical consultant will share inside information with you, explaining the risks, the costs, and then give you space to make follow up decisions on your own.
As technical experts ourselves, we see the advantage of hiring a business consultant with an area of expertise over a more general consultant.
That is, technical experts can build a concrete solution and put technical systems in place to ensure new processes will be carried out daily. This is a much stronger deliverable overall than big ideas and power-points.
(If you want to learn more about this, check out our article on Quickbase and why companies are choosing custom software to streamline their business tasks.)
Choosing The Best Business Consultant
How do you choose a consultant that is trustworthy and capable of leaving you with concrete solutions? You need them about their adoption rate or their track record. Ask them how do they measure success with a client.
Client victories are the foundation for any quality business consultant. And your prospective vendor needs to have plenty of case studies at hand, so you can see how you'll win with them.
See how we've helped our clients improve their businesses and get insane ROIs by checking out our case studies below.