Business consultants bring in-depth competencies, experience and insight into their particular knowledge niche. As a matter of fact, since their perspective is free from emotional ties to your company, their recommendations are unbiased and analytic. As a result, they can quickly see what’s going well and what’s not. They identify and deconstruct potential problems, uncover opportunities and create efficient solutions. After all, preventing problems is usually much less expensive than fixing them.
No two businesses are alike, often experiencing different needs at various growth stages. Therefore, the type of business consultant that best fits your needs may change over time.
We’ll look at 12 consultancy specialties worth considering for your business: Marketing, sales, financial, operations, product development, leadership development, HR, IT, compliance, legal, sustainability and business strategy.
One of the ways marketing agencies differ from, say, solo graphic designers and website developers is that they bring high-level marketing strategy leadership to your executive table.
A marketing consultant works with you to clarify product benefits and how it compares to competitor offerings and innovations, improving the effectiveness of product and service targeting and messaging. Armed with this knowledge, they work with you to create a sales process and digital sales funnels. Your marketing partner leads both traditional and digital marketing initiatives, packaging your brand story across the proper channels to better serve your target audience.
Each year, they reassess goals based on past results and current industry challenges and opportunities. Using these insights and data analysis, they update your annual marketing plan.
A marketing consultant increases brand value and sales by:
- Leading and optimizing all marketing activities
- Zeroing in on a comprehensive SEO strategy
- Targeting more effective social media programming
- Planning digital marketing campaigns, messaging and communications
- Managing digital PR campaigns
- Developing growth marketing strategies
In short, marketing consultants identify the most effective short-term and long-term marketing strategies to grow your business.
The right marketing consultant can work with you at the C-Suite, director or senior manager level while managing your marketing. It’s like having a CMO on your team.
A sales consultant creates an appealing environment for decision-makers via their relationship and negotiation expertise. They navigate the sales processes within the organization: building in-house sales teams, streamlining internal sales processes, honing the sales development process with the marketing team, refining pricing and more.
These days, most of the buyer’s journey with a B2B company is completed via marketing strategies, such as established sales funnels. Before the buyer interacts with a sales representative, they self-qualify and are educated to a degree. However, a sales consultant can dig deeper, developing a detailed business analysis of your sales strategy based on extensive market knowledge and awareness of competitor activities and current trends. Based on this research, a sales consultant provides advice and guidance in a few areas, such as:
- Setting short- and long-term sales goals
- Increasing sales
- Expanding your customer base
- Refining sales processes and strategies
- Training sales staff to:
- Be more productive
- Effectively demonstrate products and services to potential customers
- Convert more leads to sales
- Improving customer service
Sales consultants can determine ways to maximize sales efficiently by finding new clients, nurturing existing clients and building healthy long-term relationships.
Financial consultants help you understand your company’s financial position and manage budgets more effectively. They can protect, restructure or maximize a company’s bottom line and identify cutbacks to improve profit. Additionally, they may also assist with:
- Formulating plans to increase value for shareholders
- Finding ways to reduce spending by improving efficiencies
- Advising on special situations such as fundraising and negotiating deals with finance companies or private investment firms
- Seeking out investors and providing prospective shareholders with information
- Assessing economic or industry conditions and advising on the timing of an IPO
An operations consultant uses data and research to help an organization streamline operations and enhance performance. For example, they can help reduce costs, increase company efficiency or improve team productivity. A few operations consulting roles are:
- Defining and managing operational improvement initiatives and strategies
- Promoting adherence to industry standards and integration of new technologies
- Restructuring departments and defining employee roles
- Facilitating training initiatives and promoting best practices
- Collaborating across departments to set realistic operational targets and timeframes
Product development consultant
Consultants specializing in product development are responsible for learning what your customers want and what they want improved.
Product development consultants work alongside product development, design, marketing and leadership teams and create a streamlined approach to developing a new product, including:
- Auditing and refining existing products
- Forming a product development strategy
- Recommending and expanding new product ideas and managing development and launch
- Conducting product and market research
Leadership development consultant
Leadership development consultants often act as mentors and coaches to executive team members looking to build their leadership skills. Specialists in strategy, corporate communication and running successful, high-growth teams, their role includes:
- Appraising and improving your leadership team structure, including:
- Team styles and dynamics
- Team formation
- Role definitions
- Enhancing team performance
- Developing executive leadership capabilities and enhancing their effectiveness
- Assessing and identifying leadership potential in succession candidates
- Optimizing team effectiveness and developing onboarding plans for new executives
Human resources consultants cover staff training and development, employee satisfaction improvements, conflict resolution techniques and employee recruitment. In addition, they can manage benefits, compensation and healthcare. They support businesses by:
- Defining HR issues, goals and requirements
- Conducting research to identify workforce issues or inefficiencies
- Developing HR strategies and company-specific model
- Auditing and refining HR policies, procedures, tools and strategies
- Ensuring operations and workforce activities are efficient and in the best interest of company goals
- Overseeing recruiting and training of new employees
IT consultants help companies improve their technology systems and usage. They help enhance business processes, decrease costs and maximize technological opportunities. This includes:
- Auditing your IT system and infrastructure
- Diagnosing system problems, inefficiencies and weaknesses
- Troubleshooting and implementing new technology solutions and security protections
- Training staff to use new IT systems
- Managing networks, improving cyber security and investigating and resolving software or hardware issues
- Advising on best practices for maintaining an organization’s networks and infrastructure, developing new applications and improving IT operations
You can try contacting your local Chamber of Commerce to locate IT consultants.
Compliance consultants ensure your business adheres to federal and local laws and regulations. They bring a wealth of knowledge about local and national laws and can review contracts, insurance policies, employee manuals and other materials to identify potential risks or areas of concern. They can help with the following:
- Auditing company procedures for compliance with laws and regulations and assessing staff’s adherence
- Developing effective policies and procedures for compliance with federal laws and regulations
- Training staff on compliance procedures
- Reviewing sales transactions for potential instances of fraud or abuse
- Coordinating with outside parties such as regulatory agencies or attorneys representing clients in lawsuit
- Responding to complaints or inquiries regarding potential law or regulation violations
You may find helpful resources for navigating government regulations and compliance challenges here.
Legal advisors are particularly helpful in ensuring that companies arrive at legally appropriate conflict resolutions whenever there are labour or contract disputes, compensation issues, harassment suits and other employee and management conflicts. In addition, they help protect your brand as you lay your policies and procedures framework for HR, manufacturing, copyrighting, international expansion, product development and everything in between.
Consider the following scenario: Your company name and brand are established in your marketplace, and your competitor recently implemented almost identical features. You have a trademark, but emailing their office hasn’t changed a thing. What do you do now? A legal advisor’s help can ensure a timely and favourable solution. You’ll be able to get back on track quicker, preventing your competitor from replicating your brand identity and diverting your revenue.
What if the tables have turned and your business faces a trademark dispute as you expand to a new country? Handled correctly, your corporate brand can survive with the least damage. A legal advisor can help you navigate the legal landscape, whether it’s a trademark dispute, patent infringement or any other legal issue.
Legal consultants help manage challenging situations by auditing and refining your documentation, procedures and protections, including:
- Drafting legal documents
- Reviewing and revising contracts to ensure they’re legally binding and enforceable
- Conducting legal research
- Reviewing cases for potential settlement opportunities and negotiating settlements
- Gathering evidence for cases and preparing legal briefs
- Advocating in court, arbitration or mediation
A sustainability consultant works with businesses to develop strategies and plans that can help organizations reduce their environmental impact, realize energy savings and improve the efficiency of their operations. Specific activities vary but can include:
- Auditing and reducing your company’s environmental impact, such as:
- Carbon footprint
- Energy use
- Water use
- Waste output
- Air quality
- Researching and analyzing sustainability best practices, metrics and reporting
- Creating and implementing plans for sustainable operations, including:
- Waste management
- Social responsibility
- Green building
- Collaborating with public and private sector partners on green initiatives
- Developing and rolling out policies and procedures
- Providing strategic advice on sustainability topics
- Educating and training staff on environmental and sustainability issues
- Creating a variety of sustainability projects inside the firm and providing support for their execution
Business strategy consultant
Quantifying your company’s strengths and weaknesses can be challenging without the proper tools and knowledge. A business strategy consultant helps with this. They can identify and capitalize on your business goals by creating detailed, comprehensive plans for your activities, including:
- Assessing and refining your business plan
- Analyzing market trends, evaluating business objectives
- Evaluating your financials, revenue streams, structure and processes to determine the best plan for your business
- Setting benchmarks to track performance
Business consultants give your company an advantage
Your business offers something special to your customers, and you want them to believe in the quality of your products or services and choose your brand to meet their needs. Securing the right team of experts to achieve your goals can make all the difference.
Are you launching a startup or powering a scaleup? Whether it’s an additional revenue stream or a shift in organizational culture, an outside perspective protects your business and lays the proper groundwork for future growth.
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