I suspect many of us have a tendency to associate Strategy and Management consulting with huge firms, dozens of highly qualified people using the latest buzzwords and significant bills. The reality is that although this stereotype exists, the vast majority of consulting is aimed at much smaller and even micro businesses where it is actually at its most valuable.
The real value of engaging a Strategy and Management consultant is that they use they their considerable experience to give you an outsider’s perspective on your challenges and guide you to better decision making and ultimately resolve your issues in shorter space of time than you could on your own.
There may be times when you just need a consultant to give you the answer so you can move on quickly, such as getting legal or tax advice for instance. It is of no value for you to become a legal expert or tax advisor, you simply pay your lawyer or tax consultant to draw on their knowledge and years of experience to advise you to take a particular course of action.
However, businesses as a whole are broader and every single one is unique. In this scenario, you do need to be an expert on your own business. Frequently, business managers are mired in the day-to-day, bogged down on a range of issues, deluged by emails and swamped with differing projects that they don’t take the time necessary to pause, take an overview, scan the horizon for what is coming in the future and prepare accordingly. Opportunities to learn and develop are lost. This is when a consultant becomes a very valuable business tool.
Engaging a Strategy and Management consultant is an active decision to take stock of where your business is now in terms of operations, profitability, sales pipeline, to see what the short, medium or long term future holds and what is necessary to meet the business demands of that future. The strategy is about the future and the decisions you need to take to get there. Management is making sure that you have the people, processes and implementation plans to ensure that it happens cost and time effectively.
The consultant could be engaged for all or just some part of any of the above depending on how robust your internal processes are. The benefits are significant. Depending on what the starting point is you could achieve:
Ideally the consultant will encourage you to rely on your own internal expertise to build these solutions, their job being to ask pertinent questions at the right moments, expose gaps in plans, knowledge, experience or processes and encouraging the client to learn as they engage with the process so that they can replicate it for themselves on an ongoing basis. The value of the consultant then becomes not only that of giving perspective but adding considerably to the knowledge within the organisation and leading to planned, profitable outcomes. Can you afford not to have one ?