How to Benefit from a Business Consultant's Recommendations

A business consultant is often perceived as an external party with no knowledge of the client's business, complicates simple issues and provides impractical solutions to a problem. This leads to most of the consultants' recommendations being overlooked without actual implementation. In this post, we would like to discuss how to benefit from a consultant's recommendations so as to ensure that the purpose of hiring a consultant is efficiently served.

  1. Define your problems clearly and obtain concurrence from the consultant after an independent review

    State your problem(s) as clearly as possible to the consultant. Ask for a thorough review of your organization to corroborate with your findings. Provide as much information or data to him/ her to help ensure a fair, unbiased view of issues in the organization. This will also help you obtain a fresh perspective by experts who have seen practices of your competitors or similar industries. Discuss the problems identified by the consultants and data required for tackling the same and compare them with your own statements. Identify the most critical issues to be addressed and prioritize them in view of their impact on your finances, cash flows, market share, marketing efforts and your competitive advantages.

  2. Communicate upfront your expectations of the outcome at the end of the assignment

    Having defined your problem(s) clearly, understand the approach being undertaken by the consultant. Set timelines for each activity assigned. State your expectations openly to the consultant for a clear-cut understanding of the expected results from each activity.

  3. Agree on mutual roles, responsibilities and ownership of tasks to be performed

    Define the roles and responsibilities of yours as well as that of your consultant's. Agree on timelines that are achievable. Assign the overall ownership internally of each of the tasks to be performed by your consultant.

  4. Assign team or SPOCs for providing data and information to your consultant

    Identify the right persons within your organization for providing the requisite information to the consultant. Delegate adequate powers to the consultant to ensure that the process is smoother, avoiding any kind of conflict between the organization and the external expert.

  5. Discuss the recommendations and short term and long term impact of each alternatives on the overall business

    Once the consultant figures out solutions for improvement, have a thorough review meeting on the reasons for such conclusions and the recommendations provided by him/ her. This is the most critical phase for obtaining benefit from your consultant's recommendations. Discuss the consequences of each of them and understand their effect on your overall business setting. Seek clarifications on any suggestions that are difficult to be understood. Refrain from keeping silent about non-conformities and disagreements in the suggested solutions. Check out for any possible alternatives and the possible effect and cost to the company for successful implementation.

  6. Ensure implementation of recommendations

    Extend your support by providing strict instructions to your team for ensuring the implementation of recommendations suggested by the consultant. Bear in mind that although the consultant is technically responsible for implementing his/ her recommendations for the growth of your business, employees might show resistance to change. This is due to certain psychological fears associated in agreeing with the consultant's standpoint including loss of employment etc. The owner of the company should always have mechanisms to track the extent of team's support and cooperation for successful implementation of the recommendations. Remember, it is the owner's business to bring his business back on track!!!

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