Business Consulting Through Development and Optimization

It is often said that if you aren’t moving forward then you are moving backward. This statement is applicable to many aspects of life, and can also be applied to economies and businesses. If your business isn’t looking to the future, always searching for new opportunities than it may be missing out and risk shrinking. Business consulting professionals can help avoid these problems by providing a fresh perspective and outside opinion on the operations of any given business.

Business consulting is not a new concept, but its popularity has been on the rise in recent decades as the pace of the global economy has increased. It is impossible for a business to open up shop these days and stick with the same game plan going forward without ever trying to reinvent themselves from time to time. This is where business consulting comes into play.

Professionals who specialize in business consulting are just that, professionals. Most individuals who specialize in business consulting have vast knowledge and experience in a variety of industries and settings, making them ideal consultants for any company. The ideal business consultant will have the following experience behind them:

  • 20 or more years working in business
  • Master of Business Administration degree
  • Experience in sales, marketing, management, and finance
  • Know how for businesses at all levels of growth

When companies make the decision to take advantage of the services of business consulting professionals, they must be prepared for a long process and potentially harsh criticism of their business operations or structure. The goal of business consulting though is to use the fresh perspective of an outsider to help address problems plaguing the company. A typical business consulting process will consist of the following steps:

  1. Learn about the business
  2. Identify problems
  3. Identify future opportunities
  4. Perform analysis
  5. Provide solutions through a concrete plan
  6. Listen to feedback and adjust plan
  7. Implement and track the plan

Although all of the steps above are important in the business consulting process, the first three steps are perhaps the most important and time consuming to complete. The first step of learning the business is a vital step in the process. Business consulting professionals will speak with the leaders of the company, department heads, and other key employees in an attempt to full understand all aspects of the business. During this step of the process they will be looking at the following items:

  • Understand the product or service
  • Business track record
  • How the business is run
  • How decisions are made
  • How problems and opportunities are handled
  • Company process, trademarks
  • Company’s competitive advantages
  • Financial track record
  • Banking and finance connections
  • Employee incentives, benefits, and wages

Once a business consulting professional has gotten to know your business inside and out they will move onto the next step in the process, identifying problems and opportunities. This step is just as crucial as the first because it will determine how to proceed with the rest of the steps in the process. Although the first step of getting to know the business may provide insight into problems and opportunities facing the business, most business consulting professionals will look for problems and opportunities not mentioned to them during the “learning the business” step. Typical steps during this process include:

  • Identifying problems and opportunities pointed out by management and those noticed by consultant
  • Identify revenue and expenses for all products and services
  • Understand tax implications
  • Understanding margins, sales history, and sales growth
  • Understanding and identifying new products and services

After the first two steps have been completed it is time for a business consulting professional to show their true value by developing a plan for the business to follow that will help them regain or maintain their competitive edge. By evaluating all the information gained in the first two steps a business consulting professional can develop a plan for the company’s future that conquers short term problems, while preparing the company to take advantage of long term opportunities. During this process a business consulting professional will do the following:

  • Deciding which problems and opportunities are important and which are not
  • Identify potential future problems
  • Identify symptoms of problems provide certain conclusions and facts based on the analysis
  • Provide certain conclusions and facts based on the analysis

When the first three steps of the business consulting process have been completed it is time to implement the plan put forth by the consultant. From this point on it will be crucial for the company and the consultant to maintain open, clear lines of communication so they can analyze together the plan’s implementation and early results. As time passes the business consultant will ideally continue to work with the company to tweak the business plan as necessary to ensure that it is working at as close to 100% as is possible.