Who is a business management consultant? A business management consultant is someone who uses a set of expert skills, professional knowledge and experience to provide support and advice to companies and help them solve problems, increase growth and maximize performance and profits.
A management consultant would usually identify problems and weaknesses in the way a business is being run and come up with better strategies and recommendations. There are different types of business management consultants, offering advice and support in different aspects of a business from the marketing aspect to information technology, financial and human resources aspects of a business.
NB-: This article was culled from: “The Complete Guide to Starting a Consulting Business from Scratch.”
Why Do Companies Hire Management Consultants?
- Shortage of staff-: A company may opt for hiring a management consultant instead if it would be too expensive to maintain a full-time staff to occupy the position. For instance, hiring a financial manager would cost the company a huge sum monthly but hiring a financial management consultant can help to reduce the costs considerably. Moreover, consultants are not paid benefits or welfare packages and it makes them cheaper for companies.
- External force-: There is politics in every organization and sometimes, it may be difficult for a company or its directors/management to make some changes or carry out some functions which may not be well received by the employees so companies would usually hire a third party to help them do their ‘dirty job’ A typical example is when companies have to downsize or promote some employees over others or increase salaries and benefits.
- Expert Knowledge and Skills-: Management consultants work with different companies and across industries and would therefore possess excellent knowledge and experience to make useful recommendations and solve problems based on prior knowledge and experience.
- Addition of value-: A management consultant also brings value to the business and a fresh perspective in situations where the knowledge and ideas of the employees are insufficient to solve challenges at hand.
What Do Management Consultants Do?
The duties of a management consultant would usually depend on the client’s needs and demands as well as the type of consultancy business he is operating. However, the basic duties of a management consultant include-:
- Identifying problems and weaknesses in the organization and suggesting ways to solve them.
- Implementing the recommendations with support from the client.
- Overseeing and supervising company projects.
- Organizing training programs and workshops for employees.
- Drafting and presenting business plans and proposals.
- Help companies cut costs and maximize the use of their resources.
How to Become a Business Management Consultant
1. Education-: First, you have to build your curriculum vitae by obtaining a degree in a business or management related course. The most recommended course for a prospective business management consultant is business administration but any business or finance related course would do. Also, it is advisable for you to get a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) to help you enhance your analytical skills and build your professional profile.
2. Experience-: Next, you should take up a job which involves managing a business for a few years. You would be able to put some of the skills and knowledge you have acquired into practical use and gain the much needed experience needed to become an independent management consultant. You can also start out as a business analyst and gradually grow to become a senior management consultant.
3. Professional Certification-: Next, you should register for and pass examinations which would qualify you as a professional management consultant. The Institute of Management Consultants is a very good professional organization to join.
4. Sharpen your communication skills-: To be a successful management consultant, you need to have superb communication skills in order to communicate your recommendations and evaluations to your clients effectively.
5. Set up your office-: You can either choose to work from home or you can set up your own office. Setting up an office would give your management consultancy practice an image boost and allow clients to have access to you and if you have to employ people in the future, you would have enough space for them.
6. Employ staffs-: When you start your consultancy business, you might be able to run it alone but eventually, you would need to hire people who would assist you in running the business when your business starts to grow and you begin to get more clients.
7. Determine your fees and method of payments-: The next thing to consider is your fees and how you would be paid for your services. There are three ways you can charge for your services;
- Retainer basis-: This means that you would charge a fixed monthly sum in exchange for a specified number of hours. This method of payment assures you a regular income every month and helps you to avoid cash flow problems.
- Project basis-: This means that you would charge a fixed sum for each project you get to handle for the client.
- Hourly fees-: Another method is to bill your clients on an hourly basis.
8. Promote your business-: When you have set up your office and determined how much you want to start charging your clients, you are fully ready to start your management consulting business. There are several techniques that you can use to search for clients for your management consultancy business, some of which include-:
- Cold calling-: Cold calling involves getting a list of people or businesses that have recently made enquiries or showed interest in hiring a management consultant.
- E-mail Marketing-: Another way to get customers for your management consultancy business is through e-mail marketing. You would write on a range of topics covering your area of expertise and send them to your prospective clients regularly. This would go a long way to show that you are knowledgeable in your field of expertise and can draw customers to you.
- Event organization-: Also, you can get customers for your management consultancy business through organizing seminars, workshops and other similar programs where you can share your knowledge with attendees.
- Referral programs-: Another way to promote your business is through referral reward programs where you reward people with a certain percentage of your fees when they refer new clients to you.