The Prep Work Behind Business Consulting Solutions

Clients may be in need of business consulting solutions for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, when business owners put their own theories on the line, they are not always correct. This is where you come in. Business consultants help companies get back on track when there are problems, or provide their expertise before issues develop.

It’s important to recognize the fact that if an owner or manager contacts you, a problem has already been identified – though maybe not the source of the problem (finding that may be your job).

Budgets are tight within many operations and no company will hire you just for the sake of working with a business consultant – no matter how great your skills. Simply put, consultants are not called in to save the day for no reason; if they were, your job would become incredibly boring.

What is the Problem?

Not surprisingly, the first step involved in helping a business is to determine its flaws, weak areas, and needs. If the client happens to provide you with a Request for Proposal (RFP), you may already have a few details about the operation in your possession.

An RFP can not only serve to supply the company’s background information, but also give you some insight into the owner’s expectations. In many situations, clients supply RFPs as an invitation to submit a bid on a project or service, in this case, consulting. What’s more, the proposal may also be issued to other bidders as well.

Branching Out on Your Own

On the other hand, if a new client fails to produce an RFP or similar document, you will have to uncover the details yourself. In fact, leading your own investigation may prove to be very beneficial to the project because clients are sometimes wrong about the issues that exist within the business.

A business owner may believe that an increase in employee turnover is the result of staff conflicts, however, your research may show that schedule changes are likely the root of the problem.

The Initial Encounter

Before embarking on an internal hunt for issues, it is important to meet with the client face-to-face to discuss the situation. When doing so, you must present yourself in a professional and capable manner by dressing and acting the part. Give the client an opportunity to speak before jumping in with your own speculation and words of wisdom, but follow up their comments with a question. Finding the right balance between listening and analyzing can be hard, but if you are properly prepared for the meeting, you will have no problems cruising through to the end. Keep track of the conversation by taking notes and devise questions for the client based on their statements, not vice-versa.

While there may be a slight learning curve involved in forming a smooth, mutually beneficial partnership, rest assured that you will possess the necessary tools after just a few meetings. Successful business consulting solutions require that you listen to your client and invest your energy into identifying the solution before jumping in wholeheartedly. Often, the client will prove to be your best source of information.

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  • Sometimes we forget to remember that businesses want deliverables from their consultant. Yes, you have to listen to provide solutions, but you also have to promise something up front. What are your deliverables?

  • Jay, completely agree. Developing a list of results you’re after from the get go is key to every consulting project.

    It’s not enough to put a deliverable or fuzzy goal down on paper.

    The plan and every action the consultant takes throughout the project needs to work towards achieving that end result.

    Independent consultants often find themselves setting out to accomplish one thing only to realize that they have drifted off course. While this is never their intention, with emails and calls flying in at rapid speed and priorities and requests changing all the time – well, it’s understandable. But not right.

    Consultants need to be accountable for the work they do. It benefits them and their clients to ensure they are tracking their progress throughout and keeping on course to deliver real tangible results.