While there are negative stereotypes attached to the consulting profession, it is to be noted that consultants DO add value to their client’s businesses. This is achieved through various avenues.
The Consultant’s Contribution
Consulting assignments, whatever their nature, invariably begin with a problem! The consultant’s client realizes that there is a need, that they lack the specific skills or staff to address in house.
That is where the business consultants job begins, and is an indication of what their contribution should be – skills, experience and knowledge.
The consultant’s contribution therefore, can be defined as filling specific skills needs within an organization.
Often, while the basic problem has been identified within the organization, the consultant, in conjunction with the client, will expand on this idea to develop a process with which to address the problem, and formulate a solution.
Therefore, the consultant’s contribution is clear: knowledge, skills and experience, applied to the client’s problem.
Why Are Consultants Necessary?
As mentioned, often, organizations lack full time employees with sufficient skills and experience to tackle complex problems. On the other hand, a situation arises where an objective, third party, unbiased opinion or input is required on a project.
Or perhaps, an organization in the midst of a corporate reshuffle is in need of direction, in order to streamline processes, devise systems, or reallocate staff. Often, these types of situation would call for the use of a consultant who specializes in a specific field.
Consultants bring a much needed objectivity, knowledge or innovative approach to organizations, augmenting and supplementing the teams within that organization.
Consultants, in almost every field, can produce documented results of how, when and why consulting has assisted their clients, or industry clients on the whole.
This not only lends the consulting profession credibility, but also creates a knowledge base from which to work documents results and return on investment, and, overall, increases trust.
Having shown proven results in a particular field, consultants are more likely to be engaged again to address similar problems.
How Does This Influence You, The Consultant?
At the end of the day, there will always be skeptics, who denounce the need for consultants.
By conducting your consulting business with ethics in mind, ensuring that you offer a valued contribution, and documenting results, you make it easier for potential clients to make the decision to hire you.
Making sure that you bear in mind that your role, as the consultant, is to identify, analyze and solve your clients’ problems, whatever they may be, and consistently doing so, will help to build your individual reputation.
Always ask yourself what contribution you are making to your clients business. By keeping that foremost in your mind and ensuring that you address their problems, rather than simply using them to boost your bank balance, you increase your credibility, and hireability.
Not only that, but you will be making a valuable contribution to the overall reputation of consultants in general, and given the negative press the profession has received in the past, every little bit helps!