What Can a Consultant Do For Your Business? Part V

This article is the fifth part of a series of articles that discuss the value a good consultant can bring to your business.

Assisting Decision Making

A good consultant can assist his clients in decision making without taking over the process or making any of the decisions himself. A consultant can never lose sight of the fact that the client’s business is not his own. The client must make all decisions. The consultant’s position is only to advise.

The simplest way to assist a client in decision making is to list the possible decisions and discuss the implications to the business of each possibility. In addition, a consultant can discuss the personal implications of each possibility to his client. A consultant may be able to save the business at the cost of his client having to give up control of the business. It is the client’s decision to determine is this is his desired course of action. By creating a spreadsheet with the expected outcomes for each possible choice, the options are laid out clearly. The client is able to intelligently select the decision that suits him best.

Helping the Client Become more Efficient

As a result of the accurate analysis and discussion of the business practices and techniques in place, the consultant can help his client become more efficient. Businesses tend to maintain their historic practices without constantly testing these practices for their continued efficacy. As an outsider, the consultant tends to spot these anachronisms, helping his client rid his company of inefficient practices.

In addition, a good consultant should have a number of ideas for making companies more efficient. These may include practices such as outsourcing, automation, and investigating open source solutions, among a plethora of ideas. Although it is unlikely that all of these ideas will be applicable to every customer, it is almost certain that for each client there will be some ideas in the consultant’s arsenal that will increase his efficiency.

A consultant should also analyze the client’s workflow and help determine methods of making it more efficient. This may involve analyzing the position of workstations between steps in a process, combining multiple operations in one physical location or in the hands of a single team, or streamlining bureaucracy and the flow of information and or paperwork in the client’s organization.

Finally, a great consultant will be able to improve the efficiency of specific businesses. This requires a thorough knowledge of the client’s business, enabling the consultant to spot inefficiencies in his client’s methods of production, distribution, marketing, etc. In doing so, the consultant demonstrates great proficiency and often leaves his client astounded, to great effect.