Calling in outside experts is something businesses do all the time, and here are the 12 most common reasons why!
1. Temporary assistance
This is where you need to supplement the skills that you already have internally. Most times it’s a short-term need, but some engagements continue for months, for example, rounding out an M&A bid team with a deep industry specialist or a forensic accountant.
2. Objective review
This is when you need the impartial advisor, with no vested interest in the resolution of the problem or the realisation of the opportunity. Often, these are umpiring / refereeing roles, even facilitation - for instance, finalising the choice of a new ERP solution when you are finding it too close to call.
3. Expert opinion
Not quite the ‘expert witness’ role but nearly! Businesses hire consultants for second opinions, and to identify and resolve rare problems.
4. Company doctor
There’s a crisis which is putting the very survival of your enterprise on the line. So your need is for a consultant who has been there too, with a track record of success in digging clients out of their holes and developing sustainable futures – sometimes referred to as “turn-around consultants”.
5. The catalyst
Change is a constant, yet often poorly managed. Ideally your change transformation should come from within, but there will be times when an external catalyst is needed. The very best change management consultants, the real transformers, will temporarily fill that role for you. The best will also mentor your own people to take over once the current catalytic reaction is over, upskilling and readying you for the next one.
6. Obtaining funding
With the multiplicity of today’s funding sources, no-one can expect you to be proficient in all of them. So it’s not unusual to call in the expert consultant with the requisite skills, knowledge and experience for a specific funding source. Once upon a time it was all about navigating through government-backed sources, and that’s still relevant. But today it’s also about understanding the funding nuances, and picking the ‘right’ one from an ever-changing inventive investor community.
7. Selecting key personnel
When you need independent and unbiased key person selection, you may turn to an executive search or recruitment consultant. Or you may use the consultant just to screen and evaluate internal candidates to remove politics from the equation!
8. Education and training
Your quest for knowledge and competency development is a relentless one, especially when you are in an emerging industry. External training courses tailored to your business may not exist, or if they do then you may not want to be seen attending them. This is where the specialised training consultant comes in, whose very livelihood depends on being up-to-date in your subject area, such as intrapreneurial innovation. The best will educate, with a mentoring style, while they train.
9. Conflict resolution
One of the ‘oldest’ reasons for calling in a highly proficient consultant is to help you to deal with your internal personnel difficulties.
10. Executive assistance
Quite simply, there are times when an executive, or a small team, needs one-on-one help. This should never be taken as a sign of failure and your chosen consultant knows how to help you to allay that perception. The most common need for this type of support is typically for an implementation related event, such as a new digital program or technology platform.
11. Government regulatory assistance
Consultants have been helping companies through the maze of government assistance for decades. When it’s a matter of being compliant, identify and call in the compliance consultant who has a proven track record in your setting.
12. Socio-economic and political change
We live in a changing environment of corporate responsibility, sustainability and new government initiatives, where consultants can help businesses quickly get up to speed with the new world order.
If your trigger to turn to a consultant wasn’t on this list, perhaps it falls into that generic bucket of needing a consultant not only for skills, knowledge and objectivity, but for their experience addressing similar needs repeatedly - for example, a consultant who has conducted dozens of customer experience transformations.
You can easily find the right consultant for your business needs by selecting a category or sector on our free online platform.