How to be a Consultant – 2

Why Does Anyone Need A Consultant Anyway?

1.  Lack of available personnel.  Sometimes even the largest firms lack personnel at specific periods of time or for specific tasks.  They may need assistance during a temporary work overload, or they may require unique expertise that is not needed on an ongoing basis every day of the year.  Temporary assistance might be needed.  A firm may need unique expertise on a short-term, project basis.

2.  The need for an outside opinion. Not infrequently a company has a problem and management feels the employees are too close to it to understand all the ramifications.  It makes sense then to bring in someone from outside – someone with competent problem- solving skills but not necessarily knowledge of the business.  In fact, sometimes the individual’s very ignorance (assuming, of course, a talent for problem-solving) helps to provide the answer.  Peter F. Drucker, perhaps the world’s greatest and certainly the most famous management consultant, has frequently said that he brings to the problem not so much his experience in a specific industry as his ignorance.

3. Company politics. At times the solution to a problem may actually be known, but for various political reasons it cannot be presented by those who understand the problem.

4.  A need for improved sales. No company can exist without sales.  This is true no matter how knowledgeable its president or senior staff, how skilled its financial people and accountants, how innovative its engineers in developing or manufacturing new products.  A company that needs to increase sales rapidly will sometimes turn outside its own marketing staff for help.

5.  The need for capital. Every company needs money.  This is especially true of a succesful company.  In fact, the more successful a company, the more capital it needs.  The need for capital is a continuing problem with many companies.  An individual who has expertise in finding sources of capital will be in continual demand.

6. Government regulations. No company is immune to government regulations, and all companies need to ensure that they fulfill these regulations in the most efficient and effective manner.  At the same time they wish to minimize any negative impact on their business and, if possible, use the regulations to help the operation of their business.  If you have knowledge in any of these regulatory areas or can become an expert in them, there is a real market for your consulting services.

7.  The need for maximum efficiency. If you know how to increase the efficiency of an organisation, you have something important to sell as a consultant.

8.  The ability to diagnose problems and find solutions One reason that the MBA degree (Master of Business Administration) is so sought after by many businesses is that the graduates with these degrees are supposed to be very adept at diagnosing problems faced by business and developing solutions for them.

9. Training employees. The operation of any business is becoming more and more complex, and today many employees are continually trained throughout their careers.  Managers need different types of training for leadership, organisational, and planning skills; computer operators need additional training with the latest equipment, techniques, software, and programming.  In fact, developments are occurring so rapidly that virtually every single functional area of business needs continual training.

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