The job of a consultant can be very rewarding but the job can also at times be very challenging. As a business consultant you will be going in to businesses and looking at the way the business is ran and how you can improve it. This may be within the finance area, marketing area, management or a combination of many different departments.
Firstly as a consultant it is important that you know about your client and their industry. You need to keep your ear to the ground and be proactive with any marketing that you recommend. Setting up alerts on Google will allow you to be notified when there is mention of the keywords or phrases you choose to track.
Knowing the history of the business and their finance information is vital. You need to be able to memorise some facts and figures such as turn over, profit and loss and where the biggest spend is. As a good consultant you should look to increase a business’s profits by increasing sales and cutting down on spending.
Research in to the businesses competitors is key so you can fully understand who you are up against and how they may be able to attract more business.
What makes a good manager? As a manager yourself, or moving up in to a management role you have probably already asked yourself this time and time again. There are so many different ways to manage a team or another member of staff that it can be hard to put your finger on exactly what works and what doesn’t.
Research shows that what makes is a good manager is often linked to how flexible they are and how they can adapt to different situations. As a manager you will have to often make decision quickly but also fairly. You need to be assertive but also know how to listen and know when you need to be firm.
Different management methods are used at different times and even some that seem harsh, can be effective if used at the right time. For example, a manager who is very controlling and likes things done in a certain way, who is very strict and shows their authority can be great in a crisis and in situations when order is needed quickly.
A manager who allows everyone to have their say, often compromises and can seem as a bit of a push over may be good in a situation that is getting out of hand and needs calming down a bit.
If you choose to hire a business consultant to help you with your company then part of what they will do is analyse your competitors. Many business owners forget to find out what their competitors are doing and often do not think it matters as long as they are doing well, but not seeing what other businesses are offering can lead to missed opportunities.
The business consultant will be able to look at your competitors and evaluate the products and/or services they are offering, the prices they charge, the times they are open and their branding. From this they may then make suggestions to you about how you may want to adapt your business. For example, if your competitors are charge a lot less than you for the same or very similar products then you may need to decrease your prices in order to compete. It may be that your competitors have a website where customers can buy directly from, meaning that they can reach out to a wider audience. The consultant will be able to advise you on what they believe will have the most positive impact for your business and often the costs associated with those changes.
We live in a world where technology is advancing every day and many businesses rely upon many sorts of technology to keep their business running and to grow their business over time.
The job of an I.T. consulting company is to advise their clients on how they can utilise technology to achieve their business goals and make their business more successful.
When an I.T. consulting company is asked to work for a client they will usually go in and spend time analysing the current systems in place and how they are used. From this they can then create a report that will show what needs to be done to improve the use of IT to help improve their business. The idea is often to help the client save time and money by using systems to automate many of the processes that are done individually and also to make record keeping easier. They may for example suggest having a system installed that links all the customer records to the invoicing system and to an email marketing system to allow them to instantly see the complete record of one customer without having to log in to multiple systems.
If you are responsible for managing a team of workers then you may sometimes struggle to get them to all do what they should be at the correct time. Managing a team of people with different strengths and weaknesses can be tricky especially if you do not have a lot of experience in a management role.
Firstly you need to be able to assess each person and find out what motivates them. Research has proven that when someone is motivated and happy they work better. Each of us react different to situations and are attracted by different incentives. For some, a pay rise or chance of a bonus is what motivates them to work hard. For others it’s the chance of being given more responsibility that makes them work harder.
When in a management role, it is important to maintain control of your workers without being too bossy and making enemies. You need to get the right balance between both and make sure that all of your workers know that they can come to you with any issues or concerns they may have. Remember a happy work place is a productive work place.
The professional services world has been in profound shock since July’s unexpected referendum result and with good reason – uncertainty is rarely ever good for business, particularly if that uncertainty directly concerns the free trade and open borders that, in a globalised, highly specialised industry, you rely on.
At first glance, Brexit would definitely appear to be bad news for consultants everywhere – with merger & acquisition business now at a virtual standstill, having shrunk by 50% on the previous year in the run up to the vote alone, belts will be tightened in many areas. Investments flowing in is, really, our lifeblood – when they flow in, companies expand and look to management consultants to manage and scale that expansion. When it stalls… well, we all know what happens.
But is it all doom and gloom? Yes, there are certainly challenges, but with our European relationship amounting to a complex and many-headed beast which will be difficult and time-consuming to unravel, there is much for consultants to tackle at the same time – a prudent business plans for the future, and where the future is uncertain and could yield more than one outcome, is best advised to plan multiple strategies for the likely outcomes, and who is best placed to answer that call?
Broadly, the analysis shows that people will have a little bit less money in their pockets, with it’s few token giveaways largely offset by declining benefit coverage and inflation. Interest rates remain unlikely to rise in the near future, which is broadly good news for mortgage payers and borrowers, but interest-based incentives to save remain non-existent as the government seeks to inject as much non-invested cash back into the products market.
Great news for tenants in the abolition of tenancy fees, but it is worded as the government will ‘go into consultation in the New Year so many won’t be expecting much benefit from that next year, never mind this. Housing costs for those moving continue to rise above inflation in many areas – particularly where most work is available within walking distances or via easy access to public transport.
If you’re a car manufacturer without a profitable electric product, the changes to salary sacrifice schemes are likely to put a dent in your mid-range volume as they make some cars more expensive for the average user, particularly for diesels – the government is slowly signalling their death knell, as more cities move towards emissions-free zones and the announcement of investment into both electric charging and autonomous vehicle infrastructure does offer an opportunity for some skilled and sustainable jobs.
If you have a business then you will probably already know how important marketing is, but are you missing out on marketing opportunities? Marketing your business correctly can be the difference between being successful and failing. There are many ways in which you can market a business such as online through a website or social media sites, creating leaflets and doing mail drops or cold calling. Only marketing using one avenue can be a risky strategy and may mean that you miss out on opportunities to get more business.
If you currently do no or little online marketing then this could be a route that you need to explore. Many people are using the internet to find services or products they need and therefore if you have no presence online, you will not be able to compete with those that do.
With any marketing it is vital to track what you are doing and the return you get but be sure to give marketing time as some is not instant and will take time.
As strange as it may sound, team building is one of those vague and misused terms which managers occasionally call into play as a solution for sluggish work unit performance. Just so you know, the rise in popularity and use of team building parallels the growing perception of work as the output of teams of workers rather than compartmentalised tasks on an assembly line. Recent reports have clearly demonstrated the importance of effective team structures to the overall performance and effectiveness of the worker.
If you are having a building project done then you may consider hiring a project manager. Some people think that having a project manager is just another cost that they can do without so take on the role themselves. A good project manager should have a lot to offer for any project and if taking on the job role yourself you will need to ensure you have plenty of free time to do it and have a good idea of what you need to do.
A project manager can often save you money on supplies etc. as they often have contacts within the industry that will offer them a discount. They are also there to keep an eye on your budget and on time scales, meaning your project is more likely t be completed on time and within the budget you originally set up. Before dismissing a project manager, find out the exact costs and see if it may be worth using one.