Hiring A Business Consultant – Defining The Project Outline

Why you are hiring a business consultant

If you have made it to the point of consideration, then there must be a reason why you are researching tips on hiring a business consultant. The positive news from this is that, understanding that there is an improvement opportunity is, certainly in my experience, a large part of the road to improvement. After all, if we cannot understand and articulate the areas of improvement, how can we ever hope to improve. As a younger man, earlier in my career it was said to me (and it had a profound impact), as I am sure it has in many guises elsewhere – “If we keep doing the same things, we will keep getting the same results.”  What’s more, the decision to bring a business consultant on board puts you in good company. In fact, 84% of UK Businesses surveyed had, at some point, engaged the services of a business consultant (Source: MCA Client Survey).

A very good read if you have much longer to indulge yourself in this topic, is the Chartered Management Institute and Institute of Consulting report on the subject. My personal critique of the document would be that it labours the point of purchase and tendering process, although, should you not routinely purchase in such a manner – does add value. I will of course reference this document, as well as add my own views on the process for your consideration.

Define the project outline

What is it that has led to the decision and realisation that now you need to be capable of hiring a business consultant? How can you articulate that into a scope of a project. Ultimately, this is the very essence of what the project scope should be. Of course there are two ends to the spectrum of defining the problem, I will outline each and the reasons to use either. More than likely, in defining your problem, you will sit somewhere between the two.

The “General Feel” Of The Problem

In this instance you outline the very problem itself in a simple manner and allow the consultant to come back within their scope of works, what they feel is required. Any consultant should be providing a detailed scope of works, in the tender process, so the general feel will allow you to really understand the methodology that the consultant will take and how they will tackle the problem. This will, however, take a little longer to go through the tender process, as most consultants will want to sit with you to truly understand the problem, where it is rooted from and how it can be addressed.

The “Sell Me This” Approach

At the complete other end of the spectrum, you can outline the problem, the outcomes you wish to receive and what is in and out of scope. You will be spending much more time here, trying to understand the root cause of the problem yourself but will get a more concise response from each consultant. There is a risk with this approach that the scope of the project isn’t truly appreciated and in doing so could potentially hamper the consultative process. A good consultant will ensure, however, that they can deliver the results in line with the scope of works.

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