Consulting (or in translation from English - "consulting") is a type of professional services that are provided to corporate clients to optimize their activities. This activity consists in analyzing the current situation, substantiating development prospects.
Ultimately, the consulting company, as it were, takes on an obligation to increase profits by a certain amount over a given period. For this, the consultant is delegated broad powers.
In the consulting business, mistrust of the activities of consultants has become commonplace. Let's deal with the main ones.
If there are appropriate services, then there is no need for the services of external consultants. The question is often asked - why do we need consulting, if there is a legal department, financial and accounting departments at the enterprise? It should be understood that the task of full-time employees is to fulfill the tasks that arise before them on a daily basis. It is in this vein that our own employees work efficiently, quickly and smoothly. But the help of external consultants will be needed when rare and specific issues arise, the solution of which is impossible without special training, skills and experience in this particular area. For example, the constant work of an offshore tax specialist is not so often in demand among market participants. If such a task arises, then with the help of consulting it can be solved quickly and efficiently until the subsequent need. As a result, the involvement of a third-party consultant allows the company to attract a qualified employee in the required field to work, moreover, this will save significant funds, since it does not need to involve an employee on the staff on an ongoing basis.
An external consultant will not be able to quickly figure out the specifics of the activities of a particular organization. Indeed, in order to fully understand all the specifics, there are internal specialists, no external specialist is their competitor in this. Truth and such a task is not set. The main reason why an external consultant is involved is the coverage of the situation with an independent look, from the outside, with different eyes than regular employees. Further work is naturally carried out in close contact with the customer's employees, who help to take into account the very exclusive features of the work of this business. A consultant should not rely on the specifics of the organization's work, his main task is to apply the experience of solving similar problems in other organizations.
You cannot trust outside employees as much as your own. It is impossible to determine the degree of trust in a specialist only on the basis of differences - whether it is a third-party consultant or an employee of the company. It makes sense to understand that the consultant values his reputation very much, because, in fact, this is what feeds him. If a disloyal employee leaves, then nothing will prevent him from getting a job in another company. But the consultant accumulates over the years his experience, clientele, authority in the professional environment and position. It would be unacceptable for him to risk all this for the sake of momentary gain. You could even say that you should trust external consultants more than full-time employees.
External consultants are not responsible for the outcome. If both parties are focused on long-term relationships, then there is responsibility for the result. This is what the consultant is aiming at. It is a strategic task for a consulting company to build long-term relationships with clients in order to continue to cooperate with them for mutual benefit. It is the responsibility for the result that is an indicator that the consultants are aimed at further cooperation.
External consultants do not produce anything, they are like salesmen of air. The problem is that the work of a consultant often cannot be appreciated immediately, despite its high quality. After all, when a third-party specialist issues a series of recommendations and observations, then usually there is nothing new and unexpected in this information, in general, all this was known before, and a plan could be drawn up. But here the question arises - why then it was not done earlier? By agreeing with both the assessment of the situation and the set of recipes, we only confirm that the recommendations are essentially already known to us. But why did you need an outsider to reopen your eyes to known truths? Maybe it was the opinion of an independent person that was needed? The consultant can focus on seemingly well-known places, but at the same time shift priorities and accents, or can simply formulate more clearly ways of solving problems. In any case, if the invitation of a consultant leads to some kind of transformation within the enterprise, then his invitation and work are no longer in vain.
You should contact a consulting organization only when there are really serious problems. This approach is typical of organizations all over the world, but in our country it has become just universal. In this case, it would be reasonable to draw an analogy with the treatment of diseases - their prevention is always more effective and easier than direct treatment. But if the disease has already occurred, then the sooner we discover it and begin the course of treatment, the faster the recovery will be and the less unpleasant consequences. The picture is the same in business consulting. The later the client turns to a consultant, the less field for action he will have, the tools for finding a solution and its implementation will be limited. But contacting a consulting company in the absence of serious problems will help to lay a solid foundation for future sustainable work, to avoid possible sharp corners in the near future.
It is better to look for an external consultant through friends. This search method is really the main one today. However, it is not enough just to be content with other people's recommendations, it would be nice to conduct your own analysis. It should be taken into account how famous this consultant is, how long he has been working in this area, what successful projects he has behind him, whether his publications have been met in professional publications. The answers to these questions will allow you to form your own judgment about the person or company where you plan to turn for help. It will also be useful to clarify how well-known this specialist is in the professional environment, this will determine how useful the consultant will be in this area. If the professional colleagues of the consultant are unanimous in his low competence, then should you trust the opinion of your friend about such an employee?
If a third-party consultant appears in the enterprise, then this will cause alarm among the staff. The result of a consultant's work can be largely assessed depending on how well developed his relationship with the staff. It is safe to assume that a permanent war between them will lead to a slowdown in work, limitation of opportunities to improve the situation, and all attempts to introduce innovations will run into a wall of misunderstanding and silent resistance, that is, sabotage. Therefore, a good consultant is very interested in good relations with the staff, however, exactly as long as such relations do not interfere with his work.
External consultants are unnecessarily expensive. The cost of consulting services can be measured by only one criterion - the effectiveness of the work brought to the benefit for the client. If the services of a consultant are cheap, but at the same time they are of no use, then the company will still be at a loss. And from the point of view of image, the cheapest offer on the market for such services is not the best. "Our consultants are the cheapest" is at least alarming. On the other hand, if consulting services are expensive as long as they are profitable, they will be in demand. Such relations, built on the mutual interest of the parties to each other, will be effective.
Consulting is akin to a drug - having applied once, then you cannot do without it. So it is with morning exercises - having started doing it regularly, then it will be hard to do without it. Business implies striving for improvement, if a consultant helps to constantly improve the work of the enterprise, then there is nothing wrong with the repeated involvement of a specialist. The rule is similar to the price of services - if there is benefit from the appeal, then let the consultant work, and if there is no such benefit at all, then a one-time consultation is not needed.