Consultants often travel to client sites to provide expert knowledge in a particular subject. Businesses in nearly every industry can benefit from the knowledge of professional consultants. The consultant’s primary role is to assist your organization with certain range of subjects or areas of work. While the consultant may act as an educator, a catalyst for deeper change, a resource, or a facilitator, the leadership of the process remains within your organization. The Inclusiveness Committee, staff, board members, and executive director have the power, and the greater responsibility, to lead the process of becoming more inclusive.
There are generally four categories of work for which you may want to hire the services of a consultant or a consulting team:
- Overall Guidance: The consultant works with the Inclusiveness Committee throughout the inclusiveness initiative to plan and execute the initiative and acts as a meeting or process facilitator.
- Information Gathering: The consultant designs and gathers data during the information-gathering phase. Consultants can be particularly useful in collecting qualitative data through interviews and focus groups, since their neutral position with the organization can lead to more honest responses from internal and external stakeholders.
- Cultural Competency/Diversity Training: The consultant conducts diversity/inclusiveness trainings to create a more inclusive culture and help stakeholders become more aware of how the organization may be creating an unwelcome atmosphere for diverse communities. In this instance, you may want to use one consultant or a consulting team for all of the trainings or you may wish to bring in content specialists for different trainings and use an “integrating facilitator.” An integrating facilitator works with you throughout your process, helping to provide continuity between trainings.
- Evaluation: The consultant creates an evaluation plan to measure the efficacy of trainings and progress of your inclusiveness initiative.
Common types of consultants include technical, management and accounting consultants. The specific functions of a consultant vary depending on the field, but the primary goal of any consultant is to help a company become more efficient and profitable.
A management consultant works to help a company improve its business performance, create value and maximize growth. To accomplish this goal, management consultants gather information from a variety of sources within the organization to address and solve problems. A business might hire a consultant to address a very specific problem, such as issues with inventory and shipping functions. In other cases, consultants might tackle broad issues, such as increasing profitability. Consultants frequently depend on research and critical thinking skills to do their jobs. Once the research process is complete, consultants develop solutions and alternative practices to recommend to an organization’s management team.
A business can own a great product, but it is only successful if it effectively markets that product to the right people. Marketing consultants, also known as marketing research analysts, use statistical methods and software to perform research and gather relevant data to help companies determine their target market and the products and services consumers desire to buy. Before making recommendations, marketing consultants monitor and forecast marketing and sales trends, evaluate a company’s marketing strategy and gather data about competitors. Some of the specific information analyzed by a marketing consultant might include consumer demographics, preferences and buying habits. The gathered data is typically compiled into a report and presented to clients in a clear and concise manner.
Most consultants in the technology field work for information technology firms. The function of a computer systems consultant is to study an organization’s current computer system and make recommendations to management on how to operate in a more effective and efficient manner. Consultants commonly research emerging technologies, provide cost and benefit analyses related to purchasing new technology, or upgrading existing technology and performing tests to ensure technology is working according to its intended purpose. Other functions of a computer systems consultant might include recommending new software, training personnel on how to use technology systems and writing instruction manuals.
Accounting and Tax
Consultants working in the accounting industry provide auditing, accounting and tax advice to clients. Common functions typically include analyzing a company’s financial statements and records to ensure they comply with laws and regulations, suggesting ways to reduce costs and increase revenue, and computing taxes and preparing tax returns. An accounting consultant who files reports with the Securities Exchange Commission is required to be a Certified Public Accountant. Accounting consultants typically specialize in a particular field or industry, such as health care.
If you have never considered the consulting industry as an option, you should. There is much opportunity to travel the world training at companies on topics you’re passionate about. You can make good money and create more opportunities for the future of your life and business. A good lifestyle business is diverse and has multiple streams of income. Make sure you’re doing all of the traditional online and offline marketing strategies and offer services, but consider adding consulting as an incredible edition to your business.