Here’s a secret or two. Not every consultant out there is going to tell you the entire truth. Even after assessing your current business practices, a consultant may choose to not suggest all of their improvements at once, or only feed you enough tactics to keep you afloat and them employed.
While it may seem to some firms like a simple white lie, withholding certain consulting industry truths from clients can effectively hide the steps that clients need to take to find their success, and that’s not okay. To help you avoid this, here are some insider secrets that most technology consulting firms might not want to let you in on. They may just help you spot the right consultant with the best intentions for you and your business. At the very least, they’ll give you a clue as to where you should start with your line of questioning.
Consulting is Still Evolving
No good business should ever have a model or strategy that is completely set in stone. That’s because no industry is ever done evolving. If you’re not up to date on the current trends of your industry, then you could already be behind on the next major evolution that’s going to leave your business in the dust.
The same can be said about any good consultant. If it’s clear that a new consultant is using outdated terminology or technology, they may not be on the cutting edge and thus may not be the best choice for your business. On the other hand, if it’s clear they’re up to date on the current standards of your industry, but lack meaningful experience, then you still may not have found your perfect match.
Consulting firms are relatively new and as modern business practices evolve with technology, so must the consultants who guide you. The reason some firms don’t want to admit that the industry is still evolving is that it might make their services sound unpredictable. A good consultant will be able to prove to you with previous examples of how they can apply their quality practices within your business. A solid strategy should be able to transcend industry norms and prove itself in the analytical reports.
You need a consultant who can prove they’re adaptable and willing to learn more about your business needs at every step. Regardless of their level of experience within your industry, your consultant should be able to get to the heart of the issues at hand and help you solve for the best possible solution.
The Market Is Overly Saturated
Thanks to a huge wave of growth in the field of business academics decades ago, there are more consultants than ever. Back in the 1970s, between 25-50K MBAs on average were granted in the United States annually. Today, that number is closer to 200,000 MBAs every year. The business strategy industry is worth $250B and everyone wants to get in on the profits. The problem is that if everyone is a consultant, then not everyone can be entirely right or wrong.
Think about it like this: You could hire ten different consultants at once to tell you ten different things. You may naturally agree with one consultant’s opinion more than others, but that’s not always healthy. Listening to things we don’t always consider and that challenge the status quo is how we sometimes find the pitfalls in our business strategies. Try to pick a consultant who you get along with, but will still challenge the way you think.
The reason why a lot of firms don’t tell you about the overly saturated consulting industry is that they don’t want you to know that you can get some of the same services from someone else. Google search results are already proving that point to you. Most firms want to establish themselves as the only experts out there, but just because they’re successful with some cases, doesn’t mean they’ll be successful with yours. The truth is that you need an expert who is right for your needs, someone who’s going to be upfront and honest with you right from the beginning.
Both Expertise and Experience Matter
When it comes to experience and expertise, it’s not one or the other. A good firm should always have both. This comes with a diverse group of consultants who support each other and from years of putting in the hard work to help clients in all fields.
Even if a firm is not experienced within your specific industry, they may have the expertise to translate their business models for you in a way that works. For example, similar productive e-commerce strategies that worked well for a meat-packing business could work well for an online clothing consignment shop.
If a firm has experience within your industry, it’s possible they may not have the expertise that comes with a set of fresh eyes. Business as usual isn’t good for a company that needs a major rebranding in order to stay relevant to evolving technologies.
Even if a firm has new industry tactics, they may not have the experience to see how certain trends can come and go. What works well now may not work well forever. When looking for the best consultant in your field, you want someone who can balance experience and expertise.
Strategy and Execution Are Not The Same
What looks good on paper may not come to life in the same way. Some consultants offer up stale plans or models for improvement that they’ve been selling everyone for years. Your business plan should have results that are proven to last beyond a slight trend.
Your consultant shouldn’t just set you up with a plan, walk away, and return to analyze next quarter. Your ideal consultant should be able to give you a clear path ahead to executing their strategies and plans. They should also be active in advising you as you implement each phase. This can take time, but your consultant should be accessible for advice during important or sensitive times of your strategic implementation.
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There are plenty more insightful looks into the world of consulting to be had. For your first taste of what Center Mast can offer you and your business, feel free to CONTACT US today!