Aaron Mandelbaum

Published: Oct 23, 2019 11:42:47 PM

Author: Aaron Mandelbaum

8 Different Types Of Consulting Services for Businesses

Staying competitive in a globalized ecosystem of enterprises, drawing on the expert aid, assistance, suggestions and expertise of outsourced, external advisors can help your business scale, reduce overhead, increase profit margins, and become more productive and efficient. These advantages can result from integrating and streamlining workflows and strategic projects in novel ways, and by implementing new solutions to solve common - and uncommon - business “pain points.” Consultants - also known as business advisors - working for advisory firms, can help your business realize its full potential by offering key insights and critical intel that can help a business, of any size, expat and scale, while reaching and fulfilling all its strategic, long-term goals.

Consultants operate as specialists within almost every niche, speciality, market, region, and industry (on a global scale), and can work with a variety of enterprises, including:

  • Law Firms: For example, a legal consultant can be brought in to help a law firm deal with a particularly complex case.

  • Healthcare practices: A medical consultant can help a healthcare institution with either regulations/legal compliance assistance, or with providing medical knowledge on a particular case.

  • Government organizations: Security personnel and computer experts are bought into government organizations regularly to help operate as pentesters, security hardening experts, and to protect computer systems.

  • Academic institutions: Consultants may be brought into academic institutions to help instruct students for a variety of unique reasons.

  • Engineering firms: When a firm temporarily requires a specialist for a specific task, they may hire a consultant to help them solve the specific problem. For instance, a new firm may have a novel idea that they wish to produce (i.e. an invention), but they may need an expert on a niche physics subject to help them bring the invention to reality.

  • And more...

Consultants are experts in their field, and think-tanks who work with companies as advisors. They ultimately assist a business with specific, critical and complex problems, which is often integrated with optimizing the company's workflows and projects, and offering insights on how to do things better. Initially consultancy firms helped companies with three general aspects of a business:

  1. Business Management: Aiding management/executives with utilizing best-practices in optimizing how department directors, projects, personnel, and workflows are organized and managed.

  2. Technical Consultancy: Aiding companies with solving unique technical problems, such as hardware malfunctions or security testing.

  3. Corporate Consultancy: Aiding a company with its internal workflow efficiency and productivity, among other things.

Consultants work within almost every industry, and can help with almost every task imaginable by augmenting internal personnel workflows. Consultancy is not limited to just technical or corporate assistance within a company, but can include a consultancy firm helping a business with very specific tasks, like merging the infrastructures of two companies via the cloud, or very broad tasks, like helping to optimize marketing and sales pipelines, among many other things.

1. Strategy Consulting

One of the most critical forms of business consulting is strategy consulting, where a consultant acts as an advisor to a company in the sense of helping the organization to create and follow a long-term blueprint or strategic plan. Such a plan helps to establish the direction that the company will take in the long-term, along with creating a map that defines the direction that the company will take in the short-term in order to fulfill all long-term goals. This includes working with financial advisors to ensure that projects are financially manageable and profitable, and that all plans can feasibly be reached with the current resources and financial assets. Strategy consultants often work with a variety of C-suite executives, including the CEO, CFO, COO, and CIO, to ensure that all long-term goals, financial goals, operational projects, and IT infrastructure components align with the business vision.

Overall, strategy consultants work to not only establish the long-term company vision/goals, but also work to assist a company with ensuring that such goals are attainable, profitable, and competitive within the market.

Large firms that are considered pillars in the strategy consulting community (on a global level) include McKinsey, Bain and Boston Consulting Group, among many others.

2. Business Consulting

Business Consulting is often confused with other forms of consulting, such as strategic consulting or management consulting. Business consulting is a form of corporate consulting where a specialist (typically one with many years of business experience) assists with optimizing internal workflow and the internal inner workings of the business as a whole, including:

  • Hierarchy: The manner in which a business operates includes the management & executive hierarchy. Optimizing and tweaking the business hierarchy can help to effectively streamline how teams work, which can positively alter how the business operates.

  • Structure: The business structure of an enterprise can be optimized so that every department is working at full capacity. A business consultant may use industry data, statistics, and experience to suggest the best structure for a business to adopt.

  • Organization: Like the business structure, a business consultant may help an enterprise optimize its organization, which includes both macro-level organizational factors (e.g. the C-suite executive/management structure and standard duties) and micro-level organizational factors (e.g. how different teams within specific departments are organized, and how teams carry out workflows within the business ecosystem).

  • Teams: A business consultant may suggest that more teams within a department be created, or that some teams be dismantled. Their job might include assisting with altering how teams operate within a business for further efficiency.

  • Workflows/Operations: A business consultant often acts in an overlapping manner when compared with an operations consultant and/or a business analyst. Such a consultant may help an enterprise with streamlining operations, workflows, projects, and other business tasks whose optimization can increase the bottom line of a business.

  • Business environment: A business consultant may help a business to draft a code of ethics, or may help an enterprise deal with intra- or inter-departmental issues associated with the workplace environment.

  • And more...

3. Financial Consulting

One of the most well known forms of consultancy is financial consultancy. A financial consultant often works with a company’s CFO and/or a strategic consultant (or internal business strategist) to help the business align its financial goals (e.g. profit margins, overhead, spending habits, ROI, etc.) with all tactical short-term goals, and strategic long-term goals.

Additionally, a financial consultant analyzes an enterprise’s entire position and portfolio soa company can determine how feasible requisite projects are, and whether opportunity costs can or should be considered. There are a myriad of other tasks that a financial consultant may help a business with, including investment strategies, taxes, insurance, strategies for saving money, scaling into other markets, including profit margins, and lowering customer acquisition costs.

4. Information Technology Consulting

IT consultants include a vast array of experts that work within many different areas, all of which may help a business better leverage their IT infrastructure. Typically, IT consultants are split into two groups:

  1. Upgrading/Change: These consultants are concerned with IT change management, and work with changing the IT systems of a business for the sake of bettering their capacities. This includes upgrading to cloud systems, migrating data, replacing legacy systems, bringing in advantaged technological systems like Blockchain technology or Big Data analytics engines, and more.

  2. Non-upgrading/Maintenance: Other IT consultants are, broadly speaking, not associated with changing the IT infrastructure of the business per se, but are usually hired to optimize existing systems in some way. This includes software engineers brought in to do a specific type of coding project, security testers meant to ensure that a company’s systems cannot be hacked, technicians hired to carry out a tricky or complex fix on IT components, or strategically designing a blueprint for a robust company Mobile app.

5. Management Consulting

Management consulting includes a robust set of practices whose purpose is to optimize how senior personnel manage teams, projects, and departments on a day-to-day basis. This is a very important subset of consultancy work as it deals with how the company runs from the top-down. Management consultants are usually former senior executives with years of management experience, and often work with internal business strategists to help set up a comprehensive blueprint that defines long-term management goals.

Additionally, management consultants often use robust management consulting frameworks and case studies to help managers be more aware of industry best-practices and the most effective management methodologies.

Management consultancy frameworks are often used to assess several factors that can influence how management directs the company, including benchmark comparisons with competition, market entry feasibility, optimizing game organizational structures, IT component ROI, personnel team restructuring, asset management, and opportunity costs, among other factors.

The end-goal of management consultancy is to optimize the management methodologies in use so that the business operates in a better and more efficient manner.

6. Sales Consulting

Sales consultants are important external elements that can help a business optimize a company’s internal sales pipelines, and can also present to a company novel ways for optimizing the entire sales/marketing system that a company utilizes to convert more leads into customers. While working with the Chief Sales/Marketing Officer and strategic business analysts, sales consultants can offer a unique outside view on implementing sales funnel charts, increasing conversion rates, lowering churn rates, increasing customer loyalty, lowering customer acquisition costs (CAC), and how each can be achieved with minimal overhead.

Sales consultants can also operate as more in-depth experts on specific issues, such as offering insights on how a company merge can increase sales, or helping an enterprise to forecast sales when moving into a new region or market.

7. Marketing Consulting

Like sales consultants, marketing consultants are effective thought-leaders and experts who can help a business radically revolutionize their marketing pipeline and systems, including:

  • Implementing a strategic marketing plan for long-term goals (aligned to sales forecasts).

  • Creating a Content marketing plan, and helping to implement it.

  • Helping to create plans for decreasing churn rates and increasing conversion rates, which often includes designing a system for increasing qualified leads and reducing the number of unqualified leads.

  • Aligning all marketing goals with a robust marketing funnel scheme that is linked to every phase of the marketing plan.

  • Creating and implementing an Inbound Marketing Scheme.

Senior marketing experts - who are often marketing consultants - can help a company discover novel opportunities for more advantageous marketing processes, such as identifying a new demographic to be marketed to, or creating a buyer persona plan associated with marketing regions.

8. Brand Consulting

The Brand of a company represents the public-face and overall representation of the enterprise, and includes everything from its Public-Relations (PR) department, to the design, logo, and visual imagery of the company. Essentially, the brand of the business is every symbolic representation of the company. Optimizing the brand of a company is just as important as optimizing marketing and sales processes and workflows. A brand consultant can help a business discover new ways for presenting the company’s assets to the public in the most appealing and advantageous manner possible. This can include designing different logos and visual set pieces, and can include utilizing specific PR best-practices to ensure that the public view of the company is at its best.

Lesser Known Classes Of Consulting

There are a myriad of different types of consultancy firms and experts in the global field of consulting. While most businesses are familiar with management, IT, and corporate consulting, it is important to reiterate that virtually every process in a business that can be optimized - and every issue that a company may face - can be aided by an expert consultant who has years of experience working within that particular niche.

Legal Consulting

Legal consultants are a critical group of consultants that typically include lawyers and attorneys with years of experience and a specific set of skills - and knowledge - associated with certain business issues. Legal consulting firms will send in experts who can best aid your business when faced with a particular legal issue. Enterprises also use legal consultants when they need advice on how to proceed with certain legal disputes, or when they need an expert to assist them with complying with legal and government regulations.

Public Relations Consulting

PR consultants are related to Brand consultants in that they assist with creating a better public-image of the company, however, PR consultants focus entirely on PR work (that is, communicating business information to the public), and not on the overarching brand of the company. A PR consultant may help a business with:

  • Acting as a liaison between the business and the public for general or specific purposes.

  • Disseminating specific business information to the public, including company policies, goals, and announcements associated with disputes.

  • Creating promotional materials and working with company social media/marketing teams to help PR managers optimize the company’s foothold among its demographics and sales regions.

Implementation Consulting

Implementation consultancy is a sub-type of general consultancy where a consultant operates like a quasi-contractor. That is, while consultants often operate as think-tanks and theorieticians (offering advice and information on what to do to solve an issue), implementation consultants actually aid a company with carrying out the suggested solution, and offer in-depth information on how to solve company issues. Implementation consultants often augment a company’s internal teams, and will often come to the table with both knowledge and hands-on experience on solving specific company issues.

Since implementation consultants are simply a sub-type of general consultancy, such consultants can help a company with a myriad of different implementation projects, including IT projects (e.g. migrating company data to the cloud and securing it), financial projects, PR projects, marketing/sales projects, and even the implementation of strategic plans.

Investment Consulting

Investment consultants often operate as a sub-type of financial consultants in that they offer financial advice to companies, but do so specifically within the niche of investing to aid in increasing company securities across the board. Investment consultants help a company to realize opportunities and save resources. But unlike financial consultants, investment consultants often have a specialty and background in financial asset counseling and investment banking.

Function Specific Consulting

Like implementation consultancy, function-specific consultants are a sub-type of general consultancy who operate in a variety of different fields. They focus on aiding a company with a particular purpose, as opposed to being associated with one particular industry or internal department. Function-specific consultants are usually problem solvers who are brought into a company for the sole purpose of solving an overarching company issue that might span several departments and/or niches.

Industry Specific Consulting

Industry-specific consultancy is associated with many different types of practices within the consulting ecosystem. A consultant may be brought into a company to solve an industry-specific issue that usually entails the specialist working with specific departments associated with the industry. For instance, as opposed to a function-specific consultant who might be brought into a company for the purpose of solving the hypothetical issue of inefficient information and data sharing within the whole of the company, an industry-specific consultant may be brought into the same company to help optimize a department’s workflows associated with one particular industry (like optimizing finance projects in the finance department).

Usually consultants can be split into the two above groups:

  • Function-specific consultants: purpose-based consultants who work to solve a particular problem irrespective of the industry.

  • Industry-specific consultants: area-based consultants who are usually tethered to a department or industry.

A Functional Expertise For Every Field

Consulting firms and consultancy experts offer companies a unique “think-tank” asset that allows an enterprise to leverage their years of experience and know-how. Such experts operate in every field, and can help with virtually every problem.Any issue that your company faces that your internal staff are not equipped to handle can be handled by an external consultant. Instead of hiring a salaried specialist long-term, it is often more cost-effective to hire a temporary consultant who has the knowledge and training to help solve your company’s pain points, and to offer novel solutions that can help your company grow and scale.

The critical aspect about consultancy firms is that the many different forms of existing experts available in every field means that your company is covered regardless of the issue you are facing. Whether your company is facing legal, IT, HR, financial, operations, sales, marketing, security, or corporate issues, there is a consultant to meet your needs:

  • Legal issues: A legal consultant can help your company follow all legal regulations.

  • IT issues: An IT consultant can help to fix your IT infrastructure and/or upgrade your IT systems.

  • HR issues: An HR consultant can ensure that your personnel are an asset that are managed correctly.

  • Financial issues: A financial consultant can help your business spend less and attain more over the long-term.

  • Operations issues: An operations consultant can help your business optimize all daily, short-term, and long-term operations.

  • Sales issues: A sales consultant can help your business upgrade your sales pipeline.

  • Marketing issues: A marketing consultant can help your business reduce churn rates and increase qualified marketing leads.

  • Digital issues: A digital consultant can operate as an external Chief Digital Officer by helping to bring your enterprise into the modern (digital) age.

  • Security issues: An IT security consultant can test your systems to ensure that hackers cannot successfully breach your systems.

  • Corporate issues: A corporate consultant can optimize your internal business structure, hierarchy, and organization so you can reach all pertinent long-term goals.

  • And more...

Every type of consultancy practice that exists leads to specific services or skills that your company may be looking for, allowing any enterprise to hire a consultant when needed to solve their specific problems in the most effective manner possible.

Can’t determine which type of consulting you need? Our trusted advisors can help you find the right category for you. Call us today.
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