Want To Start A Consulting Business? Here’s How To Anticipate The Needs Of Your Future Clients.

Published on May 16, 2022 | Last Updated on June 1, 2022 by

Most businesses need consultants to enable them to handle the complex problems of their businesses. According to a Harvard business article, consultants earn more than US$ 2 billion in the US every year. Management Consulting encompasses a broad range of activities which can be variously classified:

The Management consultant’s field of expertise:

  • Competitive Analysis
  • Corporate Strategy
  • Operations Management
  • Human Resources

The sequence of different phases of consulting would include

  • Entry
  • Contracting
  • Diagnosis
  • Data Collection 
  • Feedback
  • Implementation.

What Are The End Goals of Management Consulting?

  • Create and implement steps to improve the organizational effectiveness of your client
  • Facilitate client learning by providing proper information to him
  • Conduct a proper diagnosis to understand the business problems the client’s organization is facing. This may even lead to a redefinition of the client’s issues.
  • Provide recommendations and suitable solutions based on your detailed diagnosis
  • Build consensus and commitment of the client’s organization’s team members. Organizations typically resist change. Keep the team members focused on the corrective actions to be taken.
  • Assist Implementation and facilitate client learning so that the team can solve future problems themselves.
  • Permanently put the Client’s company on the path of organizational effectiveness.

Why Do Organizations Hire Outside Consultants?

Independence:

Usually, employees of any company are prey to the internal politics of that company. Consultants have an independent perspective which enables them to take an unbiased and objective look at the company. They have no personal connection with the company, so they can apply out-of-the-box thinking and practical solutions. Organization team members are caught up in their internal problems and need for job security and may not help. 

Creative thinking:

Consultants apply radical thinking to apply creative solutions. They are not constrained by the company’s historic and obsolete methods. Consultants do not allow politics or other internal organizational considerations to influence their actions. They apply strategic thinking to arrive at breakthrough insights to help the organization perform better.

Expertise:

A business consultant brings specialized expertise to a given industry or sector. Working with many clients in their specialized areas will provide consultants, with profound insight. This helps outside consultants to guide their clients with the latest trends and developments in the industry/sector. This facilitates client companies to stay ahead of the curve and beat their competition.

Industry Best practices

The Consultant’s experience in that particular industry or sector will enable the client’s company to adopt the industry’s best practices in their organization. This holistic, top-down view that the consultant provides enables client organizations to enlarge the scope of their market area, rationalize their costs, and improve organizational efficiencies. 

When an organization adopts the changes suggested by the consultant, this leads to an increase in its capabilities. The Organization emerges as an effective and efficient organization. The consequent organizational growth makes it stronger and enables it to take over or merge with smaller peers.

Credibility

Organizations need a trusted consultant to guide change at the helm of their affairs. The consultant’s reputation gives an assurance of quality as it contains distilled experience from multiple clients and different fields of experience. This factor enables clients to rely on the consultant’s experience and devise strategies to drive organizational growth.

Capacity

Sometimes, organizations need consultants to drive specific areas of change. This requirement may be short-term. In such a case, a short-term contract with a consultant will suffice to meet the organizational requirement. A good example would be digitalization. There may not be sufficient in-house talent to meet this particular need. An external consultant helps implement any corrective actions and trains the organization team.

Business does not come to a standstill.

The client organization creates two separate teams; one team to keep the day-to-day operations smoothly flowing and the second team to aid the consultant and his external contractors to implement the changes in the organization and driving the project completion objectives.

Difficult decisions

Some of the organizational changes may result in redundancies. Identifying the unnecessary staff and implementing the firing decision can be difficult for corporate executives. Consultants have sufficient objectivity and emotional distance as they are not employees. This enables them to undertake difficult actions without any politics or conflict.

Global Scale

Major consultants operate on a global scale. This enables them to undertake cross-border transactions and expand the scope of business. Consultants like Mckinsey would be a case in point. Consultants help businesses to transcend national borders and expand the scope of the organization’s business into new territories and countries. This deepens the market depth of the client Company’s operations.

Cost-Effective

Apart from the consulting fees, no other benefits are given to consultants. An employee of a business organization is entitled to salaries and additional benefits, including office equipment, computers, printers, etc. The employee is given a permanent contract when he joins. This contract is difficult to extinguish primarily if he is found to be not such a good fit. Consultants are hired for short durations after which their services are dispensed.

Companies Look For Management Consulting Advice For The Following Reasons

Consultants provide information

A vast amount of data is available from the client databases. The data has to be culled and structured into coherent information that facilitates diagnosis. This is very important. The consultant’s special expertise may be required to interpret the information to arrive at critical takeaways. The existing data has to be converted into decipherable information. Only then, practical, actionable points are created. 

Consultants help with problems

The consultant is asked to devise a suitable strategy to solve various organizational problems like increasing sales and the bottom line, reduction of operating costs, and revising the HR strategy. The consultant must understand the client’s situation to provide a workable solution. The client’s problem itself may be redefined in the process. In this process, the consultant has to look at 

  • What solutions were attempted in the past with the following results
  • What untried steps are there
  • What are the related aspects of the clients business that are not doing well
  • Devising the solution and generating firm-wide acceptance.

Effective diagnosis: 

To do his job effectively, the consultant has to talk to the various people in the client’s organization and analyze why key executives have taken the actions that they have taken. Consultants have to examine the steps taken to rectify the existing problems. They have to conceive and work towards achieving the solution. This even leads to top managers working out solutions without waiting for the formal report from the Management consultant. An objective, unbiased view of a management consultant looking in from the outside helps to crystallize the problems and enlightens the top people to look for solutions. As the client’s organization’s team knows the ground-level problems, they have to delve into the details and implement the recommended solutions.

Recommending Actions

The management consultant recommends specific solutions in logical steps, outlining a clear path to problem-solving. The consultant can only propose a theoretically sound solution. He is constrained in his actions because he is only a management consultant. The decision to implement or not depends on the client. Management consulting can only be effective if the client implements the proposed solutions with the management consultant’s help.

Implementing changes: 

Implementing changes can be effective only when a certain level of trust and cooperation is built between the client and the management consultant. A client may participate in both the stages of diagnosis and implementation of the solution. Similarly, the management consultant has the responsibility to participate in the implementation without usurping the role of the managers of the organization.

A part of the model is to manage change and recommend workable solutions. The consultant has to build commitment and acceptance from the organization’s team and encourage learning and adaptability to the new way of doing things; otherwise, the entire process becomes ineffective.

Rather than plans confined to the paper, working on and implementing the change helps to implement. Managers and team members should be open to suggestions. They should accept, with an open mind, the consultant’s suggestions. They should work continuously with the management consultant at every step rather than just wait for the last management report to be given.

Building consensus and commitment: 

Ensuring that all the team members of the client’s organization are on board with the consultant’s proposals is one of his key tasks. The management consultant has to display his problem-solving techniques. He has to convince the team members of the efficacy and effectiveness of the corrective measures proposed by him in improving the firm’s fundamentals. 

He has to understand the problem areas, areas of resistance where the organization’s team is likely to create roadblocks and work through those. The whole purpose of identifying problem areas is not to allocate blame. Constructive criticism should be given that receives acceptance from the team members. 

Facilitate learning and, as a final step, improve organizational effectiveness: 

This can be done through work-plan methods, task force assignments, and goal-setting exercises. Learning is an interactive, two-way process. If there is strong client involvement during the consulting process, the learning needs of the organization’s team members can be easily identified. Organizational effectiveness is the ability to change the future strategy and behavior of the organization in response to changes in competitor actions and environmental change. Proper training and utilization of the human resources in the organization are key.  

Healthcare Consulting 

Healthcare consulting is sharing expertise, giving advice, and guiding healthcare organizations to make business decisions that promote growth and benefit the patients and customers.

Healthcare consultants should have a medical background. As a healthcare consultant, you should know all the healthcare laws, regulations, and policies to guide organizations effectively. 

  • Your Job security is assured if you work as a healthcare consultant. You can always lend your expertise to Healthcare organizations, pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, and hospitals.
  • Your consulting can involve working with various hospitals, private care clinics, and healthcare organizations. 
  • You can earn a salary ranging from US$ 1,00,000 to US$ 1,50,000 per annum.
  • You can work for medical consultancy firms that offer specialized support in various sectors. This way, you can hone your skills in specialized areas.

Some of the potential areas you could work in would include:

  • Healthcare systems and processes (strategy, technology, revenue, performance, finance, sustainability, etc.)
  • Pharmacy
  • Clinical operations
  • Federal and state government agencies
  • Hospitals, physicians, and physician groups
  • Payer or insurance provider strategies
  • Delivery systems
  • Medical technology

Steps to setting up as a medical consultant

  • Your education is the founding stone before you begin your consultancy career. Securing your Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in medicine is mandatory.
  • Determining which area you want to specialize in is key. 
  • You also have to analyze in which environment you are more comfortable, a structured environment in which case working for a large consultancy firm would be a better fit. If you want the complete flexibility to choose your working environment, working for yourself or a small group of associates would better suit you. 
  • Growing and establishing your network is very important.
  • Gaining practical experience in the field and fine-tuning your skills. You must continuously educate yourself and keep abreast of all the latest developments and changes in the rules and regulations to meet the demands of your medical clients.
  • You must simultaneously hone your analytical, business, and financial skills as the ability to make budgets need to be included in your repertoire.
  • You have to decide on your monthly charging structures and how you want to charge your client; whether by project or hourly, daily or monthly professional charges.

Areas in which you may work as a medical consultant 

  • Providing medical expertise in a specific area of the healthcare market
  • Identifying what problems exist within the healthcare organization
  • Supplementing existing staff with recruits who are more professionally qualified. 
  • Initiating and managing change, standing as middle management during the period of executing the change.
  • Providing unbiased, objective opinions about the healthcare facility’s issues 
  • Teaching and training medical staff where they are found lacking/
  • If there are unproductive staff, eliminating the excess staff
  • Reviving a moribund healthcare organization, creating a business strategy to improve the overall structure.
  • Creating and launching new business lines for the healthcare organization. Helping to hire reputable, expert staff
  • Influencing influential people, such as lobbyists regarding medical laws and reform.

Key Takeaways

Ultimately the whole process of healthcare consulting should lead to better patient care, addressing healthcare value and affordability. This should achieve better integration between healthcare systems, payers, and providers. It will improve the competitive dynamics in the healthcare markets, create innovative payment models and help healthcare organizations to keep up with digital and healthcare consumerism. 

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