Here’s Why Companies Really Hire Consultants
Imagine that you’re researching a new market or investment opportunity for your firm, and you need to conduct extensive research and analysis to determine if it’s a good move. Or maybe you need to re-evaluate your current business plan or corporate strategy, and you want to make sure you’re making sound decisions and choosing the right growth opportunities for the future.
If you already have researchers or analysts on staff, or you have an executive team and managers who can work at the strategic level, you might look to assign these tasks internally. After all, if you have internal resources, why not use them?
However, many companies turn to outside consultants to take on these special projects or provide strategic insights and skills. At Graphite, we see this every day as we work with many leading firms to connect them with some of the world’s best independent consultants.
In our experience, companies usually hire consultants for one of four core reasons, which provide insights into the value they expect to receive and how consultants can help them overcome challenges in ways that internal staff can’t always provide.
Here are the four reasons why companies really hire consultants and what’s motivating these concerns.
1. An Outside Perspective
Company strategy, projects and initiatives often involve tough decisions. It can be difficult to trust your own instincts or feel confident that you’ve really analyzed a decision thoroughly and have arrived at the best possible choice.
A company might have plenty of in-house expertise in the matter at hand, and it may have an idea on how to solve a problem, but turning to an outside, objective perspective can help lend some much-needed confidence and sanity checking.
Just as we might turn to friends, family or a wise mentor to help us grapple with a personal issue in our lives, companies can turn to an independent consultant for an external view and objective advice.
Consultants also offer the advantage of experience. Consultants often work with many different companies and may have helped other clients work through the same problem in the past. They may already know what works or what doesn’t, and they can bring new and innovative ideas to your company that you may have been unable to envision on your own.
2. Closing a Skill Gap
Some business needs require specialized skills that you might not have in-house. This is especially common when delving into new markets or investment opportunities, when modernizing and evolving a business to improve competitiveness, or to rethink and retool existing processes and practices.
This is probably the most common reason why companies hire consultants, so they can bring in qualified and proven experts with the skills to tackle a specific business problem or opportunity.
A great example is a company that has experienced rapid growth and needs to revamp its accounting systems and practices to match that growth. Alternatively, a private equity or venture capital firm might have a portfolio company that needs an interim CMO or other C-suite executive to provide guidance and establish best practices to drive future growth.
In all of these cases, hiring consultants offers a timely and easy way to bring in a skill set on demand, for part-time or full-time work over a span of weeks, months or more.
3. Keeping Employees Focused
In other cases, companies might have internal experts and specialists who are normally well-equipped to take on a specific project or need, but they may already be preoccupied with day-to-day operations or other strategic initiatives.
A new project might require you to reprioritize an employee’s core job responsibilities or overload your employee with extra work at a critical time when he or she should remain focused elsewhere.
Also, while hiring additional employees might be an option, it’s often doesn’t make sense for individual one-off projects or when there’s a shortage of qualified candidates with the ideal skills. If you can tap into the same expertise temporarily, on flexible and cost-effective terms, it’s often a better fit for specific projects and keeping your overhead costs lower.
In these cases, consultants deliver timely skills and help companies add resources without making a long-term, permanent commitment. Given that they frequently work for different organizations, they’re also easier to onboard, with a rapid learning curve, and they bring a diversity of proven experience and insights that you won’t find in most traditional job candidates.
4. Safer Decision-Making
As we discussed earlier with seeking an outside perspective, companies often confront challenging problems that make it hard to make confident and definitive decisions. Sometimes there is a lot of emotion wrapped up in a decision, or internal perspectives or politics can blur our vision.
In contrast, consultants are objective and offer a way to set aside organizational emotions or politics in favor of an unbiased point of view. They’re particularly effective when confronting a controversial or difficult move such as restructuring or revamping the way a company does business.
Consultants can also offer insights from the experiences and successes of other organizations, to reinforce the right decision-making and confirm the right moves to make under similar circumstances.
Ultimately, whether it’s a one-off problem-solving project or a company-wide strategic decision, consultants offer a way to make safer and sounder decisions. You can enjoy the peace of mind in knowing you put your organizational instincts or decision-making to the test, and validated your path forward with the knowledge and objective perspective of a qualified outside resource.
Exploring Consultants for Your Business Needs
If you need an outside perspective and want to solve problems and make better decisions without having to re-assign or overload your current team or hire a new employee, it might be time to put one of these four reasons to work for you. At Graphite, we can connect you to pre-vetted and highly qualified independent consultants to provide the precise expertise and skills you need.
Our network of over 5,000 consultants gives you access to the world’s best independent business talent, including experts in corporate strategy, investment banking, sales and marketing, finance, analytics, IT and more. Our consultants have an average of 10 years of experience, including a minimum of two years at a top consulting firm, Fortune 500 company, or similar organization. Examples include McKinsey, BCG, Bain & Company, Deloitte, Accenture, Google and more.