Nothing and everything could be the answer. First of all you must ask yourself within the problem to be solved and the solution you’d like to be provided with. Whether you need any consultant at all?
No, you don’t have to hire any kind of consultant if you have pretty much your own resources enough. No, you don’t have to even if you don’t have sufficient resources available. How’s that? Quit simple. You can bake bread on your own. You can cut your hair on your own. You can build a house on your own. You are saying? You couldn’t? Yes, of course you can! Sooner or later you would manage all these things on your own. Believe me or not, but you would achieve it. Sooner or later, better or worse, but YES, YOU WOULD!
The reason why we hire anyone, who is specialized in some matter, is to save spending/wasting time for learning each matter; we need to cope with in nowadays business world. How we do this. We spend some of our resources (money) to pay the consultant, in exchange for a value, which we couldn’t achieve on our own in REASONABLE TIME and with REASONABLE RELATION COST/QUALITY. So our choice is simple: rather sooner than later AND rather better than worse.
We can also appeal to such sophisticated factors as the 2nd opinion, professional advisement etc. etc. But at the end of the day in business are most important factors are time, money and quality, and their combination, basing certainly upon our business strategy we have chosen and implement ever since.
Now you know, why we hire people from time to time to solve our problems and deliver qualified solutions.
– Excuse me, Sir, but you were saying about some INDEPENDENT consultant?
Good point. If we decided that our resources are not sufficient to get the right thing in the right time, cost and quality, we have made decision to hire a consultant giving him a task to support us in a related matter.
Now, should we hire corporate consultant(s), or an independent one?
This is always your choice. To assist you in this matter, I’m going to present some of the main factors combined with each option of possible choice.
The difference, which differ corporate consultant from his independent colleague, is the interest, which has to be represented by him or her. To put it in another words, the question is the loyalty. The corporate consultant is obliged to represent the interest of his company. Even if they say other nice sounding words, so it is. This is because they are employees of the business consulting company, aren’t they? So if they are, they need to represent interest of their employer. An independent consultant is therefore loyal to you.
The corporate consultants are mostly much less flexible. First, he/she is obliged to follow orders and instructions of his management. The corporate rules and order are desirable the more the bigger the company/institution is. But it limits the flexibility. Any change or updating of an agreement must be proceeded by the corporate structure, which might limit or even exclude the flexibility at all. The independent consultant is able to negotiate directly with you, without any “structural”-based delay.
The independent consultant is sometimes much cheaper esp. in long-term perspective for comparable standard of service as the corporate consultants or offers better quality for the same price. Why is that? Because corporate consultants sometimes, not always, but sometimes offer a structure / production-line product or solution which is convenient for the provider, but sometimes not so definitely for the receiver / purchaser.
– Wait a minute, Sir! Does the independent consultant have any disadvantages at all?
Another good point! Thank you for that. The answer is yes and …no. It depends. To explain some most common objections, let us assume, I’m your independent consultant to find out what kind of disadvantages could the independent consultant represent.
For instance, is he or she reliable at all. You presume not? So how is he or she present on the market. Without any high-budgeted marketing campaign, or world-known brand, he or she must base upon quality of service for client even more. It does not mean he or she will do everything to get a contract at any cost, sometimes there might be quite an opposite in fact. Nevertheless whispering marketing and written or spoken recommendations are his or her mark. The mark will not allow itself to be damaged by low-quality service any kind, isn’t it? Non-disclosure agreement is obvious for an independent consultant therefore even more.
Ok, but he or she has no potential as just a person, even a qualified one, to provide enough quantity of work in a complex and multidisciplinary project we are looking for an external consultant. True, but only up to certain extent. Independent consultant can lead a consortium which can include as many of subject as needed, with precisely defined leader, which will be responsible for the project, and subcontracting partners. The corporate business consultants sometimes do so, subcontracting parts of the contract to the third parts, they choose. In case of an independent consultant partners (which can be also companies) are chosen by the consultant with only one criterion: offering optimal solution for the specific project (not for the provider). So again, the quality combined with advantage in loyalty and flexibility is in favor for independent consultant.
– Right, but you ought to seek for disadvantages, not to make them advantages, Sir!
You’re right, however as independent consultant, I’m going to present you different views on the same subject, to provide you with a more complex view.
Thank you for your attention.
Primary business activities for an independent consultant:
Project manager / coordinator, Project advisor / tutor, Purchasing manager, Change / Performance manager, Interim-manager, General advisor, Strategic advisor, Consortium coordinator, Information broker, Business opportunity provider, Key-account manager, PR manager, Marketing manager, Fundraiser, Export manager, Supply chain manager, Travel manager, Resources manager, Business coach
The author: Damian Hajduk is an independent consultant, with main branches TFL transportation forwarding logistics, SCM supply chain management, PPPM project process performance management, MICE meetings incentives conferences events. He has been setting-up, leading and coordinating independent think-tank, Advisory Team for Transportation (ZDT). Cooperating with many stakeholders in transportation and spatial planning policy both inland and abroad, working in Zielona Gora, Wroclaw, Warszawa, Potsdam, Berlin and Brussels. Created and consulted a vast number of strategic planning documents from local to international level. Newly he has been designated by Agglomeration of Zielona Gora as external expert of the Ministerial Council for Intermodal Transport. More about author : linkedin.com/in/damianhajduk