See Also: How to Become a Management Consultant
1. What Do Business Consultants Do?
Their duties include:
- Holding discussions with clients to understand what business challenges they wish to fix
- Assessing the operations or practices of an existing business to detect shortcomings or inefficiencies – This may include evaluating policies, financial states and business models
- Conducting research to gather more information on the nature of a problem a business faces
- Providing recommendations that can correct these inefficiencies or streamline operations – This may involve tweaking operational policies or even coming up with an entirely new business model
- Providing support during the implementation of these recommendations
- Developing missions, goals and objectives for new businesses
- Coaching and training employees.
Business consultants can specialize in working with small or large businesses in specific industries.
2. Work Environment
Business consultants who are hired by companies as resident consultants usually work from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. Those who run their own consulting businesses have more control over their work schedules.
At work, business consultants spend their time in a standard office environment, where they review documents and hold meetings with clients.
According to PayScale, business consultants earn an average annual salary of $67,860.
4. Entry Requirements
Any consultant must possess vast knowledge in his or her area of specialism. If you want to be a business consultant, then you must know pretty much everything in business management.
As such, you should begin by earning a bachelor’s degree in business management, business administration or business technology. While a degree in business management or business administration will enhance your knowledge of business law, accounting, customer service operations, organizational theory and supply chain management, one in business technology enables you to learn how technology can be used to streamline business operations.
Some of the top universities offering these programs include:
- University of Maryland University College, Maryland
- Arizona State University, Arizona
- University of the District of Columbia, Washington.
Upon graduation, you will need to secure a position, such as business analyst, and gain at least two years of experience.
At this point, you can be hired by small businesses as a business consultant or by larger businesses as a consulting associate.
5. Important Qualities
To be an accomplished business consultant, you need:
- Superior business skills
- Strong analytical skills
- Strong problem-solving skills (creativity and innovation)
- Strong decision-making skills
- Strong critical thinking skills
- Research skills
- Good report writing skills
- Computer skills
- A good understanding of various business environments
- Skills in client management
- Teamwork skills
- Strategic planning ability
- Good organizational skills.
6. Career Development
To thrive in this profession, you must keep expanding your business knowledge. The best way to do this is by:
- Obtaining a professional certification from the Association of Accredited Small Business Consultants (AASBC) or the Institute of Certified Business Consultantts (ICBC). The National Society of Certified Healthcare Business Consultants (NSCHBC) is also available to consultants who choose to specialize in the healthcare industry.
- Pursuing a master’s degree in business administrations (Seriously consider getting you MBA from top graduate schools such as Harvard and Stanford).
AASBC, ICBC and NSCHBC also offer membership opportunities, which you should grab to access additional training opportunities.
7. Job Opportunities
The employers of business consultants include:
- Small and large businesses in various industries
- Business consulting firms.
With several years of experience as a business consultant, a professional certification and an MBA, you can establish and run a successful business consultancy.
See Also: How to Find a Job in Business Consulting
Business consulting is one of the quickest growing professions in the country. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the management, scientific and technical consulting industry will grow by 83 percent through 2018.
So, if you are interested in helping businesses achieve their goals, then maybe this is the best career for you.