When is the right time to engage a specialist business or management consultant?

This article explores the factors that clients consider before making the decision to hire a management consultant.

Before making contact you should consider why you need a consultant or if you would see more value from a business coach, that question is answered here: https://catandra.co.uk/consultancy/consultant-coach-facilitator/


Generally hiring a management consultant signals that something is not right but that a business either can’t identify what or are unable to fix it themselves. There are many reasons a company might think about bringing in the consultants, however, whilst the business may take one view a consultant should challenge that view.

Company owners and directors bosses bristle at the thought that someone else could know better how to sort out their business than they do. Therefore, any engagement with a consultant should be undertaken with an open mind and lack of pre-judgment.

Cost or Investment

Spending money to save money is the ultimate act of counter-intuitiveness. However, a consultant should always deliver value in the long run to justify their involvement. In this vein, engaging a consultant should be seen as an investment not a cost because of the net long term gain to the business.

If you want to generate sustainable growth then you need platforms and systems to build on; a consultant will introduce you to suitable systems and coach you through their implementation.

Fresh Eyes

The reason consultants add value so quickly is that they have an objective, unbiased external viewpoint; this allows them to quickly see what is going on in the business that is generally accepted as normal behaviour. The phrase “this is how we have always done it” often comes out and is a sure sign that improvements can be made.

Quite often we see that clients are stuck in a rut and can’t work out how to move forwards.

You are too busy

If you’re leadership team does not have time to meet regularly then that is a sure sign that you are all taking too much on and working in the business dealing with day to day issues. See the article around functionality for more information on this subject: https://catandra.co.uk/functionality/

You’ve lost control over key indicators

If sales are dropping or costs are rising and you are cannot understand why then there is a clear sign that something is not right. The right consultant will help you uncover and identify the root causes before helping you implement a change programme.

If as a business director of owner you can recognise any of the following behaviours you should consider talking to a consultant:

  • Business is stuck in a rut
  • Something is not right and you can’t fix it
  • You have an investment mindset and want to improve your business
  • There is a lack of innovation within the business
  • The business is lacking direction or vision
  • Customer service levels are dropping
  • Sales are falling
  • Costs are rising uncontrollably

What should you do next?

Clients are often unsure about engaging an external consultant and giving a long-term commitment. Our clients find that the following approach works for them:

  • Initial phone call or coffee to establish whether there is the rapport and desire to work together
  • Strategic review to dig into the business and highlight potential problems and opportunities
  • Scope of engagement agreed upon to deliver a change project
  • Ongoing review and support

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