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Roles and Terms to Know Before Hiring a Business Consultant

September 15, 2023

When considering the need for business consulting services, it can be intimidating to initiate the process of finding the partners you’ll need to get the job done. Oftentimes, you’re aiming to resolve a business challenge that falls outside your typical work responsibilities. On top of familiarizing yourself with a business issue, you’re also trying to find the right role and personality fit for your organization.

There are many types of business consulting roles that perform a wide variety of tasks and bring certain expertise to the forefront. To help you kick-start your search process, here are some of the more common business advisory-related roles and what they can help you achieve for your unique business needs.

Management Consultant – Management consultants bring a wide breadth of experience to assist companies with a range of issues. Oftentimes they assist in problem-solving, improving business efficiencies and performance, adding value, and increasing growth opportunities.

Investment Banker – Investment bankers are highly knowledgeable in assisting with financial challenges. They’re usually involved in raising capital and funds for an organization and may also provide strategies on transactions (such as selling their business), mergers and acquisitions, and more.

Fractional CFO – Fractional CFOs are professionals who assist companies with tasks like cash flow management, financial strategy, audits, regulations and more on a specified schedule. Typically, they work on a part-time basis or are only involved in certain projects.

Succession Planning Consultant – Succession planning consultants specialize in improving and implementing a company’s long-term succession plan to ensure they have an effective bench of talent available to take on leadership roles when demand is present, whether it’s an emergency or due to retirement.

Business Transformation Consultant – Business transformation consultants partner with clients on projects that focus on strategy integration, streamlining processes and modernizing technology with the goal of increasing profits and shareholder value while reducing costs.

Now that you have some background on business consulting roles, you may find in your hiring process that potential candidates are asking you certain questions with verbiage or acronyms you haven’t heard before. Business consulting, like many other industries, comes with its own set of vocabulary and terms.

Understanding these terms allows you to get a head start on your business conversations while giving you a better idea of how the consultants plan to implement their strategies once hired — and what results to look for. Below are a few key business advisory terms you may hear from your potential consultant or advisor.

KPI – An acronym for key performance indicator. KPIs are the metrics organizations track to get an overview of how a certain part of their business is performing.

Engagement – Another word for a project or the task at hand (in which you are involving the consultant).

Due Diligence – The in-depth overview of your business model that consultants will provide you with in order to set clear expectations and identify risks and dependencies as part of their business proposal.

Bandwidth – A term for the available free time or capacity to accomplish additional work.

C-Suite – Another way of referring to an organization’s executive team or any title that starts with a capital “C” (such CEO, CFO, CIO, CMO, etc.).

SME – An acronym for subject matter expert. SMEs are individuals within organizations who have niche industry knowledge or a very specific role. Advisors or consultants may lean on them for information or input on strategy for that particular area.

Benchmarks – These are metrics that set the standard for what competitors aim to achieve in their designated market. For example, product pricing or the types of services offered as compared to competitors.

Buy-In – Another way of saying support or agreeing with a certain idea or strategy.

Finding the right individual to solve whatever business challenge you’re trying to overcome doesn’t have to be difficult. By having a deeper grasp of some of the roles out there and an understanding of basic consulting terminology, you’ve taken the first step in making the search process easier.

At Creative Planning Business Services, our business consultants offer a variety of services and industry expertise to help address the obstacles facing your organization. To learn more about our consulting options and what we can do to add value to your business, request a meeting with our team today. We’d be happy to assist you.

This commentary is provided for general information purposes only, should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice, and does not constitute an attorney/client relationship. Past performance of any market results is no assurance of future performance. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources deemed reliable but is not guaranteed.


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