From an article by Theresa Shafer in the PATCA Feb 2011 Newsletter
Understanding why companies hire consultants can provide clues on what to look for and how to find more business.
1. Crisis Resolution: Often consultants are hired to solve a crisis when the current staff cannot resolve the situation adequately. Sometimes the crisis involves time to market, sometimes product failure, or an unexpected employee situation. For example, outside consultants might be bought in to solve a power, timing, or IE6 compatibility issue. These situations are great opportunities because you have a very motivated buyer! What type of crises do you help solve? How can you find more of these situations?
2. Expert Skills: Consultants are hired for skills that are not available in-house. If these skills are a short-term need, it’s often much more cost-effective for a company to hire an outside expert rather than adding someone on the full-time payroll. To which teams do you bring complementary skills?
3. Additional Resources: Consultants are added to the staff to deliver a project that is important and urgent. They may look to outside consultants to fully staff the latest project, or to complete a project that is outside of their business model. Besides PATCA, where do companies look for these qualified resources? Are you listed there?
4. Training: Sometimes, especially in areas involving new technologies, a company’s staff will need to be trained. They may need to learn how to use a new device, a software package, or a new management training system. On which tools could you provide training? What are some new skills that you could teach?
5. Objective Review: Companies can’t always have highly specialized experts on staff full time to evaluate every product or service they want to use. They may use outside consultants to fully evaluate and independently test a new software product, tool, or compliance program. What set of tools could you evaluate and advise on?
Consultants are a useful and cost effective resource for companies. They meet short term needs for specific expertise. And, it may be more cost-effective for a company compared to adding someone on the full-time payroll. Broadcasting how your talents and expertise can be of value in solving prospective clients’ problems is a good way to find new partnering and client relationships.