Business Consultant Career Profile

A business consultant is a person whose reputation, business experience and qualifications are the basis of their jobs and careers. Business consultancies are big business because the advice and technical support of business consultants is used to make billion dollar decisions.

Working as a business consultant- case study

Business consultants are highly experienced, and usually equally highly qualified. Most consultants specialize in their "home" industries, in which their experience was gained. A typical role for a business consultant gives a good example of the type of work involved, and the skills required:

A corporation is considering opening a chain of ten retail clothing outlets. It hires a business consultant with strong prior experience in the industry as a retail manager to investigate the viability of the proposal. The business consultant is required to provide a feasibility study in the form of a report with financial projections and recommendations. 

To do this study and report, the business consultant needs formal business qualifications and skills, as well as experience. The consultant's information will form the basis of a business plan which will be presented to obtain finance from a bank. The business consultant's job is therefore subject to very strict requirements for presentation and reliable data. 

The business consultant's job is equally difficult in practical terms. The work involved requires:

  • A market research study of the proposal: This study involves researching the viability of the retail chain, checking locations, business competition, costing the establishment of new stores and making projections on profitability. 
  • A cost effectiveness study of the proposal: This study includes analyzing projected wages, costs of shop fittings, advertising, stock projections, distribution, freight costs and other overheads. 

The report itself includes the findings of the market research, the cost effectiveness study, and financial projections based on the business consultant's investigations. The business consultant has to find out whether the new chain of stores is viable, what the cost issues are and complete a full professional financial plan as well. 

In these often complex cases the business consultant may use external sources like market research companies for information gathering. However, the consultant will prepare the report and analyze the information personally, forming an opinion of the proposal and deciding on recommendations for the client.

To illustrate the value and the effect of the consultant's work, in the case above:

  • Two of the proposed store locations were changed, because the original selections were unjustifiably expensive. 
  • Advertising costs were drastically reduced by selecting a different agency.
  • Freight costs were halved by using an internal courier.
  • Financing requirements were reduced by 25 per cent as a result of the consultant's recommendations.
  • The net saving was $2.5 million dollars. 

For this service the consultant received $500,000 for two months work, less tax deductible fees for market research of $50,000. 

Career options

Working at the top level of their profession, the competition for business consultancy contracts is fierce. A business consultant's industry reputation is their greatest asset. Their client's success really is their own success. The business consultant's resume is a true study in professional achievements and often very hard work.