If you have an analytical mind and are a perceptive and creative problem-solver, you might be wondering how to become a business consultant. Business consultants may be thought of as professional advice-givers. These experienced businesspeople have the skills and knowledge to recognize the problems that inhibit businesses from functioning efficiently. Business consultants develop plans to solve these problems, streamline complicated processes and achieve their day-to-day and big-picture goals.
In order to give practical and relevant advice, business consultants must understand the way a company works, including its goals and processes. For this reason, business consultants may spend a significant amount of time observing the company. They may interview personnel, including owners and managers, to learn how the business currently functions and why procedures work the way they do. Business consultants need to be as familiar with the purpose and future goals of the company as they are with the everyday routines and operation so that they can help the company accomplish its objectives.
Once a business consultant understands a business, he or she can recognize weaknesses that need to be strengthened within the company. A business consultant may also pinpoint what strengths have helped the company succeed so far and work to highlight those assets in future business strategies. A successful business consultant will not only report the problems that inhibit the company from reaching its goals or potential but will also create plans to solve those issues. It’s not enough for business consultants to give vague advice. They must develop specific, detailed plans and be able to assist company leaders in executing those plans.
Business consultants should also identify ways for companies to grow, such as new product markets, new client bases and new marketing techniques. The goal of a business consultant is to help a struggling or even successful businesses grow and thrive, increasing both revenue and efficiency.
To become a business consultant, candidates should take their formal education seriously. They should earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration or business management, studying subjects such as accounting, marketing, management principles, business law, communications, business development and financial modeling. Because business consultants need expertise in business efficiency, they may wish to pursue an advanced degree, like an MBA, which may offer specializations for aspiring consultants. Business consultants can demonstrate their professional commitment by seeking certification as a Certified Management Consultant from the Institute for Management Consultants.
Business consultants may work for consulting firms, or they may be self-employed and work as independent contractors. While Indeed.com lists the average salary for a business consultant as $56,000 per year, salaries for this position can vary. Highly experienced business consultants with a strong record of success often earn much higher salaries. Holding an advanced degree and maintaining certification can increase a business consultant’s earning potential. If you are business-minded and enjoy coming up with creative solutions to problems, knowing how to become a business consultant could be the first step to a rewarding new career.