Clients often ask how to hire a Management Consultant and get the results they expect?
The Institute of Management Consultants here presents answers to some of the Most Commonly Asked questions. OpusUS Management adheres to the typical industry standards of ethics promoted by IMC-International
What Is a Management Consultant?
A management consultant is a professional who, for a fee, helps the management of client organizations define and achieve their goals through improved utilization of resources. He may do this by helping to identify problems and/or opportunities, and recommend solutions. Management consultants not only propose change but also help implement it. As independent professionals, their primary concern is the welfare of the client organizations they serve.
What kind of Management Consultants can I use?
Management consultants are either sole practitioners who work with a small support staff or members of a consulting firm who work with professional colleagues and a large support staff. They may be generalists able to work with top management on a wide range of concerns or specialists.
Common consulting specialties include:
Research & Development, Physical Distribution, Financial Planning & Control Sales, Marketing Human Resources Management & Labor Relations, Administration, Manufacturing, Information Technology, Wage & Salary Administration, Incentive Compensation & Work Flexibility Programs, Organizational Planning & Development, Strategic & Business Planning
How can I tell if I need a consultant?
There are no hard and fast rules for deciding to bring in a management consultant. Common situations suggesting that a consultant may provide help include:
Management believes that performance could be better but is not sure what to do to gain improvements. Management does not have the specific knowledge and skills necessary to solve the problems it has identified. Management has the necessary knowledge and skills but not the time or personnel to solve problems. Management’s efforts have not produced the desired long-term improvements. Management requires an independent, third party opinion, either to confirm a decision or to provide alternatives. Often a situation will require that a consultant be retained until in-house capabilities are enhanced by a permanent staff addition.
How do I determine what needs to be changed?
At times, you will be able to specify the issue, such as a puzzling increase in workplace injuries. Often, however, this will not be possible. In such cases, listing symptoms or desired goals will usually indicate the type of consultant you need. Be aware, though, that often a consultant’s largest contribution is to help clients define problems or opportunities. Your initial conversation with a consultant should tell you if your problem has been properly defined.
How do I find a competent consultant?
You can turn to many sources for help in selecting a consultant. Your organization’s attorney, accountant or banker may be a good source of referrals, as may your trade associations’ local chambers of commerce and industry experts.
How do Management Consultants charge for their services?
A management consultant’s fee will be influenced by a number of factors, including the client’s need for special knowledge and experience; how much competition for clients there is; the consultant’s reputation; and, if known, the benefit to the client of a successful outcome.
Various fee arrangements may be made. The important consideration is that the fee is in writing and both parties agree. Some consultants may charge a portion of the total fee when the project begins and throughout the project (including any adjustment) until completion and/or acceptance of the final report. Management consultants who have previously engaged in projects that resemble yours may quote a flat fee. The fee may be payable in advance or paid according to a benchmark-related schedule.
When the management consultant serves in a purely advisory or coaching capacity, it is traditional to charge a retainer, hourly or flat fee for each advisory session, board of directors meeting, or private session.
Sometimes the consulting arrangement will involve a not-to-exceed figure or a figure that when reached triggers a joint evaluation of results-to-date and an estimate of the time needed to reach a satisfactory conclusion. Occasionally, management consultants encounter a prospective client who wants fees to be on a contingency basis; for example, a certain amount when sales exceed a target figure or when cost reductions exceed a specified figure. Contingency arrangements may work, but this depends ultimately on the parties’ integrity. By avoiding pure contingency arrangements you can help assure the consultant’s objectivity.
Management consultants generally bill separately for expenses (reasonable out-of-pocket, travel, entertainment, communications, and special services) as they accumulate.
How do I screen recommended consultants?
Select for interviews the two or three consultants whose experience comes closest to matching the situation you have defined. It is very important to determine that each consultant, not just his or her firm, displays a thorough familiarity with the situation. The reputable case studies and references each candidate provides should confirm the consultant’s previous success in a similar context. You will want to learn the outcomes of relevant consulting engagements, whether the consultant used honesty and tact when making recommendations, and how well he or she worked with an organization’s people.
In addition, you will want the following information: the consultant’s experience in handling similar situations, what her references say about her ability to make things happen, and whether she has established personal rapport with management during her initial interviews. Experience is important but not to the exclusion of the other considerations.
How do I make the final selection?
Once each consultant’s experience has been confirmed and references checked, use the following considerations to make your final selection:
Breadth of experience that encompasses and goes beyond the situation as defined.
Demonstrated ability to complete assignments within budget and on schedule.
Demonstrated ability to develop practical recommendations and to have them implemented successfully.
Demonstrated ability to work with people diplomatically and effectively and to minimize disruption of ongoing operations.
Degree of trust and rapport established with management during initial contacts.
When you have weighed these considerations, ask the consultant of choice to submit a proposal.
What kind of an agreement do I make with a consultant?
The consultant’s proposal should spell out in as much detail as needed such things as:
The objective and scope of the assignment.
What the consultant will do, what the client should do, and what they will do jointly during and following the project’s completion to assure its success.
The nature of completion or agreed upon evidence of delivered value.
The anticipated charges, basis of charges, expenses, and terms of payment.
The conditions under which the client or the consultant may cancel the agreement.
Review the proposal with the consultant and resolve all the questions you may have.
Portions of the proposal may have to be rewritten to provide desired assurances and clarity. Accept the proposal only when you thoroughly understand its terms and conditions.
How do I assure the successful completion of the project?
You can assure the successful completion of a consulting engagement by doing the following:
Make certain that everyone in the organization will provide what the consultant needs in order to gather information and make recommendations. Inform all concerned, either through a general meeting or personal memos, that a consultant has been engaged, and explain the nature or purpose of the engagement. Allay any anxiety that may result when people learn that a consultant has been engaged. Be available to the consultant to review progress, clarify information, or help in resolving temporary difficulties. Candidly voice concerns to the consultant. Avoid pressuring the consultant to discuss findings or recommendations until she has thoroughly researched the situation and is ready to do so.
How do I assure confidentiality and avoid conflict of Interest?
All reputable consultants consider the detailed knowledge they gain of a client’s operations and personnel to be confidential. Such information is not to be discussed with, or disclosed to, a third party without the client’s expressed permission. Further, no ethical consultant will work with two competing firms without the permission of both. These are requirements of the codes of ethics to which all reputable consultants subscribe. IMC Code of Ethics.
How do I evaluate the project’s success?
The success of a consulting project can be measured in many ways. Frequently, the change that results from an engagement is obvious; for example, measurable savings realized, new business generated, or delays eliminated. Some projects, however, may have payoffs that are only realized gradually. In such situations you should be able to see progress in achieving the project’s goals. To gain a subjective appraisal, ask the question, “On balance, and considering everything, would I hire the same consultant again?” If the answer is “Yes,” the project can generally be considered a success.
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Addressing Privacy Concerns
Fully Customized Services
Some business retain consulting firms that are able to charge extremely low fees because they have a pre-packaged solution sets. The assembly-line approach to business management is not suitable for every business model. Our associates will build all of our business plans from scratch to represent your unique projection of your own business.
Get Investors to Notice
Most business owners can’t get the attention of investors. A majority of our business clients are positioned to secure meetings with potential investors because of business research and planning we provide. Save weeks or months of valuable time!
Your limited time should be spent focusing on developing your products or services, customers, and organization.
We are a value-based consulting firm. This means that our fees are directly correlated to your success and we guarantee a 100% satisfaction. We will work for you until all deliverables are completed to your satisfaction. Many of our clients come to us after producing a non-investable business plan, which they have worked on for years. We will repair these business approaches to save you hundreds of hours and money and get traction back to your processes, expansions, and diversions.
Work with Professionals
Our business consultants are some of the most respected professionals in the business. Most have been business owners and understand what it takes to grow a business. OpusUS offers a broad experience in creating and executing upon business models across several industries. We have a keen sense of what works in the marketplace and what doesn’t based on empirical research, business know-how, and practical experience. Many of our consultants have earned MBAs or PhDs from schools accredited business schools. OpusUS also have associate experts in finance, financial modeling, market research, competitor research, regulatory issues, and much more ready to go to work for you.
We don’t stop when your business is operating. We have a talented team of consultants ready to help you implement your business plan as well, either on a retainer basis as interim members of your founding team or on a project basis, as needed to run key management functions of your business. OpusUS will measure every step of your business success with accurate metrics to project your profitability.
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eBusiness | eManagement | eLearning | eMarketing
Scientific Business and Management Research
OpusUS Management integrates solutions for organizations using eBusiness-eManagement-eLearning-eMarketing strategies. OpusUS conducts scientific business research, remote work-life studies, and strategic virtual work planning, and analysis to provide clients with valid and reliable recommendations based on sound research methodologies. OpusUS Management designs and implements research and development methods to determine remote work solutions through the application of objective-empirical research techniques. OpusUS facilitates organization’s sustainability and profitability through proven Work@Vantage® systems, and processes to empower the modern-virtual enterprises working in distributed work environments.
OpusUS Business Research Capabilities
e-Business consulting offers clients with research in the application of information and communications technologies in support of efficiencies and profitable decision making processes. Electronic business processes include buying and selling products, supplies and services; servicing customers; processing payments; and managing production controls.
e-Management consulting helps clients identify and mitigate risks in the successful accomplishment of their goals through information technology solutions. Electronic Management includes planning, organizing, staffing, leading or directing, controlling, and measuring an organization to accomplish their objectives. e-Management consulting enhances the use of technological advances to implementing human resources processes, financial requirement’s development, work/life balance techniques, and strategic virtual work planning and analysis with proven, proprietary Work@Vantage®
e-Learning consulting supports clients with remote and web based training solutions in the workplace using electronic educational technology to select the appropriate concurrent multimedia modalities to enhance learning for the workforce.
e-Marketing consulting assists clients with targeted, measurable and interactive marketing techniques using digital technologies to convert leads into sustainable customers and sales.
Why OpusUS Management Research
Fully Customized Services
Businesses retain research consulting firms to develop solution sets. The assembly-line approach to business management is not suitable for every business model and certainly not scientific business research. Our expertise will build on all of your business capabilities which will represent a unique projection of your own business products and services.
Get Stakeholders to the Performing Phase
Most business owners can’t get the attention of employees, customers, and investors. A majority of your stakeholders are positioned to make your business succeed, OpusUS facilitates decision making processes to accelerate organizational performance. Your limited time should be spent focusing on developing your products or services, customers, and organization, NOT CONDUCTING RESEARCH.
OpusUS Management is a value-based research consulting firm. This means that our fees are directly correlated to your success and we guarantee a 100% satisfaction. OpusUS will work until all deliverables are completed to your satisfaction. Scientific business research is not inexpensive, but it COST EFFECTIVE with OpusUS. OpusUS Management experts conduct research using sound and proven scientific research methodologies to analyze and determine correct courses of action to facilitate decision making for your management team.
Work with Professionals
We are expert business researchers and consultants and respected professionals in the business. Business owners, CEO, Board of Directors, and Management Teams understand when and why organization performance is needed. OpusUS offers broad experience in creating successful business models across several industries because we employ objective empirical research, provide business insights and experience, and develop practical courses of action for your organization.
Business Life-Cycle Support
When your business is operating, OpusUS analyst will continue to to work with your management team to measure and define success by tracking progress. OpusUS implements Work@Vantage® measures at every step of your business success phases with accurate proprietary metrics to project your organization’s performance, sustainability, and profitability over time.