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Our current economic environment requires businesses to find ways to stand out from their competition and increase their profits while keeping expenses low. The addition of a trained professional consultant can help businesses do just that and grow above the status quo.

When people hear the term business consultant, many assume they are simply professionals who give advice related to business. Although that is true, this profession is much more than just that. To have a successful career in business consulting, you need a specific set of skills that you can acquire through education, certificates, and working experience. If you are interested in having a detailed understanding of what this career entails, then continue reading as we dive deeper into this profession and provide a guide on how to become a business consultant.

What Is a Business Consultant?

A business consultant serves as a sort of professional advisor that aims to help companies and organizations reach their business goals. To put it simply, they work with business owners and companies to improve their work efficiency and productivity.

There are various types of business consultants depending on the industry and sectors they specialize in. Some of the most popular types include:

  • Management consultants
  • Strategy consultants
  • Financial consultants
  • Operations consultants
  • HR consultants
  • Public relations consultants
  • ICT or Digital consultants

What does a business consultant do?

what-does-a-business-consultant-do

A business consultant is a trained professional that provides companies with consultation regarding their sources, planning, policies, and strategies. They focus on various elements of a business. Depending on which sector a business consultant is working in, they can help their clients with management, understanding finances, saving money, planning for the future, marketing, and many other things. Their advice helps companies identify problems and find solutions for them.

Small businesses are often run by teams who are new to the industry and lack certain skills. That is why they especially can benefit greatly from having trained people to guide them.

How to Become a Business Consultant?

To work as a business consultant, you need extensive knowledge and training in the business field. Not many people will value your opinion if they do not deem you an expert with strong connections and useful resources that can help them. So, starting from your education to the period when you start applying for jobs, here is a general guide of how you can have a successful business consulting career.

Get a degree

The minimum requirement of most employers for business consultants is having a bachelor’s degree in a business-related field. So, you could pursue a degree in business administration, management, finance, marketing, or another similar program. You can also benefit from specializing or minoring in a particular industry like technology, tourism, education, or healthcare.

To further your education, broaden your knowledge, and continue developing your skills, you can also pursue a master’s degree in business or another related field.

Master industry skills & tools

The next step is to develop the necessary skills and knowledge of industry tools. Some essential skills that you should master for a successful career include:

  • Creative thinking skills.
  • Analytical thinking skills.
  • Problem-solving skills.
  • Communication skills.
  • Collaboration skills.
  • Organization and time management skills.

Then, some crucial tools you can master and use to analyze a company’s performance are:

Benchmarking industry tool

Benchmarking is a tool that will help you gain a competitive advantage. Through this practice, you compare your client’s metrics to those of industry competitors or other companies outside of the industry. The metrics can be various, from how they manage finances to the workers’ salaries.

‌Project time management tools

Tools like calendars, note‑taking software, time trackers, or even specialized time management apps can help companies and their workers move forward more quickly and efficiently with their projects. Such tools also help you keep track of how a project is going so that you notice any issues created by poor time management from the company.

A Balanced Scorecard

A balanced scorecard is a way to measure data for past performance and then use it to provide feedback on how the company can make better decisions in the future. The scoreboard provides a comprehensive set of measurements on revenue, market share, earnings, customer satisfaction, and so on that can be updated and monitored over time.

Get certified

Although certification is not always a requirement by employers, it can act as proof of your dedication and validation that you have the skills necessary for the job. Some helpful certifications you can pursue are:

  • Project Management Professional (PMP)
  • Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
  • Certified Sales Professional (CSP)
  • Certified Manager Certification (CM)
  • Master Project Manager (MPM)

Get the required experience

It would be extremely helpful to have knowledge and experience in the industry before you begin consulting others. You could gain experience by completing internships in business firms. In case you get employed, then try working on projects that expose you to various business areas. This way, you will broaden your business knowledge and develop the skills you will need when consulting others.

Build a professional network

build-a-professional-network

Having the right networking connections is always beneficial when you are looking for clients or opportunities to develop your profession. So, build a professional network. Attend different conferences and seminars where you can meet other business consultants or management professionals.

Apply for open business consulting positions

Once you have earned your degree, gained some experience and certifications, developed the necessary skills and knowledge of tools needed for the job, then start applying to available positions as a business consultant.

Business Consultant Job Outlook

Business consultants are considered a part of management analysts. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of management analysts is expected to increase by 14% from 2020 to 2030. This percentage is much higher than the average for other professions.

Business Consultant Salary

The average salary for a business consultant in the United States is $79,858 per year. The highest recorded salary is $133,539 per year, whereas the lowest is $47,756 per year.

Your salary can depend on the client you work for and the position you have. With more experience, you can become a Senior Business Consultant whose average salary is $107,585 per year or a Principal Business Consultant with an average salary of $145,127 per year.

The career path of a business consultant can be exciting and lucrative. We have answered the question ‘what do business consultants do’ and provided a guide on how you can start this journey. Now, it is all up to you. If you believe that you would be a good fit for this career, then go for it! The best part of having wisdom is passing it on.

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