There are several ways to evaluate whether a business consulting service will be helpful for your business in Nigeria.
Working with the right professionals that can understand the ins and outs of your business, clarify your business goals, and can help you translate those goals into success within Nigeria’s business environment, might be the key you need to unlock the full potential of your business in Nigeria.
But how do you know whether a business consulting service can help you? Here are a few ways to think about engaging a consulting team to grow your business.
Questions to ask yourself or your team
- Do you fully understand your market and industry in Nigeria?
- Do you know where exactly who your competitors are?
- Are you aware of the new opportunities arising?
- Do you know the distribution landscape?
- How about a good understanding of the pricing mix in the market – are you clear on that?
- Do you have professional contacts and the right resources that can help you source information?
- Do you understand the business culture and is your supply chains setup efficiently to get your products in the hand of your end-users?
- Do you have the right processes in place to navigate the unique challenges in the market?
- Do you understand the registration process for your products?
- Do you have access to key decision makers that have the decision making power to purchase your product or service?
- Do you understand the exact reason why you are not hitting your sales target?
These are just a few questions that you should consider. If there are more than three questions above that you do not have a clear and direct answer to or that you answered “No”, then my advice is that you and your team need to go out and answer those questions.
Using a business consulting service can be a cost-efficient way to get these questions answered and help you grow your business in Nigeria.
Reasons to hire a business consulting team or consultant
Here are a few reasons to utilize a business consulting service. A qualified business consultant can fuel your business growth by:
- Helping you save time and money while providing strategic clarity.
- Giving you a candid view of your business by bringing objectivity.
- Giving you the edge to take advantage of new market opportunities.
- Facilitating organizational change with a fresh viewpoint.
- Supplementing your workforce with specialized external resources.
- Supplementing your skill set and bringing strengths to certain organizational weakness.
- Providing specialized knowledge and expertise in specific markets and industries.
- Leveraging industry experience to quickly identify problems and offer tailor-made solutions
- Facilitating introduction to professional contacts, customers, and key decision-makers
These are just a few ways that a business consulting team could provide value to your organization.
Engaging a business consulting service:
It is important that you understand the stages of a consulting project so that you know what to expect from a consultant if you do decide to use their service to boost business results. Consulting services usually go through three stages – Discovery, Evaluation, and Execution:
- Discovery: In this phase of the project, the business consulting team’s goal is to learn the ins-and-outs of your business. This is the stage where a good business consultant takes the time to learn about your current challenges and gets very clear about the exact goals that you want to achieve. This is done through meetings between your management team and the consulting team.
- Evaluation: In the evaluation phase, the business consulting team already has an in-depth understanding of your business and evaluates the most cost-effective way to help you achieve your goals. The consulting team will identify opportunities to grow profit and provide a plan filled with concrete steps on how to reach the goals with time-specific milestones agreed on.
- Execution: In the execution phase, the business consulting team works independently but in close collaboration with you. It is important for business consultants to retain their objectivity, which is one of the biggest value that they are bringing to your team – along with their expertise, throughout the project. Although working independently, helps foster objectivity, it is also important that the business consulting team actively monitors its progress and adjusts to your needs by constantly communicating throughout the execution phase. Once the last deliverable for the agreed project is completed, you can choose to extend the agreement or choose to move on to implementation on your own.
Finding and hiring a business consultant:
Finding the right business consulting service may be one of the most challenging parts of the process for you and your management team.
You want to make sure that you really vet your consultant before starting any engagements or signing any agreements. Ask for case studies and success stories that they have documented on previous engagements.
Get specific on exactly how they helped their previous clients and find out how they can help you with you get to your specific business goals.
Ask to talk to some of their references. Most importantly, make sure you have a “consulting interview”.
Whether you talk to your consultant in person or by phone, a live interaction will tell you more about that consultant than any website or review will.
Is the person excited about your business, and about working with you? Do they have a drive for excellence, and an eye for organization and detail? How good are their communication skills? How do they think through problems? Do you believe they can achieve what they say they can achieve in the timeframe they quoted?
These are all questions that you should ask. Trust your gut. Determining whether you and the consultant have good chemistry is always a good place to start, as long as that “chemistry” is backed up with the competencies that match your requirements.
How to have a successful engagement:
Once you have found a business consulting team or consultant that you are confident about, the next step is to begin an engagement with them. Here are some steps to help you have a successful business consulting engagement:
- Determine a budget and the value you plan to get out of the engagement.
- Set specific time limits on the project (e.g 3 months, 6 months)
- Break the project down into measurable milestones and deliverables.
- Sign a written agreement with the duties, tasks, timeline, and responsibilities of each party in the project.
- Make sure you are providing guidance and insights into your expectations for the consulting team.
- Be open to constructive feedback and advice from the consultants.
- Communicate consistently throughout the project to make sure everything keeps moving smoothly and escalate any adjustments needed.
- Once the project is completed, provide some feedback to the consulting team on the results received.
- Whether you decide to continue with the business consulting service or you decide to continue implementation on your own, make sure you continue to work on building your business because no one should care about your business more than you do.
Growing your business with the right consultant
A business consultant service can help you run your business in Nigeria, by planning your business strategy and in some cases providing the operational support in executing it.
However, not all consultants are created equal, and not all businesses or business projects are created equal, either. You’ll have to find the perfect match between your needs and the business consulting team that can fill those needs. You’ll need to consider why you’re thinking about hiring a consultant, and how long you’re willing to wait before you see results, and how much you can realistically afford to pay for their counsel.
With the right business consultants, you can really inject a much-needed boost to your business that will set you on the path of continued success in Nigeria.