Business Consulting Certification – A Business Consulting Career

Business consulting, also called management consulting, is a career field that is becoming more popular with strategic planning consultants, finance consultants, business associates, supply chain management consultants, business analysts, financial analysts, process improvement consultants, and risk management consultants. Consultants work with company leaders in a variety of areas, including strategic planning, process efficiency, communications within the organization, and more. Though it is not a regulated industry in the United States, many client companies are beginning to hire for certified consultants over non-certified ones. Consulting certifications can be earned through a training course and qualifying exam.

Some traditional universities and college offer degree programs in management consulting but these are usually thousands of dollars and take years to complete. In contrast, business consulting certification training courses can cost under a thousand dollars and be completed in less than six months. The most flexible format for these courses is an online format. This flexibility allows students to keep their full-time jobs while pursuing the business consulting certificate. Lecture videos, study guides and memorization aids are all used to help students learn the fundamentals of business consulting. Theses guides and aids assist in preparing the students for the qualifying exam, increasing the success rate on first-time test takers.

Good business consulting certification courses also teach the best practices in the field of management consulting. Students learn how to structure consulting assignments most effectively. Client garnering and retention are addressed. Good courses also train their students in consulting delivery models and service line management. Marketing considerations, such as branding, are also considered. An overall view of business consulting as a business helps students confidently build their own consulting companies if that is their wish. However, some students are entry level workers for a consulting firm and simply want to advance in the company they already work for. Training courses are beneficial for both kinds of student.

Management consultants are in the business of increasing efficiency and productivity. However, making a business more efficient does not mean cutting out integrity. Business consulting certification training courses also teach the ethical and legal compliance issues in the consulting business. A less than reputable business name is a very difficult thing to overcome, so it behooves students to start out and stay strong in high business ethics. After passing the certification exam, business consultants can add the certification credential to their business cards, resumes, and websites. Some courses even offer resources and support after the completion of the course to help ensure continued success.

Business Consulting Certificate – Continuing Education in Business Consulting

In an era of job lay-offs and corporate cut-backs, employees are constantly seeking ways to show bosses that they bring a valued presence to the company. Continuing education is a sign of professionalism and a solid work ethic. However, traditional university programs can be lengthy and expensive. For people currently working as finance consultants, supply chain management consultants, strategic planning consultants, business associates, risk management consultants, financial analysts, or process improvement consultants, training courses in business consulting that result in a business consulting certificate can be a less expensive option that can be completed in less than six months.

These training courses can teach fundamentals and best practices in consulting in an online format that is flexible for those working full time. The curriculum content includes the models, processes, and formulas that have been proven as the most productive and efficient methods in business consulting. Systems and structures beneficial to the practice of business consulting, such as delivery models and structuring consulting assignments, are also covered. Other items like service line management and branding or client acquisition and retention may also be covered. While streamlining processes and increasing profits, consultants must maintain business ethics, so ethics considerations and guidelines are also taught. The courses culminate in a business consulting certificate.

The best training courses for a business consulting certificate are those taught by highly experienced consultants who have been successful in several areas of the business world. They can give practical examples, offer advice, and answer questions from the platform of education and experience combined. Most business consultants have areas of specialization. It is best if the course instructor has several of these instead of one highly focused one. In addition, international business experience is also beneficial in an increasingly global marketplace. Choosing a course should be based both on curriculum and instructor value.

At the conclusion of the class, students take the certification exam. Good training courses offer memorization aids to help with retaining information for the test and beyond. Some also provide study guides to increase first time passage rates. Passing the comprehensive exam results in a certification credential, such as CBC, or Certified Business Consultant. This can be added to business cards, resumes, and marketing materials, as well as being very impressive to bosses. For a continuing education program with the added benefit of a certification credential, these training courses are a valuable investment in the future.

Business Consultant Certification – Launch a Successful Business Consulting Career

Business consulting is a rising industry in the United States and worldwide. However, it is yet to be regulated in the states. Anyone who wishes to be a consultant can become one, without education or credentials. Even though it is not required, a consultant certification credential in business is becoming standard for business consultants hired by mainstream businesses. Consultants in business, also called management consultants, with this credential are known as highly qualified and trained. They can be trusted for valid and helpful advice based upon education and experience rather than just opinion. Training courses leading to the consulting certification are often taught by highly experienced consultants in business who have been successful in several areas of the field.

They have a wide range of experiences and can relate to the students needs and questions. Curriculum for a consultant certification training course in business consists of several components. The main topic is the best practices of the industry. These include the models, methods, processes, and formulas of business consulting that have been proven successful over time and by many people. Core fundamentals of business consulting are an important part of training as a foundation for a consulting practice. Students are taught how to structure consulting assignments effectively and efficiently to make their consulting more productive for clients and more profitable for themselves.

Good courses will also cover service line management and branding, as well as consulting delivery models. Great ones will teach their students how to deliver above and beyond the client’s expectations. This is a great way to retain clients, but other client retention methods are discussed in quality courses as well. Some of the most important areas in training courses for business consultant certification are the considerations and guidelines pertaining to ethics and integrity. Ethics and legal compliance in business stand above the goal of increasing profits and streamlining productivity. While accomplishing those goals, a consultant should never suggest anything outside ethical or legal guidelines.

The training courses culminate in a business consultant certification often called simply CBC, or Certified Business Consultant. The courses can last from six to twelve months, but some can be completed in less than six months. While university degree programs last years and cost thousands of dollars, students can find training courses for fewer than one thousand dollars. An online format makes the training courses highly flexible for those with full-time jobs. For a small time and money investment, hardworking individuals can launch successful consulting careers in business.

Advantages of Business Consulting Services

Business Consultation Services are generally promoted, but not often well understood. Many see these services as a big picture conceptual exercise with no connection to the real world issues facing their business. Often Fortune 500 business consultation services come across as too ivory tower, and overly focused on highlighting issues without implementing solutions. There is a new breed of consultants that speak your language and understand the front line issues that you face as a business owner on a daily basis.

With the help of the internet, quality consulting service providers are much easier to find throughout the world. The internet proves enormously useful as a connection platform to find these smaller, specialized consulting firms. Whatever your need, be it financial reporting, sales assistance, IT, capital raising, human resources, there is a wide assortment of consulting service providers to select from. There are numerous advantages of business consultation expert services.

Quality consultants add a new dimension to a company, allowing it to think in new ways. Most quality business consultation service providers have strong backgrounds in a concentrated area, giving them subject matter mastery combined with real world experience. Adding them to your team gives your business the ability to think and execute at a higher level. Many rookie mistakes can be avoided by having a smart, experience-based business consulting service provider on your team.

As an outsider to your organization, a new business consulting service provider can bring a refreshing third party perspective. Often, companies or senior managers have a hard time clearly seeing their internal weaknesses. This is particularly relevant with smaller companies where a small group of employees comprises the entire C-Level management team. In addition, quality business consulting service providers know what standard practices are in your industry. They are well versed in best practices for their field and can easily tell you the best CRM system, or the best SEO approach or the best way to finance an acquisition.

Their expertise is their currency and their expertise has been acquired through involvement in a multitude of projects in the same field. Their concentrated experience can be a valuable addition to your knowledge base as you take your company in a new direction. One big advantage of business consultation services is the ability to save time and plan properly. Business is a learning curve and most successful companies rarely go in straight line in an upward direction. The key to navigating successful new growth steps is in proper planning and assigning realistic risk-based probabilities to each outcome.

A seasoned business consultation service provider is a great sounding board for all of this. They will be able to help you develop realistic timing assumptions and realistic cost factors. Most consultants are independent contractors and stay with your business for only a limited time. They are a flexible resource and are expendable once the project is complete. The value they bring during their engagement is considerable. Through aligning with a quality business consulting provider, your business can become quite sophisticated and seriously confront any challenges or opportunities that lay ahead.

About Attract Capital, LLC Attract Capital is a financial advisory firm dedicated to the growth of mid-sized companies throughout the United States and Europe. Built upon a foundation of corporate finance expertise, practical experience and legendary customer service, Attract Capital’s consulting services and solutions are aimed at increasing the efficiency of capital raising for mid-sized companies. The firm offers Mezzanine Debt Solutions, Acquisition Financing, Business Consulting Services, Growth Capital Funding and Acquisition Search Services to name a few.

How to Make Small Business Consulting Profitable

For a beginning, let’s ask ourselves the question: Is small business consulting profitable? The answer would be a resounding “Yes,” from all corners of the world. So, why are you unable to make it work, and in the process help small consulting with your unique experience and approaches?

You are a business consultant, not the direct worker

The most common mix-up faced by small consultants is that rather than remaining as business advisors, they end up as direct service providers. They end up handling the major workload of the business process where they were expected only to provide advice, and the client ends up with a steep bill. In place of mutual satisfaction, you now have mutual dissatisfaction. The results are unwelcome on both sides – but they happen all too often, where in small business consulting, the consultant fails to maintain the position of a consultant.

There are three possible outcomes in such situations – the client pays up and remains upset with you, the client doesn’t pay your bills and you are upset with the client, or both parties reach an unhappy compromise.

After a few such mix-ups, you become convinced that there is no profitability in consulting. But you know, that’s not true. The reality is your approach needs to be transparent and needs to change case by case.

In certain cases, time-schedule, lack of resources on part of the client, or other exigencies may call for you to provide most of the work as a direct service provider. But in such cases, the client needs to understand from the very beginning that the instant situation needs a service provider with your experience, more than it needs power of consulting. The client needs to have a clear idea of the bills that may be chalked up if you were providing direct service, or the client is free to hire another direct service provider, to save the day. Even providing that little advice is sufficient for you to bill as a consultant, because the client was unable to recognize the situation. What you are doing is business consulting, and not creating a fallible situation.

Why small business consulting mix-ups happen with such regularity

The oldest and most traditional businesses in providing consulting have traditionally modeled themselves as consultant-cum-service providers, take for example, law firms, or Accountant firms. Each of these sectors are used to clients coming to them at the last moment or when the situation is precarious for them, and according to the laws of maximizing business opportunities, they have set up systems to provide service alternatives ready at hand. In fact, in many such traditional firms, service delivery starts first, and then it turns to consulting.

However, in the era of information technology, the number of alternatives available even to small one are hundred times more than the time when CPAs or law firms began establishing their business models. Consequently, with the availability of greater choice of service providers, and ability to compare between alternatives, the chances of client dissatisfaction multiply. This is why, in today’s consulting, it is sufficient to point out the necessity of direct service delivery to a client, without embroiling yourself, or pushing your own agenda of direct service.

In a globalized service providing market, you can never outbid the “I’m cheaper than you can ever be” brigade, and don’t even think of that. To make small business consulting profitable, stick to your guns and be a consultant primarily, and act as direct service provider only when the client asks you, and only when you can afford to do so at the client’s rates.

Services Offered By Business Consultancy Firms

Every businessperson must make new strategies to run business processes smoothly. They hire business consultants, as that perspective outside the box can be useful. Many businesses today hire companies providing services like small business management consulting to improve internal management and operations.

As not all entrepreneurs have the needed educational background to know exactly how the business runs, advice from an experienced and knowledgeable party expert can be useful. If you look at websites offering consulting services, you can find many professionals who can help with specific aspects of your business.

If you are a small business proprietor, hiring the services of a third party may pose a challenge. You may not have enough funds to spend for outside help. This applies even more if you are just getting started with your business. It is a good thing there are business consultancy firms that focus on small businesses. With their expertise and guidance, you can save a good amount of funds and be sure you get specialized counsel.

What kind of Business Consultant Should You Get?

Before getting a company offering small business management consulting, think about the tenure of the company. This can reflect how long they have been practicing their expertise. Most consultants have degrees from prestigious business schools. Some may even be business executives themselves. If you want to make sure about your consultant’s expertise, find one with a consulting company.

Another factor you should think about when looking for a business consulting company is experience. While it is true a degree from a top business school may be impressive, nothing beats firsthand experience. Some successful business executives and entrepreneurs provide consultation on the side.

Business consultancy firms may have a specialized niche of business scale or industry. Some business strategies may work well in defined industries for companies with a certain size. If it is possible, look for a consultant with expertise of at least experience handling a business with the same model as yours.

Look at your consultants’ record of accomplishment. See if their business consulting services were effective in the past. Look for an advisor or consultant with a high success rate. This might be the only thing you need for your business to take off.

One thing you should look into is the kind of field your consultant is in. There are those who are efficient in organizing systems and improving employee productivity while other consultants are better off proposing ideas for expansion and other ways of implementation. Hire a consultant who specializes on the aspect in your business you need improvement on.

Consultants will still refer to other companies. Though this may give a general viewpoint and help you understand your business, there might be cases where there is conflict of interest. They may not be as focused to your case as they are with other clients. Make sure you get a loyal consultant.

Small business management consulting does not reduce the risk of launching your own business. They also do not help eliminate your competitors. The best thing they can do is provide noteworthy counsel. In the end, tough business decisions still depend on you.

Do Business Consultants Really Help?

A consultant is a professional who provides advice in many different fields of expertise. Business Consultants are professionals who give advice in regard to management and operations of a business. This area of expertise can be broad and confusing to a small business owner or manager, searching for help with day to day business issues. So the question is, can a generalist, or a basic business consultant, really help your business?

Generally, the answer is yes. A management consultant with a sound, structured approach towards business can help a small business owner or manager.

First, a business consultant can help an owner or manager assess the business, using objective tools to analyze the businesses potential. It is very important to have a clear understanding where the business is and where it may be going. Many times, owners and managers can lose the forest through the trees, and having a business consultant on their side to keep them on target can be reassuring and rewarding.

Second, consultants are a good alternative for some specialized tasks. There may be research, or reporting requirements, which could be more complex than hired staff may be able to accomplish. Having a trusted business consultant on your side to help with special needs, ads the proverbial “looking over my shoulder”. This is a nice backup for owners and managers.

Third, a good consultant can help you identify plans to expand (market) or streamline (add operational efficiency) to your business. Consultants can be used to brainstorm about expansion, adding products to a business offering or merging and/or acquiring additional assets. Having a consultant on board gives the owner or manager a built in “devil’s advocate”. It is someone who understands the goals and the business limits in an objective forward thinking manner.

Fourth, a properly chosen consultant will provide clear and objective counsel to help the business owners and managers make effective and forward moving decisions. Using a consultant as a sounding board during decision vetting is one of the best ways for owners and managers to utilize a consultants time. Again, using your consultant during the planning phase will also give your consultant great insight, allowing them to remain involved when operational issues arise and or future changes are needed within the organization.

Finally, it is important that your business consultant can help you within all aspects of your business. It is essential to keep a business consultant, as you would a CPA for your taxes, a lawyer for your legal issues and a financial planner for your retirement. Why not keep a business consultant for your current business?
Business consultants, who have been engaged with their clients through a structured approach, are generally successful in helping their clients be more successful. They should always take an objective approach that is clear to the company’s management and owners. A businessman who properly utilizes a business consultant will see higher rates of return on his investments and smoother operational efficiencies within his organization. You will also see that a businessman, who uses business consultants, will have more time to enjoy interests outside of his business, adding more to the value of the Business Consultant.

Five Tips to Choosing the Right Business Consultant

Do you wonder how professional athletes keep in shape? How an actor keeps up on his or her ability to be a consistent entertainer? Have you ever wondered how YOU can become good at something? The answers are practice and coaching. A Business Consultant is a coach for your business, who should be able to help you practice the traits needed to be successful in your business.

How you choose a coach is a matter of personal preference. You can choose an online entity, a company in town, or an individual consultant. It does not matter, as long as you understand the requirements a consultant or business coach should have, prior to making a final decision. The fact is that you cannot accept everyone or every company at face value, especially in today’s volatile business world. This premise is exceptionally true for business consultants and coaches, because the entity you choose could ultimately be holding your livelihood in their hands. So, with this understanding, there are a few things you should know about any potential consultant, coach or firm prior to engaging them within your company.
The very first thing you should measure a coach or consultant on is his credentials. Any true quality consultant or firm will have their credentials available to you at any time. In fact, most reputable firms will already have the permission to use a cross-section of their clients as marketing references, giving you a glimpse of whom has hired them to date. It is very important that you contact a client or two, making sure any information given was accurate.

Second, you need to make sure your consultant has some experience, or is at least managed by someone who does. Many times, firms will introduce new consultants into a business, without letting the clients know they are new. You do not want to pay fees for an inexperienced consultant, to help train someone’s staff. Further, if you are going to allow a less experienced consultant work in your business, you want to know that an experienced mentor is working with them to make sure your company is successful.

Third, accreditations and reputation. Hiring a firm that has a broad experience base and has backed that experience up by joining industry groups, associations, public groups like the Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau; show some integrity in their approach toward their own business. Also, industry specific training, that shows an investment to learn more about an industry or consulting, will always be beneficial to a business.

Fourth, beyond reference checking, meet some of the stakeholders who will be working with you. You can gain a lot of information by having a conversation on the phone, or even an email exchange with your potential consultant or coach. One thing you can ask is if you will be working with more than one person and if you can speak to more than one of them, which creates an opportunity to learn about the team.

Fifth, do they have a structured plan? It is an undeniable truth that organization and communication will make or break any business. Having a consultant that does not approach each client with a plan, will most likely cause a failure in your business. This does not mean your business will fail, but the objective of the consultant is to fix something, this cannot happen without a structured approach. Make sure that each firm or consultant being considered presents a plan that is clear and concise. There are no shortcuts to learning new things in your business.

Choosing a consultant is a big step for any business owner or manager. There are so many areas within a business that can be affected by multiple issues, many of which are third party or seemingly uncontrolled. By engaging a coach or consultant with a structured plan, you and your company will have the practice it needs to react consistently to business issues, over the life of your company.

Do You Need a Business Consultant?

The option to employ a business consulting service is not always an easy one, numerous factors demand consideration. It’s true numerous businesses succeed without the assistance of a consultant; conversely business consulting constitutes a valuable asset for various companies successes that do utilizing such services. Whenever you’re uncertain whether or not to use the services of a business consulting company here are a few questions to ask yourself to make the determination more effortless.

Does your business organization demand an unbiased outside look?

The short answer is whenever you are even considering that you might need help from a business consulting company you in all probability will profit by their services. Business advisors can be helpful irrespective where your business is positioned; whether you are barely taking off, or you’re a seasoned company that has bumped into some obstacles. Even if your business is doing well a consultant can help you to expand and diversify to reach new or additional profitable clients. If you need help starting your business, have run into problems that necessitate mastering; or just want some fresh ideas helping your successful business grow and prosper you could reap benefits from the ideas of a business consultant.

What areas will a Consultant handle?

Most consultants quickly realize their clients are more astute in the day-to-day operations of your company than any consultant will ever hope to be. How to produce your product or supply your service is certainly your forte. However, the outside influences, or staff-type operations, may require fine tuning. For instance, if you set up your website with a web designer who was not attuned to the conundrums of optimization for search engines, or the latest theories of landing page design, these factors may have a negative impact on your overall marketing plans. Oft times clients first, perhaps sole, impression of your company may be through your website. This same skill can be used to address your marketing, printed communications, employee relations, or even bringing your hotel from two to three or four stars.

How do I decide which consultant to hire?

There are independent consulting companies available for every business niche imaginable. It is important to find a consulting company that has experience in the industry in which you operate and have provided other businesses with the services you need. You can always ask friends, colleagues, or other business owners who they have used if the consultant helped their business. You should have a good idea of what you want to accomplish by hiring a consultant, and how much input you want to have; or whether you want the consultant to deliver to you a finished packaged solution. It is always a good idea to interview a few business consulting firms to get a feel of their experience level and how well they will work with you. Probably most importantly you want to deal with someone you are comfortable working beside. Without a good comfort level, the give-and-take necessary to accomplish your goals may be compromised. Be sure to insist you meet the actual person or persons that will be doing the job not just a point person who sells you the consulting firm and then moves on to the next lead.

Do I need a contract?

You will also want to carefully consider the contract you arrange with the consultant you choose. Most business consultants will write a contract outlining the details of their services, and what you can expect from them. A contract is always good to have because it will clearly state the details of the service you can expect. Your consulting contract should include a begin date and end date or specify if they will be providing an ongoing service, the specifics of the project they will be completing for you as well as the project goals you want them to accomplish, and the methods they will use to complete their services. The pricing should be clearly stated – whether by the day/hour or flat rate for the project. You should also agree as to how the payments will be made – at what stage of the contract or just divided into weekly installments over the project timeframe.

With a bit of effort in the first place, you and your consultant will work harmoniously and attain a smooth, more profitable solution for your business.

Rich Moran is a consultant specializing in General Business, Print, Web, Hotel, and Marketing Cons

How To Choose The Right Business Consultant For Your Small Business

Establishing a successful small business consulting relationship, and achieving the results that you want for your small business, can be very difficult.

This is because besides the money you will invest for the help – this person will enter your confidential world, guide you in making important decisions and will be with you for the long haul.

Here are some of the best suggestions on how to pick the right small business consultant for you – that will result in a win for both of you:

1. Are you compatible?- Compatibility is essential if you are going to build a long term relationship with someone…The same applies to a long term relationship with your consultant.

The question is can you see yourself working with this person over the long haul? Do they motivate you, inspire you, or most importantly meet the specific needs that you have?

The relationship should fit like a hand in a glove. If it doesn’t – keep looking.

2. Are they competent? You need a consultant that will help you create results – both short term (under 30 days) midterm (90 – 180 days) and long term (180 days – 5 years).

This is one of the reason that I try to get free advice from the consultant before I hire them. If I put it to practice and it works, then I can be more confident that this person can help me further.

If the consultant has a problem giving you advice upfront – look elsewhere.

3. Have they or anyone on their team actually built a business? This is where you find the consultants with true experience – and not just theory.

Granted, a good consultant does not need to have built and sold a million dollar business – but a great consultant will have.

Find out if they have built or sold a business – if not, they have to at least have someone on their team that has. If not, your business will look like theirs when they are finished with you.

4. Are they invested in you and your business’ welfare? The best consultants take ownership of your business and make it their own. They are the ones that are thinking about your business almost as much as you do.

Great consultants have a passion to see their clients succeed. They don’t see themselves as successful unless their clients are.

If your consultant is happy getting a paycheck for mediocre results – my advice is to fire them today.

5. Can they bring you results? Every consultant should be able to bring results equal to 3-5X what you invested into your consulting relationship. If you invest $500 a month – you should be bringing in at least $1500 a month through the consultants efforts.

This means that the you and your consultant should track your progress to make sure that everyone is winning.

After the first month – there should not be any excuses why you are not seeing results in your business.

Remember there are hundreds of things that a business can do to make more money in 30 days. If you do not see more money in 30 days – get your money back, or have your consultant give you a free extra month of services.

These are just a few specific requirements that consultants need to fulfill if you want to have a successful consulting relationship – and a successful business to boot.

Though the standards are high, remember that the vision that you have for your business depends on it.