There are many risk management consultants around, and it is not easy to choose the right one for your business. It is easy to spend a lot of money without getting the result you need, but this is not always the consultant’s fault. Although stereotyping any professionals can be misleading, you may find that thinking in terms of the following categories will help you in your search.
1. Do you need a specialist or a generalist? As it is obvious that a generalist does not know everything about everything, it is tempting to assume that you are better off with someone with specialist knowledge about your industry. That could be the case if the risks you are mainly concerned about are very technical and you need someone with knowledge of engineering, the environment, or aviation for example. On the other hand, you may the technical knowledge within your business, but need advice in managing the risks. There is also the danger that the specialist will become too absorbed in the technical issues to think about the bigger picture or the way different risks affect one another, so that reducing one can increase another. What you probably need is someone who understands the business at least as much as understanding the technology or science, and who can communicate with you in normal English!
2. Do you need an external or internal consultant? There may be people in your own organisation who could act as consultants to another department, or even to the business as a whole. The advantages are that they probably cost less than external consultants and can hit the ground running because of their existing knowledge of your business. The drawbacks are that they may command less respect, rightly or wrongly, and that any criticisms they may appear to make of other managers could lead to ongoing relationship problems in your business. They may also be too close to the problems and lack the objectivity of external consultants.
3. Do you need answers or questions? You may think you want someone to come along and give you the answers you are looking for, whereas in fact some consultants are experts at asking questions rather than answering them. You may find that you knew the answers all the time but had been asking yourself the wrong questions. After all, it is likely that nobody understands your business as well as you do. When a consultant leads you via a series of questions to the solution you were looking for, possibly setting out a number of options on the way, you often find it is particularly effective, because you know how and why you arrived there, and you will make the solution work because you “own” it, instead of feeling it is what someone else has told you.
You can probably see that there is no all-purpose ideal consultant. What matters is finding the one who best meets your needs and those of your business at this time. So think carefully about the above three questions and try to decide first what you want and need before trying to decide who can best advise you on managing the risks you are trying to deal with. Do not be afraid to tell your risk management consultants that you think they are not the right ones for a particular exercise: most would rather lose a client than have a dissatisfied one. Here’s hoping you find the right one.
John Harvey Murray is the owner/manager of JHM Claims in Warrington Cheshire, providing risk management and liability claims handling services, helping clients save time, money, and stress, and enabling managers to take control of their risks and claims.
IT consulting has become an indispensable aspect of running a business. Whether you are planning to create a program for the smooth flow of your business transactions, install new computers in your office, replace an existing internet router, or set up a centralized network, you will need the help of professional IT consultants. These people will help you plan the most effective and most economical way of meeting all your IT needs.
There are many providers of IT consulting. The IT industry has expanded in recent years, with many companies offering multiple services, from computer repair to networking, business program creation, website development, ecommerce development, and so on. Before setting an appointment with an IT consultant, it is necessary that you first determine all of your IT needs. This way, you can find the perfect person to work for you.
For your guide, here’s a list of the dos and don’ts when dealing with an IT consulting firm:
• Do not forget to check their credentials. Meeting your IT needs can be a very expensive process especially if you are hiring the wrong people. Experienced IT consultants can help you maximize your IT resources without having to spend much. So don’t forget to check their credentials, including their business permits, certifications, and the like. You really want to be sure you are dealing with legitimate IT solution providers.
• Do check the rates. The intense competition among IT professionals has led to the lowering of the costs of IT services. It is important that you shop for rates so you can find the deal that will give you the best value for your money. But of course, you don’t want to compromise the quality of the services by considering the price alone. You have to balance everything.
• Don’t settle for less. Given the fact that you have many choices, why settle for IT consulting companies that offer low-quality services? You need to conduct research on your own to filter out incompetent IT consultants. Get at least three names of IT companies so you can make comparisons. If you can’t find a good provider from your list, get another one! Take your time in finding an IT consulting company. Know everything that you can – their business standing, length of experience, background of their technicians, and so on. Yes, you have to be a wise client. This way, you can get the service you want at a price you can afford.
In some cases, the contribution of a third party is usually worthy especially if the party is conversant with the field they are making their input to. The construction consulting companies help many builders and contractors know about any limitations and developments that they might have not seen when they were planning the work. This does not stop here, these firms continue helping through the entire work equipping them with safety measures and checking up on them.
All the operations in a construction site are restructured with the help of consultants. These professionals can be hired to work for a specific project from the first stage to the last or, they can be consulted at a certain time during the work. It therefore depends with the firms they are working with.
Basic construction tasks and application of safety measures are activities handled by those professionals from firms that offer building consultancy services. Concrete management, carpentry and safety from fire outbreaks are some of the things they will be doing on the site. The systems that protect your workers in case they slip and fall are professionally installed by these professionals.
Professionals assess your building. They find ways to make it better using their expertise and experience. Designing drawings, inspecting the building, and carrying out various tests are activities done.
Your builders will benefit from the skills of consultants because they will be equipped with safety training and planning skills by the consulting firms. The safety training that these builders will go through will enable them to avoid making mistakes that would lead to unwanted accidents. You will also be equipped with skills that will help you know what to do in case an accident happens.
This industry is very important and your choice of consultants should be wise so as to get the best in the industry. When you are looking for consultants for your project; ensure that you have chosen those with experience. The firm you choose should not only be licensed to do what it does but also have safety inspections done on your project frequently.
It is easy to have a project go through from one stage to another successfully and up to the end too when you have the right personnel working on it. Choosing the right construction consulting firms to work with your builders would be a good start to your project. Make your building more streamlined with the help of these professionals mentioned above.
Sometimes in business, it becomes necessary to bring in a consultant to assess things. One such area of business that this applies to is marketing and branding. While it is true that the marketing consulting firm you hire can do a great job at a lower cost than you could, there are security risks involved with outsourced marketing consultants.
The biggest error many business owners make is simply walking away from a task that seems too daunting. This should never be the case with outsourcing of any type. Only when you have tried the best that you can from the inside should you even consider a consultant. This is true for a few reasons.
One major reason is security for your company. A consultant has access to most of, if not all, of your business processes. Sensitive areas like financials, sales reports, revenues and accounting processes should be guarded closely. These things should be what is called “ring fenced” and managed closely in conjunction with the outsourced marketing firm.
In essence, businesses outsource the tasks that may be better performed by personnel outside the company. Keep in mind that these marketing consulting firms are comprised of people; human beings just like you and me. It is possible that they could get it wrong and cause a larger problem than the one they were hired to alleviate.
Another security consideration is making sure the process is cost effective and will produce results. Many times, marketing consulting firms are called in too soon. The business owner needs to work the problem out if they can before an outside individual or firm is introduced. All the details of the consultancy process should be evaluated and assessed to assure it is the right way to go.
For instance, you wouldn’t want outsourced marketing that specializes in HR working your financials. Or a management expert consultant working with IT issues. This is where a risk assessment is absolutely necessary. Evaluate the risks involved and know what could happen IF the process goes wrong. In other words, be prepared and knowledgeable in what you are precisely evaluating.
While all of this is vitally important when choosing or hiring marketing consulting firms, there is one more huge security issue to be addressed: possible loss of a competitive edge in your industry.
To maintain the level of security between you and your outsourced marketing firm, you should take an aggregate amount of time prior to the initiation of the process to get acquainted with the supplier. It has been said that this relationship is like a marriage, so don’t propose too soon. Assign key personnel to work hand in hand with the firm to build a working relationship.
If things were to go wrong, and they definitely could, that relationship will be absolutely. positively essential to resolving it. Without this in place, your company could lose more than just a bottom line. You may lose integrity, trust, competitive edge and even a portion of your reputation. That in itself could be the end if you have not developed a contingency plan ahead of time.
As you move into the possibility of using outsourced marketing consulting firms, keep these things in mind. These are a smattering of the security issues you may face with this task. Do not enter into it lightly or without preparation. Know your supplier. Assess the risk.