When a slowing economy puts revenues at risk, belt-tightening is often the preferred method of protecting the bottom line. Executives start by scaling back on discretionary costs such as travel and vendor services. All too frequently, however, they pare back the workforce or put promising initiatives on hold.
As I discussed in an earlier post, successful managers are the ones who don’t slam on the brakes along the path to growth, no matter what the environment. Instead, they find places to trim, while simultaneously investigating new opportunities and experimenting with lucrative opportunities.
And, they are experts at using creative approaches for securing the right kinds of resources to stay aggressive in competitive markets. One option for sourcing economical talent is to tap the independent consultant market.
Strategically source the right type of expertise at the right time, and managers can keep budgets in check, while still investing in new projects.
Independent consultants enable CFOs and Human Resource officers to stretch their budgets. By strategically sourcing the right type of expertise at the right time, management can keep budgets in check, while investing in new projects. Let’s discuss a few ways independent consultants can be deployed to optimize your bottom line.
- Develop your strategic plans. If cost-cutting has thinned your executive ranks, your leadership team may not have the time or the head space to develop five-year business plans for each strategic priority. A strategy consultant can turn around thorough plans quickly, while your internal team focuses on daily operations. An added benefit: A seasoned interim executive is more likely to push your business beyond what you might think possible under current cost constraints.
- Benchmark to find painless ways to cut. No business is immune to frivolous costs. Projects might start their life cycle lean, but grow fat over time. An independent consultant can take a scalpel to your operations by benchmarking expenses across the organization to ensure the costs of everything from raw materials to marketing automation systems are in line with industry standards.
An independent consultant can take a more objective look at costs and operations, and make recommendations to eliminate waste.
- Improve inefficient processes. How often have we heard “time equals money?” Inefficiency is extremely costly, but internal managers may be too close to operations to recognize wasteful steps in the process. A management consultant with expertise in process improvement can take a more objective look and make recommendations that eliminate wasted time – ultimately saving you money.
- Reorganize the workforce. Poor use of internal talent can make your organization less competitive, which is costly in itself. But your greatest risk is paying for labor that doesn’t directly or indirectly make a contribution to the bottom line. A talent expert can help you understand if your structure is costing more than it should, and how you can optimize it.
- Post-merger integration. Consolidating operations after a merger is often a tricky process, and mistakes can cost an organization dearly. But there are a number of independent consultants with extensive expertise in leading corporations though acquisitions. Their experience blending disparate corporate cultures and streamlining redundant departments will aid businesses in eliminating extra costs associated with merger activity.
At first glance, the idea of relying on independent consultants for these projects might appear to be costly. The opposite is true. Independent consultants can potentially trim costs far beyond their fees. It may be trite to say they pay for themselves, but when organizations deploy interim executives and strategists in one of the above ways, the statement rings true.