“Me”… A Consultant… Are You Sure?

what does a consultant really do

Consulting is a growing industry supported by recent statistics we shared in several of our last blogs. To learn more check out this eBook, 2019 Business Trends for Consultants to Watch.

We have had the privilege of working with and supporting just over 200 consultants over the last 40 years. Many people considering consulting often ask us questions like: “What does a consultant really do? If I don’t fully understand consulting, how do I know if I am qualified to be a consultant? What does a consulting project look like?”

Here is a pharmaceutical client case study from one of our consultants. This case presents the client’s current scenario, the solution or approach the consultant used to address the issues, and the subsequent results (some really great work by our consultant).

Client: One of the nation’s fastest growing contract manufacturers of pharmaceutical creams, ointments, and toothpastes.

Due to the untimely and unexpected death of the father, his son stepped into his new role as President and CEO of this company at just 26 years old. He inherited a prosperous business and for the first year was afraid to touch a thing. His father’s focus on cost control and his authoritarian leadership style had been just what the company needed to climb out of bankruptcy. However, sales were at a plateau, and they were bouncing from one market to another.

The consultant implemented a strategic planning process to transform the organization and position the company for breakthrough financial results. They developed strategic objectives for the next 5 years that included doubling revenues and quintupling profits. After completion of the 5-year forecast, the Consultant then helped the client develop a detailed 12-month business plan. In addition, the Consultant worked with the client to bring new talent onto the senior team and provide coaching as the business evolved.


  • The business planning process has made a significant impact by bringing new discipline to decision-making. They now review new projects against other priorities in their plan, which allows staff to maintain focus.
  • Managers also have a clearer understanding of the projects their colleagues are pursuing and why since they were involved in establishing shared business priorities, which has eliminated silo-thinking and dissolved interdepartmental tensions as well as improved customer service.
  • Their focus is now on the company’s resources and major contracts that are aligned with their core competencies.
  • The organization is currently making significant investments in equipment, laboratories, regulatory systems, and other aspects of its operations that enable growth and profitability.
  • Two long-time employees were coached to develop the precise skills the team needed to succeed.
  • In response to a $2 million downturn in sales during the past year, the organization rose to the challenge and exhibited a laser-like focus on cost control. As a result, the company doubled its profits during one of the worst economic downturns in history.

The client is and was thrilled with the measurable outcomes the suggested approach helped the company achieve. We have similar cases in multiple industries. Read more Case Studies here.

Providing consulting services to small and medium-size organizations is a win-win for the organization as well as the consultant. Why you ask? Well small to medium organizations typically do not have internal resources to create and provide an approach as you read above. Large consulting firms who do provide similar types of services will not touch small to medium-size organizations because they can’t afford their services. Therefore, for these two reasons the small to mid-size market continues to be underserved in the consulting arena.

Independent consultants are a perfect out-sourced solution for small to mid-size organizations – a win for an underserved business community. And, the win for the consultant is that decision makers are typically easier to access and they have a under served need – a win for the independent consultant.

Could you see yourself in an independent consulting role providing outcomes as described in the case study? If you had the support of a consulting network and the tools necessary to generate the types of outcomes listed, would it make it easier to move in the direction of consulting?

If you answered yes to either of those questions connect with us to learn more.

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