What is the difference between business consulting and management consulting?

Consultancy is a popular option for businesses who could use some short-term expertise in a particular area, without wishing to take on the commitment of an additional staff member. Consultancy offers an affordable way of benefiting from senior-level expertise for a competitive price. Flexible and versatile, no matter what the issue may be, a consultant can frequently be the person to find solutions!

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A common question which clients have when considering hiring consultancy input is whether to opt for business consulting or management consulting. Although there are similarities and overlaps between the two roles, they are different.

Read on to discover what business consulting and management consulting consists of, as well as which might be best for what you’ve got in mind. JVR Consultancy has talented individuals who can deliver both consultancy styles, ensuring you get holistic assistance which gives you the outcomes you’re looking for.

Business consulting

Although some people use the terms ‘business consulting’ and ‘management consulting’ interchangeably, it tends to be the case that business consulting relates to business processes (which might include production, HR, finance or buildings maintenance), whereas management consulting will focus on people and the less quantifiable parts of the business (for example, culture, vision, strategic objectives, delivering change, forward planning, managing expansion and growth).

Some of the key characteristics of business consulting are:

  • Business consulting is often used during the early phases of a business start-up, or when a period of growth is planned. A business consultant can make sure that the right processes are in place to enable a company to work effectively, legally and in an organised manner. When growth is taking place, a business consultant can assist the organisation in developing the capacity needed to deliver it effectively.
  • Consultants delivering business consultancy frequently have particular expertise at an operational level, as well as a significant degree of technical knowledge. This means the assistance they give is tailored to the needs of each business.
  • Business consultants are able to provide an objective appraisal of the current systems, then come up with ways of improving them, often without spending significantly more. If you need an individual to check your Health & Safety compliance, ensure that your systems are capable of handling Data Protection correctly or that your marketing is as good as it possibly can be, a business consultant can make it happen.
  • Business consultants may also tend to work with business owners rather than senior managers. They bring a broad, well-informed view of the market and external variables, enabling them to advise owners on what direction might yield the biggest profits.

Management consulting

Management consultants often work with the senior management team, helping them to plan the future of the organisation and work out how to keep core values intact, despite expansion and change. There is frequently a significant strategic planning element to the work of management consultants. They may assist in developing strategy at the corporate level, or simply developing a strategy for the delivery of a particular project.

Some key characteristics of management consultants include:

  • They often play a key role in risk management. Whilst there is a need to reduce risk at an operational level, management consultants will tend to concentrate on the risks a business might face at a corporate level. They assist senior managers in identifying and managing risk, helping to equip the business with the resilience it needs to survive.
  • These consultants often have a training and/or coaching role during their time with an organisation. This may involve working with individual managers or entire workplace teams. Particularly when an organisation is attempting to embed a new culture or way of working, management consultants will frequently facilitate a suitable training plan to ensure everyone ends up on the same page.
  • Although it’s not an absolute, management consultants tend to work with larger organisations. This is usually because steering a larger company is a more complex, multi-faceted task than managing a smaller business. Larger organisations may also feel they need more assistance to embed new systems and processes. These may require significant investment, so being certain they’re fit for purpose is a priority!

Although there are differences between business consulting and management consulting, it’s perfectly possible for a business to need elements of both roles in the work they require. JVR consulting are able to tailor what they do to match client needs. Whatever outcomes you need to see from the process, we will provide the input you need to build capacity in order to achieve your goals. Get in touch to find out more.

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Matt Whiteman

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