It’s not uncommon for a business to face problems. Sometimes it’s something a business can face by itself, with some judicious cost cutting to weather a difficult time, or making efficiencies in its supply chain.

When the problem is broader, requiring a change in culture to grapple with, or acute and specialised and so outside the scope of their institutional knowledge, it makes sense to bring in some outside expertise.

The advantage of using consultants is that you don’t have to deal with a lengthy and costly severance process when you no longer need their expertise. When you’re dealing with short term problem, rather than a lasting change to how your business operates, it’s inefficient to take on permanent full-time staff to solve it. This leaves you stuck with highly qualified staff members who aren’t adding value to your business anymore, cost you to keep employed and also cost you to let them go.

As consultants are freelance, and by nature short term workers, there is no issue with them moving on when they’ve fulfilled the terms of the contract they’re hired under. It’s an astute move to make sure you have easily quantifiable goals set for them, and provisions in the contract to review and make sure they are meeting these goals. This means that if you don’t see the results your business needs, you have an avenue to terminate their services and avoid paying them for not actually meeting your needs.

Interim Management is a new kind of consultancy work that’s been on the ascendant recently, with 93% more businesses using Interim services since 2006. You may want to consider using an Interim Manager rather than a traditional business consultant, especially if you’re experiencing a shortfall in staff. While they are a similar kind of consultant, coming into businesses who are looking to make a change or facing a crisis, they have a more hands-on approach. Rather than assessing your business and making recommendations for change, as a Business Consultant would, Interim Managers actually come to work as part of your executive team for the duration of the contract. If you need to turn around a failing project, you can expect your Interim Manager to come in and actually manage the project team directly, putting in place new processes to bring it in on time.

As well as solving the immediate problem, they leave your business with better processes and more knowledge that will continue to add value long into future.