Finding the Right Consulting Firm for Business Growth in the B2C Sector

Vineet Trakroo, CEO ,Evolution Strategy Advisors | Insights Success | Business Magazine

Let’s start with a tough question. How often does a consulting company offering business growth gets called back by a client for another project?
Before going to a growth consultant, a client has to take a difficult decision of accepting that their past actions have not delivered the desired growth. They then try to identify the issues themselves and go with a concise brief to a consulting company seeking solutions to their brief. Which may not always be the real issue which needs to be addressed?
The right consulting company for business growth is actually the right fit of culture, skills, knowledge & performance. Each of these is equally important to satisfy the growth needs of the client. I have kept aside the infrastructure/ investments decisions, as that are mostly a constraint for clients.
There are 5 different customer segments – large professional organisations, medium-sized professional organisations, family run business, small enterprises, and startups. The last 2 make up over 90% of the corporations in India. The DNA of each of these organisation types is different and so is their culture. Their needs are different and so is their skill set, ability to spend and implement. Thus the type of consulting companies which excel in offering services to each of these segments is different.
Most family-run businesses, small enterprises, and start-ups shy away from larger consulting organisations, as they are not sure what added value, they can get from someone who consults larger organisations. Most of these companies do not use a growth consultant as they have been successful by their own metrics. Many have never used a growth consultant ever as the GDP growth had aided growth for most of these companies. They see their challenge to be infrastructural – which is related to their inability to spend more. Another major reason for not approaching a consulting firm is privacy as these organisations are worried about their future plans being leaked to competitors. A professional approach to business is only recently being seen as a competitive advantage and thus the need for consulting is rising.
When we discuss business growth there are 3 areas to be explored – strategic investment in a Greenfield or new project, growing existing business and new products. Each has a different skill set requirement and the same consultant cannot always manage all these challenges.
What is also important is the role a consulting company is expected to play in the client’s business growth. Do they just advise or see the organisations through till success?
A mismatch in any of the above will mean the delivery of results will not be to the client’s expectation and the client may shy away from all consulting companies in the future.  These mismatches have happened with many corporates and created a conflict in their minds whether consulting actually delivers.
While consulting does deliver and clients do benefit, but to make this happen there are some simple screens which should be applied by clients before finalizing a consulting company.

  1. Experience in managing similar situations in related or similar industries. Has the consulting company managed a similar situation in a similar or complementing industry? If so – with which clients and what was the result? Domain knowledge is very important as each industry has its own DNA and factors which enable growth. No two clients can have the same growth challenge as each comes with its own strength and weakness. There has to be a reference check done objectively by a very senior person from the clients’ team who should be the recipient of the consulting solution. This check gives the clients a sense of satisfaction on delivery by the consultant/s. If possible, the same team / or team leader who managed a similar situation on a successful project should be requested for by the client.
  2. The consultant has worked at a decision-making level in the function which needs attention. Many consulting companies employ lesser experienced professionals who have not been exposed to industry and neither has seen challenging situations. Many may not even understand the repercussions of some of their recommendations. It is necessary to have consultants who have worked in the industry, who understand that any growth is not brought about by just ideas or cross-pollination from other companies/ industries, but by learning, mentoring and implementing. Having consultants with good experience from the industry and who have been at a CXO or decision-making level in the focus area of growth is necessary. They usually can understand the client’s culture and organizational preparedness better and would then recommend the right solution which will result in success.
  3. Is able to hand hold the client and advise them on how to manage their challenges in execution. For any growth strategy recommended by a consulting Co., it is important to get the GTM- or go to market right. Which involves the planning and execution as well as the operational strategy relating to elements of marketing i.e. pricing, distribution, positioning, packaging, segmentation and advertising. Added to that are sales management, operation, and automation. A good understanding of the market by the consultant and the role cultural diversity plays in implementation goes a long way in achieving success. This is the key area which differentiates a consulting company, the actual delivery.
  4. Is able to deliver results, which are quick and measurable. If a client doesn’t see growth happening within a few months of hiring a consultant, their confidence is shaken. Further, when the ideas don’t result in fruition they shy away from hiring growth consultants in the future Setting up milestones for delivery is planning to deliver, these should be insisted upon and monitored.

The Indian economy is one of the fastest growing in the world. In most sectors, the world’s leading corporations have already made their presence felt and are ruling the markets here too. As money is not a major constraint with the entry of PE/ VC’s it’s the ideas which will succeed. The challenge is to make it big before your industry/ product or company becomes obsolete or products and services get commoditized. A good consulting partner is a catalyst for your business process. Evolution leads to growth.
About the Author
Vineet Trakroo, CEO at Evolution Strategy Advisors
Vineet is a consumer marketing strategist, a diagnostician and a restructuring specialist who has evolved a number of brands and businesses in India. He is an expert in driving strategy, improving profits & sales, product development, and brand management. He has over 25 years of experience in running organisations and consulting. His portfolio includes reengineering marketing & sales operations, improving profits, brand strategy, managing new business and managing a large portfolio of consumer brands both for Indian & Multinational organisations.
Vineet has vast experience across consumer goods industries namely: personal care, OTC, packaged branded commodities, kitchen & home appliances, fans, pumps, building materials, electrical industry, automobiles, and pharmaceuticals.

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