I remember a time when, as a project manager on a First Nation development project, I realized I had exhausted my knowledge and desperately needed a business consultant to help me move a project forward. I tried to find one in the yellow pages, but I couldn’t find one because they just weren’t listed as doctors, lawyers or engineers. In the end, I found a consultant through word of mouth, but I remember thinking “did I just get lucky or is this how the industry works?” Twelve years later, I am still fascinated by the world of business consultants. So, this amateur private eye went on the hunt to find how out how one goes about procuring a business consultant.
First and foremost, there are many types of business consultants. You need to identify what question your company needs answered to find the right type of consultant for your business needs. Do you have a finance, human resources, strategy, operations, marketing, or IT problem? Perhaps you need help with planning a business expansion, governance, or developing a marketing plan. There are many reasons and there are many consultants that specialize in different subject areas.
So, how do you find the right consultant for your business? Well, of course, there is always Google. However, there are several professional associations that can help you find what you are looking for including the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources Canada (CPHR / CRHA CANADA), Chartered Professional Accountants Canada (CPA Canada) or the Canadian Association of Management Consultants (CMC-Canada). I contacted the latter and asked them, “How easy it is really to find a consultant?” They told me their organization has over 2,000 members, and consultants can be found through a search engine on their website. Your needs in a consultant can be filtered by business sector, professional designation, geographical area and even language preferences.
When looking for a consultant you want to make sure you have someone qualified for the work. So yes, you could hire someone from a Google search, but are you getting a quality candidate? The Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation is the profession’s only international certification mark, recognized in over 40 countries. It represents a commitment to the highest standards of consulting and adherence to a code of conduct for the profession.
What does it mean to have a CMC designation? Certified Management Consultants must have a certain level of education and experience to qualify to be a CMC. They must also pass a national assessment administered by the Canadian Association of Management Consultants (CMC-Canada). You don’t have to have your CMC certification to be a member; however, having the designation is the mark bestowed upon professional consultants. You can still be a member while you earn your designation.
Finally, I was curious to know if it would it still be worthwhile searching for a consultant on CMC-Canada’s website if a person or organization doesn’t have a huge project. They said they have members that meet all sorts of client needs including large, medium and small consulting firms, including individual consultants.
To find a consultant or how to become a member please see the Canadian Association of Management Consultants (CMC-Canada) website at http://www.cmc-canada.ca/home. The search for a consultant is free and includes access to members that have their CPHR / CRHA CANADA and CPA Canada designations as well.
In next month’s blog, I will talk to a local Vancouver Island consultant that gives me the low down on working in the consulting field.