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The simplest description is that a business consultant would learn about your business, identify problems and opportunities; perform an analysis; recommend proven workable solutions to resolve the problems identified and take advantage of existing opportunities; get feedback and ensure company management is in agreement with the recommendations and implementation plan; and finally help you implement and track the plan.

These overall steps are necessary in any consulting relationship if it is to be successful. Whether you’re hiring a consultant for a quick fix to some problem, to assist with a short-term project or you’re hiring a consultant to help you turn your business around, the steps are the same. The difference would be in the scope of the actions. A start-up with a limited budget would not need the kind of extensive (and more expensive) analysis that would be involved in a turnaround. The consulting process described here can be tailored to the needs of the client and the scope of these actions can be as narrow or as broad as may be required to get the results the client desires and stay within the client’s budget.