What Does a Business Consultant Do? Duties and Salary

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 19 September 2022 | Published 20 July 2021

Updated 19 September 2022

Published 20 July 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Many people choose to pursue a career in business because the industry contains countless job opportunities in several areas of expertise, which can be attractive to candidates from diverse backgrounds. One area of the business industry that can offer many unique chances for employment is consultancy, as working as a business consultant can be an exciting and rewarding experience. If you have a thorough knowledge of business practices and are interested in helping others as part of your job, a career as a business consultant might be ideal for you.

In this article, we consider what a business consultant does and explore a few key elements of working as a business consultant, including their typical job duties and average salary.

What is a business consultant?

A business consultant is a professional who has an expert-level knowledge of business and uses their expertise to help businesses and organisations improve their operations. Business consultants can contribute to a wide variety of business goals, such as increasing revenue, expanding into new markets or territories and finding creative solutions to challenges that businesses face in the industry. Many business consultants also specialise in management consulting, which involves offering specific advice to management teams and executives about how they can use their positions as company leaders more efficiently.

While most business consultants work for companies or corporations, a business consultant can also work for a not-for-profit or other type of charity organisation. This is because not-for-profits and charities can benefit from advice about business concepts like how to raise capital, set budgets and increase efficiency, even though they usually have different goals than for-profit businesses and large corporations.

What does a business consultant do?

To recognise what does a business consultant do, it really depends on the organisation they work for. A business consultant is typically responsible for the planning, implementation and education of businesses and organisations. Business consultants can have a number of unique job duties that contribute to enhancing a company's operations and educating its leaders about how they can enhance their efficiency. They often work directly with business owners and can help with tasks like creating a business plan, identifying marketing needs and developing the necessary skills for business ownership. Additional responsibilities can include:

  • Identifying marketing needs, such as convenience, user experience and reliability of products and services

  • Developing a strategy to increase brand awareness and customer acquisition

  • Educating clients by offering resources on subjects like information technology, sales and business regulations

  • Finding new opportunities to secure funding

  • Applying for loans to finance business operations

  • Creating a strategic business plan to help leaders achieve short-term and long-term business goals

  • Reviewing accounting processes and budgets to make recommendations for improvement

  • Implementing new hiring and training practices to attract a higher number of qualified candidates for open positions

Related: What Is a Consulting Cover Letter? And How To Write One

Salary and job outlook for a business consultant

The national average salary for a business consultant is currently $81,664 per year, which many people might consider a very competitive base salary. This can also depend on their experience, educational background, company they're working for, size of the company and industry they're in.

According to Singapore's Department of Statistics, the number of people employed in the professional services sector, including business consultants, has been experiencing positive growth since the beginning of 2021. Because of this, it can be possible to infer that the trend might continue throughout 2021, which can mean an increase in available jobs for business consultants and similar professionals.

Related: What Does a Consultant Do? Key Duties for Each Speciality

Work environment for a business consultant

The typical work environment of a business consultant is usually divided between time spent in their office and time spent on-site with clients at their business locations. Business consultants often spend a lot of time travelling. If a client lives in a different country, this could mean frequent overnight travel. Consultants may spend one day analysing the budget and finances of an organisation and spend another day retraining staff at the restaurant or store level. Tight budgets and strict timelines can also mean that business consultants are often on a busy schedule in order to meet clients' needs.

Skills for a business consultant

Because business consultants can work in different industries, the skills they need can vary. For example, a business consultant in the healthcare industry might have a strong background in health systems and budgeting, while a business consultant working in the restaurant industry might have more experience offering advice on subjects like food costs, labour and restaurant marketing. These are some of the skills that a business consultant can develop:

  • Leadership: A business consultant may require good leadership skills. In addition to leading the business toward success, the business consultant can work on earning the trust and loyalty of other team members. They may also provide direction to ensure the organisation achieves its goals.

  • Consulting: Consulting skills are important in a business consultant role. Different from traditional leadership, a consultant works directly with the business owner to train and educate them on business practices.

  • Teamwork: Consultants often work in large team settings. They may work with owners, executive leaders, department managers and staff. Strong teamwork skills are important in coordinating work among these different roles. This requires strong verbal and nonverbal communication abilities.

  • Problem-solving: When facing challenges, many business owners call on business consultants for help with new strategies. Consultants use strong problem-solving abilities to identify the source of the problem and come up with a unique solution.

  • Analytical evaluation: Business consultants are involved with all aspects of the business, including the finances. They may benefit from possessing strong analytical skills for budgeting and planning.

  • Creativity: Business consultants are expected to offer a new perspective on an already existing business plan. A sense of creative thinking is useful when working with new businesses or overcoming a business challenge.

Related: 9 Consulting Skills To Be a Successful Consultant

Business consultant requirements

Here are some of the requirements for becoming a business consultant:

Education

A bachelor's degree is often the minimum requirement for a business consultant. In many industries, employers prefer a master's degree for more advanced positions. While there are some schools with a specific programme in business consulting, you might also choose to pursue a degree in business, or a closely related major like economics, management or finance. At the master's degree level, many aspiring business consultants decide to work toward a Master of Business Administration to learn about more complex concepts in business that can inform their ability to provide advice to clients in the future.

Related: How To Build Education Section In Your Resume

Training

Because business consultants are considered experts in their industry, they often receive years of field training before they start taking on clients and offering advice. This may be in the form of a business analyst position or another type of business professional. Some business consultants choose to learn important skills by working with other individuals in the same role.

Another common way for aspiring business consultants to undergo training is to complete an internship with a business consultant who currently works in the industry. This can offer the chance to build expertise and to learn by observing a professional in the field.

Related: The Best Times to Apply for an Internship (Plus Tips From a University Career Coach)

Certifications

Certification is typically optional for business consultants. However, earning a certification can always be beneficial to your job application, as it can show employers your dedication to the field and highlight any special expertise you might have. There are several choices for certifications that business consultants can pursue, all of which can offer advanced training and credentials in consultancy. To earn a business consultant certification, candidates typically prepare specific materials and then receive a passing grade on a comprehensive exam.

Here's some information about two popular certifications for business consultants offered by the Institute of Management Consultants Singapore (IMCS):

  • Registered Management Consultant (RMC): This certification recognises consultants who have strong basic skills in and an understanding of best practices in management, ethics and professional conduct.

  • Certified Management Consultant (CMC): The CMC credential can be ideal to consultants with extensive experience in management consulting and who want a credential that's recognised internationally. CMC certification also explores more advanced concepts in management, like professional behaviour and client management.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed. Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing.

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