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Business Consulting Agreement

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business consulting agreement is a contract entered into by a business entity and a consultant that they hired to provide expert advice. These documents create a defined timeline in which the consultant will advise the business. The parties can set any term they like and they may choose to extend the arrangement after the initial term has concluded.

A consulting agreement describes the tasks to be performed by the consultant, the amount of compensation they’ll receive, if any additional fees apply (such as a retainer or a contingency fee), and other important terms and conditions.

Contents

Purpose of a Business Consultant

A business consultant is a person hired by a company to maintain, reassess, or improve its business model and overall operations. Whether the company is a startup or a long-standing entity, bringing in a consultant enables the entity to obtain an outside perspective regarding business strategies and goals, helping it realize its full potential. Since the consultant is an external contractor, their objective view allows them to discover issues or areas of potential improvement that might otherwise be missed and implement changes without bias.

Services

Consultants are generally hired to discover obstacles that are preventing growth or impeding efficiency, which might involve performing some of the following tasks:

  • Introducing new ideas and strategies to refresh its image and bolster operations.
  • Implementing changes, adding new programs, or creating entire departments.
  • Assessing, training, and providing resources for staff and management.
  • Hiring and firing staff.
  • Providing support and advice during an acquisition, merger, or another large company change.
  • Analyzing the budget. (Although, a company in need of financial and accounting expertise exclusively might instead hire an accounting consultant.)

Types of Business Consultants

Compliance

Due to the complexity of a corporation’s structure and its impact on the public, a compliance consultant may be needed to ensure a business is adhering to local, state, and federal rules and regulations. 

Information Technology (IT)

IT consultants are brought in to evaluate a company’s networks and systems, computer hardware and software, cyber security, data analytics, and other technology-related services. They will often stay on to advise management and work with the internal IT employees to implement any necessary changes. 

Human Resources

A human resource consultant provides services to companies who need assistance with hiring and terminating staff, training employees, creating benefits packages, optimizing supervisor and management workflow, teaching conflict resolution techniques, and other policies related to company personnel.

Legal

For entities without in-house counsel, a legal consultant may be hired to help with lawsuits, draft employment agreements and business contracts, obtain intellectual property rights, and advise on any number of other legal matters.

Management

The term management consultant is sometimes used interchangeably with “business consultant,” and their services often overlap with strategy consultants and operations consultants. They are brought in to handle a variety of general tasks for a company, such as fixing organizational and operational issues, workflow concerns, and inefficient systems or areas of management.

Marketing

A marketing consultant provides services related to growing customer bases, developing social media, TV, and other advertising strategies, creating or improving brands, boosting sales, and gaining/maintaining an edge over competitors.

Operations

An operations consultant handles tasks pertaining to streamlining operations in a given sector of a company so they can be as efficient and profitable as possible.

Product Development

A product development consultant is hired to provide expertise in researching, designing, developing, marketing, and launching new or modified products.

Public Relations

When a company wants to strengthen public relations, it can hire a consultant that specializes in improving the image of its owners, officers, and employees, the branding of products or services, and its relationship with the general public.

Sales

The main component of a sales consultant’s job is to increase sales and revenue for a corporation, whether they deal in goods or services. They sometimes work with the sales team to increase their productivity and create new strategies, or they may advise executives and management on how to obtain long-term growth and meet or surpass sales targets.

Strategy

A strategy consultant is brought in to analyze a business and produce quantitative data to suggest strategies to improve the business. They will dissect the corporate and organizational structure of a company, its economic, environmental, and governmental policies, and other key areas of functionality.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a virtual consultant?

Virtual consultants are hired by companies that do not need services to be performed on-site. Bringing someone in who can work remotely increases the chance of finding a suitable candidate by opening up the hiring pool to professionals working from cities, states, and even countries outside the company’s area of operation.

Is a consultant considered an employee?

A consultant that is hired externally is considered an independent contractor, whether they have their own business or they are an employee of a consulting firm. However, companies may hire an internal consultant who will maintain an employee status and remain on the company’s payroll; for this arrangement, an employment contract will need to be executed in lieu of a consulting agreement.