right arrow
Back to all posts

Understanding the difference between Consulting, Advisory, and Implementation

A tale of Scope Creep.

When you say “consulting” something slightly different comes to mind for everyone. This is because there are different types of consultants and even the “same type of consultants” goes about their process a little differently. 

Many consultants like to stay on the fringe of their clients’ business while providing a truly outside perspective/analysis. Some consultants like to deep dive into all aspects of their clients’ business. Either way, it’s important to know both your limitations and your opportunities to be more, when your clients require it. 

It’s exciting when you are offered to do more for a client, but how can you make sure it doesn’t turn into scope creep? 

To address this issue that so many consultants face on a regular basis, we’ll go over the differences between consulting, advisory, and implementation. 

Visit dryrun.com/partners to learn about our Advisory Partner Program & also about our 30-Day FREE Trial.

What’s the difference between a consultant and an advisor? 

While consultants usually work surface-level and using retroactive information, advisors tend to work with clients more long-term. They may take on a leadership role within the company and have a very specific purpose. Consultants tend to work with companies for a short period of time to address a broader spectrum of problems. 

Both roles can have implementation components built-in, but advisors are more likely the ones who will truly be implementing strategies and directing companies to take certain routes as opposed to others.

Advisors are likely to help businesses increase their revenues through general services and a longer-term strategy. Consultants are brought in to tackle a specific problem set through very specialized services. 

So, while you might keep an advisor around for a long time to help implement these strategies and weigh the alternatives, consultants are the ones you’ll call for a fast turnaround on a big, specific problem. 

Here’s where it can get hairy with scope creep…

If you don’t clearly define your role with a company as an advisor or a consultant, they can start to expect certain things from you as a professional that you might normally charge extra for. 

It can happen very gradually, or maybe you helped implement the first step of your plan when you were only charging for your professional opinion, and now they expect it of you. 

Either way, creating a clearly defined role and set of services you’ll provide to a company is paramount to avoiding scope creep within consulting and advising. 

Of course, a company can hire you for implementation, as well. Especially if you have specific experience in their industry and have a good track record with these sorts of problems. You just need to make sure to clearly define each component of your contract within these organizations. 

For example, you can advise a company to monitor their cash flows more closely in order to make well-informed decisions regarding spending, but actually setting up this software and running/interpreting the analysis would be considered implementation. See the difference? 

Visit dryrun.com/partners to learn about our Advisory Partner Program & also about our 30-Day FREE Trial.

Maybe you want to do your client a favor… 

If you suggest using cash flow management software and have set it up before, maybe you can offer the initial setup and integration to your client as a favor. But make sure they KNOW it’s a favor and that for anyone else, this is a service you’d charge for. 

If you’re comfortable with this route, this could help solidify a long-term partnership for you as an advisor of this client, but you need to consider what you gain and lose along either path or consider whether your value is being rewarded.

Remember, scope creep can happen when the client adds tasks or requests to your agreement without offering to pay for them (they never will!) or when they try to renegotiate the value of the contract without reducing the current scope. 

You have to anticipate this from the start, and it can be hard to do in service-based businesses, so be sure to manage expectations from the start of your working relationship.

You could also try offering an hourly rate or billing based on time, rather than per contract. This allows you to charge by the hour, so all your time is accounted for whether you’re doing advising, consulting, or implementing your strategies. 

Consider though that there are often different price brackets for each of these services so one might charge more for consulting than they do for implementation because the strategic part has been completed. Make sure your client agrees to this billing method and signs a contract before you get started. 

For more like this visit Dryrun.com.  

See if Dryrun is a fit for you.