Anywhere we go, there are problems. In your house, there are problems. Party, problems. Playing basketball, problems. On your way to work, problems. Inside your office, there are plenty of problems. Problems. Problems. Problems. They never go away. Okay, the problems at home, you can handle. They are manageable. But in the office, it gets complicated. Your problem is the problem of you senior officer. And the problem of the whole team in the office is also your problem. It is not just a personal problem, it is an official problem. It is a business problem. And that requires a professional for a solution.
Problem solving a profession
Because of competition, problem solving these days has become a profession. But there really is no such thing as a job, a profession called problem solver. Or is there any? We do not use such a term, for reasons it may sound awkward. “Hi, just call my problem solver late this afternoon.” No, we do not say it. But you can say, “Hi, just call my secretary late this afternoon.”
All humans as problem solver
But are there people who solve problems? Technically, and literally speaking, we all solve problems. Every action we do, we are solving problems how to move. When we smile, we are solving how to move our mouth. When we cry, we are trying to solve how we should react when hurt. When we read, we we are solving the problem of how a word should be read. Everything we do is solving problem. So basically, each of us is equipped with the problem solving skill. We all have it. But not everyone makes it a profession.
We do not have a title such as Problem Solver. But we have a title called Consultant. And what it does is provide solutions to a problem.
Consultant on ideas (not a solver on the physical level)
When we request for a consultant, we do not actually ask for his service. We ask for his advice. For example, if there is a problem in the office, let us say water leak. If you call a plumber, what he would do is go the faulty faucet and fix it. The consultant, if you request him, he will not look for the faucet. Instead, he will talk to the manager or the supervisor about the faulty faucet. So he would ask you to sit and talk about the faucet. Nothing else. Well, of course, he will give you an advice what to do with the faucet. Maybe talk a little about the causes why there is a leak, or maybe he would suggest you repair the whole pipeline. But that is just it, he just gives advice. He does not repair the faucet at all. The contrast is an exaggeration. But it drives the whole point.
We have defined clearly what a consultant does, but here is where the battle as a consultant plays. A consultant does not just come out in the field by a snap of his finger. NO. He still has to write proposal. And after writing a proposal, it is then that he waits for the client if his proposed solution is worth risking. It is a risk because it is not just about repairing something. It is not about repairing a faucet. The problems are usually about saving business, a sinking business. If faucets are dollars, a business firm is thousands, and even millions. So this has got to be taken by the perfect, right, professional person. And by the right person, it could mean as someone who is good at writing a proposal.
Writing a good proposal is a must-have skill for every consultant. If you want to be on top of the list being a consultant, you must have a good, well-written, proposal. A good proposal could be just the only thing that a client will look into or consider when hiring for a consultant.
So how does one prepare and write a good proposal?
If you are into business problem solving, then you ought to know what it takes to make a proposal for any business-related problems. But whatever specific problem that is, it is usually a financial problem in general. The specifics could be about profit, investment, return, loans, sales, but basically it is always about money. Such problem is easier if the consultant has background in sales marketing, or probably in accounting.
Proposals in general are basically the same. Though it differs the moment you go down to specifics. But it is not just about solving problems. You look for the underlying issues, the concern. From there, study what can be done, and propose your own solution. It is just like a thesis.