As a business owner it can be difficult to take an objective view at your business to see potential problems, need improvements and even new opportunities.

That’s why many business owners both large and small are hiring business analyst consultants to come in and help them improve their businesses. Business analysts are trained to think about a business, its operations and how to make improvements from an objective point of view. Do you think your business would benefit from this once in a while?

If you’re honest, your answer should be yes.

But before you go off and hire a consultant, it’s important to make sure that they have the necessary skills that can help you truly improve your business and not just spin your wheels. By ensuring that they have these four soft skills prior to getting started will go a long way in helping you actually improve your business.

1.    Communication Skills

Being able to communicate effectively is a huge asset for any business systems analyst.  Without it recommendations often get ignored by employees and real change never happens.

Make sure that your consultant would be able to effectively work with your team by taking it slow to ensure they are a fit.

2.    Negotiation Skills

Change is often against our own human nature, which is why it is so hard to do.  Chances are that task managers within your business will second guess the recommendations by this “outsider”. But by finding a business analyst that has the skills to work with your staff and help them understand why change is necessary is key.

Try asking them how they would work with one of your employees that are being reluctant to making any of the recommended changes and see how the consultant would respond.

3.    Problem Solving Skills

Every business is unique. That is why you will need a business analyst that has the skills and abilities to immediately be able to understand your business in order to identify any issues and recommend solutions.

In order to see if they have these skills try giving them an example of  problematic situation you have faced at work to see how they would have addressed it.

4.    Strategic Thinking Skills

Professionals working to improve business systems must have the ability to think both short-and long-term while keeping in mind the goals of the business.

Prior to hiring a consultant, ask them to complete a basic SWOT analysis for your business. Even without having an inside understanding of your business they should be able to identify the major themes pretty quickly.

By ensuring that the business analyst you hire has these skills your business will be ready for identifying, addressing and implementing the necessary changes need to keep your business being successful. Good luck!