A business consultant is an individual that works closely with a business owner or manager to improve operations, financials and/or efficiency.
A business consultant may be hired to solve a particular problem, or hired to figure out what the problems are, come up with solutions, and possibly, implement those solutions.
In many cases, an individual hired from outside the company is able to look at operations or financials from an "outsider's" perspective, identifying potential problems / obstacles / solutions.
Is this because employees are unable to do so? Not necessarily. However, in many environments, it is easier for a non-employee to drive change, to identify potentially uncomfortable problems that are preventing the company from achieving their goals and objectives, and then facilitate implementing solutions.
A business consultant is also able to see the company's operations from a "bird's eye view" -- the complete picture. Again, not because the CEO or other senior executive is unable to, but it is often difficult to step back from day-to-day responsibilities and look at operations from start-to-finish when one is in the middle of it.
What are examples of business consulting projects?
Analyze a company's spend, identifying opportunities to reduce costs that seem out-of-line with competitors or industry norms
Identify operational obstacles that are preventing growth or efficiency (could be in sales, manufacturing, distribution, supply chain, financial operations)
Review company goals and objectives, and identify gaps for accomplishing
Manage a high-priority, high-profile project requiring significant change in the organization
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