When You’ve Reached THAT Point…

Here are 4 Factors to Look for in Hiring a Consultant

-Consultant – one who gives professional advice or services :  expertGoals

From Merriam-Webster dictionary, the above definition basically defines what a consultant does. The latter term, expert, may be questionable these days as many people claim to be someone they are not.

Consulting is not something you do when you lose your job, or get tired of your job. It is something you do because you have a firm knowledge base of that particular field and have the passion and desire to help others succeed. It is definitely not something you do to get rich. Passion must come first, then success. It’s a lot like success being a result of happiness, not the other way around.

Some consultants offer a lot of theory and consulting jargon, but do not take the results to heart. If a client learns theory, he needs to learn how to put it to work as well. Clients may be leery of paying consultants by the hour until they themselves grasp the concept being recommended. But over the life time of using the principles, the money spent is negligible compared to the gain from the concepts. If a client learns how to manage money better, learns new controls for spending, new methods of attracting new customers or develops a stronger sales force, the outcome will far outweigh the expense of having gotten to that point. So, for the next 5 years, the increased income will overshadow the fees spent on getting to that point.

So what do you look for in hiring a business consultant? Here are 4 factors to consider:

  1. Is the consultant a listener or a talker? If the consultant talks your ear off, he is not listening to what your concerns about your business are. The first thing a consultant needs to do is listen and ask questions to arrive to a path for course correction.
  2. Are the questions he is asking relevant to what your goals are? Some consultants like to narrow the focus to what they are good at versus what you are looking for. That is a good way to generate fees, but not as good for what you are trying to achieve.
  3. Does the consultant have an overview idea of what is needed to accomplish? This is where you ask questions relevant to what you are looking for. If you don’t get the answer, keep asking more questions.
  4. Ask about timelines. When does the consultant feel he could get you to where you want to be. This is a very touchy question as a lot of the answer depends on your ability to furnish answers and access. So do be discouraged by the answer, but remember you have a large stake in the timeline. If training of your employees is involved, this could extend the timeline. Ask the question, but just be open and flexible about the answer. Your looking for an answer that is open ended.

Don’t hesitate to interview two or three consultants to get comfortable with the person you feel is sincere and understands your issues. A consultant will become your confidant, advisor and best friend over the course of your work together. Success comes from the open communication.

Paul Beaudette has over 30 years experience in driving businesses to successful outcomes. Whether you deal in products, services or are just looking to shape one department of your company, Leading Edge Business Strategies will help you get there quickly. Call Paul at (207) 577-1948 or email at paul@leadingedgebusinessstrategies.com .

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