Hire a Business Consultant

Whether you want to hire a consulting firm to generate fresh ideas for your business, get access to the consultants’ expertise and experience, or augment your business, these  tips will make sure that you get the right firm hired and make your collaboration as effective as possible.

Be wary

It’s not surprising that the consulting industry has got a bad rep. After years and years of billing clients and pitching them products and services to hit their sales targets, consulting firms have done some significant damage. As a client, when you meet and work with a consultant, be diligent: Pay attention to who’s agenda is most important in the conversation. Are you being sold ready-to-use solutions, or is the consultant fully focused on your agenda? Ask about how they are being compensated. Conflicts may be difficult to avoid — the key is to know about them and address them upfront.

Don’t be afraid to talk money

The days when clients played the “being vague about the budget” game and when consultants played the budget guessing game are over. Save your (and your consultant’s) time and communicate your budget requirements and expectations upfront. With the budget guidance, your consultant will offer you a concise plan that will get you to your desired outcome in the most efficient way, while staying within the budget you have. It will also save you the time you would otherwise spend talking to the wrong consultants.

Define the outcome

In your work with the consultant, focus on the outcome, not on the time needed to deliver it. Be clear with your consultant about the body of work and the business outcome you are expecting from it and take time to discuss and define the results further with the consultant. While many consulting firms used to charge clients by the hour, this approach often is not effective. Consultants typically do not like to bill clients by the hour, nor do clients want to feel like every minute they spend talking to a consultant costs them money. By focusing on the business outcome rather than on the hours, you’re holding the consulting firm accountable for the results within the timeline and the budget that you have.