As a business owner there will be a time when you realize you need outside help. It can be difficult to step outside the ‘business owner’ shoes and fully and effectively assess where your business is at, and the best path to success and growth.
Often hiring an employee isn’t a feasible solution to your growth or business problems, as the employees becomes just as engrained and biased as you are. Hiring temporary help in the form on a consultant can be helpful, and in the long run, cost effective. Without added costs of benefits, work space costs, and vacation pay, a consultant can help you with your business needs. Consultants often specialize in a specific field, so they are well equipped to look at your problem area, and you can be sure you are getting an expert.
Hiring a good consultant can be a daunting task, so what are some tips for a success client/consultant partnership?
- Do your homework and learn about the consultant you are considering. Talk to other people, engage in conversations with your consultant and ensure you are getting the expertise you require. This can require time but it is always worth the investment. If it doesn’t feel like a good fit, don’t engage.
- Know who you are hiring. If you’re looking for assistance with marketing and social media, hire an expert on marketing and social media. Remember that self-taught experts are a dime a dozen, if you’re looking for the best of the best, you’re looking for someone who has practical and educational experience. You wouldn’t pay your neighbour’s 16 year old kid who knows how to get followers on Facebook big bucks, make sure you’re not throwing your money away to the wrong consultant.
- If you’re unhappy with someone early on, let your consultant know. It’s never fun to deliver bad news but if you’re unhappy with something, how can the consultant fix it if they don’t know there is a problem?
- Be reasonable and remember you’re not the only client. Yes, a great consultant will jump through hoops for you. Just remember that they are often jumping through hoops for others. If you wanted them full time, you could make them staff. Just because they are consultants doesn’t mean they are available at your whim – unless you are willing to pay the “at-your-whim” fee.
- Know what you expect, clearly articulate it and then measure it. Once this is established, if the project drifts from the original scope, make sure both parties agree to and understand the new expectations. Have a very clear idea of your expected project outcomes. It is often best to prepare this in conjunction with your selected consultant.
- Remember that a consultant only has the information about your company that is readily available or that you’ve provided to them. Don’t expect your consultant to know your quarterly numbers from three years ago if you’ve never disclosed this information to them.
- Pay in a timely manner which is generally less than 30 days.
Working with a consultant can be a rewarding experience. Be open to challenges from your consultant, and listen and provide feedback. Remember, this is YOUR business and a consultant is hired to help you be the best you can be.