Thinking that maybe an outside expert can help you solve an internal business problem? Here are the positives to hiring a business consultant. They can

  • Be a source of specialized knowledge, bringing skills and experience.
  • Help with marketing, sales development, business expansion, and improvements and aid in executing these ideas and recommendations.
  • Bridge a gap in knowledge or skills within the company.
  • Bring a fresh, objective and professional perspective.
  • Take an objective view of problems such as a decrease in sales, cash-flow issues and low productivity.
  • Bring in sophisticated tests and research to determine the root of a problem.
  • Help you reach a goal that you can’t achieve internally because of a skills gap.
  • Assist you with growing pains if the new company has grown rapidly and you’re losing organizational focus.

OK, so you may be considering bringing on a consultant. What’s involved?

  • Prior to having the consultant begin work, you both set out terms, parameters and a consulting agreement. This is called a mutual consulting interview.
  • The consulting period typically includes discovery, research and a final presentation of recommendations that completes the project.
  • And after the consulting happens? You and the expert may choose to extend the agreement, or you may decide you can implement the ideas on your own.

You’ll probably be contracting for three to six months, with an option to renew the contract if necessary. Setting a time period for the project is important to ensure there’s enough time to provide results. It helps assure timely progress.

Your contract will include:

  • Consulting parameters.
  • Names of the responsible parties.
  • Payment schedules.
  • Relevant deliverables and deadlines.

Talking to prospective consultants will help you determine the right scope and budget for your project and can be a great way to see your potential working relationship. You’ll want to see how they plan business strategy and whether they will help you execute the plan. You’ll need to consider how long you’re willing to wait before you see results and how much you can realistically afford to pay for the counsel. Most important? To work with someone you really click with. When it all comes together, you’ll be positioned for success.

Check often with your consultant to make sure you’re working off the same set of expectations. You may both decide on changes once you see intermediate results and drafts. Decide upfront how to handle the need for redoing part of the work.

Remember: You are in control of your business. Make sure you find a consultant who can help you come up with answers, and that you understand what those answers are and how they were reached.

Although you may have trouble delegating tasks to others, ask yourself if too much of your time is spent on non-core business activities and then admit that you may need to hire consulting services.

Give us a call, and we can help you decide what kind of consulting help you may need and who the right people might be for your situation.