Sometimes consultancy appears to be an ambiguous/vague profession that implies jack of all trades. For many, that’s enough to put them off the idea of getting one for their business.
Entrepreneurs by nature are solo risk-takers who hold their businesses close to heart. They are not comfortable with outside influence on the baby they found and know how to raise their way.
But, when it comes to business, no one knows everything. You have to be willing to seek counsel if you are to create a formidable brand.
Having said that, how do you know the right fit for your needs? There is no absolute way to be sure but having a screening checklist is the starting point to clear doubts.
You can use these smart tips the next time you want to hire the services of a business consultant.
To hire or not to hire a specialized consultant.
On this matter, conflicting views are out there. Our take is specialist professional services and diversity in the industry sector.
Consider the market they serve, are their professional services for B2B or B2C. That is vital because these two are very different.
However, the industry focus should be wide, such as law, healthcare, marketing, etc.
The approach is better for these reasons;
- When a consultancy micro-targets an industry, there’s a risk of staying comfortable with the usual standards and trends. You won’t get value.
- Industry-specific consultants can easily fall into the temptation to use the same ‘template’ on every business.
- There is a limited influx of ideas and insights with a single sector consultant.
A suitable consultant for your business should have experience in the challenges and opportunities you face. The best pick is an entrepreneur. Since what he brings is his experience dealing with similar issues.
Past Client Relationships
Another great way to determine if a consultant is right for your business is to look at its clients’ history. It’s an indication of companies that fit its profile. Professional ones will list on their websites this information such as clients, case studies, and testimonials. Some can even include a CEO interview to demonstrate the value they bring from a client’s perspective.
Content Depth and Delivery Method
It’s not enough to look up a business consultant online. Go a step further and skim through their plan, and ask questions on how they execute.
Consultants are knowledge workers, and that is what you should be getting. It means a comprehensive list of available resources on their site like white papers, e-books, videos, and guides that CEOs can use to make decisions.
The consultant you settle for must have depth. Other than the industry experience, can he write? Does he have fresh ideas? How does he communicate these ideas? What consulting approaches does he utilize?
Ask these questions before signing a contract.
Why is this important? It shows a consultancy that is actively engaged and not just selling services based on their resume.
The Bottom Line
Finding the best business consultant for your business is a daunting task. It doesn’t matter if it is on the start-up, growth, or mid-market stage. Use this list to narrow down your search and identify the correct partner.
Have you worked with a consultant before? What other selection criteria did you use? Use the comment section to share your experiences.