Hiring a business consultant may be necessary at different times in the lifetime of your business. A business consultant offers a fresh perspective on issues that may be hindering your ability to grow. They can also offer a third-party assessment of challenges facing your business and offer strategies for solving them. There are steps you can take for a mutually beneficial relationship with your business consultant.
However, consider the common mistakes listed below when hiring a business consultant and do your best to avoid them.
1. You Don’t Have a Clear Goal
Before your consultant can help you make positive changes in your business, you need to be on the same page about your overall goal. If you haven’t made a specific goal, you can’t ask the right questions to put the right pieces in place.
Before starting your search for a consultant, be specific about what you want to achieve through the process.
2. You Don’t Ask the Right Questions
Once you’ve settled on a goal, you need to ask questions that will help you find a consultant who can take your business where you want it to be. Include these questions in mind as you interview candidates:
- What’s your experience with our industry?
- How do you customize your approach?
- Tell me about your experience and background.
- What did you do before you started consulting?
- Can you share some customer testimonials?
You want a consultant with the right experience for your company. These questions help you assess the consultant’s familiarity with your industry, your competitors, and other factors that contribute to a successful business relationship.
3. You Overpay Someone Without the Right Experience
If you haven’t thoroughly vetted your consultant, you run the risk of hiring someone whose experience isn’t right for your goals. Business consultants aren’t cheap. Interview the consultant or the consulting firm before signing a contract to save yourself time and money.
4. You Don’t Communicate Clearly
You and your consultant may not be on the same page about what you expect out of the project. If you’re not communicating clearly, the consultant may deliver you an irrelevant report that doesn’t solve your problems. Have a kickoff meeting to clarify the project scope and expectations, and check in regularly to keep it on track.
5. You Don’t Ask the Consultant To Keep Your Information Confidential
If you have proprietary information and processes to protect, make sure your business consultant signs a confidentiality agreement before they do any work. Have an attorney review the agreement so you’re covered.
6. You Don’t Have a Payment Agreement
Before kicking off your project, get billing terms and conditions in writing. Outline who will be responsible for travel expenses and other reimbursable costs, and discuss procedures in case the project goes over budget.
Find the Right Business Consultant
The right business consultant can do wonders for your business, but it’s important to set goals and look for someone with the right background and experience. By knowing what you need before you hire a consultant and asking the right questions upfront, your business consultant can put you on the path to success.