Does your consultant deserve your money?
“I can handle it… or do you know someone that could help me?”
It’s quite possible that at one point you were trapped between these two questions above when it came to running your business.
Like everyone else, our first instinct is to handle your business’s problem on your own. You have your own methods, you know exactly how things go, what doesn’t work… bottom line, you know best . As a last resort, you would probably call a friend, ask for opinions. Everyone seems to say something different and you still can’t find a solution to your problem.
You might even try Google-ing it but end up reading a lot of articles that contradict themselves and don’t know what it’s best for your situationNevertheless, when you feel like you’ve drained all your resources and your problem is pressuring you, you decide that finally, the idea of hiring a consultant to solve your problems is necessary.
Well, at least this is the scenario in most of the cases. We push it forward until a consultant becomes necessary and we lose time and money in the process.Even so, I understand that choosing a good consultant, is not simple. And this is also the reason behind the fear of letting someone from the exterior enter your internal kitchen. And maybe if you’re reading this article, you might just be in that point when you need advice about how to make the most appropriate choice for yourself.
I’m not going to give you just an advice, but actually 8 traits of “common sense” you should consider when you want to hire a consultant.
Beyond any expertise, studies or distinctions, integrity will always be the quality that is going to make the difference in your collaboration. Verify this aspect. Look for testimonials from former clients on the website, the social media pages or just ask for references. Someone who is sure of the quality of his work and ethics, will be open to give you details. pay attention if he/she comes with proposals of quick “arrangements”, which show lack of ethics and might cost you a lot on longterm. Choose wisely.
- Expertise on the niche
Studies certify and offer you basic information on a certain subject, but the most relevant lessons are always those that you pick up actually working in the field. I recommend you to verify which situations are similar to yours that he come across in his professional life. You can even ask him how did he/she plan the implementation of the services, and how objective and adequate you are given the details.
- The way he looks at the situation
You need a person with adaptable thinking. Every business has its particularities and not every time something that has worked in a certain case, will work for you. Watch how much he involves you to in the process of finding a personalized solution for your problem. How cooperative and efficient he/she is.
- Realistic predictions
I know you want a quick solution to your problems, but any longterm change, asks for a period time, in particular. Anyone promising miracles overnight, either does not have enough experience, either is gonna do a crappy job. What should confirm that you have chosen the right person, would be an evaluation report of your business, structured, with realistic, efficient and doable recommendations of what you need.
It is very true that your professional network counts. So choose someone who has a trustworthy collaborators network and enough information. Or at least, someone who is smart enough to obtain a necessary contact, if needed. Make sure he knows the public institutions and structures. Let him be the one who informs you of the latest changes, don’t be the one who knows more.
Take a look at how he appears online, how does he sell himself/herself. He/she should inspire trust, stability, clarity and the guarantee that you’re working with someone with solid values. Does he/she talk about herself/himself or how he/she can help you?
- He/She offers exclusiveness and confidentiality
It would be recommended that your company is exclusive and there is no parallel collaboration with your competition, to avoid a conflict of interests. You can ask for this as a special clause. You wouldn’t want to find out that you’re competing with another one of his clients at an auction, for example.
- A well-defined plan
It’s very important that your consultant offers you a clear projection of the way things are going to happen, the persons involved and the implementation of the services and the those responsable for monitoring. There should also be a plan B, in case some of the solutions don’t function as predicted. In conclusion, he/she should be ready for everything and there should be transparency in the collaboration process.
I hope that this criteria is of use for you when you decide to hire a consultant. It doesn’t matter if it’s the first time or you just want to take a more informed decision.
In every domain there are people that will affect your trust in a service, because of the lack of professionalism or preparation.
That’s the reason this will help you make a better choice. And when you do that, that person will have earned his/her money.
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