Are you thinking of hiring business consultants?
You’re onto something that will have a big impact on your organization, no doubt. Business consultants are experts who’ll advise you on how to tackle the various challenges your company is facing, thus giving you a competitive advantage.
However, just because you’ve hired consultants doesn’t necessarily mean you’re out to reap big rewards. A lot rides on whether you’ll hire the right consultants for your needs.
To help you avoid making costly mistakes, we are telling you how to choose business consultants the right way.
Keep reading for deeper insight:
1. Have a Good Understanding of Your Needs
If you’ve never hired a business consultant before, you’d be forgiven for thinking one consultant can solve all your problems. Quite to the contrary, you might end up needing multiple consultants. This is because business consultants typically specialize in specific areas, such as finance, human resources, legal compliance, and quality control.
As such, the first step is to find the best consultants for your business is to know your needs.
For example, if you’re facing financial challenges, such as poor revenues or unpredictable cash flows, you need a small business financial consultant, not just any consultant. If there has been a change in the local regulations that are affecting how your business operates, you need a small business legal consultant.
When you have a good handle on the challenges you’re facing or the issues that need addressing, you’ll then set out to find a business consultant who’s best placed to resolve them.
2. Industry Specificity
Let’s say you’re facing financial challenges. So, you know that you need a small business financial consultant.
But is that all?
Just because someone is a financial consultant doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the right pick for your business. You need to consider the industries they focus on.
For example, if you’re a manufacturing company, you need a financial consultant who focuses on advising manufacturing companies. If you’re a hotel, the consultant should specialize in the hospitality industry.
You might be wondering why the consultant’s industry specialization matters. After all, isn’t finance just finance?
Well, not quite. As a manufacturing company, your financial framework isn’t quite the same as that of a hotel. You spend and earn money differently. You need a consultant who has a good understanding of manufacturing accounting, for instance.
It’s important to note that some consultants specialize in multiple industries. This is okay, but you need to know how many is too many. A specialization in 2-3 industries is fine. Anything more than that and you’re probably getting a jack of all trades.
3. Professional Experience
Usually, a consultant is an experienced professional in their field.
You don’t just graduate from college and call yourself a consultant. You must have advanced training along with several years of professional experience.
Using the example of a small business financial consultant, this would be someone who has at least a bachelor’s degree in finance and has held a finance job for several years.
This, though, isn’t the experience you should be looking for. You want to know the number of years the consultant has been actively consulting.
Any consultant on your radar will tell you the number of years they have been in the practice. If someone is cagey about their experience, they aren’t what your business needs.
And, don’t just take a consultant word for it. If someone says they have been consulting for 15 years, ask for evidence. Perhaps they could refer you to some of their long-standing clients and you can make inquiries on your own.
While at it, ask past clients about their experience with the consultant. You’ll be paying your consultant a pretty penny and you want to know you’re getting the best value for your money.
4. Professional Certifications
When you’re hiring a business consultant, in your mind you’re hiring an expert. Experts have professional certifications.
For instance, let’s say you need a project management consultant. Your ideal pick should have a project management certification. Some certifications should be specific to the nature of work you’re hiring them for.
If you want your project to be implemented using the agile methodology, the consultant should be certified in this area. In fact, the consultant should be a SAFe trainer.
Professional certification is a mark of professionalism. It shows the consultant is dedicated to the practice and bound by the ethics and standards of a certain professional body.
5. Consultant Reputation
Every consultant who has been in the game for at least a couple of years has a reputation. Clients are always free to leave consultant reviews on ratings on review sites such as Yelp.
You want a consultant with a solid professional reputation; someone you can rely on to get the job done with minimum supervision.
To know the reputation of a consultant you’re looking to hire, just go online and look up their name or company. If you find high ratings and positive comments, you’re on the right path. However, if the consultant has racked up lots of negative comments, you should stay away.
Choosing Business Consultants Made Easy
Choosing business consultants can be challenging because there are so many of them out there, but it doesn’t have to be. Armed with the right information, it’s so easy to find a consultant who suits the needs of your business.
All the best and keep reading our blog for more business tips.