Friday, December 3rd, 2021

How Do I know I Have Wisely Chosen My Consultant?

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There are many signals or messages company owners get that hit them in their gut.  And the answer is…I need some help… maybe a consultant of some kind.  Where do I go and how do I make a good selection for me and my business?

The signals or symptoms for needing help are:

  • The business isn’t as much fun as it was… I don’t have personal time – it is consuming my life!
  • Sales are flat and our bottom line is shrinking
  • I have a couple great customers that represent over 60% of our business… what happens if….
  • I just lost a good employee to a competitor….I never saw it coming
  • Our bank does not want to add to our credit line
  • I promoted John to management… now I have to manage for him
  • I am thinking of placing my son in a leadership role how do I prepare him
  • I will want to cut back in a few years but I don’t have someone to take over the leadership
  • This is the third time I have hired someone to run my accounting and admin …nobody seems to work out

 

These are a few of the thoughts that every owner faces sooner or later- where can I find help?  Which consulting service is right for my company to get us to the next level?  Notice, I have not said here are the problems- these are only indications of a problem.  A problem must be defined and agreed upon before it can be solved. Problems or challenges are truly disguised opportunities!

Here are a few things that you may consider in choosing a consultant.

  • Does the person have experience in running a business?  How could you hire a marriage consultant who has never been married or a child therapist who has never had a child?  You really don’t want to hire a consultant that has never run a business or experienced similar challenges.
  • Does the consultant have a process?  Is there a specific discipline for the consultant and you to mutually come to a common understanding of your organization’s issues?
  • Will the consultant invest time with you up front to gain insight and determine if they can be of help to you and your organization?
  • Is the consultant a specialist in small to medium size businesses?
  • Do you like the consultant- can you spend a lot of time with the consultant and enjoy it?
  • Are you looking for a quick fix? They are few and far between, if any at all.
  • Does the consultant have a proven process to which goals and deliverables are agreed?
  • Does the recommended process have defined phases that tie together?
  • Are there prices quoted for each phase?
  • Do you have a fixed fee rather than an hourly or day rate?
  • How to do I suspend the relationship if I am unhappy?
  • Does the consultant have references for me at the right time?
  • Who is going to do the work for the consultant?
  • How has the consultant handled situations where a good loyal employee has been misplaced in their job?
  • Is there an implementation plan and a support system for any training provided to ensure use? Support is needed beyond the input of training to get to implementation.
  • Will my strong managers and leaders relate to the consultant?

 

If you are getting good answers to these questions, you are well on your way to having the right person take you to the next level with your organization.  This is not something you should take lightly.  Recognize that this could be a two year process to totally turn an organization onto the right track.  You want to be ready to commit: time, money and effort. You will see early progress and you will also see some of your less qualified producers leave and/or be apprehensive about hiring an outside consultant.  Make sure the consultant has a plan to get buy in from the organization.  Often, what is holding you back is not what you perceive it to be!  Be wary of a consultant that offers treatment without a diagnosis step- this is a formula for mal-practice!

To discuss your needs please email bclinton@business-wise.com and request a free 30 minute call to discuss your concerns- enter “Free Consult” in the subject line.

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