As a company owner, when do you think to hire a consultant, and how you find him/her?
At which stage of your project do you incorporate the opinion of certain business consultant, and what are the parameters of choosing this consultant? How you can find him/her?
There are several avenues for hiring the right graphic designer for your company. Everything else being equal, you should finalize your decision based on two factors: cost and personality. A good cost defends your profit margin, while someone you can easily communicate with won't waste your time.
Look for subject matter experts through your existing business network and LinkedIn, and any industry groups.. Speak with your contacts to see whether they had success with any consultants that might be suitable for your needs. Request references and speak with them, asking about the most important factors in your business.
Some things to remember: If you think an expensive consultant can be costly, try using a cheap consultant...Decide beforehand if you will REALLY FOLLOW THE CONSULTANT'S SUGGESTIONS! Many clients never take the action suggested by consultants, making the entire project a waste of time and money.
Determine in advance: Your company's mission and vision, and the goals for the consultant's project.
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Great question Mohamed. There are 3 things to pay attention to when choosing a consultant and determining if you need one.
1. Your business is not growing at the pace you envisioned or projected - Consultants can help you see your "blind spots" in your business and help identify why you are not growing as you should. A good consultant will steer you in the right direction to get back on track.
2. You feel as though you are lacking skills in a critical area to your business - A great consultant will help educate you on best practices in your business to help you accomplish your goals. The will help you implement what needs to be done to take your business to the next level.
3. References, Industry and Track Record - Make sure the consultant you choose has plenty of references you can talk to, someone with experience in your industry and someone with a track record of success.
Hope this helps.
If you have more questions, drop me a line.
Business Strategist - Business Coach - Speaker - Author
Well, I don't think that there will any description needed in knowing at the stage at which one decides to higher the the consultants. What I am going to say over here is at every stage there is a need of consultant because they are person which people first start talking to. Let me give you an example like we are mobile application development company, and the very first person our clients talk with is the consultant they are the person responsible for guiding the clients over the right direction, they are going to have a look at the clients requirements and accordingly they create a plan which one should work upon. So, I would say with every new idea there is a need for consultants.
If you hire person. Find him/her on Linkedin and if you need company for this work. Search on Google through keywords.
Brendan & Enrique put it right. I will just add as a business owner, you better have a preventive approach than a curative one. Find someone to walk alongside with you and it is where business coaching add to you and your company more value.
Where to find them? Right here on this platform you have already many opportunities to find some through their insightful responses just like Brendan & Enrique. Take time to make sure that you resonate with them in your values.
As a result, you will find personal and business growth. Good luck and if there is anything I can do to keep helping don't hesitate.
When building a team, it is not about how many members you'll need but how a member takes a role that will make the team win over any obstacle or challenge in the game. With that being said, hiring a consultant is not something you should simply shun or ignore just because you don't feel like it. But having a consultant particularly in a certain tough situation would be like a light amidst the shadows of confusion.It is indeed a great help to have one, but the final decision in dealing with business matters will still be in your hands. So the hard question is not just about who to call, but when you'll need them? When will be the perfect and right time to hire one? That will depend on your need. What you have to do is to carefully plan and weigh things for your business. Have the time to reflect and don't be haste in deciding.
I completely agree, Moira! I would definitely recommend making the time and investment to discuss the plan and project during the development stage. Waiting until there are problems or things are not going according to plan will cost you more and perhaps even your entire business. I also recommend developing a network of people that are experienced and you can trust for advice on an ongoing basis as situations arise or you want to bounce ideas off of..
I would say in short terms, that if you have a problem/difificulty you and your team is not in position to solve/improve, that is the right moment to hire a consultant.
How to choose? the faster and lower risk system is requesting a recruiter to introduce to you 3 experts on the matter after explaining him the issue you are involved, choose the one on 2nd level of them and hire him.
Given the context, one assumes you have defined the project and objective to be achieved. It is also assumed that neither the owner nor his internal resources are equipped by virtue or time or expertise to address this issue. The first question is whether you are looking for advice / consultation or, rather, someone to head up the project and make it happen. Expertise and insights can often be gained through one's peers or those non-competing resources the owner may know in the marketplace. However, this takes a special set of relationships in the market that may not be available to everyone. It is not unknown for owners to talk amongst themselves about consulting firms or individuals they have known or used and insights might be gained in that avenue of enquiry. First, though, if you have a Board of Directors appointed because of their expertise, they might be consulted in this same manner. However, many small businesses do not have the luxury of such "experience on tap".
In my own experience, owners in the same general industry have conversed about their experiences with consulting firms or individuals and often share freely their opinions and results. It depends on the level of relationships in the local industry and the trust factor as to whether this is an advisable route.
Finding a consultant should be a search for one already knowledgeable in the focus of the project and, preferably, in your industry. While local Chambers of Commerce often have access to and memberships from such firms, there are far larger (and usually more expensive) consultancies serving national and international markets who are almost bound to have the proper level of expertise in the area you need. Similarly, firms specialising in products that may be associated with the "project" often have in-house consultancies, but product considerations are almost always included. Googling "management consult" will get you around 93,000,000 results. If you specify your business line, it might be a bit smaller.
Once you have a selection of consultants from which to choose, it is advised that you not only seek references to whom you can talk but understand that this person or firm also has to have a certain level of fit with your business and you in order to make the change process work. I'm assuming that a project related consultant is to be hired to manage the process and in doing so, this needs to be a person not only capable of the mechanical aspects but the business relationships as well since implementing a change program means repetitive reinforcement by the consultant and, eventually, the owner and in house managers. People work better with people to whom they can relate when it is a project requiring changing processes.
Before you do any of this, though, you need to have the project and a time frame specified along with an appropriate budget for the work. Hiring a consultant without having a well defined objective, budget, and timeline is akin to writing a blank cheque. The consultant, if appropriate, will discuss the reasonableness of your plans and before any work starts you need to come to an agreement on the terms of engagement especially including compensation and expenses.
If you believe that your company needs a better outside perspective on the culture of the company, then I would suggest an outside opinion
Since many answers here overlap let me suggest a thought on the who/how you choose. The inclination is always to work with people you like and trust of course but be careful that you are ready to hear things you may not agree with and that you can respect dissenting opinions. Too many people hire consultants and ignore the process just to feel good about it. That's not to say you do whatever a consultant says, sometimes hearing the alternatives makes you comfortable with your choice. You should never hire a consultant without talking to one of his clients for both the working process and the results.
The moment to look for consultancy help is usually when you've identified an issue and want a full consideration of the possible answers but don't have the internal resources for this. A further reason may be if you need independent ratification of the best solution to convince your board/shareholders etc.
The best person for this job will often someone who has provided creative and effective solutions for a similar sized business locally to yours. Cultural fit and scale for the business is what I've found the most important success factor - it's easy to be seduced into taking advice from a big brand consultancy but they tend to work best for similarly large businesses.
Normally consultants would come in at three different stages / situations.
1. Problem definition - we know that current situation is not good but we are not able to get our hands around it and measure the problem itself
2. Devising solution to solve a problem - either defined above or on our own.
In both above situations, consultant helps by bringing in a different point of view and experience. Both help to ensure that our situation and options are defined correctly and completely. Most important contribution is about saving time and effort - for basic tasks as well as addressing any risks and problems that may come up during execution.
3. We do not have a current problem. Current situation is strong and excellent. But we would like to make further improvement in our business. Consultant will help to find new areas in which business can improve.
when you feel that your experience and expertise are not fulfill for your business and also when you can afford it,please first you design full business plan and also read some management books e.g Time Topoloy
First of all, you have to determine which areas of the business need consultancy services. You’ll have to figure out which areas are not adequately covered by your set of core competencies. Once these areas have been identified, it would be best to have the appropriate consultant on-board prior to the commencement of actual work.
Just like a house, a business needs to have a solid foundation from where it can be built upon. The global business environment has grown more volatile as the world becomes more interconnected. Having a stable, solid structure will ensure defense in times of economic turbulence.
I am in the BPO industry and as the acronym describes, we are heavily processed. We design the client’s operational framework and workflows based on the information we receive in the several key areas of the business. Although we have competent, highly-skilled personnel we will not hesitate to bring a 3rd party consultant on-board particularly if the section or area is crucial or sensitive.
As an example, we have a client from the financial services industry who wanted assurances on the protection, security and integrity of all data transferred. In addition to our tenured and well-experienced team of IT experts, we hired a 3rd party IT Specialist from the financial services industry to assist in overseeing, reviewing and finalizing the operational framework and workflow. The IT Specialist was on retention for 1 quarter where he was tasked in overseeing the system and training our team until they achieved an acceptable level of proficiency.
I found the IT Specialist through contacts built from years of amassing connections in BPO and social media. But my criteria in hiring consultants and personnel in general, is less skewed on CV and more toward right-fit.
As another example, in 2013, I hired a Digital Marketer based on his glowing CV and references. But after our first meeting with the client he asked me to pay him US$3,000 upfront and billed me for minutes spent during the preliminary interview.
I fired him on the spot.
A business arrangement is just like any other relationship where there will be disagreements. The people you work with must be thick skinned enough to understand that focus must on protecting the interest of the client and achieving the best results.
What I recommend my prospects is wait until you have 3 or 4 employees. Then you can start to leverage out of the 4 'repetitious' roles of production, sales, admin and finance and move yourself more into management.
When the business starts to grow beyond 3 or 4 staff then efficiency is very important, i.e. maintaining a good solid net profit margin for the business. Until 3 to 4 staff then growth is needed. After that efficiency and growth. Going for growth prior on its own leads to lowering of the net profit margin, with a decrease of cash in the bank, which traps the business owner because they can't leverage out of the 4 repetitious functions because you can't afford to.
At the 3 to 4 employee level, you need to be working more on your business and to setup 'accountability mechanisms' i.e. KPI's for each role, so you can hold people accountable for carrying out their role efficiently. Without KPI's you waste a lot of time supervising other people instead of working on your business.
At the 3 to 4 employee level its time to focus on management. Management is about having quality information to make confident decisions. Its about 2 primary functions, analyzing and implementing strategies, then analyzing the results.
All the while your people/leadership skills need to increase so good employees are being identified or replaced to assist with leveraging.
Management is about 3 core skills, people, measuring and systems and combining all 3. Look at McDonalds, they mastered all 3 over decades. That's why their net profit margins is one of the highest in the market place.
Hope this assists with answering your question.
If you'd like to look at practical management training and get access to all the tools, systems and people skills training you need to accelerate your profit growth just let me know.
This is a great question. Here's the thing. Sometimes the best way to determine when to hire a consultant is to get clear and in writing what you want the consultant to do and what characteristics you need in that consultant. This is accomplished by writing a Request For Proposals (RFP). I have worked with businesses on creating RFPs and I have also answered them as a business consultant. Sometimes, in the process of creating the RFP a company owner realizes that what they thought they needed when they set out to hire a consultant wasn't what they needed at all. If you haven't yet defined the Scope of Work, Deliverables, Timeline, and Budget for your project, sometimes the stage of your project where you need to hire a consultant is at the point where you need to get those defined. Often, that 's not the beginning stage. Once you have defined those key elements, then you can look at your team's capacity to accomplish it, and determine who you need to hire to complete it on time, budget, and on spec. If you need help in developing your RFP, please let me know. I have years of experience in working with business owners.
There has been some great input to this question.
From personal experience as both an employer of consulting help and as a consultant providing this assistance, be very clear on the "scope of work" and conditions of satisfaction. Often times it is best to outsource the strategic development and management of a project but retain the day-to-day tactical in-house aspects, if possible.