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?
Start from the beginning of your project to hire a consultant, it's the right stage to start because it will save you the imperfection, error or mistake, you'll never know, some of the business end up in the middle of the road, because of bad design of their project plan. Always a first good step or start you make, with a good consultant on your side, you will keep up.
Referrals again are really important, avoid too much family stuff into project, and know who you are dealing in case of family how serious he is. All always with a list of your questions and need you are expecting, a good consultant will bring light when you conclude that yourself.
Well, I happen to be a business owner AND a consultant, so I do a little bit of both. However, if I were to hire someone, Id google some information first. It also depend on your specific budget, your needs etc. If I know I can deliver a project on time for example, Id ask for outside help, allowing for time to get the project under completion at the deadline. I would look at previous projects, the kind of work they do, and do extensive interviewing.
Agree with much of what has already been said...but here's a different slant whilst you are in the early stages of business growth: Do not abdicate ultimate responsibility for marketing to others. It's too important a function.
What is marketing when you cut through the academic BS?
Simply this: ANYTHING that brings a prospect with a pulse and a purse to your doorstep.
So you've got to have a deep understanding of what you are offering, why it is better than other offers and why/how your prospect will be encouraged to act.
I'd say any stage, start-up or years in, but really I the answer is when you can afford the consultant and see a clear need to have a second set of eyes on whatever issue you are hiring the person for.
As for how to find...certainly a site like this or linkedin can help, but it also depends if you want to work in-person or virtual. If you want to work in-person with someone, ask people you trust who they would recommend and why. When you met with the person, ask them to provide you some case studies and testimonials.
If you are looking for a virtual consultant, I'd ask around again, but also check out linkedin profiles of the possible consultants.
With anyone you connect with, I recommend getting an initial session free so that you can get a feel for how they work and if they fit your needs.
It's easy, Mohamed. Just define some keywords you find absolutely important. Keywords that express the results you want a consultant to deliver. Then search Linkedin and Twitter for those words. The people who put messages out there with a lot of passion are the people you must meet. Contact them directly. It is some work, maybe a lot, but you will get the best in the market. Any consultant who's not out there on Social Networks is a fool. If you're not absolutely sure about their added value, let them send you a video expressing their values and the results they will delver…..
Ending with, you will only hire a consultant if he or she is able to delver better results than you can. And it better be results that will change the lives of your customers.
It's best to incorporate when the business cash-flow, exceeds expenses... Also, depending on the business, it's best to incorporate if your personal assets are at risk due to the nature of your business. Choosing a business structure is essential during the start-up phase, although you may not deploy immediately.
Some of the best methods to locate talent is through your local SBA Office. In addition, SCORE is a volunteer organizations who can assist with a feasibility plan and mentor introduction.
Contrary to popular belief, which states that when your strategy is not working seek consult, I personally believe that the minute you see something within your plan not working properly, that is time to seek consult. Too many times an owner has talked with me after all has been exhausted to fix the problem, and they are in worst shape than when they first saw it.
As far as parameters, that is going to depend on you and what your business needs in order to draw people from your target market. If you need help in your web marketing then obtain the services of a web consultant. If it is within your sales protocol, the a business consultant specializing in sales would be more beneficial to you.
I suggest that you get online through the search engine of your choice and research the area you wish to fix with the word consultant in the search string. Obviously, there are probably a few within the network right here that could help also.
I certainly hope you are able to determine when you need one and are to obtain a someone for exactly what you need.
As soon as you have a need for expertise outside your experience and capabilities and as soon as you can afford it (maybe sooner). And as soon as your workload exceeds your capacity to perform.
Consultants are called in after you have clearly defined the need you have in your business. Everyone here is asking you the type of consultant do you need? Consultants have a wide range of skills in their portfolio and they need to know what you need so they may evaluate their own service matrix or can recommend the right resource for you.
What you ask is a Frequently Asked Question from business owners. My company has addressed what to ask of an Executive Management Consultant. Perhaps it can give you some perspective on the type of skill you require.
With your permission, I can share" http://bit.ly/7MustAskQuestions
Hope it helps you.
The time to call in a consultant is when your strategies stop working and you don't know what to do about it. Typically, this happens because you haven't developed or updated your strategic plan, or have the wrong key performance indicators. In either case, you need to find a planning consultant to revisit your strategic planning process. Google is a wonderful tool for finding anyone for anything.
For me, my trusted network is LinkedIN because I've taken a long time to build it filled it with quality people. I also belong to the max number of groups that match my business and my industry so they are packed with experts on anything I would need. My other go to is local talent. I prefer to support other businesses in my area if I can. You can verify that you are partnering with the right consultant by reading or asking for referrals.
Owning a business does not mean you know it all, you need people that are out of this business but have expertise that will help your business grow. I have found that when you have a specific problem that you notice in your business - for example poor performance from your team, and you have never had the problem when you were on your own - an outsider that specialise in that field will help you - consultant, maybe he has dealt with similar problems and was successful.
Networking often helps as you will meet like minded people that have experienced the same and will advise you how they handled the problem and who helped them. Hiring a consultant comes in there, its good to be referred not use a person that no one knows. Do your own research about that particular person and enquire from his/her clients how good he is, then you will have a good idea of how he can help you in your business. Hope this helps...
First I have a review with my team to find out what we want or need in the way of help.
Then we see is there is in anyone that may have that expertise in our own organization.
If not we make a list of what we think we want or need and why we lack that expertise, and then find a consultant that meets that want or need.
So many time companies let in consultants that have wowed them with their presentations about what they have done with other companies or how their system has worked for other companies.
Over the years I have fallen for these experts hype and cost me dearly because I did not have what I wanted, what I lacked and how the consultant was able to work in my project to make successful.
To find them I talk with my peers in the industry that have been successful and hire them for the project with a very extensive non-compete or non discloser, or ask them who they hired to make their project or need successful. Networking is always the best. I let other people make mistakes or success before I gamble.
Also I always hired consultants on a percentage or insensitive bases, basically put their money were their mouth is. If the project is successful I am willing to give up bigger percentage of the success, if not then I am out a little expense. If the consultant won’t do it on a percentage bases. They are out.
I see you have a lot of answers here so I will be short and sweet. Only hire a consultant when you are ready to her advice or guidance that your might not want to hear. If you are ready to think outside of the box, then you are ready.
As far as the how- that is tougher. I would definitely use word of mouth with trusted business partners as well as industry consortium and associations to start.
At time of setting up the goals for the Organisation, Employees and Self. Before reviewing the action plans for all. At this stage Consultant should be able to point out the Risks, Opportunities, Threats and Strengths for each. The intensity of the findings can predict the success assumptions. Business consultancy generally gets viewed as Breadth and Width of all the Business Pillars, People, Process, Tools and Customer (Market). Thereby, identifying the risks and priority focus of any/ each pillar is critical to have mitigation plan in advance.
That depends on what I am looking for. I can do a lot of the computer changes, contents, etc but I am admittedly slow. If I can outsource it for a reasonable expense, I can get more cost effective work done. If I need knowledge and do not have time for the learning curve to acquire it, then I look for help. Weight time, expense, and desired outcome and make a practical decision.
The first need is to address what type of consultant you need. Is it a strategic, talent management, financial, or IT consulting that you need?
Once you identify the need, start with your own professional network and ask for suggestions on recommendatios. Most consultants survive off of referrals. LinkedIn is also a solid means to start a search. The size of your town and your industry usually make it harder or easier to attain a good referral for consultants.
Hope this helps.
As many said below - when you have a problem, need some skills you or your team do not have, when you need guidance or advice...
I will add, successful businesses have them (one or more) engaged proactively and from the start in order to be the extra eyes, ears, and smarts - objectively... to minimize or prevent bleeding, planning, assessing and more......
What to look for - experience, expertise, client list, results, collaboration, client focused, results oriented, and you respect, trust and get along with them (not a friend, but a partner)
Where you can find them - here on Mosaic, LinkedIn, referrals/colleagues, etc.
I say do not over complicate this question about when you hire them (If your asking then the time is now). The question of who is the challenge and it depends on what it is you want the outcome to be for the relationship. I prefer to seek solutions directly from people you trust, but do confirm the actual experience of the person you engage for services.
Too many companies have this thing about bringing in consultants because they bring in an outside perspective to fix a problem. How you find them, well I would say in an industry related magazines or via word of mouth.
I feel before any leader decides to go out and bring in a consultant they should listen to the people below them first. I have personally witnessed the damage that consultants can do a company. Save your money and talk to your people first because your own employees are your best asset. Sometimes the truth hurts but you will be better for it.