There are many great reasons to hire an outside consultant, including helping your business grow, solving specific problems, and adding expert temporary resources to your team. The key to finding the right consultant for your business is to do your homework. Planning in advance helps you efficiently and effectively find, interview, and retain a consulting firm that fits your needs.
Tip #1: Determine What You Need
Before you start interviewing consultants, determine what you want them to accomplish. Do you need a holistic evaluation of your business’s strengths and weaknesses? An evaluation of certain programs or departments to determine whether they can be improved or should be eliminated? A specific set of skills or expert competencies for a specific project or improvement? Whatever it is you’re looking for, set out the goals you’re hoping to accomplish, your anticipated time frame, and your consulting budget before you begin interviews.
Tip #2: Think Outside the Box
Research shows that hiring managers have a strong tendency to hire individuals who are most like the people who already work at the company. While this can be beneficial to developing a cohesive company culture, don’t make this mistake when hiring an outside consultant. One important reason to bring in a consultant is to identify and implement new (and improved) ways of doing things. You won’t accomplish this if you partner with someone who thinks exactly like you do, so look for a firm that approaches things differently. If your staff mainly comprises engineers, for example, you may want to hire a firm that approaches design issues from more of a creative or marketing-focused perspective. Developing ROI-based contract terms can ensure that despite very different viewpoints, both the business and the consultant are able to quantify successful results.
Tip #3: Know Who You’re Hiring
When you’re interviewing consultant firms, reputation and experience are paramount. Ask each potential consultant for their history: case reports, recommendations, and references. They should be able to show you a proven track record of success in your industry or with businesses that are similarly situated to yours. If you are hiring an expert for turnaround consulting, for example, potential consultants should be able to show you examples of business like yours that they have helped successfully rehabilitate.
In addition to researching each firm, make sure you know up front who will actually be doing the consulting work for you. Some big consulting firms with glowing reputations may send consultants with less experience or expertise to smaller or less lucrative clients. Ask to review the background, qualifications, and experience of the individual consultants who will be working with your team—and to meet them in advance, if possible.
Experienced Consulting Services
The executive and senior business management consultants at Cornerstone Consulting Organization have a wide variety of experience, areas of expertise, and technical specialties. Whether you need ROI consulting, operations consulting, or specialized expert consulting services, our skilled consultants can help you. Contact us today to learn about our team’s qualifications and help you find the consultant that’s right for your organization’s needs.