Selecting a consulting firm isn’t a decision that should be made hastily. When you’re considering trusting an outside firm with your business, finding the right partner is key. Not all consults are equal; how can you make sure to find the best one for you?
Here are some things to look for to help you sort the good from the bad.
Track Record of Success
Some consulting firms have great sales pitches that will grab your attention but no successful projects to back it up. Consultants should be able to prove they can do what you’re asking for.
Ask who they’ve worked with in the past and how successful those partnership were. Ask for references to past clients you can speak with. Talking to previous clients can help you determine which consultant can best address your specific issues.
It’s not enough for a consultant to be experienced; your consultant should be experienced in your industry. You should hire a firm because they’re experts in your market. Ask questions related to your business you feel they should already know to confirm their knowledge and expertise.
You should know the team you will be working with from the start. Firms shouldn’t present their pitch to you with senior members of their team only to use less experienced consultants to do the actual work they’ve promised to you. Be sure to get a clear understanding of who will be working on your project.
The most effective consultants listen to their clients and communicate in an efficient manner. Set an agreed upon communication plan with your consultant from the start so you both know the expectations. Communication channels should be open, clear, and effective. Make sure your consultants pay attention to your needs and demonstrate the ability to give an honest opinion about your problems and how to fix them.
Reasonable Cost Structure
Companies often look to consultants when they can’t have human resource gaps or afford to hire full-time resources, so choosing a firm that makes financial sense is essential. Get the details of their cost structure and a solid estimate for your project. Good consulting firms should also be up front about the potential duration of your project. Your consultant should propose an end date for resolving your problems rather than leaving your project open indefinitely.
Even if you’re on a tight budget, avoid automatically hiring the least expensive consultant. Each of the qualities above is important in a consulting firm. Selecting a firm that is inexpensive but inexperienced and takes longer to reach your goals, for example, can prove to be costlier than an experienced consultant with higher rates who can reach your goals more quickly.
If you’re ready to start the consulting conversation, contact Cornerstone Consulting Organization. Our team of specialists is ready to work with you and your business today.