5 Factors to Consider When Hiring a Consultant

Are you interested in hiring a business consultant, but unsure of where to look? Do you worry about not knowing how to find one that’s experienced and trustworthy? If so, then you need to look into the process of hiring a consultant.

What do businesses look for when they hire a consultant? What are the factors that you should look at when hiring one? In other words, how can you get the highest return on your company’s investment?

See below for a detailed guide that highlights the most important factors to consider when hiring a small business consultant for your company.

1. Think Through the Logistics

The logistics of the business consultant that you hire are vitally important. Companies often prefer to hire consultants with a certain level of experience or a resume of success in your company’s industry. To do so, you may have to fly someone in.

In that case, the question becomes “is it worth paying for additional features (such as food, hotel, etc.) to fly this consultant in?”. That’s up to you to decide. However, you can use logistics to calculate how highly you value the business consultant’s experience. Be sure to ask the consultant questions like:

  • How much food, travel, and housing will you want me to be responsible for?
  • How will you get around? Are you wanting to be compensated for that?
  • How many hours will you work a day? How much of your day are you looking to be compensated for?¬†
  • Are you expecting to be paid for travel days?
  • We wish to have you here for (enter amount of days/weeks here), is that possible for your schedule?
  • What’s the earliest date that we can get you here?

Thinking through the logistics will help the consultant to give you a firm quote. Once you have a few quotes, you can determine which consultant you’d like to hire.

2. Search for Experience

Experience is everything when looking for a business consultant. You want someone that can come in and use their experience to improve your business model and operations. 

The more experience they have, the more successful habits they’ve seen. They can teach these to your staff, as well as help you avoid potential obstacles they’ve faced in their career as well.

However, be warned that you don’t want to hire a business consultant whose background is¬†too similar to yours, either. You want someone that can come in with a fresh perspective.¬†

They might have a different take on your business model. This can help you implement a few different ideas, processes, or even¬†products that you hadn’t considered before.¬†

Most importantly, make sure they have experience in the areas that you would deem your biggest weakness. If needed, perform a SWOT analysis to identify where you can improve. Granted, that exercise is usually performed for identifying your competition, but it can be used in this context as well.

Once you identify your weaknesses and opportunities, hire a business consultant who has a background of success in those business aspects (EX: marketing, manufacturing, workplace safety, etc.)

3. Prioritize Consultants With Training Services

If you hire a business consultant to come into your company, make a few assessments, then leaves without speaking to your employees, your business hasn’t improved at all.

It doesn’t matter what aspect of the business you’re bringing a consultant in for, you need them to address the subject and reiterate it to your entire staff. A weakness to one department is a weakness to the entire company.

Here’s an example: In the book¬†The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg told the story of Paul O’Neill‚ÄĒformer CEO of Alcoa. As soon as he was hired for the job, Paul focused solely on improving the company’s work safety in all of their warehouses, buildings, manufacturing plants, offices, etc.¬†

In doing so, he turned around Alcoa’s entire culture. Workplace safety was deemed a “keystone habit” which had a positive effect on other areas of business such as income, productivity, and higher profit margins.

All because Paul stressed a consistent training and accountability program among his entire workforce. The business consultant you hire needs to help you do the same.

4. References and Reviews

When looking into the right business consultant for your company, you want to make sure they deliver on what they promise their clientele. 

Make sure to do two things:

  1. Check the online reviews
  2. Ask the business consultant for client references that you can contact
  3. Request to see a portfolio of their previous work

Feel free to use as many or as few of these as you’d like. Any of them will give you more insight into the consultant’s process before you hire them.

5. Proper Certification

Business consultants looking to perfect their craft are always looking for new ways to improve and expand their knowledge. They use certifications as a way of showing the information and training that they’ve obtained.

For example, many business consultants use iso-27001 to learn all they can about information security management systems.

If you’re not sure how their certifications can help your company, then ask them! They’ll be happy to explain why their training and experience is the help you need.

Use These Tips for Hiring a Consultant

Now that you have seen all of these different tips for hiring a consultant to bring in to help your company, be sure to use this information to your advantage.

Start by researching some of the best consultants in your industry. Make a wish list of the consultants you’d like to hire most at the top, then write down about 5 to 10 more.

Be sure to browse our website for more articles on business consultants, as well as many other topics that you will enjoy.