When running a business, you’ll find all sorts of specialists pitching to you for your time and money. They promise to provide insights that will lead you to greater success with more customers, higher revenues, and lower costs. An environmental expert might promise to help you avoid some common sustainability fails and potentially lower your operating costs while generating good publicity. You need to exercise judgement when you’re choosing your consultants: the price of their insight can stack up, and if their advice doesn’t deliver as they claim, you could lose a lot of money!
Today we’re taking a look at how you can feel confident that you’re making the right choices and paying the right people for the right information.
Do You Need a Consultant?
This is the first question you need to ask. If you don’t need a consultant’s help, then any money and time spent on one is wasted. You need to look at what you’re trying to achieve and the expertise you already have in your business. If you hire a consultant to advise you on a subject you’re already employing an expert in, you’re not only wasting money, you could be antagonising a valuable member of your team!
Even if you don’t have an expert already employed, take a close look at what you’re trying to achieve and whether that requires expert help. You may be able to reach your goals by following freely available information like online tutorials or government advice – paying someone to give you guidance freely available from the government dressed as exclusive insight.
Choosing the Right Consultant
As with any business decision you should do your research before you commit. Look for good reviews, or personal endorsements from people you trust – if someone with judgement you respect can recommend a consultant to you and vouch for their ability to get results, they could be valuable working with!
Look for quantifiable claims you can check: case studies showing what they did for a business and how that raised revenue, or increased customer engagement. Don’t be afraid to check those claims, as you’d check a reference for a new employee.
The Most Valuable Consultants
The best consultants add value to your business that you simply cannot contribute yourself. Market research firms who have not just analytical expertise but the reach to gather data from customers who’ve not chosen your business. Lawyers and accountants can smooth the way for your business and help you avoid pitfalls you don’t even know exist, illuminating not just known unknowns, but helping you with unknown unknowns.