Why Hire a Consultant?
Like individual people, businesses may have an idea of their own current status, their skills and vulnerabilities, but by definition, they aren’t able to see themselves as others see them to define the optimal digital strategy.
That’s why hiring an outside consultant can benefit businesses. You get the professional and knowledgeable perspective from an expert who can see things from an aspect that you cannot because you’re too close to the situation.
But before you hire a consultant to analyze your situation and requirements and provide you with recommendations for improvement, it’s wise to do some due diligence. Here are some tips to selecting the best consultant for your needs.
1. Define Your Requirements
This seems like a no-brainer, but how do you know if the consultant meets your needs if you don’t know what they are yourself?
Take some time to analyze your situation and figure out what you really need a consultant to do. This will help you determine what you need to look for in a candidate or company.
2. Choose the Consultant that Fits Your Needs
Just because someone labels themselves as an IT Consultant doesn’t mean they are right for your business. Follow this guidance and check their credentials to ascertain:
- How long they’ve been a consultant
- Past clients
- They have worked with other businesses of the same size
- They’re not just a sales rep offering products to buy
- Communication skills
3. Know Why You’re Hiring a Consultant
If you’re considering hiring a consultant, it’s wise to figure out why and what your expectations are. Here are some questions to ask yourself before hiring a consultant:
- How do you really know that your company needs a consultant?
- How do you best articulate what your company needs so that they get the value and expertise needed?
- Have you established a clear, actionable deliverable list to be performed by the consultant?
- Have you thought about a start and end date for their work? Or are they going to be long-term retainer consultants? (There is a major difference in how you manage their productivity)
- How do you measure the effectiveness of the consultant’s work?
- What is the cost range you should pay?
- Once you hire a consultant, what is the best way to get maximum value from them and not just their opinion?
- Who is responsible for managing the consultant’s work and also integrating their tactical and strategic work into the company’s existing workflow?
- How do you integrate the consultant’s work with your existing employees without creating friction or internal questions about job security?
- How do you get them to focus on the current project and not on a future consulting agreement that’s not ready to be worked on yet?
- Have you asked any of your friends who have had positive experiences in the past with consultants if they know someone you can contact?
Once you decide that you do indeed need a consultant to help you succeed, you should create a statement of work to solicit proposals. Not only will it help in documenting your needs and requirements, it can help you evaluate whether the candidates are right for your needs. There are several ways to determine whether the consultant understands your situation and can deliver the right solutions.
4. What Is Their Industry Experience?
In some circumstances, it may be in your best interests to hire a specialist; a consultant who specializes in your industry. However, there are advantages to hiring a consultant or firm with experience in a wide variety of industries. The broader knowledge and experience allows them to offer solutions that a specialist may not be aware of.
Whether you’re hiring an individual or an entire firm to fulfill your requirements for technology consultancy, you need to ask the right questions to get the most out of your investment.
E3 Consulting Helps Businesses Succeed
E3 Consulting specializes in providing small and medium sized businesses with IT consulting support. We’ve been in the business for over 30 years, helping manufacturing, distribution and professional services businesses grow and profit.
If you want to know how we can help your business succeed, take a few minutes to complete our Business Fitness Evaluation Form.