1. Define your goals and think Why You Need a Consulting Firm
- Your company should consider its position before hiring a consultant. what is your position in the market, and where would you like to be? Identifying your shortfalls first.
- Don’t even think of hiring a consultant until you figure out why you’re incapable of taking care of the in-house problems. The best consulting firms wants you to maximize the efficiency.
- Know your limitations, they can take the easy way to charge you at a high hourly rate for something relatively simple. If that’s the case, you probably wouldn’t allow them to work for you.
- Fully understand the goals and objectives of the company. It will help you get the level of service expected from the consultant and guarantee a mutually beneficial relationship.
2. Do a proper Market research
The biggest work or important work is to research about your industry to determine who the major, mid-level and minor players are.
You must have done this research by the time you get to No. 1. It’s difficult to know where you’re positioned in the market if you’re unaware of all the players in the market.
There are a lot of ways you can research the market:
- Sending out surveys and questionnaires
- Starting a focus group
- Interviewing experts or friendly rivals
- Primary sources are excellent for the most up-to-date and reliable information.
- Find previously published data and see what it tells you
- Read relevant books, magazines and websites in your industry
3. Look at Experience
- You’ll get a lot of advice to “get the most experienced” consultant. Experience is important, but always that’s not the best advice.
- In the consulting world, Experience means connections. To whom is the consultant affiliated? Who have they worked or done business with in the past or currently?
- You don’t need several connections either. Look at the client’s project they worked on. If a consultant has proven themselves on a high-profile project as similar to yours, then that could be all the “proof” you need to hire.
- In these times, you’ll see many people claiming they’re a “consultant.” But how did they prove that in the real world? If the project and price are right, you might try a newbie, but that’s not something you’ll want to do when millions of dollars and your company reputation are at stake.
4. Talk to the Firm You Are Serious About Hiring
Just don’t hire a company sight-unseen because they worked for some hugely successful company. Get a real human face in front of you, preferably the one you’ll be working with for the entirety of your project. Arrange a talk with your consultant, whether in person or on the phone, will give you the opportunity to have peace of mind with your decision.
Such direct contact will:
- Let you experience how they communicate
- Ask follow-up questions that might not occur to you while reading their resume
- Clear up any misunderstandings you both might have about the project
- Gauge how they compare to any competitors in their market
- Understand the real value they claim to have created for their clients so you can then check it
- Boutique consulting firms particularly are great about making the time for you, but larger firms who take you seriously will also be glad to make time (and possibly expenses) for you.
5. Ask for references
- Good consultants have a long list of happy clients. Talk with current and past clients to learn more about what the experience was like and how effective it really was.
- References provided to you by the consultant most likely will tell you exactly what the consultant wants you to hear, and many times, their praise will be well-paid.
- It’s important to investigate. Find the companies either directly in or next to the industry. See what they express about the consultant.
- This serves a few purposes. It can Affirm the value of the consultant or Highlight issues they may try to sweep under the rug and show you how much of an impression they’ve left on your industry.
- Reputation and familiarity can be important even if the people you’re talking to haven’t worked with the consultant directly. If they’ve left a deep impression, whether it be positive or negative, you should be able to gauge it from these types of conversations.
6. Check about their work process Before You Hire Them
- Hiring a consultant for the first time is like You want to be involved in the work, but you also want them to do the work you’re hiring them to do.
- You can’t just be a micromanager when bringing someone on board. You need to learn to trust their expertise, especially when paying their rates. This ensures they will deliver the level of expectation you’ve set for them.
- Having a clear understanding about their process will help you know what to expect from them.
- Having this conversation before you start will help you avoid contracting someone who’s difficult to work with. If you hire the firm anyway, it will prepare you and your team for potential complications before they arise.
7. Make an Agreement
- A written document provides clear protections for you and the consultant. This solidifies understanding, and it calls out any last minute miscommunications before you officially begin the relationship.
- It also specifies terms they must meet certain milestones within a specified time and provides for contingencies should those terms change.