How to Choose a Business Consultant

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26 Oct How to Choose a Business Consultant

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How to Choose a Business Consultant

business-consultingIf you’re starting out with your own business or maybe thinking of expanding your business then there are plenty of challenges ahead and how you handle those challenges could well mean the difference between success and failure for your business. Facing those challenges by yourself can be extremely difficult and that’s why so many business people these days are starting to use the services of a business consultant.


Unfortunately, just about anyone can claim to be a business consultant whether they have any experience or not. It really doesn’t take much to set up as a business consultant and for the unwary business person, image can be everything. A bright shiny business card, a top of the range vehicle (probably rented), a few fake recommendations, some smooth sales patter and just a little knowledge of the industry and anyone can look and sound like a business consultant.

Unfortunately, just about anyone can claim to be a business consultant whether they have any experience or not. It really doesn’t take much to set up as a business consultant and for the unwary business person, image can be everything. A bright shiny business card, a top of the range vehicle (probably rented), a few fake recommendations, some smooth sales patter and just a little knowledge of the industry and anyone can look and sound like a business consultant.

Sadly the advice these smooth talkers give out can do far more harm than good to your business and just to rub salt into the wound, they’ll charge you exorbitant fees to run your business into the ground.

So it’s very important to choose the right business consultant if you want to have the best outcomes for your business. But what criteria do you need to apply to the selection process? Here are a few suggestions:

Define your goals – Before you even start looking for a business consultant you need to be clear about what your goals are and how the consultant can help you achieve those goals. You also need to have some idea of what problems you might face in achieving those goals. Once you have those firmly in your mind it’s time to go looking for a consultant.

Look for someone who asks questions – Does the consultant you’re talking to ask lots of questions about your business? Even though he may be very experienced in the industry that you work in no two businesses are ever the same so a good consultant will ask questions to help him establish where your business is at, whether it has the ability to grow and just how experienced you are in what you’re doing.

Look for someone who understands the value of your money – A good consultant will be very aware that the financial resources of any business need to be used wisely. He or she will understand that you need to get the most value out of every dollar that you spend and they will be able to clearly show you that you are getting that value when they make recommendations that involve spending your money.

Look for someone who doesn’t know it all – Don’t expect your consultant to have an answer for every situation. Quite often those that do are the very people you don’t want to employ. Instead look for someone who admits that they don’t have all the answers but they do know where to look, or who to ask, to find them.

Check their references – Any business consultant should come with references and recommendations from previous projects or employers. It’s vital that you take the time to call those people who have provided references and talk to them about the consultant’s suitability for what you want him to do. You may be surprised at how often you will read a glowing recommendation only to find that it becomes a little less glowing when you’re talking to the recommendation’s author on the phone.

And while you’re checking references don’t just call the first couple on the list. Call them all and listen carefully to what is being said to you by the people you call. The future of your business is at stake here so don’t rush through this step.

Is the consultant a member of a recognized industry association? – The fact that the consultant that you’re about to hire is not a member of any recognized industry association should sound warning bells that you simply cannot ignore. If they’re serious about their business then they will belong to relevant industry associations but don’t just take their word that they’re a member … call the association and check to see if they really are members. It’s easy to say you’re a member but a lot harder to actually be one.

Is the consultant experienced? – Of course, there’s one thing that I haven’t mentioned so far and that’s experience. Is the business consultant that you’re talking to experienced? Do they have the years of experience that you need to be able to rely on? Experience matters and if you’re serious about the success of your business then you need to be working with an experienced business consultant.

If you apply the points that I’ve outlined here and choose your consultant wisely then your business will grow and prosper. Choose the wrong consultant and your business is in for a very rough ride that it may never recover from.

The choice is yours.

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