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Why and How to Work with a Consultant

A good consultant provides specialist abilities and experience, innovative ideas, second opinions (reality checks), unbiased appraisals, and new approaches.

A good consultant will leave you with tools, plans, and materials, and will transfer knowledge and resources to help you use them.

Avoid making mistakes and wasting time and resources. A small investment and timely, professional advice can mean savings and increased revenues in the future.

Adding the services of a consultant can make a difference when time or human resource constraints would otherwise mean a lost revenue, market, promotion, or funding opportunity.

Know your limitations and expect a consultant to know theirs. You may have someone on staff who will volunteer to create advertisements, a website, or a marketing plan–but if they aren’t truly qualified, you could be paying later to undo damage or make up for missed opportunities. A good consultant will also refer you to other specialists or obtain the services of subcontractors when they need to complement their own expertise.

You are uniquely qualified to handle many aspects of your own business. Hiring a specialist, when necessary, can free you to do what you do best and make the most of your resources.

HOW TO WORK WITH A CONSULTANT

Find a specialist with experience in your industry!

Get to know the consultant(s) and work together informally to help them prepare a proposal that addresses your objectives. You can often get some good, free assistance in clarifying these objectives.

Don’t waste the consultant’s time if you aren’t serious about evaluating their proposal, and don’t seek so many proposals that none of the consultants who respond have a good chance to be hired (You should generally keep the number of applicants in the running to four or fewer). Do expect the consultants to ask good questions and learn about your business.

Avoid consultants who say they have immediate solutions or feel ready to talk about details, design, technology, or implementation before they have begun to understand your business and objectives┬░(TM)look for a careful approach! Workplace relations commission

Clarify your specific goals and larger objectives, and state these in writing to the consultant when you request their proposal. Remain flexible about these goals, since you are paying for the advice of the consultant about these matters–perhaps some of your goals could be refined or modified!

Prepare a rough budget range for the consultant. A good consultant will not simply bid the maximum amount, but should give you a few price options depending on the scope of their services. They will tell you if the budget is truly unrealistic and can help you re-evaluate your objectives or propose dividing the project over multiple phases. Maintaining an open dialogue about budgets and prices is preferable to developing an adversarial relationship during the bidding phase, which can lead to misunderstandings, wasted resources, and poor outcomes for the project.

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