Consultants, Yes or No?

Let me begin by stating that I am a business consultant. That said, I’m referred to by clients and business associates alike as the Anti-Consultant because of my methods and attitude towards consulting in general.

To be sure, there are many great consultants out there in the marketplace and I am a firm believer that if you have a specific project that needs guidance or aren’t large enough to employ a world class talent full time, then rent it. This is simply another way of saying to hire a consultant.

Now the key to a successful relationship with a consultant is to define the nature of the relationship up front. This requires a full understanding of why you need one and what it is that you need them to do. Have an idea what success will look like at the end of the engagement. “My sales will increase by 25% in one year” or “I will have a fully mapped process for product development within 60 days.”

Whether the gig is short or long term, once you contract with a consultant keeping them focused is your job. Make sure there are agreed upon milestones in order to gauge success along the way because it’s all about getting the job done.

And stick to the plan because far too often a consultant is hired to do one thing and then unpacks his or her bag and stays a while by doing things beyond their original scope of work. You wake up one day to find the consultant has gone beyond the original scope of work and is now creeping into other segments of your organization.

So, before you know it, you’re paying double what you originally intended without receiving double the benefits. Yes, there may be connecting issues that justify the consultant moving into an area different than originally contracted for. But discuss it thoroughly and if it’s crucial to the execution of the plan then do it… if not, don’t.

And lastly, never begin to fix a segment of your organization just because it sounds good to do. Issues must be worked on in the right order and at the right time in order to achieve maximum effect.

Because hiring a consultant at the wrong time is worse than no consultant at all!

Every action you take causes an equal or greater reaction somewhere else within the organization. Therefore, if you do something out of cycle it can end up costing you more money than if you’d have done nothing.

Hiring the right consultant at the right time can propel your business to the next level so knowing what, when and where you need them is the lynchpin to a successful relationship.