Great question. I think businesses should be skeptical, lot of bad ones out there. If a consultant (or consulting company) can’t justify the value they will provide, then you shouldn’t hire them. And not every business needs a consultant, but you never know until you talk to one.
And no this isn’t just one big shameless plug for myself, I really want to understand the justification for hiring a consultant, that is all, I want to give you questions to ask yourself or your boss/manager/VP/CEO. If you can answer them all just fine then you don’t need a consultant. There you go, you’re off the hook. Now read on.
When your business really takes off, when you start growing, customers tell you they’re happy and you seem to be hiring more people weekly. Business is going great, and then something happens. The business needs direction, a purpose, a future goal.
You’re forced to determine the company direction, the one, five, and ten year strategy, the succession plan. It’s okay, you’ll get around to it, of course!
A third party such as a (Insert: Human Resource, Marketing, Business) consultant, will give you a different perspective on where your company stands, if you need improvement, and if/how they can help.
They will make you think differently about your company, your hiring and management practices, your marketing strategy, or maybe even your entire business strategy as you plan your next few years of success.
Here are some questions the smart companies are thinking about and what innovative companies think about.
How do you make sense of your competition? How do you stack up? In what context?
How do you ensure your industry will be around in the next ten years?
How will your industry change?
Can you anticipate what will happen?
Have you ever tried to be the leader in your market?
How will you remain the leader in your market?
Will you wait for your competition to innovate first and just copy them?
How do you stay ahead of the
How will you learn faster than the competition?
Who are your best customers? Can they give you feedback?
What do your customers say about you?
What if they talked about you more?
How did you get your last 20 customers? Do you notice any patterns?
Do you completely understand why you customers pay for your service or product?
Have you ever asked them what they value the most?
With all the choices out there for what you’re selling why do people choose you?
Do they walk away from your store indifferent from when they arrived or in a better mood than when they arrived?
How can you make your mediocre customers raving fans?
How do you handle disgruntled customers?
Beginning to think about these questions yourself is the first step. Actually answering them honestly is the second and more difficult step that usually is easier with the help of a third party. Do let me know if I can help.
I have met several other amazing consultants over the past few years. These two are simply brilliant at what they do.
Human Resources: talk to Jillian Walker
Business Strategy: talk to Phil Symchych
Oh yeah, if you want to know why we charge more, read this, it sums up my feelings towards the cost of a consultant/free-lancer/graphic designer/artist.