When I ask Small Business owners what they would look for, when hiring Business Consultants, I get one of the following answers:
My business is not very big at this time, to hire a Business Consultant.
When I need a Business Consultant, I will think about it.
The thought of hiring a Business Consultant scares me about the cost associated with it.
As a Small Business owner I too can relate to this feeling. Now you have two options. The first option is to ignore the thought of hiring Business Consultants at all. The second one is to start thinking about the services YOU want your Business Consultant to provide, that will FIT YOUR needs. Typically you want to have a very clear understanding on the OFFER made by Business Consultants to service your company.
First of all you must consider hiring Business Consultants as an INVESTMENT and NOT cost. You must get HIGHER value on the investment made, which means YOUR Return on Investment (ROI) must be high. To receive a high ROI, your Business Consultants must be in a position to address the following concerns or questions that you may have BEFORE hiring:
1. NATURE OF SERVICES:
Complete details of services which are offered. What type of support/commitment do the Business Consultants require from YOU? There should be NO surprises. Will the services be delivered by phone or email or personally? How soon will you receive the services? Is there a guarantee? Will you get 24/7 customer support?
2. YOUR INVESTMENT (cost):
How much will be the cost (INVESTMENT)? Would the payment be required monthly, quarterly or yearly? Will you be in a position to cancel their services any time with no further obligation?
Do you have proof that the Business Consultants are established for a reasonable period of time? Are there testimonials on the quality of their services? Is there a trial offer?
In addition to addressing the concerns 1 to 3, to make it worthwhile for YOU, there is one more question and that is that is “WIIFM”-What’s In It For Me? In other words, how will their services BENEFIT YOUR Company?
WARNING: When you get caught up in day to day activities of running your business, you tend to ignore these points, as they seem trivial. However doing the following exercise will help you in making a sound investment of hiring Business Consultants for YOUR business.
Here are three things you can consider doing:
Write down a list of areas of business where you need help. Example of such areas could be Incorporation, Accounting, Taxation, marketing, sales, investment etc.
Write down the nature of services in each area that YOU want your Business Consultant to provide. Using Yellow Pages, call the Business Consultant in the area of specialty, interview him keeping in mind the aspects mentioned above and make a sound INVESTMENT.