How to Choose a Business Consultant
What Qualities Should you look for in a Business Consultant
We’ve all heard it many times, you learn the most from mistakes you’ve made. This is no different in a business. Past mistakes plus trial and error all cater to the development of business experience. The only way to achieve experience is over time. So what do you do if you haven’t put in time to develop your business experience skills? You hire a business consultant.
Experience over time is not a suggestion to find the oldest consultant you can. In fact, the contrary could be true. A business catering to the young population may be better served by a younger consultant who views the business in the same way as the intended clientele would. Also, a consultant who has worked within multiple niches may be of more benefit to one who has worked for the same industry for 30 years. 30 years of hotel management experience is not necessarily beneficial when trying to promote a live music act.
The solution is to inquire about the consultant’s past experience and what industries they have been involved in. This brings us to our next criteria:
Proven Track Record
Our modern age of science has turned us into believers of evidence. “The proof is in the pudding” and the pudding is the businesses the consultant has previously worked with. If a consultant is successful with previous or current businesses, they will be happy to disclose that fact. If you can, talk to those businesses and see if they are happy with the result. So avoid hiring the wrong business coach by simply asking for references and/or reading reviews.
Without excellent communication skills, a business consultant cannot integrate into the operations of a business and find the problem areas. Communication goes beyond dictation. It is more important for consultants to listen. By listening to the business owner and the employees, key problems in development may be exposed. A good communicator can penetrate the hierarchy among employer and employee which, many times, hinders internal communication. Take the time to ensure the consultant you are considering for your business is listening to what you want and what you think.
I was once told that the best doctor is not the one who got 100% in medical school, he/she is the one who can make people feel comfortable enough to share personal matters and volunteer information. The Interpersonal skills of a consultant can allow a business owner to be open and honest. The more information and the more insight a business coach has, the more they can cater specifically to the needs of the business and the owner. The consultant should integrate as part of the business and avoid the owner feeling like they are being judged/critiqued. The owner should feel free to express ideas and thoughts on the consultant’s suggestions. After all, it is their business.
How can a business owner judge this? Well, you will know after the first meeting with a consultant in how they make you feel. If you are motivated and excited about a partnership and don’t feel like a hostile take-over, you can be confident in the consultants ability to work with you.
The development of a partnership relationship between a client and consultant, cannot undermine the professionalism of the consultant. A consultant’s duty first and foremost, is to make the business succeed. To do that, the client may need to be told things they don’t want to hear. This is a necessary evil unfortunately and will put a strain on the relationship. The ultimate success of the business is in the interest of both client and consultant and is worth the risk. This ties in the interpersonal and communication skills to complete the whole package of the optimal business consultant.
Do you need a business consultant?
With many years and a large variety of business experience, business consultant David D’Silva can coach you and your business to success. Where do you want to be in the next 5 years? Through analysis of your business, David can help you achieve your goals in marketing, finance and operations management. David’s strategic consulting services will audit your productivity, analyze your budget and identify leaks in your business. By budgeting for growth, optimizing human resources and strategizing marketing, all the cogs of your business will be in the right places. Contact David to begin a consulting project.