When you can’t solve a business problem, you probably need a consultant.
Perhaps you don’t have the necessary experience to solve a problem and need to avoid a costly mistake. Or you’re busy time-wise and you might find it more cost effective to hire an expert.
Reasons to hire a consultant include:
— Analyzing a problem
— Conducting research
— Giving you expert advice
— Setting up a new IT system, IT security
— Human resources training, coaching
— Financial expertise, pricing products and services
— Business turnaround
— Branding, marketing, public relations or crisis-management
— Special projects
Consultants, of course, come in all shapes and sizes to work on a short-term basis. It can be an advantageous situation because you pay for the guidance and information you need.
Some projects can take longer, such as coordinating and implementing a marketing program, installing a new IT system or maintaining systems.
Unless you expect to hire a long-term consultant, make sure you save time and money by getting an estimate with a completion date. However, it’s advisable that you pay on a project basis, not an hourly rate.
Be careful with some consultants because they might have basic abilities but not enough skills to manage a special project.
If you’re considering consultants who are unknown entities to you, check with your associates for recommendations, but check references. Research their reputations and read their writings to learn their philosophy.
Make sure there were no negative surprises.
The consultant should have a track record in completing projects on schedule, within budget, and with measurable results.
You’ll want five salient benefits: Efficiency, information, innovation, objectivity and productivity.
Finally, if you do hire someone and problems occur, but you think it’s a salvageable relationship, see: How to Get Great Service from Dysfunctional Vendors. The tips are applicable for consultants, too.
From the Coach’s Corner, more tips on hiring tech consultants and providers:
7 Tips to Hire Marketers for Traditional and Experiential Expertise — Technology has evolved so big and fast with an over-saturation of hype, it’s resulted in over-stimulation of migraine proportions. Yet there’s an incalculable number of marketing agencies that claim to have all the answers in both B2C traditional and experiential marketing
6 Tips to Save Time and Money by Hiring the Right Tech Consultant — If you need to hire an information technology consultant, it can be costly in time and money, if you choose the wrong person. Use due diligence. Sophisticated tech vendors and consultants of all sizes have been known for cost over-runs.
Risk Management – Picking the Best Cloud Storage Provider — There’s been quite a buzz about using the cloud. Personally, I’m still not sold on using cloud services for many businesses. There have been too many problems, and I prefer to maintain controls to alleviate uncertainty in business.
Strategies to Create the Best Possible Mobile Apps — Consumer and enterprise penchants for mobile technology have skyrocketed but we’ve only scratched the surface in developing quality, application solutions. Mobile apps are expected to support initiatives for a company’s return on investment. That includes competitiveness in the marketplace; efficiency; enterprise and consumer relationships; and revenue – better yet, profits would be more ideal.
8 Basic Tips for Selecting the Right Web Hosting Company — If you want to grow or have plans for a complex Web site, hiring the right Web hosting company can be daunting. How do you find a hosting firm that’s reliable and is responsive to your needs? Don’t take the selection process for granted. You can suffer from any one of many unforeseen challenges.
“Some consultants are like the bottom half of a double boiler: They get all heated up but don’t know what’s cooking.”