Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
The following are the most commonly-asked questions about using a business consultant:
What can a consultant do for my business? A good business consultant can help make your company easier to run and more profitable. Or help you get your firm under control. Or provide marketing help for your product or service to increase sales and profit margins. And provide an objective outsider’s business advice viewpoint. And keep you from “reinventing the wheel” by using his/her own experiences to provide proven solutions.
Why do I need a business consultant? Why can’t I just do it myself?
Company owners hire consultants for any (or all) of three reasons:
1. They want the consultant to perform specific technical tasks which the owner is unable to do for themselves.
2. They want the consultant to perform specific technical tasks which the owner is unwilling to do for themselves.
3. They want someone who has an fresh, objective, outsider’s viewpoint and proven expertise to help them solve business problems and show them how to manage their company more efficiently. You can do all of the problem-solving yourself if you have the time and the objective outlook to do so.
In summary, most business owners (even those that have the correct knowledge) have neither the time nor the perspective. That’s why a good consultant can be a valuable resource.
How much does a consultant cost? It depends. Project consultants (who are hired to do a specific project) usually will draw up a written proposal for you which will detail their fees and expenses. General business consultants charge an hourly or monthly fee to provide advice, often on a retainer basis. That’s why you need to interview any prospective consultant before you engage their services.
How do I find a good consultant? Referrals – ask fellow business owners whom you know or meet for recommendations. Then interview prospective consultants. The Internet is a great place to find information fast but not necessarily a fast place to find great information.
How do I tell if a particular consultant is right for me and my business? After checking their credentials and references, judge them by how they conduct themselves during your interview (by phone or in person). Do they have the kind of personality and manner you’re comfortable with?