Friday, April 20, 2007

Why Hire A Consultant: Working With Them and Where to Find Them

This is the third of three posts on Why Hire A Consultant.

How to Work With a Consultant
Here are some tips for fostering a working relationship with a consultant:

  • Work together to define the scope of the project in order to establish goals and expectations
  • Know what you, the stakeholder, want to accomplish with the project.
  • Determine in advance how any changes will be implemented and plan a timeframe and process for the implementation of a prescribed solution.
  • Keep those you are ultimately serving the primary focus. Whether it is employees inside a company or your customers, changes made should be driven by their needs, not entirely that of management or executive decision makers.
  • Understand that change is part of the process that will occur over the course of the consultant-client relationship.
How Do You Find A Consultant?
There are number of ways you can find and hire a consultant to help you address aparticular business problem you are facing.

The best way to find a consultant is through networking. Begin by asking trusted colleagues or other business professionals who they would recommend to help you in your situation. Chances are they know one or two people you can contact. By asking trusted colleagues and friends you can be confident that their referral will be able to help you.

You can also find a consultant by conducting a basic web search. Simply think of your business problem or describe your industry in two or three words and add the word “consultant”. You are likely to receive a number of search engine results with links to directories or websites belonging to consultants that you can research and contact if you feel they meet your needs.

Finally, you can research online consultant directories belonging to professional organizations that list their members. In Southwest Idaho, for example, there is our organization Treasure Valley Consultants’ Network, which lists its member consultants in an online directory. Our online directory is divided into categories that can be browsed. Each category lists consultants based on their areas of expertise and provides full contact information with links to their respective websites and a brief description of their consulting business and listing of skill sets.

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