5 Things to Consider When Hiring a Consultant

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You’ve just had a call from a consultant about helping you to develop systems for your business. She raised some good points, but you’re not convinced about the overall benefit of having a consultant assist you with this. Your initial thought is to close the call promptly. 

You listen for a few moments to be polite and then find the opportunity to say, “Thanks, we won’t need any external help with that. We have all the internal skills we need to cover it.” 

Excellent response! Sounds like you’re going to save loads of money. You’ve made a wise choice.

Hmmm… but wait a sec…  if everything is fine, why haven’t you already systemised your business? Why doesn’t everything already run like clockwork?

So, should I engage a consultant? Couldn’t we do it ourselves?

It often appears to be cheaper, faster, and more efficient to work on systems using someone on your team rather than engaging a consultant to assist you. After all, look at all the ways you should benefit from not engaging a consultant. You’ll:

1. Save money – no consultant fee

Of course, you will. Any consultant will cost more than your average team member if you’re looking at the hourly rate. The real question is what you are paying for rather than who you are paying for. If a consultant brings knowledge and experience to the table, this is what you must consider when counting the fee.  A ‘well-aimed consultant’ may hit the target more effectively than Peter from Purchasing.

2. Save yourself from becoming dependent on an external person

I wonder, do you service your own car? No, most likely. You take the car to your trusted mechanic, just like you have for years. You do this because you know that your mechanic is way more skilled than you will ever be. What’s more, you have his service warranty to back up his work. Are you dependent on your mechanic? Well, there are many mechanics, but you choose to stay with this one. Hmm … sounds almost like you’re dependent on him – that external person – doesn’t it. Realistically though, are you dependent on him, or are you glad you have his ongoing, dedicated service to support your business?

3. Be able to do it your way

So, is your way the best way? That consultant is most likely drawing on years of experience perfecting their approach. By hiring them, you’ll get the benefit of that approach and the rich experience that produced it. And even if you want your work done a very particular way, the consultant will most likely be better equipped to adapt to your particular requirements.

4. Be able to edit or update your systems much more easily because it’s all kept in-house

Maybe it’s important to differentiate between the ability to make changes (mechanical skill) and the reasoning that goes behind the changes (business process expertise). Editing or updating systems (and most other things) requires the same skill level as you’d need to create them in the first place.

5. Guard all the expertise you develop in-house and better protect your IP

Any consultant worth their salt is likely to be very protective of their reputation. Tell me how likely it really is that they’re going to put this reputation at risk just so they can steal your IP? Your consultant will be making sure that your IP is well protected, straight after they’ve improved the worth of that IP by applying their expertise…

Food for thought?

There is no question that the business owner must carefully consider the value offered by every consultant they might engage. That’s just good business practice. Sometimes it might just be better to go a little deeper when assessing the value the consultant might bring.

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