Perhaps you run a small business, and you need some consulting assistance. It makes sense that you would seek the advice of those who have been there before you, and experienced all you are about to go through in your company. However, not all consultants are created equally. It behooves you to spend as much time, or even more in checking out your consultant’s resume, and credentials as you might a typical employee for your company.
If your consultant boasts about all their wonderful clients, then ask for names and references. Do not feel intimidated in getting on the phone and talking to these references. You must also be careful that you have not been given a bunch of references, which are very close friends. The reality is that due to the global economic meltdown, many laid-off executives, and folks in corporate America decided to become business coaches and consultants.
Some of the things you need to ask before hiring a consultant or signing a consulting agreement are the following;
- Years in business
- Years in your industry
- Successful clients
You should also ask about their turnaround successes, or case studies where they solved a problem for a company, and saved them lots of money. You need to make sure that your consultant or coach is not a name dropper, but an actual achiever. Further, you need to know if they are an academic or an actual business person because there is a big difference.
What you need is someone that has been in business “in or around” your industry for 10 to 20 years or more. You need a consultant that has successful clients, and has turned around companies that were on the brink of bankruptcy. You need a consultant that can help solve problems, not create more. Indeed, I hope you will please consider all this because not all consultants are worth their salt.