How Do You Know If Your Small Business Consultant is Qualified Enough

How Do You Know If Your Small Business Consultant is Qualified Enough to Help Your Business Grow?

So, it’s not hard to imagine a small business owner asking the following: “I like what I’m seeing about Mr. Haskins, but how do I know if it’s worth my time and money to hire him?”

You may have asked this question on an occasion or two.  Qualified consultants and coaches are out there, in their offices, waiting for your call.  But in a sea of consultants – “experts” within dozens of industries – how can you pick a needle out of a haystack and find the one who can truly help your business?  How can you separate mere words from the real possibility of solid results?

First things first: You need to establish exactly what it is you need such a person to do for your company. If you don’t know the general path you need to be on, you’re probably going to waste a lot of money on expertise that won’t help you find your way back to the correct path.  This happens to some owners.  Don’t let it happen to you.  Thoroughly explain your business needs when you explore and interview a possible consultant for hire.

Secondly, take the time necessary to review his/her credentials.  If you see an area that, on paper, looks like a good fit for your business, probe that area deeply with the prospect.  Don’t assume because the language looks as if “he’s in the ballpark” that he will understand or grasp your needs.  We advise you to keep peeling off layers of his/her background until you find the specific talents/skills this person has to offer.

Take Time To Review Your Compatibility

Possibly, the first and second considerations just mentioned check out okay; A) the person’s skillset fits your business needs and B) his credentials show he will know enough about your business to genuinely help you move forward.  However, what if the two of you would not work well together? To avoid this, the two of you should plan on spending a little time in these environments, before signing an agreement:

  • A coffee house, restaurant, or office where at least an hour or two can be devoted to merely getting to know each other.
  • “In the field” – whatever that means for you, where the two of you can work through a situation, look for solutions, and come to agreement on how you both would address a specific problem.

Finally, make sure the price you’ll pay matches the benefit you expect to receive.  Some consultants are pricey, others are not.  Some have such an impressive list of credentials and degrees to support their high-end claims that they’ll state how they deserve to be compensated according to their achievements.

But all those accolades won’t mean anything, really, toward helping your bottom line.  If you’re not careful, you could end up spending a lot of money on some high-minded “expert” who offers a lot of things you simply don’t need.  Instead, try to find down-to-earth logic from self-aware individuals.  Don’t fall for all the hype that often accompanies the type of individual who displays his vanity everywhere he or she goes.  In other words, when you scan over their track record, seek out tangible results! Really, a consultant’s past dealings should be measurable.  If not, you should likely think twice before taking another step with someone who can’t show you tangible results.