A consultant is an advisor. It is your business, and you know it best. A good consultant spends a bit of time understanding your business needs. He uses the tools and experience and offers you a set of options to help you make decisions that will help you take your business forward.
The right consultant for you is one with whom you are comfortable and confident interacting. You should be able to trust the advisor. You will not get the expert business consultant by looking at the credentials and asking for copies of advice and reports that the consultant may have offered to other clients.
I have seen some entrepreneurs engaging with a consultant as if hiring an employee. You will hire an operator who knows how to handle a boss. A consultant is not an employee, he is not a subordinate, and he is also not a boss. He is an advisor. As an advisor, some of his advice may require you to make course corrections to your business. That will not happen in a boss-subordinate relationship.
With this background, let me share a simple tip to help you hire the best consultant for your business. I have gathered this during my 45 years of professional leadership and consulting experience.
Get into a dialog with the advisor that you have shortlisted to hire. Don’t rush into signing a contract and realizing later that the individual you have selected is not right for you. The dialog process often begins tentatively. Both sides are trying to understand each other. Ask questions and look at the responses. The dialog process could start as written messages and end with a video call.
If, by the end of the process, you conclude that the consultant is an individual you can work with and has the right skills and credentials, you can formalize the relationship.