“Products are made in a factory but brands are created in the mind.” - WALTER LANDOR
Questions & more Questions?
- “Ask them about their previous roles.”
- “Discuss the overall cost up front.”
- “Make sure to check references.”
These are some suggestions you might have heard when someone gives you unsolicited advice on how to hire the right employees or consultants. Well, all the aforementioned points are true, of course. You should check a consultant’s online reviews, disclose your budget, and take a look at their previous achievements. It’s a no-brainer.
However, in this article, we’ll talk about some aspects of the process of hiring consultants that don’t get discussed quite often.
You Should Go for ‘Top Consultants’, Not ‘Top Consulting Firms’
When a brand name is attached to a product or service, it’s considered okay to charge an insanely high amount to customers. This applies to consultancies as well. When it comes to consultancies, there are just a handful at the top and the rest are mostly unheard of by most people. Not saying that these big names don’t do a great job. But if you’re willing to think outside the status quo and explore other options, you’ll likely find a top consultant for the quarter the price.
The task of hiring the best consultants doesn’t always have to involve the best consultancies. It sounds like an obvious thing, but surprisingly, so many business owners don’t even consider the possibility of looking at some other places when hiring a consultant.
Whether you hire a freelance consultant or one from a top consulting firm, in the end, you’ll likely have only one, or a couple of consultants who actually work with you. Choose this person based on their personal and professional attributes—not just a big brand name.
The Process of Hiring a Consultant Is Similar to That of Hiring Employees
Howdo you hire a permanent full-time employee if you’re too busy with your day-to-day operations? It’s simple. You could approach a recruitment agency to handle 80% of the hiring process for you. Then you can interview the top candidates and onboard the chosen one.
The same process can be used to hire a freelance consultant. The only difference is that instead of visiting a recruitment agency, you can approach an online consulting platform. These freelance platforms give you access to hundreds of top management consultants at any time. You can even find consultants who have worked for Google, Facebook, and other Fortune 500 companies.
Sometimes, small and medium-sized business owners who >are not used to working with consultants solely rely on their professional network or social media ads when they’re thinking about hiring a consultant. But it doesn’t have to be this way anymore. The advent of online consulting platforms has made it so easy for businesses to find the best consultants in a matter of days.
There Are Dozens of Niches Consultants Specialize in
Yes, consulting is more than just business strategy advice or accounting—which are a couple of niches that big consulting firms specialize in. In reality, you can, and should, find consultants for your specific business problem. There’s no doubt that generalists can get the job done as well, but why not hire a consultant who has solved the same problems in the same niche before?
For example, if you’re thinking about hiring a consultant to create your company’s weekly newsletter, you should hire an inbound marketing consultant because they specialize in such tasks. Similarly, if you want to run Facebook ads for your next annual sale, it’s recommended that you hire a Facebook ads consultant instead of a generalist marketing consultant who ‘kind of’ knows about social media ads but isn’t very experienced.
That’s why it’s crucial that you define your problem first and then decide which type of expertise and skills you’re looking for in your consultant.
Your Entire Team Should Be Open to the Idea of Hiring a Consultant
The decision to hire a consultant should be collective. Hiring the best management consultants is easy, but to make the most of this opportunity depends on the whole team. A consultant’s knowledge and experience might not be of any use if they’re not offered proper support and collaboration from internal stakeholders, especially senior management.
Sometimes, consultants are seen as temporary outsiders and kept at a distance by the permanent team. It’s an age-old human tendency to be a bit skeptical of strangers. Before you bring a consultant on board, let your whole team feel included in the decision, so they don’t feel undermined later. Let them know exactly how each employee and the company will benefit because of the consultant.
For instance, if you’re hiring an Agile coach to help you incorporate your company’s new operations process for the first time, discuss with your team how convenient it’ll make their weekly operations. Make the consulting engagement a win-win for everyone.
It’s often believed that the only thing that a business needs to do is hire a consultant, and they’ll take care of all the problems. What no one tells you is this: The company and the consultant need to work as a team. Sometimes, the consultant will lead the situation, but sometimes, they might need some help from the team as well.
Hiring the best consultants has never been easier because of the ubiquity of freelance consulting platforms. It might just take a few clicks and a couple of phone calls before you’re discussing your project with a top consultant. Businesses can now hire some of the best consultants in the world without even approaching the Big Four firms. No matter what your problem is, there’s a consultant out there that specializes in solving them. All you need to do is approach an online consulting platform.