Tip of the Week: What to Look For and What to Avoid in a ConsultantSometimes you just don’t know what to do, and you don’t know where to turn for help. You don’t want to ask your competitors for anything, because they don’t need to know your weak points, and you feel crushed under the pressure of day-to-day operation. Maybe a hand once in a while isn’t such a bad thing. However, you don’t want to take advice from just anyone. There are several things that you should be careful of when seeking a consultant.
What You Shouldn’t Do
- Make consultation your only option. Outsourcing can be a valuable tool for businesses who need to accomplish a lot with a small staff, but if you spread your team too thin, you won’t know what’s going on. If you lose control of things, you might think that consultation is the only way out of the mess. Don’t fall into this trap. You should always know what needs to be done and how to do it.
- Confuse your responsibilities with your consultation agency’s. This is simply a matter of priority and responsibility. When you set out to receive business or IT consultation, both parties should know what they will be responsible for doing. Map it out beforehand and discuss it until you come to an agreement. Then, feel free to move forward.
- Lose sight of your true goal. With so much going on, it’s easy to forget what your goals are. Don’t let this happen to you. Take some time to outline what your goals are and when you want to accomplish them by. Consultants can help you gather information and build this outline.
What You Should Do
- Avoid ambiguity. This is all about communication and making sure that everyone is on the same page. If your consultant doesn’t know what your plans are, or assumes too much, you won’t get accurate advice. Avoid this by remaining open.
- Find the perfect fit. On occasion, you’ll find yourself in a situation when entrusting an entire project to a consultant is beneficial. You want to make sure that you can trust the consultant to finish the project on time and within budget. To this end, only hire those who have proven their worth and have experience in the field. They might look good on paper, but nothing beats a trial run.
- Take responsibility for your actions. Once you make a decision, it’s with you until the end. Be prepared to accept the responsibility for what you do, especially if it’s bad. Don’t blame others, such as your consultant, for your mistakes. To this end, make sure that you hire someone who has skills that you yourself don’t have. This minimizes the chances that you’ll be stuck in a situation you don’t understand.