Don't Hire a Consultant (Until You've Done This)
Is it the right time to hire a consultant? Maybe some people in the company think it’s time to finally approach a freelance platform and get a top consultant to solve the company’s problem, while some team members still might be on the fence.
Truly, hiring a consultant can be a great investment. Far better than buying ping-pong tables for the office. Just kidding, ping-pong tables are awesome - if only the players know how to hold the paddle properly.
Anyway, jokes aside, let’s get back to the main point. It’s true that hiring a consultant is a big investment. However, this could be the best investment you’ll ever make if you hire a consultant for the right reasons, and know exactly why you’re choosing to engage with one. Are you still thinking whether it’s worth it or not? The following questions will help you hire a consultant for the right reasons:
Are You Ready for a Change?
Before you hire a consultant, you and your team have to be comfortable with the fact that things may not be the same as before. Once your employees are past that initial learning curve, the new processes and tools can be very exciting to work with. For example, if your social media team is still posting every video, image, or blog manually, a consultant can train them to use a state-of-the-art social media management platform. This way, your team would be able to schedule a whole month’s content in a few hours and have more time to respond to queries and create a better social media strategy for the coming months.
This is just one example. If you simply visit a freelance consulting marketplace, you’ll be able to find a consultant for almost all your business-related problems. From operational processes to organizational culture, if you are looking for a change and are ready to navigate new waters, your consultant might only be a few clicks away on an online consulting marketplace.
Which Skills Does Your Company Lack Internally?
It’s completely fine to not know everything in business. A lot of business owners struggle with finding the right skill set within the company - that’s just the way it is in almost every business. So rest assured, you’re not the only one. Now, the next step is to list down the skills that are needed to ensure your company reaches its goals. Ask yourself: What skills are necessary for the company’s growth, unavailable internally?
For example, if 80% of your business is cloud-based and none of your staff has a clue about what cybersecurity is, it’ll be really hard for you to detect any data leakage, hacking, or other fraudulent behavior. In this case, the knowledge and skills that your company lacks internally might be one or more of the following: Latest IT security standards, penetration tools like Metasploit, Java, C++, and some other terms that you might not have heard before, but your consultant has. When you approach a freelance consulting marketplace and let them know about the exact skill that you require, they can easily find you a consultant who can fill in the gap.
Do You Need a Consultant or a Full-Time Employee?
Sometimes, it makes sense to hire a full-time employee, and sometimes, you should undoubtedly hire a consultant. Bringing a consultant on board using a freelance consulting marketplace makes sense for one-off projects or when you need expert advice occasionally. It’s really important, as a business owner, to get into the habit of sourcing temporary manpower. Because hiring a permanent employee for every new task that appears on your to-do list might not be a viable way to run a business.
Are You Actually Going to Implement the Recommendations? And Is Hiring a Consultant a Good Investment for Your Business?
Hiring a consultant through an online consulting marketplace is just the beginning. After coming on board with you, a consultant will collect data (a lot of it), analyze it rigorously, and then, offer recommendations. Now, to really reach your company’s goals, you need to work on the recommendations. Sometimes, a consultant’s suggestions lie somewhere in an organization’s Google Drive as a PowerPoint presentation and never get implemented.
There could be several reasons behind this. Maybe some decision-makers in the company think that the consultant’s suggestions aren’t really practical. And sometimes, it’s hard to implement suggestions when the consultant is gone. Either way, keep this thing in mind prior to hiring a consultant: your engagement with the consultant will only be fruitful if you and your team are willing to put in work, stay the course, and actually take the consultant’s recommendations seriously.
On another note, it’s very easy in this day and age to find a top consultant through a freelance consulting marketplace. However, you need to do your own calculations and analyze if hiring a consultant will provide you the right return on investment or not. An experienced consultant will either help you reduce the costs of running your business or recommend strategies to increase your company’s revenue. Whatever it might be, consultants could offer your nearly thrice the returns on your investment - given that they know their stuff and your organization executes their recommendations religiously.
For example, a consultant can examine your company’s operations and suggest new ways to decrease overhead costs. Meaning that for a one-time consulting fee, you could enjoy years of low overhead costs. Amazing, isn’t it?
Let’s consider another example. This time, let’s talk about increasing revenue. Suppose that a camera manufacturer wants to increase its revenue by 20% during the holiday season. For this reason, they hire a consultant to analyze their situation and suggest a better way. The consultant finds that the company is not cross-selling its products at all and advises that a customer who buys a camera might also need a tripod and a memory card. The consultant then recommends the company to create an email series to market camera accessories to customers who have already purchased a camera.
Freelance consulting marketplaces have made it very convenient for business owners to hire consultants. Sometimes, consultants get hired in a matter of days. However, it’s important to know the answers to the questions mentioned above before you bring a consultant on board. If you know exactly why you’re hiring a consultant, and if you are willing to work hand in hand with them to achieve the common goals, then there’s nothing you can’t achieve as a business.