Focusing Forward is proud to provide a large roster of extremely capable and creative consultants, but with so many experts to choose from, it could potentially feel like an overwhelming decision. Here we will offer you some practical ways to evaluate consultants, helping you feel more confident in the process of choosing the one you want to work with.
Before you start reaching out to consultants, there are a few questions that you need to ask yourself to clarify your specific goals for this partnership. Going into the relationship with a clear vision will help you avoid frustration and wasted time.
What problems most need to be solved?
Where do I lack expertise, confidence, and/or knowledge?
What type of expertise would help me reach my goals?
What do I value in terms of communication: clarity, promptness, kindness, empathy, reliability, etc?
How will I measure success or failure? What metrics will I use to tell me if the partnership added value to my business?
After you have answered these questions in a way that allows you to clearly understand your needs and wants, you are ready to start evaluating potential partnerships. Remember that working with a consultant is a two-way street that requires thoughtful communication from both parties, as well as a high level of trust. A consultant is not your employee. You are establishing a temporary relationship with them in order to accomplish specific goals that your team is not well-equipped to reach on their own.
What should you look for in a consultant?
There are several qualities that should be present in any good consultant, no matter their specific area of expertise:
Proven record of results and/or proven expertise in their field
Knowledge and experience specific to the market you wish to enter
Ability to explain complex ideas in plain language (even at the early stages of communication)
Thought leader in their field
It’s important to remember that while many consultants might have the desired expertise, not all of them will be the perfect fit for you. Take advantage of early conversations to evaluate their style of communication to see if it works well with yours. You deserve to feel safe in the hands of your consultant, so it’s perfectly acceptable to be picky!
Lastly, once you’ve selected and hired your consultant, trust them and trust the process. Magic doesn’t happen overnight, and neither do great relationships. Allow them to do what they do best, commit to staying actively engaged in the process, and get ready to accomplish great things.
Visit our Consulting Services page to learn more about our offerings or to book a free 30 minute video call to discuss what we can do for your business.
* Written by Kelly Johnson, Contracts Dept. for Focusing Forward, November 2022.