There are certain things that must be considered before you hire a business planning consultant: The following are some of the most important things to consider when hiring a consultant:
You must have a contractual agreement. The consulting agreement sets out the parameters of the relationship, specifies the services to be performed, and sets forth the timeframe in which the work needs to be completed. Both parties should sign the agreement.
You must check the consultant’s background. The skills and abilities of consultants vary widely. You should conduct your due diligence and check references to help you determine if the consultant is right for your business.
Be sure that no one in-house can do the job. Companies commonly fail to consider the various skills of their employees before hiring a consultant. Take the time to re-read the resumes of your staff before you spend more money than necessary to hire a consultant.
Be sure to check the compensation scale. Check the going rate in the industry and do some research to find out the pay range for the services you require before overpaying a consultant.
The payment for expenses should be spelled out in the consulting agreement. The consultant will expect his or her expenses to be covered, and these should be discussed in advance and spelled out in the consulting agreement so they do not come as a surprise when they appear on the invoice.
Be sure the consultant is available on the time schedule you require. Make sure the consultant is available to work on your project on your schedule. If the consultant accepts your job but cannot start for three weeks, you need to know that in advance to be certain that your deadlines will be met.
Conduct a thorough hiring interview. Take the interview process very seriously with consultants just as you would do with prospective employees. A consultant you hire will be involved in the future of your business, and it is imperative that you conduct a comprehensive interview.
Have the consultant sign a letter of confidentiality. Consultants are free agents, and you need to keep in mind that they may work for your competition after completing your project. Therefore, you must have a signed letter of confidentiality from the consultant to protect your trade secrets and confidential information.
Clearly describe the project. Be sure that the consultant and you are not on the same page from the start to avoids misunderstandings and complications later on.
Introduce the consultant to your staff. Your employees start need to know who this person is and why they are asking for files or asking about certain projects. Introduce the consultant to your regular employees, especially those with whom he or she will be working.
The consultant must have marketing and finance skills and experience. They must understand the U.S. industrial and business climate. They must understand your company and the industry. They must know who your competitors are and how they do business. Be sure the consultant shows you the research they have done in preparing your business plan.
The consultant must do more than just write a business plan. A business plan needs to reflect a carefully thought-out business strategy for growth and profitability. Your business plan consultant must work with you to develop and refine your business strategy. The consultant needs to meet with you several times to learn, think through, and discuss your marketing, financial and operating strategies.
Before you hire a consultant, do your research and look at the work the consultant has done in the past. Be sure the consultant has the academic credentials and experience necessary to do a comprehensive business plan. Be sure the consultant knows how to prepare a business plan that will meet your needs, whether it is for raising capital, applying for business loans, meeting IRS requirements, or supporting grant requests.
Jo Ann Joy, Esq., MBA, CEO
The future of your business starts here!
You may contact Jo Ann by phone at (602) 663-7007, by fax at (602) 324-7582, by email at joannjoy@Indigo Business Solutions.net, and by mail at 2313 East Ocotillo Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85016. I have many published articles, and I will send any article to you free of charge. Most consultations are free.