If you’re taking the major decisions for a business, whether as the founder, a CEO or one of many influential executives, money is always on your mind. Money is the primary resource you have to spend, either indirectly in the form of the time of the people you employ, or directly by buying goods and services. And if you’re spending money you need to be aware of the return you’re getting for it.
One of the ways you can spend money, as a decisionmaker, is by hiring consultants to provide insights and expertise you don’t have internally. This can be enormously useful, helping you put in place more efficient processes to avoid loss or pushing forward into new markets to make more money. Unfortunately, if you don’t plan carefully and have a clear idea what you want from your consultants, it can be a quick way to spend a lot and get little quantifiable value back. Today we’re taking a look at the issue so you can identify if you really need consultants.
Could That Consultant be a Hire?
The advantage of consultants is that they provide something that your regular workforce doesn’t. Insight that you don’t have yourself and haven’t hired in – this scarcity is why consultants command a premium price. But that premium price means it’s worth considering whether you could be getting a better deal by making permanent hires.
This is often a consideration only for a larger business – you have to be operating on a national scale at least before it makes more sense to hire your own market research department than it does to retain an agency when you need it. But this kind of decision can also be part of the growing pains of a business. Moving from an occasional drop in from an HR specialist or agency to staffing up your payroll with that expertise is the mark that you’ve moved up a level.
In some sectors, it rarely if ever makes sense to hire full time staff – your strategy is a long term endeavour with years between reviews so of the strategic consultancy firms London hosts is always going to be a better bet than a hire.
What Do You Want?
The most important thing to consider before you enter into a relationship with a consultant is what you want out of it. You need to know what you want to achieve before they start work, otherwise you have no bar by which to measure their success, and no way to tell if you’re getting a good return on your investment!
With many consultants this will be part of the initial conversation, but you start things off positively by coming to the table with a clear idea of what you want to achieve and how to measure it so all parties know where they stand.