Call Our Offices
Your Money.
Your Life.
Your Way.
article
Getting the Most from Outside Consultants
Shared by Strong Valley on May 7, 2024
Getting the Most from Outside Consultants
Image of a stop watch for the in-brief section heading
IN BRIEF
Here's a quick look at what's in this article:

While your business may benefit from the expertise and insight that an outside consultant can provide, without a focused selection process and procedures in place, it can be a waste of time and money.  Here are a few tips for having reasonable and well-defined expectations at the outset.

Important Disclosure: Content on our website and in our newsletters is for informational purposes only. The information provided may (or may not) directly apply to your situation. We recommend that readers work directly with a professional advisor when making decisions in the context of their specific situation.

At various points in its development, your business may benefit from the expertise and insight that only an external consultant can provide. But without the right selection process and procedures in place, bringing in an outside consultant can be a waste of time and money.

Here are some tips for selecting and effectively utilizing outside consultants:

Define exactly what you need.

When your company needs help with a specific project, identifying the reasons why a consultant’s services are required is not difficult. But what if the needs of your organization are less obvious? Bringing in a consultant to “improve efficiency” is far too broad an objective. Before seeking a consultant, identify the specific areas in your organization that need to be addressed and the precise goals you wish to achieve.

Ask around.

If you are unsure of how to find a consultant who will meet your needs, contact professional associations or other businesses for their recommendations. Take advantage of opportunities to speak with others about their experiences with consultants or consulting firms. Such individuals may also offer advice on negotiating consulting fees. Avoid selecting a consultant simply because he or she is a friend or family member of an employee or manager.

Prepare an RFP and collect proposals and bids.

Once you have determined the goals you hope to accomplish by hiring a consultant, include this information in a “request for proposal” (RFP) to be distributed to candidates. Ask each candidate to submit a proposal that includes information on fees and reimbursable expenses. Examine each proposal carefully, asking questions or interviewing candidates where appropriate. Eliminate any proposals that are not professionally presented or that fail to include the requested information.

Draw up a contract.

After a candidate has been chosen, prepare a legal agreement that outlines the services that the consultant is expected to deliver, dates for completion, and a schedule of payment. Have the consultant sign the contract before beginning the work.

Collaborate with the consultant.

Keep in mind that even the most qualified consultant cannot be of assistance without input and cooperation from your company. Before the consultant arrives, make sure that the appropriate managers and employees have made time in their schedules to meet with the consultant and provide him or her with the necessary information. Also, prepare any background information on your business that the consultant might find useful prior to his or her arrival.

Remember that consultants are not responsible for doing the work of management or regular employees. Instead, consultants are a source of expert advice on how staff can perform their duties more effectively, even after the consultant’s work is finished.

Put the consultant’s proposals into practice.

After spending considerable amounts of money to have a consultant address an issue or solve a problem, many businesses fail to take the consultant’s advice or to translate his or her recommendations into action. Carefully consider each of the consultant’s recommendations and decide how the business will put them into practice.

Evaluate performance.

After the consultant’s ideas have been implemented and enough time has passed for the results to become apparent, analyze the impact of the actions taken and ask employees to assess the usefulness of the consultant’s contribution. This can help you determine whether your original goals in hiring the consultant were met and provide insight into how your business can make effective use of consultant services in the future. 

Outside consultants can provide valuable insight and advice for your business. To get the most from this experience, be sure you have reasonable and well-defined expectations at the outset, that you communicate these expectations clearly to the consultant, and implement his or her suggestions thereafter.

Investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values. Past performance does not guarantee future results or even estimates of actual returns a client may achieve. This information is designed to provide general information on the subjects covered. Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision. Opinions and estimates offered are subject to change without notice. We believe the information provided here is reliable, but do not warrant its accuracy or completeness. Please see other important disclosures related to StrongValley.com

Your turn – What would you like to know about Getting the Most from Outside Consultants?

Strong Valley wants to provide useful and meaningful information to our clients, to our professional network, and to the broader community of people we serve. We’d love to hear your questions about Getting the Most from Outside Consultants or about any other topics you care about. You can call our office directly, or use the contact form below to send us your questions and/or suggestions.  And if you found the information helpful or entertaining, we hope you'll share the Strong Valley story with others.

We love to hear your questions, ideas, and feedback!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Copyright © 2024 Strong Valley Wealth & Pension, LLC
Investment advice offered through Integrated Partners, doing business as Strong Valley Wealth & Pension, a registered investment advisor. The information on this website has not been approved or verified by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission or by any state securities authority. Registration as an Investment Adviser does not imply a certain level of skill or training. Strong Valley Wealth & Pension, LLC offers some securities through M.S. Howells & Co. Member FINRA/SIPC. M.S. Howells & Co. is not affiliated with Strong Valley Wealth & Pension.
The link you have selected is located on another server. The linked site contains information that has been created, published, maintained, or otherwise posted by institutions or organizations independent of this organization. We do not endorse, approve, certify, or control any linked websites, their sponsors, or any of their policies, activities, products, or services. We do not assume responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of the information contained therein. Visitors to any linked websites should not use or rely on the information contained therein until they have consulted with an independent financial professional. Please click “Continue to Link” to leave this website and proceed to the selected site.