Hiring the right consultant or business advisor can be a cost-effective way for any sized business to leverage specialized knowledge. Consultants can help businesses in several key areas, such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or marketing, and help develop strategy, improve efficiency, and expand into new markets. Conversely, hiring the wrong consultant or business advisor can cost more than money—it can also cost you a lot of wasted time and energy. This is why it is SO important to know the right questions to ask before hiring the right team for your business.

1. Are you collaborative?

Several follow-up questions can fall under this… so if they say Yes.. make sure you ask these follow on questions…. Businesses do not want to work with a consultant who works in isolation, as there is a possible danger that they could take the business down a route it shouldn’t go. There needs to be a conversation about what the business goals are and ensure the consultant is working toward that direction. “How will you keep us informed of changes?” “How often will you report on your work, and what will it look like?” “Will there be weekly or monthly reports that are fairly standard for SEO? “ and most importantly, “How will we contact you?”

2. How well do you know our industry?

While it is important to have industry knowledge, a broad knowledge of other industries will allow a consultant to bring fresh ideas to the table.

3. Can you give me an overview of my industry and company?

This question can be embarrassing if the consultant is not ready, but it is a very important question. A good consultant should be able to discuss your company and be able to give you a simple overview of the industry. They should be able to tell you broadly what makes a company in your industry successful. If they can not at least explain a broad stroke of your business, this may not be a good consultant. It shows their dedication to their job if they walk into the 1st meeting with you with a knowledge base of your business.

4. Can you tell me about your process for going about work?

It is an important conversation to happen, and it is necessary for the consultant can demonstrate a strategy and process for achieving the results that the business wants. For example, for a digital marketing person, you may want to have follow-up questions like, “what will your process be for improving traffic to our site?” A strategic planning consultant should give evidence of a path to achieve this, but with the understanding that this might need to be tweaked along the way.

5. Can you guarantee success?

This is a trick question, as success is never guaranteed. For example, you might ask, “Can you guarantee that our site will rank No. 1 for a major search term?” This type of question will weed out if the consultant is a trustworthy candidate.  A follow-up question could be, “How do you determine if you’re successful?” This question is more to identify if they will be honest and identify with the steps that will need to happen to be successful or what success is to them and does it marries up to what you feel success is.

6. What is your payment structure?

It’s important to know how much and when exactly you will need to pay so that you can factor it into your budget. Many consultants ask for a percentage upfront and the remainder when the work is completed or the month paid upfront. This is important for you to ask, to know what or how much you may have to put up front.

7. What happens if we terminate the contract?

This is for your protection. It’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into. Find out if there are any fees written into the contract and how long ahead you have to give notice. It is OK to negotiate these if you feel they are unfair.

8. Why should we hire you over other consultants?

You may need a consultant, but is this the one? Do they have something special, such as a key piece of experience or knowledge, how are they a great fit for your company?

9. Will you sign a letter of confidentiality?

Not all of you will need to ask this question, but if you are working on something you do not want to risk getting out to the public before publicizing it, this may be a question you want to ask.

10. Will you refrain from working with our competitors?

Again, this is to protect the business, as you do not want key information being leaked, and you want to stay a step ahead of the competition that is in direct line with your business. Ensuring you find the right questions to ask a business consultant to help your business grow is a large investment. Even if a consultant has a good record, that does not automatically mean they are right for you and your business. With the right questions about both how they think about growing your business and how they work as a person or agency, you can find the right one to help your business and keep you sane at the same time.  Now that I have gone through what questions to ask a consultant at that first meeting, hopefully, you can feel more comfortable and be ready for that introduction. If you have any questions about this topic or anything else to help you or your business, feel free to reach out through email or schedule a free consultation on our website.     traci@erbusinessconsulting.com https://erbusinessconsulting.com/contact-us/ Byeeee…..