Google the word “Consultant” and millions of links immediately pop on to your computer screen. Refine the search term and a smaller, but still massive army of sites will become available for search. Consultants are everywhere and offering every imaginable service.
How does a business or entrepreneur in need of acquiring professional skills go about winnowing down and selecting the right team for their specific need? I am asked this question often while performing work as a Consumer Product Development and Marketing Consultant. There seem to be two key elements to consider when making this calculation.
The first is to consider what skills you, or your group, possess in the area in which you desire assistance. If you are an excellent writer, and are seeking to build a web-site, preparing the copy and visual layout for the site might be work you could handle by yourself. In that case, the need for a web-master for construction and a site manager to control your PPC and SEO campaign may be the totality of the help you need.
More detailed projects require different and more comprehensive skill sets. Does your team have the ability to create a Business Model, a Business Plan and execute each work element required to successfully push a product or service into the marketplace? Unless the answer to this question is a hard “yes” you should be interviewing Managing Consultants.
The second important consideration is to assemble a menu of services the project will require. Do the consultants you are interviewing have the capability to manage the whole project, or are they going to specialize in their area of expertise and hand off important work elements to others.
We work internationally, with large multi-national companies, and increasingly with entrepreneurs, inventors and small and micro-businesses. Large clients typically hire our firm for a specific piece of project work. Smaller clients tend to want us to act as Managing Consultants. Many people have successful businesses and careers, family responsibilities and, for course, mortgages. They often want and need to stay with their chosen work.
A Managing Consultant should be able to take a project from idea or concept stage, to market launch. The capacity to manage product development, prototype and product design work, source manufacturing, organize fulfillment and logistics, create customized Marketing Strategies, handle Public Relations, produce creative elements, packaging design, develop funding possibilities, and Sales Models are only a few of the work product elements that successful Managing Consultants should be able to provide to their clients.
The Managing Consultant’s job is to provide their client with the best options for each item on the work product menu. You should expect the Consultant to provide these options and then detail why, if this were his business, he would choose option No. 2 over options No. 1 and 3. The Consultant works for the client and all final decisions are made by them.
A good consultant should save clients Time, Money and Mistakes. Experience, professional contacts, a long rolodex and instinct are what separate the really successful consultants from the out of work, down sized corporate manager that has real experience only in structured environments. In the current economy, the market is chock full of this type of consultant. Performing proper due diligence when selecting Consulting help will make or break your projects chance for achieving success.
by: Geoff Ficke