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How to Make the Money Spent on a Consultant Worth It

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Published:
September 18, 2020
Reading Time:
8 minutes
Leo Saini
Experienced copywriter who spends a lot of money at restaurants and regrets it later.

As compared to the past decade, hiring consultants is fairly simple these days because of freelance consulting platforms. However, like every other business investment, hiring a consultant comes with a cost. So whether you hire a consultant or an employee, you’re going to have to spend money.

Now the question is: How to get a positive return on this investment? Well, if you follow certain steps, you can ensure that the money you spend on a consulting engagement pays for itself.

In this article, we’ll discuss the top four tactics to drastically increase the value you get from hiring a consultant for your business.

1. Understand the Fee Structure of Consultants

Before you bring a consultant on board, you might want to understand various fee structures to ensure that you get the best deal. Let’s quickly discuss the different fee structures that consultant usually have:

  • Hourly rate: You pay them for the number of billable hours worked. This works best when you know approximately how many hours a project might take.
  • Project-based fee: In the structure, the fee is fixed from the beginning. This might be very cost-effective if you’re not sure about the estimated time of project completion. Meaning that if the project continues for longer than expected, or if the project scope expands a bit, you probably won’t have to pay any extra fees.
  • Retainer model: If you need the consultant’s services frequently for a very long period, it might be beneficial for you to pay them a fixed monthly fee under a retainer model. For example, a retainer contract with a human resource consultant might be beneficial in case of an internal workplace dispute, or for ongoing advice on team building and staff’s job satisfaction.

When you visit a consulting marketplace to find a consultant, it’s best to look for their fee structure right from the beginning. Rest assured, if you’re on the right online consulting platform, you’ll most likely find a top consultant who’s agreeable to your proposed fee structure.

“A simple fact that is hard to learn is that the time to save money is when you have some.” - Joe Moore

2. Hire a Consultant for the Right Reasons

Consulting marketplaces have made it extremely convenient for businesses to hire top consultants with a few clicks. But even though it’s very simple to hire consultants these days, businesses need to make sure they hire one for the right reasons. Here are some valid reasons to visit an online consulting platform and find a consultant:

  • Your business needs to complete temporary projects and the workload is too much for your permanent staff to handle.
  • You need to fill a skill gap by bringing an expert on board. For example, a project management consultant or a marketing strategy expert.
  • You need expert advice on an important business decision, such as a merger or new product launch.
  • You want to change things in the company but aren’t confident to handle it yourself.

If you open your doors for a consultant for the right reasons, you’re preparing for victory from the get-go. However, if you hire them for the wrong reasons, your engagement might not be as beneficial as you’d expect. Hiring consultants just to make them work long hours, or because you don’t trust your own employees to handle the situation, might not be the best reasons to go forward with your consulting engagement.

3. Remove All the Obstacles a Consultant Might Face From Your Side

It’s true that consultants are professional problem solvers. However, businesses need to make sure that they aren’t unknowingly making the consultant’s job difficult. Before you approach a consulting marketplace to score the best consultant, you need to communicate it to your staff and let them know that their cooperation is necessary for this engagement to be successful. Internal politics and lack of cooperation from the company’s team might get the best of a consultant.

consulting marketplace, How to Make the Money Spent on a Consultant Worth It

In most cases, a consultant will work with you and your staff temporarily. However, at no point during your engagement should they be treated as an outsider. And that’s just one aspect of the story—the other one is trust. Businesses should trust the consultant’s experience, processes, frameworks, and recommendations. So if a consultant says that they want to examine a company’s balance sheets dating five years back, they should be given access to it.

Resistance to change can also be an issue that can slow down a consultant. After all, a consultant is hired to bring changes in the company, right? But sometimes, groupthink and ego clashes never let the company actually implement a consultant’s advice. As a result, all their hard work stays hidden somewhere in a Google Drive. And if the consultant’s advice doesn’t get implemented properly, then is the consulting engagement really worth the money?

4. Hire the Right Consultants

Ideally, a smart business owner should not always hire the consultant that their friend recommends to them. Thanks to the growing online consulting marketplaces, businesses can now find consultants who specialize in specific niches. For example, if you need to increase your local search rankings on Google, you have the option to hire an SEO consultant—instead of a consultant who’s a generalist in marketing.

Want to merge your small business with a medium-sized one? Well, there are merger and acquisition consultants who can help you with that. No matter how stressful your business situation seems right now, your problem solver is somewhere on the other side of an online consulting platform. These platforms have hundreds of consultants for you to choose from. Some platforms can even find you a consultant within 48 hours.

The process is very similar to hiring a full-time employee through a recruiter. All businesses should try hiring a consultant from a consulting marketplace at least once, just to get used to the process. Think of it as a preparation for a rainy day. If you know how to find an expert with ease, you can handle your business situations before they get out of control, such as loss of revenue or internal staff grievances.

Conclusion

Simply put, when you hire the right consultants for the right reasons, your engagement with them is highly likely to be fruitful. Also, it’s not a bad idea to negotiate a payment structure that you’re comfortable with right from the beginning. Once you get the financial investment out of the way, it’s time for you, your team, and the consultant to roll up some sleeves and navigate towards your destination.