All of us face major decisions in our lives that shape our path. When we make those decisions, we often look for wisdom and guidance from relatives, close friends, or mentors. When it comes to expanding business globally, however, independent professional advice is best. Business consultants are often sought to provide trusted advisory services – but how to pick a consultant that not only has the skills of an accountant and the network of a president, but also thinks like an entrepreneur, cares like a relative (or a shareholder), and acts as a mentor?
1. Start from the basics: match your goals with the qualifications and experience of the consultant
Would you hire Elon Musk to lead your global expansion plan? Some may actually say yes, others may say no, which leads us to: it depends. Elon Musk is considered to be an innovative mind, but does he have the right skills and experience to carry out an expansion plan for YOUR Company specifically? If you’re an electric car maker looking to enter North America, then yes perhaps. The truth is that there are a lot of brilliant people that can help you with your expansion plans, but not everyone is a good fit for your company—as a matter of fact, very few. Before you start, it’s important to understand who you are as a company, identify your goals and/or potential problems, and have an idea of the type of deliverables you need. Once you have those things nailed down, it’s best to hire a management consultant that has experience in your industry, the qualifications and skills to visualize your goals and solve your problems, and have strong, preferably global, capabilities to meet your deliverables.
2. Evaluate their experience: seek proven problem-solving skills and results
When you started from the basics and identified your goals, you have likely identified a gap or a problem; therefore, you need a consultant that can solve challenges comfortably. Often consultants have case studies on their website, or you can always ask the consultant about the types of client challenges they’ve solved in the past and what results they have achieved. A good business consultant will ask about your goals and challenges and have a good understanding of your pain points and how to approach these points effectively. However, remember that superior problem-solving skills are not just about experience, but also about delivering solutions in a concise manner. Entrepreneurs have an innate sense of solving problems; think of management consultants like mini-entrepreneurs that have a specialty in the field that you may not have the expertise for.
3. Understand their resourcefulness: pay attention to their network
Once you’ve established that the consultant in front of you has a strong mix of good qualifications and experience, paired with the right skills, it comes down to how well they can execute on their deliverables. What distinguishes good consultants from great ones is their ability to be resourceful and be able to swiftly gather vast amounts of information. For example, if you have a business looking to enter a new market, and you’re engaging a management consultant to help you with this challenge, looking for professionals from scratch on an international level is difficult, costly, and risky. A serious management consulting practice should have a membership in a global association of professionals, such Morison KSi, which Sloan Group LLP is proud to be a member of. Our affiliation with Morison KSi allows the company to have access to first-class resources and professional contacts, which can help your business solve a problem not only in an efficient manner but also in a reliable and cost-effective manner.
4. Align your business values: hire a management consultant that cares
There are a lot of brilliant management consultants that can help you solve problems, but at what price? You need to find a management consultant that cares about your business and your bottom line, as much as he cares about his own. Management consultants should be masters of “sweating the small stuff”, and you should keep a keen eye on whether they are willing to go above and beyond without charging an arm and a leg. A management consultant suitable for you is one that is able to be open about their rates and how much it’ll cost you to reach your goals while presenting you with measurable targets to evaluate deliverables. When both sides are transparent about expectations and what it takes to deliver a strong solution, you have got yourself a winning partnership.
At Sloan Group LLP, our team of business consultants and Chartered Professional Accountants are highly experienced with domestic and international business matters and are passionate about delivering reliable solutions to our clients. If you would like to discuss how partnering with us could benefit your business, contact us to schedule a consultation. Please reach out to us online, or by phone at 416-665-7735.