How to Choose a Management Consultant or Business Advisor

How to Choose a Management Consultant or Business Advisor

What does a management consultant or business advisor actually do? You need to know the answer to this question if you are considering engaging one for your small or medium business. You also need to have a clear idea of the value you expect to get from engaging with an external expert.

A management consultant or business advisor needs to have practical experience in managing a business effectively, and cannot simply perform his duties on the basis of theoretical learning. He needs to know about best business practices and how they can be implemented in small and medium businesses to good effect. The better consultants have experience working in and around a wide variety of businesses, even if they are experts in just a few core industries.

We all like to work with people we trust and admire. If you cannot establish a quick meeting of minds, don’t decide to hire the consultant on the basis of his resume. Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations from previous clients and do check out the referees with a phone call.

Have clarity around what the consultant is being paid to deliver at the beginning and agree how it will be handled by both sides if the scope of the assignment changes. Remember that projects frequently change after commencement. Ensure you get a detailed written proposal, which is clear, precise, unambiguous and easy to understand at the outset, and have clarity around payment amounts and frequency.

When accepting a written proposal, make sure you do so in writing and ensure that measurable milestones and delivery dates are set, how changes will be handled, and what you consider to be key success criteria for the project. It can be wise to make part of the fee dependent on the success of the project. The longer version of this article goes into more specific detail about how to select the correct management consultant for your project.

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