Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A. When hiring a consultant for business development (marketing and public relations), make sure you check references and also thoroughly discuss your goals and objectives up front, probing for how the consultant would address key concerns. Business development (marketing and public relations) is more art than science, and in many cases, a result that would please another client is not the same as a result that would please you. I have heard from too many clients who felt they had paid a lot of money and had gotten nothing in return. In some cases, it may have been a poorly qualified consultant, but in many cases I am guessing it was simply a mismatch of client and consultant viewpoints and priorities.
Q. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?
A. Growing a business takes a different set of skills from starting a company. The best time to think about how your company is going to grow is while you are starting it. Managing a growing company requires an ever changing skill set, and good consultants can help supplement your knowledge and the capabilities of your staff to help you move through the transitions.
Q. What questions should a consumer ask to hire the right service professional?
A. Get and check references. Develop a set of “what would you do if . . .” scenarios to see how the consultant thinks and to see if she has a philosophy toward problem solving that will mesh with yours. Ask for case studies.
Q. What important information should buyers have thought through before seeking you out?
A. What are your goals for hiring a consultant? Can you articulate them? Are you willing to have him tell you that there are things that need to be changed about how your business is operating? Are you willing to have her suggest personnel changes or specific training objectives? What resources are you willing to dedicate to reach your goals?