How To Successfully Hire & Work With An Independent Consultant?

Why and how to hire an independent consultant
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Summary

You’ve come to terms with the fact that there are some key skill sets missing at your organization, and you need additional support. In the past, you’ve often struggled to determine when it made the most sense to hire a full-time employee versus a consulting firm versus an independent consultant. And you’re not alone.

Many companies today are choosing between these options due to the project-based nature of work, the rise of the gig economy, and the need for specific technical skills. While some companies jump to the conclusion that they need a full-time workforce, others tend to hire a consulting firm, which can come with a hefty price tag and longer timelines. However, before going in either of these directions, consider the potential benefits and drawbacks When considering to work with and hire a consultant.

Conducting thorough research becomes crucial to ensure that your choice is well-founded and aligns with your company’s specific needs.

What is an independent consultant ?

independent consultant quote

Independent consultants, also referred to as freelance consultants, external consultants, etc., are experienced self-employed individuals who provide advisory services to businesses on specific topics within their field of expertise. They’ve decided to strike out and start consulting on their own.

They help companies identify and address issues. Ideally, their insights and guidance will make companies more efficient, profitable, and successful.

For example, a marketing consultant might be hired by a company to figure out why their marketing strategy isn’t getting the results they want. The consultant will do a deep dive into the company, its operations, and the market situation. Then they’ll put together a report with ideas on how to optimize or change the marketing campaign to meet the business’s goals. It’s all about finding ways to prevent problems from happening again and making sure the company is in control of any risks.

Why & when would you hire an Independent consultant?

You and your team or partner may hold differing viewpoints on certain matters. In such instances, it’s advisable to engage a seasoned expert who can offer an unbiased perspective on the situation. Independent business consultants possess insights that you and your team might have overlooked. Leveraging their strategic expertise, they can guide you in thoughtful contemplation, navigating internal dynamics, and devising pragmatic solutions.

You’re Lacking Inspiration And Perspective

Independent consultants have unique exposure to situations that are not typically found in the private sector. As it is said that one year in freelance consulting is equivalent to ten years in a private company.

So, whatever your requirements are, hire an external consultant who could provide fresh ideas, inspiration, and expertise in change management or expectations. You may also engage a consultant to ensure that your team’s processes are correct, or to increase efficiency and technology. An independent consultant can help you confirm a gut sense and ensure that you have the data you need to back up your conclusions. Even the best consulting firms have consultants themselves, so think about them as strategic partnerships.

Trends and technologies are too fast for you to keep up with

Emerging trends and technological advancements can have a faster impact on your industry than you can investigate and understand them. If you’re attempting to stay up with these new advancements but feeling overwhelmed, it’s a smart idea to hire a consultant who is familiar with your sector and the most recent changes in it. This can help you make better business decisions by preventing worry from interfering with your judgment. However, you’ll need to find a reliable expert who can provide you with sound advice.

You’re unable to reach your goals

When you are not able to achieve the goals with your internal team, then it is time to hire a consultant. Let’s take the example of a company whose sales strategy has been stagnant for two years and is not yielding the desired results. Despite implementing strategies based on the internal team’s suggestions, the revenues have remained flat. In such a scenario, it might be necessary to hire a professional sales consultant who can provide valuable insights and help the company achieve its revenue goals. Although hiring an external independent consultant might be more expensive than hiring an internal team, the benefits of their expertise can be well worth the investment.

You require an unbiased opinion

You and your team or partner may have differing viewpoints on specific subjects. When this happens, it’s a good idea to contact an expert who can provide you an unbiased view on the situation. Business consultants can provide viewpoints that you and your team may have overlooked due to their expertise in strategy. They can assist in thinking things through, navigating internal politics, and providing practical solutions.

Your Business Isn’t Growing And You Don’t Know Why

If you believe you are doing well in general but your financials do not reflect this, something is amiss, and you may not know what it is. An independent consultant will most likely be able to look at the situation objectively, identify the problem, and assist you in resolving it.

The advantages of hiring an independent consultant

If choosing an independent consultant is a good deal, it is mainly because of the great qualities that this provider has.

1. A neutral and objective outside view

It can be difficult for a company to identify specific issues with its business because it may lack the objectivity to critically examine itself. It can be difficult for a manager to step back and recognize, assess and resolve problems.

External consultants, who have a different perspective, can identify the real challenges that are preventing companies from making faster progress. They can openly discuss issues without fear of repercussions because of their objectivity and neutral perspective.

2. Money saving

The expense of hiring and training a new employee is very expensive for the company. With an independent consultant, you simply pay for the services you actually require and don’t have ongoing expenses for things like a laptop, expensive software, or any work space related expenses.

3. Negotiable rates

The recourse to an independent consultant can prove to be very expensive for many people. The customer and the consultant can, indeed, easily agree on the tariff of the service. Consequently, there is not established and non-negotiable tariff.

Moreover, it is about a contract whose duration is determined. Therefore, there must be something more lucrative than an agreement with a firm for an infinite period of time.

4. Cost reduction

To contact an independent consultant, no intermediary is needed. Therefore, there are no costs related to the fees of a possible intermediary, which saves the client money. In addition, the client avoids tedious administrative procedures that are not only stressful but also costly.

5. In-depth knowledge of market dynamics

One of the advantages of an independent consultant is their significant experience and knowledge of the industry in which your company operates. They have typically worked with many companies in the same industry and know the ins and outs of current market trends.

They are aware of what competing companies are doing and by following their advice, your company will easily outperform them.

6. An effective diagnosis

An independent consultant’s skill as an auditor is an important part of its value. He or she examines your problem by understanding what is going on, clarifying the situation and asking the right questions. The process of developing an accurate diagnosis can sometimes strain the consultant-client relationship.

Sometimes business owners are reluctant to find difficult situations for which they could be held accountable.

7. Benefit from specialized expertise

Using an outside expert consultant with in-depth knowledge and experience in a particular area gives you access to new ideas to solve critical problems.

Large consulting firms often have access to a variety of resources and in-depth knowledge. These are very helpful, especially when you or your team are given a task that neither of you have much experience with.

In addition, consultants learn how to identify potential solutions in the most effective way and how to think creatively about issues. In addition to offering a fresh perspective, an independent consultant can help you apply proven techniques that meet your needs. When you are faced with a completely new issue, this expertise is very helpful.

8. Dealing with the most sensitive internal issues

Using consultants allows you to support decisions and manage the most sensitive issues your company is facing. For example, some decisions must be taken even if they are dangerous and unpopular (such as salary freezes, employee departure plans…).

Unlike some managers who have a biased relationship with their employees and do not keep enough distance, the independent consultant has an impartial judgment on your staff because he is not involved in the daily operations of the company.

Using consultants is a great way to bring impartiality to sensitive issues. The lack of office politics allows consultants to draw logical, unbiased and critical conclusions.

In addition to offering a fresh perspective, the independent consultant can help you apply proven techniques that meet your needs. This expertise is extremely helpful when you are faced with a novel problem.

9. Optimize and manage your time well

Don’t be afraid to bring in an independent consultant for tasks that take too much time, whether it’s because you don’t have time to do them all or because they require a skill you’re not expert at.

It’s likely that some of your team members have the skills to participate in a project, but it will take time because they have to combine this task with their daily work.

While you may need an answer in the next few weeks, or even immediately, the project will take months to complete. So, bringing in a consultant and defining their role will allow your partners to focus on their role and avoid overloading them with work.

You free up time for missions that you too often sacrifice and that turn out to be of high added value.

10. Train your employees

Ongoing employee training gives employees the skills they need to perform well in today’s competitive world and gives the company an edge over its rivals. Employing an independent field consultant for employee training is optimal for a company.

Employees are trained based on problems, challenges, and examples from their daily work lives, making in-house training particularly effective. This allows them to acquire the specific skills they need to perform their role.

Consultants are in an ideal position to teach companies what they need to do to stay competitive, as they are constantly aware of new developments in their field.

Finally…

Whether you work with a “Big Four” firm, a local consultant or an independent consultant, you need to define your strategy based on short, medium and long term objectives in order to guide your work and reap the benefits of their partnership.

The independent consultant is a true partner, and treating them as such will benefit you. They are just as invested as you are in the outcome of the mission and your satisfaction.

Then create a trusting relationship with them to create a mutually beneficial alliance that will truly benefit both of you.

How to hire an independent consultant in 6 steps

1.Define Your Needs

Before you start searching for an independent consultant, make sure you know exactly what you want. The majority of consultants focus on a single activity or field, such as human resources, public relations, management, or law. Look for one whose target audience and expertise align with yours. These experts are already familiar with the industry and what it takes to thrive.

2.Determine the Scope and Budget of the Contract

Determine how much time and how frequently you will need the assistance of a consultant, as well as the amount you can afford to pay. Decide whether the consultant can work remotely or needs to be on-site at your workplace. This information is crucial to ascertain a consultant’s availability and preferences. Short-term assignments attract some business consultants, while long-term initiatives attract others.

Before you start searching for consultants, make sure you have a budget in mind. Business consultants may charge by the hour or per project, and some may request upfront payment. How they establish their costs has a significant impact on your budget.

3.Networking

When you’re ready to hire consultants, start by asking for referrals from people you know and trust. Email business owners or CEOs in your industry to see if they’ve used consultants to solve similar problems, or if they know experts in the field you’re looking for. If other successful professionals have had a positive experience working with a certain consultant, you could do the same.

4.Use the marketplaces

You can search for consultants by region, budget, sector of activity and skills on various Internet marketplaces. Some allow you to post job vacancies and ask consultants to contact you with their qualifications and fees. Other sites collect your information and put you in touch with the consultant who best suits your needs. You can easily find consulting contracts by searching online.

5.Post on social media

Social media and professional networking sites can be effective resources for finding business consultants that your connections recommend. Create a post or message listing your consultant needs. Search for keywords related to your business, such as “venture capital”, to find professionals tagged with that skill or expertise. If a small business consultant’s professional networking profile includes hundreds of recommendations from peers, they’re probably a good hire. Linkedin is the place to look for such professionals.

6. Engage an international recruitment agency

You’re probably wondering why you should consult a recruitment agency, read more about why companies use recruitment agencies.

Are you ready to hire a consultant? Find the Perfect Independent Consultant to Help Your Business Grow

At Pentabell, we believe that hiring an independent consultant is a real strategic asset. Get assistance with payroll & save time and money. Take advantage of the expertise of our professionals to focus on your core business and develop your company with peace of mind.

Established in several countries, Pentabell provides you with consulting services in France, Switzerland, Dubai, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Libya and more. Contact us for more information.

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