The timing in which a company engages a consultant or a consulting firm is critical based on the problems, challenges, or objectives. I’ve seen clients who hire a consultant way too early in their growth cycle for the cost of the investment and those who engage almost too late. So for the third post in my series on consulting basics, I thought it might be the right time to address when to hire a consultant. If this is the post in the Consulting Basics series you’ve landed on first, I encourage you to read Post #1: Consulting Basics: What is a Consultant & Why Do Businesses Hire Them? and Post #2: Types of Consulting Services.
Hiring a consultant can be impactful for businesses needing specialized expertise or an objective perspective on a problem or opportunity. Here are some situations where hiring a consultant may be beneficial:
When facing a crisis: If a business is facing a crisis, such as a sudden drop in revenue or a reputation-damaging event, hiring a consultant can help the business navigate the situation and develop a plan for recovery.
When experiencing rapid growth: If a business is experiencing rapid growth, it may need help managing the growth and developing a strategy for expansion.
When entering a new market: If a business is entering a new market or launching a new product, it may need help with market research, product development, and go-to-market strategy.
Before hiring a consultant, businesses should ask themselves important questions, such as what specific problem or opportunity they need help with, their budget, and their expectations. Hiring a consultant is an investment, so businesses should be clear about what they hope to achieve and are willing to invest.
There is a process to identify, interview, and scope a consulting engagement. This process can take significant time and should also be considered when determining the appropriate timing for engaging a consultant.
First, the business needs to identify the problem or opportunity they need help with and determine if a consultant is a suitable partner. This may involve conducting research or seeking recommendations from industry peers or colleagues. Once a consultant has been identified, the business will typically conduct interviews to assess the consultant's experience, expertise, and fit with the company culture. This process can take several weeks or even months, depending on the number of candidates and the complexity of the engagement.
After a consultant has been selected, the scoping process begins. This involves defining the scope of the engagement, setting goals and objectives, and determining a timeline and budget. This process can also take several weeks or even months, depending on the complexity of the problem or opportunity and the level of detail required.
Overall, identifying, interviewing, and scoping out a consulting engagement can take significant time and should be considered when determining the appropriate timing for engaging a consultant.
At Flare Partners, we work closely with our clients to streamline this process and ensure we can quickly onboard and deliver value. If you're interested in learning more about our services at Flare Partners, schedule a consultation at no cost.