Does Your Business Need Expert Professional Help?

12 Questions To Help You Decide

What is a consultant?

A self-employed professional, with specific experience in one or more disciplines, who performs specific tasks or assignments to a pre-agreed brief. Consultants are both the mercenary soldiers and the company doctors of the business world.

Why might I want a consultant?

We won’t know the answer until we talk to you, but consultants can serve several useful functions: trouble-shooters; developers of new products or systems; problem solvers; advisors on sales & marketing, finance, grants, production, personnel, quality, health & safety, regulation, succession planning, exit strategy, etc, etc.

Aren’t consultants expensive?

No, because costs are relative to income and benefits. A one-off investment can be quantified and justified if it results in savings or benefits greater than the cost – or saves the business from failure during difficult trading conditions!

Why is a consultant better than an executive I already employ?

Existing executives may be too fully committed and may be too closely involved with the problem. The consultant can bring a fresh viewpoint to your problems and apply lateral thinking. He or she has no axe to grind or position to protect and can concentrate solely on the assigned brief. You also get better value for money as the consultant does not add to your ongoing overhead costs.

How do you charge for your services?

Every assignment is different, so consultants have to asses the client’s needs and the amount of his or her own input required before quoting a fee. Some jobs are more fairly charged by the hour or by the day while others are better charged by the assignment.

What do I get for my money?

Total commitment and efficiency. There’s an old saying in our profession that "your reputation is only as good as your last assignment!"

What makes you think you can tell me anything about running my own business that I don’t already know?

We have different – and perhaps wider – business backgrounds. As professional consultants we can apply systems and techniques from other businesses to your problems. Our business, and that of other professional consultants, is knowing which solutions are best for your particular problems or situations, and we can call upon other specialist consultants when necessary to provide you with cost effective solutions.

How do I know you are good at what you do?

Two ways. Firstly, we can provide you with references you can check independently. Secondly, all of the consultants we use have been accredited Associates of the Institute for Independent Business – the IIB.

IIB? I’ve never heard of it. What is it and what does it do?

The Institute for Independent Business (IIB) is a not-for-profit research, training and accreditation organisation. Since 1984 the Institute has been providing invaluable information and access to assistance to meet the needs of independent businesses. Each accredited associate operates independently, to a strict Code of Professional Conduct, but has access to a network of over 3,000 Associates throughout the world and can bring any of these resources to the assistance of their clients.

How does this network work?

Each associate is qualified in one or more business discipline by virtue of his or her experience, as well as via the Institute’s training. However, if we encounter a problem which is outside our particular disciplines, we can call upon the expertise needed from suitably experienced consultants from your region or from the country at large or even, if required, from the 18 countries in which the IIB operates throughout the world.

Does this mean that I may wind up with two or three different consultants, each charging me fees for their parts of the job?

No. Once the brief is agreed, the tasks are performed within the budget that has been set even if the professional fees must be split between two or more consultants. The only time this does not hold true is when an agreed brief is later altered or expanded.

Don’t you also charge expenses to me?

Generally yes but, like the fees, the expenses are approved and agreed in advance, charged separately and fully itemised.