When writing a small business plan, it is important to include information on whether or not your company plans to use outside consultants. These consultants can be a great benefit to your company, as long as you avoid some common errors when hiring a consultant. At MasterPlans, we can include information when we write your small business plan about how you intend to avoid the common mistakes when hiring a consultant.
Many of the common mistakes involve not communicating well enough with the consultant from the start. Your small business plan will go into detail about the kinds of things that need to be discussed with a consultant, and researched before hiring one. Your small business plan will talk about your procedures for interviewing and background checking, about discussing expenses and letters of confidentiality, and about contractual agreements. Signing a contractual agreement is one of the most important things to do when hiring a consultant and MasterPlans will be sure to include this procedure in your small business plan. Having a written agreement will save your company a lot of trouble when working with consultants.
Make sure to background check all consultants hired, and find out exactly what qualifies them to do this work for you. Consultants come in all stripes and some are much better than others. Also, check with your existing staff to make sure that no one you already have working for you has the skills necessary to complete the job.
Make sure to find out exactly what a consultant should be paid for the sort of work you are doing. Shop around and get project estimates from several consultants so you can be sure you won't overpay. Always make sure to describe the project you need done in detail so that you and the consultant both understand what needs to be done. This is one of the major causes of misunderstandings between consultants and small business owners. Check the consultant's schedule to make sure that he or she does not have too many projects lined up to efficiently handle your project. A consultant who is off doing work for other companies may be a waste of money for your company. This is also where the confidentiality agreement comes in. Since consultants are free agents, they may work for one of your competitors next, and it is important that they not leak out important information as to the inner workings of your company.
Last, but not least, as a matter of courtesy, introduce the consultant to your staff. Having a consultant perceived as a stranger by your permanent employees can lead to some difficult situations. It will save your company time and money to perform this common courtesy.
This advice will all be included in the business plan that MasterPlans will write for you.