Wednesday, March 26

Get the Most From Consulting 

This piece just came across my desk from Cathy Stucker - it's an OUTSTANDING fast-read resource for getting the most from your consultant.

As the author of The Manager's Pocket Guide to Consultants (HRD Press, 2007) I can tell you that Cathy hit the nail on the head with this great advice for small business owners and entrepreneurs. For larger consulting clients, you'll want to read my book . Seriously... it's whole different ball game with consultants and consulting in the larger world of business.

-- David Newman

Get the Most From Consulting
Guest column by Cathy Stucker, The Idea Lady

When you pay someone to advise you, you want to get the greatest possible benefit. Not only are you investing money in the advice, you are spending your time with the expert
and implementing the advice they give. Here is how to make the most of your investment.

Choose the right expert. Do they know about what you need to do? Do an online search for them and see what comes up. That is especially useful if they are going to teach you how to
do something online. If someone claims they can give you a great online presence, but you can't find them online, there is a disconnect there.

Let the expert know what your needs are. What issues do you need to discuss? What do you need to walk away with in order to consider your consultation a success? Be as specific as
possible about your goals.

Focus on goals, not process. Although you should be specific about your goals, you might leave it open about how you will get there. For example, instead of saying, "I need to know how to implement a Pay-per-click advertising campaign," maybe what you really need to know is how to get more people to your web site. Pay-per-click is one option, and if that is the only one you know, you limit what the expert may be able to share with you.

Give background. I always ask if there is something I should review to have a better idea of where the client is now. That might mean looking at their web site, or information about
their products or services.

Record your conversations. You will not remember everything that is discussed, so make a recording that you can review later. You do not want to spend a lot of time taking notes,
you want to be focused on the conversation. Let the consultant know that you will be recording. If they object, maybe they are not the right expert for you.

Do not be intimidated. If the consultant says something you do not understand, ask her to explain. That is her job.

Use what you learn. Now that you know what to do, do it. Put the ideas your gained to work for you.


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More later -


Cathy Stucker, The Idea Lady(tm)
Attract Customers and Make Yourself Famous
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