A reader writes: “We are thinking of hiring a consultant to help us grow to the next level and deal with some growth issues we are facing. Do you have any suggestions?”

Hiring a consultant can be a very positive step in the right direction if you choose the right one for your needs and work with him/her to get the maximum benefit from the time and resources invested. Following are a few suggestions to consider:

1. Do your homework. Make sure that he/she is qualified to assist you in the areas of concern. For instance, there are consultants who have successfully started, managed and sold businesses more than once in their lifetime. Others may be very knowledgeable in accounting, bidding or other specialties. What do you need from the consultant?

2. Make sure that you are ready for the time to invest is getting the most from their time with you. In most cases you will be paying by the day or perhaps you have negotiated a dollar amount that covers a set amount of time or achieves a certain goal. It is important that you clearly define what you expect from them.

3. Be transparent in the areas of concern. It does no good to hide past mistakes or other issues since he/she will usually figure it out eventually and you will have wasted valuable time keeping important information in secret.

4. Be sure he/she understands your schedule and is willing to fit to your needs. For instance, if he/she works from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with an hour for lunch and you are in firefighting mode, you may not get the true value.

5. Look for ways of getting them to have “skin” in the game by setting a base line and then making part of their compensation based on achieving certain goals. A basic pay scale with a bonus or percentage for meeting and exceeding the pre-determined goals can motivate him/her to be more creative.

Look for a win/win outcome since your future could depend on it. Your comments and feedback are always appreciated. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.