The Consultant Advantage
A consultant is a partner with your business not an employee in your business. The qualified consultant brings a fresh, passionate and direct perspective to improving the bottom line results in your enterprise.
One of the greatest benefits of hiring a consultant is, you receive high level expertise at a very efficient price point in relationship to performance and results.
Let’s look at the roadblocks, in many cases, with the employer-employee relationship.
Typically, a company pays just enough to get a maximum value out of the employee for the paycheck, and often the employee works just hard enough not to lose the job and guaranteed income. Obviously,
these observations don’t apply to all companies and all employees, never the less they point out an inherent cat and mouse phenomenon that does exist.
A consultant, although a single person, is running their own business and as such their top priority is quite different from someone who is being compensated as a w-2 employee. The specially hired subject matter expert’s first priority is to over deliver at all points relative to their relationship and agreement with your company. This ensures they are positioned as a trusted authority who delivers top value for the compensation they receive.
Hourly Fees – In this particular model, the emphasis is centered around billing on an hourly basis. For small projects and intermittent assignments this has its merits. However, it does require more accounting and administrative tracking for both the client and the consultant.
Hourly fees typically range at double or triple the rate of an employee hourly rate, without the overhead of benefits, sick leave, vacation days, etc. In the area of professional services such as website design, social media, sales and marketing a consulting rate of $40-$60 is common place in today’s market.
Project Rates – Next up is project rate billing. The key to this method of paying your consultant is to understanding the parameters of whether the “work for hire” can be accomplished in a limited time from start to finish and what the value of that completed project is for the company.
It is not out of line to find 4-5 figure rate fees being paid for qualified consultants considering the level of expertise, quality of process and completion of delivery. Project rates can sometimes be paired with a retainer after the project is completed in order to provide a smooth transition to the ongoing use of the project.
Retainer Basis – Working with a consultant on a retainer basis allows for flexible, longer term, agreed-on availability to service your requirements. Whether the implementation of specific expertise takes 5 hours or 50 in a given week, the company is paying for expertise, and results. This in turn allows the company to take advantage of overall savings in comparison to the overhead of hiring a full-time employee.
Bonus Options – In addition to the previous methods of compensations there is the bonus option.
This is typically set in place for creative and strategic incentive with regards to exceptional performance and results. In other words outstanding results merit bonus options which commonly range from 5-20 percent of cost savings, specific revenue categories, or other key metric indicators.
When you can bring in a specialist that is paid on the basis of his or her specific and measurable results
for a particular or series of milestones you get the best of both worlds. You get motivation, expertise and results not based job security but based on one business wanting to over dealer and thrive for rave reviews and reputation from another, your company.
Finding the Right Consultant
In order to find the right consultant for your project or long term business objectives three very important criteria should be considered. In short, these will give the company decision maker, the confidence to proceed with bringing the consultant on board.
After it’s all said and done the choice to acquire a consultant for your company is fundamentally a decision to invest in a professional solution for the benefit of your organization. This ultimately must be based on whether the owner or management team is satisfied that they know, like, and trust the consultant to deliver the proposed results.
One of the first things to consider is how well you know the consultants abilities in their proposed area of expertise. What intangibles are there that create a sense of mastery of their subject matter. How is there communication style relative to your organizations?
Will they fit in the eco-system of your company culture? Do you believe they have what it takes to win over the confidence of any company contacts that may be instrumental in accomplishing the objectives your company is pursuing?
The final question amongst many for the decision maker is this: Do you have the sufficient level of trust and confidence that your consulting specialist will return a great return on your investment and pay off handsomely by surpassing your desired results and outcomes.
Check with your local chamber of commerce, LinkedIn or others in your industry for suggestions on where to start.
Decide to Take Action
You’ve thought about it and now is the moment of truth. Should you continue with the same operations you’ve had in the past? If so, is it likely you will get the same results?
Perhaps it’s time to take a leap and make a calculated business decision to hire a specialist, to hire a consultant and make this year the breakthrough year for your business or organization.
Remember, a consultant doesn’t take over your business, they assist you in facilitating the progressive, smart and often time challenging transformations that can take your business to the next level.
- Expert Consulting-- How to Establish Yourself as an Expert Consultant
Tips from national speaker Barbara J. Winter on expert consulting and how to establish yourself as an expert.
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