Need to hire a consultant for your small business? Listen to this 9 minute short to ensure you get your money’s worth!
You’ve just hired someone to build your dream website, paid a ton of money and three months later? It’s a shit show. That’s exactly what happened to a friend of Chris’s. You don’t want to be that entrepreneur, and Chris’s insights are your armour against such mishaps.
In this week’s Good Business podcast episode, Chris Edwards, your guide to entrepreneurial success, reveals the secrets to choosing and setting up consultants and freelancers for triumph.
From leveraging referrals to the art of checking references, and ensuring you only pay once your project is fulfilled, Chris provides clear and actionable advice. So jump in and learn (all under 9 minutes !!)
– 00:00 – Welcome to this week’s episode
– 02:24 – Ask for Referrals
– 03:07 – Talk to three different consultants in that sphere
– 04:03 – Ask for three references
– 04:59 – Write a really clear brief with very clear outcomes and expectations
– 06:03 – Don’t pay the final bill until the brief is met
Good Business goes behind the scenes of the leaders of good businesses, who have people, planet and profit at the core of their mission. Follow the show on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Hi, I’m Chris Edwards and you’re listening to Good Business. Welcome to this week’s how-to episode.
This week we’re gonna dive into how do you find good consultants and really set them up for success so that you can ensure they’re delivering on what you need to deliver.
Cracking the code of selecting and hiring consultants or vendors is really important as an entrepreneur, and after 15 years of working with consultants and also hearing of peers and other entrepreneurs having, really, I suppose, not great experiences with consultants and vendors, I really just want to share with you exactly what I do to make sure you kind of get what you pay for.
So as a little bit of a backstory, why this episode came up was last week I was speaking to an entrepreneur and she engaged a consultant to build her a new website. It’s actually something I have done probably about five or six times during my time running my businesses And my entrepreneur friend, we’ll call her Sally, she actually had a really disappointing experience.
Instead of getting an improved website, she actually ended up paying for a website that she doesn’t like as much, it has worse functionality, she can’t change things, she can’t update the website herself. So effectively, she is in a much worse position now than when she was before she engaged and paid for the consultant’s work. So it’s a story that’s not uncommon and it can happen, particularly when it comes to technical things that you’re buying because maybe you don’t know the different platforms or options, possibly you don’t speak tech – I’ve got my little inverted commas going here – and you know, you possibly have not built a website before, so maybe you don’t understand the process. So it can very easily happen, especially if you’re a new entrepreneur. But there are some really easy things you can do to avoid situations like this.
So first up, before I try and find a new consultant or vendor, the first thing I do is I go and ask for people’s referrals. So I want to find consultants or vendors that have, have really already served one of my friends or my contacts and done a great job. So that’s the first step, is actually just checking with your network to get a referral for selecting a vendor. And then I also like to put that vendor’s name or yeah, just put their name actually into LinkedIn and see if they have any common contacts with myself on LinkedIn. And then I can reach out to that contact and say, have you ever worked with this girl or this guy, and would you recommend them?
So the next thing I always recommend you do when you’re engaging a consultant, and I know this is a bit of work, but it’s worth it, is you actually need to talk to three different consultants in that sphere. So not only is it because you wanna get three quotes, but you actually just want to go through the process of having three conversations about what your problem is and what the potential solutions might be. This will actually help you learn the lingo and really get three different perspectives on how to tackle this challenge. So if I was building a website now, I would absolutely speak to three different vendors and I would see, you know, what platform would they recommend it should be built on? Should it be WordPress? Should it be Wix? Should it be Squarespace? And why do they recommend that platform? So this will help educate you in what you really need and the options out there.
And then the next thing is once you’ve worked out a preferred vendor, I absolutely ask them to send me three referrals. So ask them for references. So, and then I ring those references, ideally ring them or email them and say, have you used them? What kind of scale of job? How long did it take? And were you happy with the outcome? So you definitely need to get three references. It’s just like hiring an employee. You always need to do reference checks. So those two first points, very, very important when selecting a consultant or a vendor.
Another thing you also might wanna do is get onto their website and see if they have worked with clients that are similar to you. So if they have worked with clients in your industry, they will understand what that, like, typical project looks like and what you need because they will understand your industry.
Next up you need to write a really clear brief with very clear outcomes and expectations. What is a successful outcome? What does success look like? So you need to go very clear on that brief and make sure that brief is sent across and acknowledged in writing. And ideally you want that brief included in the agreement or linked to it in the quote in the invoice so you can go back to that brief at any time and say, hang on a second, you know, we did discuss this piece, which hasn’t been done yet. And in the brief, you also wanna include a timeline and a approval process. So for most creative work jobs, you might say I’d like three rounds of approval and my timeline for this job might be three months. So again, it’s just putting very clearly the expectations in a document that makes it fairly crystal clear. So there’s no, oh, I thought you were gonna do this. It’s like, here’s what I need and someone has signed off, I understand that’s what we’re gonna do.
And then the last thing I have to say is don’t pay the final bill until the brief is met. So definitely you might need to pay a deposit and you might need to pay a trench payment if it’s a big project, but you should never pay the final bill unless you’re happy with the work. Otherwise you don’t really have much recourse or much leverage if you go back and say, hang on, I didn’t really get what I wanted.
Now, if the project does go off track, you need to also have in your conversation with your vendor or consultant, like what is the process if there’s communication issues or what is the process if this is not up to spec or up to scratch so you can understand how the vendor’s gonna manage any issues that arise.
So I hope this episode is useful, it’s a super short one, but I do think working with vendors and selecting vendors and consultants is a really big part of making sure that your business is a success and, without understanding these little tips and tricks, it can be really difficult to make sure that you have a consultant or a vendor that really is clear about what success looks like and really understands what you want out of the job.
So thanks so much for listening. You can drop me an email at [email protected] if you have any feedback. We absolutely love listening… listening? Hearing from our listeners! And if you’d like, I’d really also like to know if you found this episode helpful, please be sure to leave us a review or give us a rating. I absolutely love that. And finally, if you’d like to join our community of conscious entrepreneurs that are purpose-led and supportive, come and check us out at www.thelaunchpad.group . And finally, before I close out, I just want to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land of which I’m recording this podcast, the Arakwal people of the Bundjalung Nation. I pay my respects to elders past, present, and future, and I extend my respects to all traditional cultures. Thanks again for tuning in to Good Business, my name’s Chris Edwards, and that’s all I have for today.