By contributing industry or functional knowledge, problem-solving or implementation approaches, and experience, business advisors can provide genuine value to your organization. Consultants, on the other hand, frequently only bring the name of the firm for which they work. So, how do you know if you have a consultant who knows their functional area and your business and can assist you to solve your business problem or if you just have a consulting brand name? Consider answering one or more of the following questions. Select a consultant from your company or team and inquire.
1. Can You Tell me Everything there is to know about your Specific Functional Area?
This question pertains to the functional area in which the consultant provides consulting services to your company. The goal is to obtain a well-structured and well-considered view of the consultants’ functional area. Invite the consultant into your office, place a marker in front of the whiteboard, and ask them to tell you everything they know. Your consultant is usually fairly good if they can speak for five minutes or more. However, you might be astonished by how unstructured the conversation is, or, even worse, how little they know.
2. Could you Provide me with an Outline of My Industry and Business?
This is a potentially humiliating question. An excellent business advisor should be an industry and company student who can offer you a quick industry analysis using Porter’s Five Forces Model or something similar. They should be able to tell you in general terms what makes a company successful in your industry, the name of the CEO, annual revenue, and hopefully some current news.
3. What was The Most Recent Book, Article, or Blog you Read in Your Field?
Consultants must be students of their functional areas and/or industries, and to do so, they must study and can read ahead for you, giving you interesting insights and opinions about your industry, company, or project.
4. How Did You Come to That Conclusion?
Since I learned the adage about opinions the hard way in graduate school, this has been my favorite question of all time. “What is your basis for that opinion?” you should ask when someone gives you an opinion. Consultants thrive on their opinions, which are frequently unsubstantiated by study or facts. The consulting brand isn’t enough to make a solid decision. It’s the well-presented pertinent information that makes the difference.
5. Can you Offer me any External Information Regarding your Functional area of Expertise, my Company, or your Industry?
This question is similar to question three, but it focuses on one of the most valuable services a business advisor can provide: an outside perspective. “How do other businesses operate?” “Are we the best in the world at this?” “Who is the best in the world at this, and how can we learn from them?” “How do other businesses operate?” “Are we the best in the world at this?” “Who is the best in the world at this, and how can we learn from them?” Before you ask these questions, you should have them addressed by a qualified professional. Many clients overlook the importance of inquiring.
6. In your Field of Expertise, What have you Contributed or Published?
This is a difficult question, because many consultants, to be honest, do not have the opportunity or infrastructure at their businesses to contribute to firm thought ware or publish. They should, however, be enthusiastic and eager to turn their labor into a case study or certification.
7. Give me Your CEO Elevator Pitch for This Project/Engagement
Another popular question is because many consultants simply “Do” without considering what they’re trying to accomplish for your company or project. Is it possible for the consultant to deliver your company’s CEO the business case and status of your project in one minute? “I’m working on process flows,” isn’t quite enough. Over time, a qualified business advisor will gain a thorough understanding of the engagement/project. This is simply a requirement for high-level performance. They must be able to explain why they are doing it and how it will help your firm. If the elevator pitch doesn’t come naturally to the consultant, it’s a red flag.
8. How are You Going to Help me Create a Legacy?
No matter how great our company is, there is always room for improvement. As we step down as leaders, we want to make sure that the incoming leadership builds on our achievements and leaves a legacy for the future generation. To ensure the preservation of our legacy, we must regulate several dynamics. An experienced small business advisor knows this and will run the company in such a way that the succession process is facilitated without losing sight of the long-term objectives.