5 Myths about Consultants I Heard During the Holidays
I’m back in the swing of regular work weeks; the holidays are behind us and all the family get-togethers are over (I think). I went to four holiday parties, ate way too many fancy meals, and enjoyed a lot of time off. It was during some of the holiday parties, or over fancy meals, that I heard a lot of “interesting” things about consultants. Here are 5 myths I heard about consultants during the holidays.
Myth 1 – They are all the same
There is no doubt that some consultants give similar advice or have coinciding specialties. What differentiates consultants are their experiences, passions, educations, and availabilities. There are even differences in Marketing Consultants. Some may specialize in Social Media while others may specialize in Event Coordination. Before selecting a consultant, it is important to understand their specialty.
Thinking that all consultants are the same is like saying that all doctors are the same. Doctors may share a lot of common characteristics (some pleasant and some not so pleasant) but they all specialize in different areas. Even then they do not have the same experiences to aid them in the way they go about doing their job.
Myth 2 – They are too expensive
How can you be sure until you ask? Every engagement we enter into with clients starts with our BizVision Process. Like a diagnostic or an assessment, the BizVision Process helps us understand our clients’ businesses thoroughly to make sure we are a good fit for them. It also helps create a roadmap for projects with deliverables and deadlines.
Our pricing structure is designed to save you money by correcting operational deficiencies or outsourcing vital business functions. The last thing we would want is to begin an engagement only to put a stranglehold on a company’s finances.
Myth 3 – They are all jerks
Over the holidays, a friend actually told me that I couldn’t be a consultant because I’m too nice! After a short chuckle, he said that every consultant he’s ever met was a jerk. I’ve met a lot of consultants too and, while some are unpleasant, I think it’s unfair to say that they are ALL jerks. Some may not be the right fit for your business or maybe your personalities don’t mesh well. This is one more reason that you want to interview a consultant thoroughly before beginning an engagement with one.
I remember meeting with a client in September who was hesitant to start an engagement with us. He asked for several references of both clients and general business contacts. Rather than pressing him on signing a contract or giving him a hard time about asking for references, I provided him with three of each. I gave him six references not because I was fearful what one or two contacts would say, but because the only way our engagement would succeed is if he trusted us. For some people, that trust takes time.
Myth 4 – They never work
Part of a consultant’s effectiveness is implementation. For advice to work, it needs to be acted upon. Many business owners I meet have a serious shortage of time. This means that sometimes important things don’t get done.
Since implementation is usually difficult for business owners because they have very little available time for a new project, good consultants know how to assist in implementation. This could be doing a project for the business owner or partnering with a business owner’s staff member who can be responsible for completing the project.
Myth 5 – I don’t need their help
Running a business can be stressful, discouraging, or even miserable. Why go at it alone? We have the solutions to make running a business enjoyable, fulfilling, and even magical!
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What stereotypes have you heard about your own profession? Please share!