A skilled consulting firm can be of considerable assistance, both in developing and implementing effective business strategies.  The challenge, of course, is selecting the most appropriate consulting firm for the initiative.

Alexander Gordon wrote a piece for EzineArticles, providing his insight in how to select a small business consultant.  Here’s some of the highlights of the article and VGL’s related comments.  Gordon suggests you consider carefully:

1)      Big firm or a Small firm?   In its simplest terms, if you require a customized solution, then the smaller firm is most suitable for you.  Otherwise, a larger firm might be the best choice to suit most standard requirements.

VGL Comment:  We specialize in helping those small and mid-sized organizations with start-up opportunities, as well as organizational changes resulting from business restructuring, new opportunities and process improvements.  While all the team members at VGL have large corporate experience as part of their background, we have found our most creative and innovative solutions have come from helping the smaller businesses.  Smaller organizations are generally more open and willing to implementing and adopting non-standard solutions.

2)      Importance of Personal Relationship.  As a business manager or owner, it is a difficult task to select a small business consultant.  However, the job becomes even harder when it comes to what person to choose for the job, because it is the relationship between the individuals that is ultimately the most important factor.  A good small business consultant is one who not only guides the growth of the business of its clients, but also takes interest in their personal lives.

VGL Comment:  That’s why the interview process is so important.  Ask the difficult questions and see if the answers help establish credibility.  Don’t be afraid to ask “situational” type questions, calling on the consultants past experiences.  Generally within the first 15 minutes of a conversation, you can tell if you will be able to work with another individual.  The VGL team has been in your position before, so we understand how important the relationship is.  We are more than happy to provide a lengthy list of references, and strongly encourage you to speak to our current and former clients about the relationship aspects of their engagements.

3)      High Quality and Cost Effective Services.  No matter how difficult the job of selecting a small business consultant may be, it is always possible to get high-quality services that are also cost-effective.  If you select the appropriate consultant, then the questions of size become irrelevant.

VGL Comment:  All of us are conscious these days about the price of services.  One of the ways VGL distinguishes itself from others is we are very determined to gather as much information early in the process as we can regarding your project needs, including a crisp understanding of  the financial parameters under which the work will be performed.  Some projects lend themselves to a time-and-materials billing structure, while a flat-fee arrangement works best in other instances.  As a client of VGL, all of those discussions around expectations, performance and quality metrics are documented and agreed upon before the work begins.

4)      Experience, Courage and Freedom.  A business manager should consider several factors before selecting a small business consultant.  The consultant should have enough courage and freedom to not only challenge, but also change the views of the client on any particular topic.  He should have experience in your business industry.

VGL Comment:  We pride ourselves on the ability to think outside the box and bring our customers a new and fresh perspective.  Hailing from such diverse backgrounds and client industries such as airline/commercial transportation, healthcare, technology and financial services, the VGL team possesses broad and deep capabilities.  We also recognize that challenges may arise when working in an unfamiliar area, and we have no hesitation in disclosing that in our initial conversations.

It would be a pleasure to discuss your business needs.  Please contact Vision Generation Lab.