When to Hire--or Not Hire--a Consultant: Getting Your Money's Worth from Consulting Relationships

Overview

When to Hire—or Not Hire—a Consultant:Getting Your Money's Worth from Consulting Relationships is a hands-on, practical guide for anyone thinking about hiring a consultant to set strategy, solve problems, increase profits or revenue, develop new products, open new markets, or improve efficiency.

Consulting is one of the fastest growing professions in the United States. According to the U.S. government, there were 719,000 consultants in the U.S. in 2010, and you can expect an ...

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When to Hire--or Not Hire--a Consultant: Getting Your Money's Worth from Consulting Relationships

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Overview

When to Hire—or Not Hire—a Consultant:Getting Your Money's Worth from Consulting Relationships is a hands-on, practical guide for anyone thinking about hiring a consultant to set strategy, solve problems, increase profits or revenue, develop new products, open new markets, or improve efficiency.

Consulting is one of the fastest growing professions in the United States. According to the U.S. government, there were 719,000 consultants in the U.S. in 2010, and you can expect an additional 274,000 by 2020. Cloaked in “expert” status, consultants might seem to be the answer to many business problems. You call someone in to solve a particular problem or develop new markets, then send them away once the job is done—while reaping the benefits of their expertise. Consultants sometimes do work miracles, but once in a while they wreck a healthy business. And far too often, the benefits gained by calling in consultants disappear far too soon after they leave.

Yet as return on investment (ROI) and accountability for results become bigger and bigger issues, business professionals in search of answers to performance or strategy challenges are turning more and more to outside guidance for help. Indeed, few businesses do not use some kind of consultant at some point in their existence. But how can you leverage the skills consultants can bring to the table without adding undue risk to your operations? How can you effectively manage the consultant relationship to get the greatest benefit for the least cost? What metrics can support your decision to hire—or not hire—a consultant? When should you use home-grown talent to solve problems instead? That’s what this book is all about.

While there are a multitude of books on how to be a consultant, this is the first to help an executive determine when to hire one. You will learn strategies to decide when a consultant is needed and how to support that decision with hard evidence, how to select the right consultant, how to set clear expectations, and how to know when a consultant is either a valuable resource or a hindrance to the company’s success.

The authors of this book bring together two opposing perspectives. Linda Orr has served as a consultant in many companies and situations, while Dave Orr has hired consultants many times. Together, they can help you make the most strategically and financially sound business decisions. This books shows you how to:

  • Work through ROI and other issues to support a decision to hire a consultant.
  • Maximize the benefits consultants can provide.
  • Explore options other than hiring a consultant.

What you’ll learn

  • Where consultants “come from” and what qualifications you should look for.
  • How to compute ROI for consultants.
  • When consultants can be effective and when they cannot be effective.
  • How to select the right consultant, then set expectations.
  • How to negotiate a consulting contract.
  • How to form an effective consulting relationship.
  • How to fire a consultant who is not adding value.
  • Your options besides consultants to solve business problems.


Who this book is for

When to Hire—or Not Hire—a Consultant: Getting Your Money's Worth from Consulting Relationships is designed for owners and managers who need help navigating the decisions to be made and the choices faced when they need—or think they need—outside help. Most companies use consultants occasionally, but many executives have not had the experience of dealing with consultants and using them profitably and effectively. It’s also for those who have had a bad experience with consultants and need a better process for ensuring a successful relationship with a consultant.

A secondary market for this book is MBA students. Giving that the consulting industry is so large, a basic part of strategy training should be when do you “outsource” your management decisions. (Linda Orr plans to use this book in her MBA classes.)

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Industry
  3. Origins
  4. ROI
  5. Mistakes
  6. Good Decisions
  7. Selection
  8. The Relationship
  9. Options When Consultants Won’t Do
  10. Tools
  11. Requests for Proposals
  12. Sample Consulting Contract
  13. Sample Nondisclosure Agreement


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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781430247340
  • Publisher: Apress
  • Publication date: 1/31/2013
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 284
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Linda M. Orr, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Marketing at the University of Akron. Her specialties are teaching, research, and consulting in sales sales management. She is the author or co-author of two books: When to Hire--or Not Hire--a Consultant: Getting Your Money's Worth from Consulting Relationships, and Advanced Sales Management Handbook and Cases: Analytical, Applied, and Relevant. She is also co-editor of two other books: Direct Marketing in Action: Cutting Edge Strategies for Finding and Keeping your Best Customers, finalist for the American Marketing Association's Berry Book Prize for the Best Book in Marketing (2009), and Marketing in the 21st Century: Volume 3: Company and Customer Relations. Dr. Orr has also published in several refereed journals. In addition, she served as assistant marketing director for Warner Bros. Records in Nashville, and in a variety of managerial capacities in the restaurant and finance industries. She has served as a consultant in numerous Fortune 500 companies and smaller companies in many industries.

Dave J. Orr s the Director of Business Intelligence for Summa Health System, one of the largest integrated healthcare delivery systems in Ohio, nationally renowned for excellence in patient care and for exceptional approaches to healthcare delivery. He is also an instructor in the Executive MBA Program at Kent State University, and he has worked in process improvement, technical sales, engineering, product development, operations management, and quality roles for over fourteen years. He has served the healthcare, automotive, appliance, military, consumer product, and aerospace industries. Dave is a certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt from Kent State University. He earned his MBA from Robert Morris University and has a BS in Plastics Engineering Technology from Penn State University. Dave is coauthor of two books: When to Hire--Or Not Hire--a Business Consultant: Getting Your Money's Worth From Consulting Relationships, and Advanced Sales Management Handbook and Cases: Analytical, Applied, and Relevant. Through his work as a process improvement expert, Dave has identified and eliminated waste in businesses throughout his career.

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