5 Tips for Managing Consultants

manager-308474_960_720It’s easier to grow a company when there is a trusted team behind you. However, hiring a full-time staff isn’t always the best–or most affordable–option. Instead, many businesses are discovering the advantages of hiring experts in different specialty areas to manage projects. Of course, working with consultants is not the same as supervising a team in your office.

So how can you be successful when managing consultants who are not under your direct supervision–at least physically?

1. Establish expectations early on. Be clear about the consultant’s role in the company starting with the project listing. Write out exactly what you are looking for as specifically as possible. For instance, what do you expect regarding minimum qualifications, education, and experience? During the interview, discuss the specific duties associated with the role and ask the following questions:

-How will you add value to the company?
-Are you willing to go beyond the scope of duties if necessary?
-Do you have an established network of professionals you work with regularly?

If you do hire the consultant, write out a schedule of deliverables and due dates. Spelling out your expectations now will save you from confusion and frustration when an issue inevitably comes up in the future.

2. Thoroughly vet each expert. This is one area in which you don’t want any surprises. Find out as much as possible about the consultant’s credibility before making a permanent hiring decision. Depending on the specialty area, you may be able to check out an expert at websites in their niche. However, for general feedback it is fastest to:

-Do a Google search
-Check social media accounts
-Get feedback from past clients

3. Discuss the financials. How will your company pay the consultant? Whether you deposit funds through PayPal or directly into individual bank accounts, make sure the consultant understands the process. Be clear about payment dates and invoice deadlines to ensure everyone understands the schedule. It’s also important to note that a contractor is not the same as an employee. You may want to have them sign an Independent Contractor Agreement to eliminate confusion regarding taxes.

4. Be available. Inevitably, there will be issues and concerns that occur. Schedule a regular time to Skype or check in via email to make sure everyone is on track. Also, remain flexible. Even when you set expectations, don’t be surprised if there are misunderstandings. The key to fostering a good relationship is being prepared to adjust and regroup–on both sides.

5. Trust the process. One of the benefits of hiring consultants is that you’re investing in their area of expertise. Consultants are bound to have suggestions for improvement. Be open to their ideas. You don’t always have to follow through, but why not benefit from their knowledge and experience?

Although managing consultants will take a little extra effort, it can be well worth it in the long run. Fostering good relationships with your consultants will ensure they committed to the company’s success.

Zintro is a great way to find Consultants fast and affordably. Post your Consultant Project here.

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