Like hiring any team member, engaging a consultant should be a well-planned and thoroughly researched process. There are many types of consultants and advisors; some may have several areas of expertise while others specialize in one area.
Anytime you are making a change to your practice and require expert advice in that area, or anytime you would like to enhance your practice. A common myth is that a consultant is only necessary if a significant shift is being made in your practice. Actually, consultants can add a lot of value just by reviewing and improving your existing operations.
Fees vary. Some consultants charge based on the project while others are on billable hours. Some jobs may be set up as a bundled package. Most consultants require a retainer and bill travel expenses separately. It is always best to ask the consultant to provide a quote.
Yes, because these types of agreements and contracts help protect you as much as the consultant. By clearly outlining the project goals and objectives, requirements for success, costs and timeline for the project as well as any other expectations, you are getting the project off on the right track. These agreements help you be more thoughtful about what you want to get out of the project.
You’ll need a person whose behavior is governed by a code of ethics and who is intently interested in helping you achieve your goals. Consultants are experts in their field of interest and know where to find the right answers to help you grow and improve the operations of your practice.
Be clear on your goals, needs and timelines. Check references and interview potential consultants. Then ask yourself if he or she communicates well and if you and your team feel the consultant will be a good match.
One of the keys to gaining staff acceptance is to include them throughout the entire process, from consultant selection to completion of the project. No one knows more about your practice than you and your staff, and by working together as a team with the consultant, you will find the best solution together. Consultants specifically tailor their approach to YOUR practice and don't just deliver a generic approach. The overall plan will include ways to make sure your staff embraces the changes that are enacted.