Perfect Match

Laying The Groundwork

Start by deciding what you need, then look for someone with the expertise to meet those needs. A consultant may have already approached you with a sales pitch. If not, you can ask other business owners for referrals. You might also find names in the Yellow Pages or on the Web--but be sure to ask for a client list and talk to some of the people who've worked with the consultant. Did the consultant deliver according to expectations? A trade association such as the Association of Professional Consultants may be able to help you check people's reputations.

Finding a good match, however, is just the start. "You need to lay out the expectations," says Wessels. One of the best ways to do that is by preparing a contract. To ensure a smooth relationship, both parties should know what they're getting into, what their responsibilities are and how to proceed in case of a disagreement.

The use of contracts for consultants varies widely, Wessels says. Some companies retain consultants without using any sort of contract, while others insist on complex, multipage contracts. Typically, a consultant will provide a proposal stating what he or she will do, how long it will take and how much it will cost. Some companies respond with a letter of engagement that refers to the proposal.

Like this article? Get this issue right now on iPad, Nook or Kindle Fire.

This article was originally published in the July 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Perfect Match.

Loading the player ...

Shark Tank's Daymond John on Lessons From His Worst Mistakes

Ads by Google

Share Your Thoughts

Most Shared Stories

1
The Habits of the World's Smartest People (Infographic)
2
5 Social-Media Tips to Enhance Your Marketing
3
Richard Branson's 5 Steps for Startup Success
4
9 Things Rich People Do Differently Every Day
5
10 Movies Every Entrepreneur Needs to Watch