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Outsorcing or not? Here you can find the answers

1. First, decide exactly what it is you need help with. Write down the problem and what results you expect to achieve with the help of a consultant. Many times, this process can make you realize that you don't actually need a consultant because the problem becomes clearer and perhaps easier for you to find your own solution. If the problem is bigger than you can manage to solve yourself, you've got a good specification for the consultant.

2. Find out what it costs to not get the problem resolved. It gives you a clear picture of what it is worth spending on allowing a consultant to come up with a solution.

3. Create a budget and time frame for the solution. It gives you space to plan better and know more about how much you and others have to be involved with the consultant's work when he/she is up and running.

4. Investigate what options you have. If you have good contacts, maybe you can find a consultant. Otherwise, a search on the internet is the best option because you get the chance to see what different consultants have done in the past and what their expertise is - without having to listen to someone talking about it on the phone.

5. Call some consultants and interview them by phone. Describe your company's problems and the challenges you face. Ask the consultant to describe his own expertise. Also ask about their old customers and what he/she helped them with similar to what you would like help with.

6. Meet three of the consultants you talked to on the phone and find out more of what you think is important. One important thing might be if the consultant is doing the work himself/herself or if he/she will teach your staff to learn do it themselves. Everything depends on what is important for you in the long run. Also, ask what resources he/she needs during the work.

7. Choose a consultant based on the conversation you had and the quotes from the consultants you feel the most for. It can also be a good idea to contact the consultants' existing customers and talk more with them.

About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

230 000 prescribes to his free newsletter "The 5 minute marketer"
Every week some 230,000 prescribers gets his free newsletter about 5 minute marketing.

"The 5 minute marketer" - the book
You run a small business and you want to get ahead of the competition, but how can you give resources to marketing when you're short on time and the budget is tight? The solution is here! The 5-Minute Marketer is packed with 395 tried-and-tested ways to market your business in 5 minutes or less.