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Taking Advice Versus Paying for Advice: Do Your Due Diligence Before Ever Hiring a Business Consultant!

In a previous blog, “The Difference Between a Smart Contractor and a Wise Contractor,” I talked about the virtues of learning from the mistakes of others. There is a real benefit in talking with other businesspeople, networking, discovering what mistakes they’ve made, learning from those mistakes, and then never making them yourself. The smart contractor learns from his mistakes; the wise contractor learns from the mistakes of others.
Someone read that blog and immediately contacted me with a question: Does that mean that I should look for a business consultant to bring aboard? Someone with a great deal of experience who can provide some direction?
I thought the question was so strong, I chose to draft this blog as a response. Here’s why: While it’s great to network with other businesspeople and learn from other businesspeople, consultants are a different animal – because they’re asking for your money.
There are good consultants out there. But being in the electrical industry for as long as I have, I have seen dozens or hard working contractors fleeced by “consultants” who really didn’t know a thing about their business or how to help it—but they did know how to cash their checks over and over and over.
Should you ever decide to invest actual hard-earned dollars into any type of consultant or service, please, please, please do your due diligence. Insist on talking with current or past customers. Demand to see some type of proof of success. Annnnd you should demand some type of guarantee.
You might want to find a consultant who is a former business owner or one who has had years of experienced consulting within your trade. These people know what you need to succeed and how to achieve success. Even then, do your homework on them.
Talking with other businesspeople, networking, helping one another is a good practice. It’s two or more people working together for their greater good. However, when you throw money into the mix, don’t throw your money towards just anyone making boastful claims. That’s not something a wise contractor would do.

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