Finding The Right Consultant For Your Online Businesses

Starting an online business can present many challenges to someone who is inexperienced with the process. You may already have in mind the product you are going to sell and how it’s going to be marketed, but when it comes to the other details like setting up an e-commerce platform, buying server space and your own domain name, things may get a bit confusing. This is where you may consider hiring a consultant to guide you through.

Hiring a consultant can be a tedious process, too – especially if you don’t know what to look for. Depending on the kind of business you want to start, the qualifications of consultants will vary. However, there are a few key questions that you should ask before and during the process of hiring a consultant for your online business to make the choice easier.

Do you really need a consultant?

Since most start up businesses are working on limited cash flow, cutting expenses when possible is important. Research the various steps involved in starting an online business and see how many of them you can do yourself. The more you do on your own, the less you will have to pay someone else to do – which can save you a lot of money.

Do you know anyone who has used a consultant when starting their online business?

If you know someone who has hired a consultant themselves to start an online business, use their suggestions as a starting point. This gives you a good recommendation to start with as well as one good reference in their history, which is better than hiring someone without knowing anything about their performance history or whether or not they have the skills to accomplish what you need them to do.

Do they have experience in starting an online business?

If a prospective consultant has no history of running, starting, operating or owning an online business themselves, it should be a red flag that they lack the skills to teach someone else how to do it.  You can’t always be sure they have the experienced needed to perform as a consultant so asking this question is important as to avoid any surprises or performance issues in the future. Ask for references and follow up with them to confirm the details you have been given.

Can they provide you with a written plan?

Keeping detailed written records is imperative in any kind of business. This is especially true when you are entering into any kind of agreement with anyone. When you hire a consultant, have them provide you with a detailed, written plan of action outlining every part of the consultation services they will provide, including the steps they are going to take to help your business reach its goal.  The plan should clearly state both inclusions and exclusions, what needs to be done at each juncture of the project and the expected outcome of each step. Have them include all the fees to be incurred for their services from start to finish to avoid any budget surprises in the end. If they are not able to provide you with this written plan, you should probably look for another consultant.