The process of determining the best consulting firms from which to choose entails very basic research, whether it is an organization or a self-employed individual looking to contract a firm. A systematic process of narrowing down the best consulting firms before choosing one minimizes the client’s risk of getting stuck with a firm that is inexperienced or incompetent in the area that requires consultation. The ramifications of not taking the time to screen for the best consulting firms includes lost time spent on signing contracts and coordinating meetings, not to mention lost profits spent on consulting fees.
The easiest and most efficient approach to take when selecting the best consultant firm is to start from the inside-out. This entails asking trusted friends and associates if they can recommend a good consulting firm to suit the needs of the company, whether it requires IT consulting, management consulting, or financial consulting. The ideal recommendation is a first-hand testimonial from someone who has worked closely with the consulting firm and can vouch for their effectiveness and professionalism. Another type of recommendation that is not as ideal but still useful is a personal reference, in which the friend or colleague knows a principal of the firm and can vouch for their personal integrity or trustworthiness.
Once a shortlist of recommendations for the best consulting firms has been compiled, the next step is to perform some diligent work. This might include performing an Internet search on the name of the firm and its executives as well as visiting the firm’s official site to gather proof of the firm’s effectiveness. This proof might be in the form of statistics regarding a certain profit increase that the firm helped their client achieve, or the names of new accounts that the firm helped their clients land. Anything in the way of measurable results is a good sign that the firm has a proven track record of successful consulting.
After confirming with the consultants that they are available to provide their services for the client’s particular needs, the client is free to ask the firm for their references. Like the final stages of a job interview, asking for references is one of the last formalities of the decision making process. The client should speak with the references directly to confirm any written testimonials attributed to them which might appear on the firm’s site or in other marketing material.