- Emily Kern
KORE Values to Identify in Consultants
If you’re like most micro business owners (5 or less employees with an asset value less than $250K), we bet the following statements are true for you:
1. You love your business.
2. You have a lot to offer your target audience.
3. There aren’t enough hours in the day.
4. Your inbox is overflowing with unread emails (half of which, thankfully, are just sites you need to unsubscribe from).
5. There is a constant tension between doing what you love to do and doing what you need to do to keep your business up and running.
6. You need help.
When you realize that #6 is true for you, you may start looking for some outside assistance from a consultant. You’re ultimately looking for someone to relieve your burden in one or more areas of your business. In order for a consultant to truly relieve your burden, put some hours back in your day, and allow you to redirect your mental energy elsewhere, your consultants need to be characterized by these “KORE” values.
Your consultant doesn’t have to know everything about everything. The more knowledge they have, the better- but what’s more important is a willingness to learn on your behalf. Rather than applying a one-size-fits-all approach, find a consultant who is willing to seek customized knowledge to solve your unique business challenge. If you can’t trust them to give you the best solution for your situation, you’ll end up searching for a solution yourself (which defeats the purpose of you using them to begin with).
You don’t have time for unorganized consultants. You should be able to tell your consultants, one time, what you need them to do, how you need them to do it, and what information they need to complete that project. They can always come back to you with questions or clarifications; however, you shouldn't have to repeat yourself time and time again.
I can't count the number of times I've heard someone say, "Well, they were supposed to do _____ for me, but I haven't heard back from them in a while." Reliability tends to follow organization. If consultants can manage information well and “have their ducks in a row,” they're also more likely to follow through, communicate consistently, produce reliable results, and meet the deadlines you've set for them. If your consultant doesn't get back to you, sends incomplete work, or spends their time (your money) doing something one way that you asked to be done another way, it may be time for you to place your hard-earned money in someone else’s hands.
When you do find an organized and reliable consultant, you'll experience such relief! It's worth spending some time on the front end really investigating your options. You can always talk to people in your professional network to get recommendations, too.
You love your business. You built it from the ground up. There is no way to separate “work” and “life” for you, because your business is such an integral part of your life. Anyone who helps you with your business should understand the personal investment you’ve made in it. Rather than a strictly transactional approach, find a consultant who…
1. Asks you how your day is going.
2. Genuinely cares about your success / your business’ success.
3. Views your work together as a partnership, rather than a business transaction.
4. Brings you excitement or relief when you speak with them, rather than stress.
When you hire an employee, you’re looking for someone who meets the qualifications of the job- but you’re also looking for someone that you will enjoy working with. Someone with a positive attitude, an engaging presence, and a genuine personality. Treat your consultant relationship in the same way. This is someone you’re going to work with often, and you want them to bring energy, positivity, and good will to your business. If you don’t get a good vibe from a consultant or you have this "gut feeling" that you guys probably aren’t the best match, keep looking! Find someone you would enjoy working with long term.
Lastly, use consultants who are effective. Use tangible evidence to confirm their effectiveness. What measurements or data do you have to prove that your consultant made an impact in your business? What defines success? Is it a certain number of leads, an amount of time you can now spend on other things, developing a more efficient process for xyz? Define what you want those results to look like from the outset to make sure both parties are aligned and have reasonable expectations.
Remember point #6? That tension between what you love to do and what you need to do? Here’s the irony. You need to do what you love to do. Your business needs you to do what you love to do. We tend to love to do the things that we’re talented at. There shouldn’t be a tension here. There are some things in life we can’t delegate. (Nobody can go to the dentist on your behalf.) But, there are plenty of opportunities to delegate within your business. It can be the best thing for yourself and your business to let other people handle the essential business functions that are outside of your expertise. If you enter those consulting partnerships with KORE values in mind, you won’t go wrong!