“Consultant” is often a misnomer for “referral source,” although both share common characteristics. To clarify, a referral source relays contact information for industry players, while a consultant should ultimately investigate and evaluate these players to determine which expert would be most useful and appropriate for you, and save you money overall.
Are you hiring a consultant for the right reason?
Hiring a consultant to manage your practice development is comparable to hiring a general contractor to manage a large construction project. Using this metaphor, you would need to hire a general contractor if you need a house built, but not if you needed plumbing work done- then you would want to hire a plumber directly. If you need specialized assistance in one or two areas, such as marketing or accounting, you should contact these experts directly. If you seek assistance for the entirety of the project, then you may consider hiring a consultant. Hiring a good consultant, for the right reasons, should result in savings in your pocket.
Is your consultant going to save you money?
Consultants have several money-saving methods with which they can provide you. Some consultants can offer you their primary services (if they are also an accountant, contractor, marketer, etc.) for a discounted price. Consultants can speed the duration of your project through industry and market knowledge. Consultants can also identify key industry specialists to direct you to, when greater specification is required. To evaluate the range of connections a particular consultant may have, ask them:
- How many people do you consider before referring a particular source?
- How do you select with which people to work? By knowing a wide array of people through your connections, or obtaining bids and estimations?
- How do you evaluate the pluses and minuses of each source to determine which benefits my particular project?
Whichever method or methods your consultant is going to use, ensure that the cost savings will be well worth the consultation fee for which they ask.
What is your consultant bringing to the table?
Consultants should have industry expertise across all areas concerning developing a dental practice- from marketing to accounting to construction. Consultants should have a record of successful project completion; don’t hesitate to ask questions of any consultant which you are considering. Any true consultant should be able to answer, to your satisfaction:
- On how many projects have you consulted?
- In these projects, what went wrong and what went smoothly- what were the highlights?
- Where were the projects- local or national?
- How did you manage the process to eliminate mistakes?
Your consultant should be the essence of neutrality and your representation within the industry, with the best outcome for you in mind.