How to Get the Most Out of Your Business Consulting Relationship: The Dos and Don’ts

How to Get the Most Out of Your Business Consulting Relationship: The Dos and Don’ts

Partnering with a business consultant can be a transformative experience for entrepreneurs and business owners. A skilled consultant brings an outside perspective, specialised expertise, and a wealth of industry knowledge to the table, which can help businesses grow, overcome challenges, and achieve their strategic objectives. 

However, the success of this collaboration hinges on more than just the consultant’s capabilities. It requires active participation and effective management from the client.

To make the most of your business consulting relationship, it’s essential to understand what to do and what to avoid.

Dos for Getting the Most Out of Your Business Consulting Relationship

1. Clearly Define Goals and Expectations

The beginning of any consulting engagement is a critical phase for setting the stage. Clearly defining your business’s objectives and what you aim to achieve with the consultant’s support is paramount. This clarity will ensure that both parties are aligned from the outset and that the consultant’s efforts are directed towards tangible outcomes.

Be specific about your goals, whether they involve market expansion, process optimisation, or enhancing team performance. Include the expected timeline and any success metrics you plan to use. 

The more detailed your goal-setting, the easier it is for the consultant to tailor their approach and deliver results that matter to your business.

2. Communicate Openly and Frequently

Effective communication is the lifeblood of successful consulting relationships. It’s not enough to articulate your goals at the beginning and then step back. 

You need to maintain a constant dialogue with your consultant throughout the engagement. Frequent updates, clarifications, and new insights can make a huge difference in the consultant’s ability to stay on track and adjust their approach as needed. 

Implement communication channels that work for both parties, whether it’s regular video calls, status updates, or a shared project management platform. The smoother the communication, the more value the consultant can provide.

3. Provide Access to Relevant Information

Consultants thrive on data and information. The more they know about your business, your industry, and the specific challenges you face, the more meaningful their advice will be.

From financial statements to customer feedback, make sure your consultant has access to all relevant information. Trust them with sensitive data, and provide the means to obtain further details if necessary. A transparent and collaborative approach to data sharing can significantly enhance the quality of the consultant’s recommendations.

4. Be Open to Feedback and Suggestions

One of the main reasons to hire a consultant is to receive an impartial perspective. To fully benefit from their expertise, you must be open to critical feedback, even if it challenges your existing beliefs or practices.

Create a culture where constructive criticism is both welcomed and heard. Avoid being defensive and instead, view feedback as an opportunity to improve. Remember that the consultant intends to help your business, and their observations are often the result of extensive experience with similar situations.

5. Implement Agreed-Upon Recommendations

It’s not enough to agree with the consultant’s recommendations in theory; you must be willing to take action and implement the suggested changes. Many consulting projects end with a comprehensive report or set of initiatives that the client fails to follow through on.

Ensure that there is a clear roadmap for implementation with assigned responsibilities and deadlines. The consultant’s role may extend to overseeing the execution or providing support as your team integrates the changes into your business processes. 

Committing to this phase demonstrates your dedication and maximises the value of the consulting relationship.

Don’ts to Avoid

1. Micromanage the Consultant

While it’s essential to stay involved in the consulting process, micromanaging can be counterproductive. Trust the business consultant to manage their work, and focus your energy on the broader strategic issues.

Constant oversight not only distracts you from your core responsibilities but also undermines the consultant’s autonomy and creativity. Remember, they were brought in for their expertise, so give them the space to deliver without unnecessary interference.

2. Disregard Their Expertise

Your business’s internal knowledge is undoubtedly valuable, but so is the outside expertise your consultant brings. Avoid the mistake of assuming that your team knows best at all times or that the consultant’s background is irrelevant.

Take the time to listen and learn from the consultant. Recognise the value in their different perspectives and the innovative solutions that they may bring to the table. A collaborative approach, where everyone’s insights are considered, often leads to the most effective strategies.

3. Ignore Actionable Insights

It can be challenging to accept that significant changes may be necessary within your business, particularly if it’s functioning just fine (or so it seems). However, dismissing actionable insights because they’re difficult or uncomfortable can be a significant barrier to growth.

If your consultant suggests a new sales approach, a revamp of your digital strategy, or a restructuring of your team, don’t dismiss these as inconsequential. Engage in thorough, objective analysis, and be prepared to make changes based on the insights provided.

4. Miss Scheduled Meetings or Deadlines

Respect the time and effort your consultant invests in your project. Ensure that you and your team are punctual with scheduled meetings and that you meet the deadlines agreed upon.

Consistently missing appointments or submitting deliverables late can disrupt the flow of the consulting work and delay the project’s timeline. It can also reflect poorly on your business’s professionalism. If unforeseen circumstances arise, communicate as soon as possible to reschedule or amend the plan accordingly.

5. Be Closed to New Approaches

A rigid adherence to existing practices can stifle innovation and growth. While tradition has its merits, it’s important to remain open to new approaches that a consultant may propose.

Even if you’ve been successful with a particular strategy in the past, be willing to consider alternatives. Business environments and consumer behaviours are constantly evolving, and what worked yesterday might not work tomorrow. An openness to change can lead to breakthroughs that set your business apart.


Hiring a consultant can provide valuable insights and expertise to your business. However, for the engagement to be successful, it’s crucial to establish clear communication channels, provide access to relevant information, be open to feedback and suggestions, and implement agreed-upon recommendations. 

Avoid micromanaging or disregarding their expertise, ignoring actionable insights, missing scheduled meetings and deadlines, and being closed to new approaches. Remember, a consultant is an investment in your business’s growth and should be treated as such. Embrace their role as a partner on your journey to success.  

Lastly, always keep an open mind and remain receptive to new ideas and strategies that can take your business to the next level.  Invest in a strong relationship with your consultant, and you’ll reap the rewards of their expertise for years to come.