We all like to think we make good decisions in life. We choose to spend our time learning and living the lives we love. We make decisions based on a combination of our core values and cumulative experience. Sometimes, though, we don’t have enough experience to make informed decisions in all areas of life and business.
When we encounter new obstacles, it’s helpful to get a hand from someone who’s been there before. Someone who can offer us opinions and advice when we are making important decisions. This person, by definition, is a consultant.
Building a dental practice isn’t easy. Hiring a dental practice consultant can be a godsend.
Why hire a dental practice consultant?
The more we learn in our lives, the more we realize we don’t know. It would serve our personal and professional needs to ask for help once in a while. We could quote dozens of philosophers and inventors that would address this concept, but we’ll save you the time. You’re probably familiar with the concept.
Entrepreneurs in every corner of the world use business consulting services regularly. Those that are successful know when to maintain a long term advisor and when to simply bring in reinforcements. Hiring a dental practice consultant will fill your team out with someone who’s been there before and can help you make well-informed decisions on building and planning for your company’s future.
What makes a great consultant?
There are many dental consulting companies out there, but they are definitely not all the same. Some bring more experience to the table than others. Some match your company culture better than others and communicate with your team more effectively. Learning the most important things to you and your practice will give you the information you need to select a consultant that delivers the results you’re after.
Experience is everything
First and foremost, complete dental practice consulting candidates should have broad, relevant experience in several different business areas. Problems in the business world are hardly predictable, so your consultant should be able to handle a wide range of challenges. A dental practice consultant with experience in various industries can bring insight you never knew you needed.
Another benefit that comes along with an experienced consultant is that they’ve likely worked with many different types of people and are more likely to mesh well with your team. The ability to effectively work to everyone’s different personalities and communication styles comes with years of experience, and is an attribute that differentiates people who truly communicate from those who simply pass along information.
Find someone you trust and respect
If you’re going to work with this person to better your business, it’s crucial that you trust them and have a solid rapport with them. This may be the most important consideration of all.
If you can’t be open and honest with your dental practice management consultants, the relationship simply won’t work. You’re going to be sharing a lot of sensitive data surrounding your business with this person. Make sure their credibility is through the roof.
Seek someone you can be frank with
Since you’re going to be working closely with your consultant, it’s imperative that you find someone who will shoot it straight with you. If a consultant is always trying to please you by telling you what a good job you’re doing and that you’re making great decisions at every turn, they’re likely leaving something important out. It’s vital to work with strategic business consulting services that aren’t afraid to be honest with you about your company and its practices, no matter how you feel about it.
This is because a good consultant cares more about doing what’s right for you than what makes them feel good. A good consultant is driven to help the businesses they work with succeed.
Consultants should be great problem solvers
When it comes down to brass tacks, the reason we hire consultants in the first place is to help us overcome some problems we are running up against or anticipate encountering in the near future. Maybe we need marketing consulting services. Perhaps we need to develop a set of standard operating procedures quickly. Sometimes, if we’re lucky, our businesses grow so fast that we need help simply reorganizing so we gain more control.
Any potential consultant you interview should be a fantastic problem solver. No two problems in business look exactly alike, so canned responses and scripts aren’t always sufficient to solve them. The ability to think on one’s feet and devise well thought out responses to challenges is what sets good consultants apart from great ones.
Find someone who communicates well
Figuring out what needs to be done is one thing, but effectively communicating that information in an actionable way to the organization is another. Each individual receives and processes information differently, and any consultant with a decent grasp on emotional intelligence understands and works with that concept. It’s not always enough to pass along information. The recipient needs to absorb it. That’s why strong written and verbal communication skills are a must.
The first step in facilitating that communication is to find someone you and your team like. When we get along well with people, communication flows more naturally, and we know how best to communicate with each individual based on their communication style. A consultant who isn’t personable with your team may not take the time to learn the things required to communicate effectively.
The consultant you ultimately choose should have the interpersonal skills and respect for your organization to effectively communicate with you and your management team.
Find someone who is dedicated to your success
Once you’ve verified that you want to work with a particular professional services consultant, you’ve got to make sure they are dedicated to your success. You need to be certain that you have access to their advice when you need it and not simply when it is convenient for them.
By choosing strategic consulting services by a company or firm rather than an individual, you can eliminate some of those worries. When you’re working with a team, you are likely to have more access to the resources you need at any given time. You also have an aggregate experience level that’s far greater than any individual could ever hope to attain.
Define the relationship in writing
Everything runs more smoothly when expectations are spelled out. None of us like getting blindsided, so make sure both parties understand what the agreement looks like. Be clear about goals and deliverables. Determine a price and pay your dental practice consultant the agreed-upon rate on time. There are few ways to sour a business relationship more quickly than late payments.
Manage the relationship
Consultants need feedback from you on how well they are meeting expectations. Finding and fixing ambiguous expectations early will keep the relationship on track. Even top dental consultants can’t deliver on goals in the face of misunderstandings. Effectively managing the relationship is the only way to get what you want out of it.
By treating your consultant like a partner who is privy to all the information they need to be successful, you’ll get much more honest and useful advice from them.
Determine what your business needs
By now, you’ve likely got ideas about the type of dental practice consultant that would best serve the needs of your practice. Make sure you are open and honest with yourself about what sounds nice and what sounds essential. Management consulting is a down and dirty business. They dig into the data and help you overcome your obstacles and missteps. Make sure they’re digging in the right spots, and you’ll hit paydirt.