Whenever I talk about hiring experts, I always think of Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich story about a man who was '3 Feet From Gold.' After an initial find of gold ore, the man covered it up, returned home, raised money, bought equipment and went back to dig. He found some more but then the gold stopped. He kept on digging but eventually gave up in frustration and sold everything to a junk man. The junk man consulted a mining expert and found out that gold runs in a vein. They simply turned three feet and dug up millions. Perseverance to not give up would not have been the point of this story if the miner had just reached out for an expert. Your mindset can be blocking your from seeing the need for an expert.
Once you get over the mindset block and recognize that you can't and shouldn't do everything yourself, hiring the right resource at the right time means making sure that you are prepared in your business. You need to know where you are going, how fast you want to get there and why you are hiring. My Hazzard Rules for Hiring Experts are the key areas to look at hiring out:
- Anything that is not critical to your core competence and skill set
- Anything that you will only need to learn and use once
- Anything that has high risk of failure, high cost; or where a mistake could cause significant delays
- Anything that you spend too much time on
- The area or thing you procrastinate most about or are most uncomfortable about
To get to some of the crucial questions you should ask before hiring an expert, I asked accelerated business growth consultant, Glenn Dietzel, who is an expert to experts. He believes that to compete in today's market you "want to do what others don't do; can't do; or wouldn't think of doing." To get to that level with speed you need to hire smartly and get answers to these critical questions:
- Do they have a track record of repeated success?
- Can they clearly show how their process is a "completely new paradigm for success?
- Can they demonstrate how their process will save you time and money with more than just testimonials? Perhaps a guarantee or just a way to assess that their math checks out.
- Do they have a systems approach that has an optimized fast track?
- Do they have multiple levels of learning - do-it-yourself, done-with-you, and done-for-you? Have they had repeated success from clients at all three levels?
- Do they have 10,000+ hours of experience doing what you are looking for in the industry? Have they been there, done that?
- Is the quote or cost in line with industry standards for the experience? Over-charging and under-charging are both red flags.
- Can you read about exactly what they do in their book or hear about it on their podcast? If so, actual read or listen first.
- Do they have a background in mentoring, coaching or training? Teaching others to be successful is "what distinguishes experts from expert advisors/masters."
- Can they back up their case studies or testimonials? Can you talk to them personally? If so, make sure you ask them if they paid for mentoring or consultation or got it free or discounted in exchange for the testimonial.
Too many entrepreneurs wait too long to hire experts. Speed-to-market is essential in today's marketplace, so you don't have the time to try and figure everything out yourself. Delaying your ability to take advantage of market timing can cost millions and allow a competitor to gain traction before you. That doesn't mean that you rush to hire and forget to check references or do your due diligence!