A few months back I was on a lunch break from a professional course I was taking. I walked out of the college and into a local shop. I was looking for something healthy to have for lunch, and the shop layout was poor with limited options available. I was considering walking out of the shabby shop, but then I decided to buy some fruit. I struck up a conversation with the shopkeeper who happened to be the owner. As I was not a local he asked me some questions, and I informed him I was enrolled on a professional course in the local college. He then asked me the college fees and asked me was it any good. I told him more about the course and he seemed negative. He then proceeded to tell me that he was a consultant and that the economy was down the toilet and hence there was no money in professional services. To my amazement, he then told me he was a retail consultant. I could not believe the prices this man was charging people and that he felt he was in a place of authority to consult people on retail. I walked out of the shop in disbelief.

I seriously began to question myself about how people would perceive me in my line of business and if I had anything of value to contribute to their business. But then a light bulb moment happened. I remembered a comment from an acquaintance of mine. I had met Eoghain Ryan of Mocks.ie at an entrepreneur’s conference in Galway, he said “The recession is great, it weeds out the cowboys”. This statement rang true with me, and gave me confidence to move forward. I decided that this would be the basis for my first blog article – what to look for when selecting professional services.

Too many times you hear nightmare stories about people passing themselves off as consultants with minimal qualifications and limited relevant experience to your needs.

So below is a checklist of criteria to ask about when7182 selecting a professional service:

  • Ask for proof of qualifications and credentials
  • Ask for testimonials/ recommendations from previous customers
  • Ask for experience that is relevant to your needs
  • Ask for specific results achieved or examples of achievements in a relevant area
  • Agree the parameters / contract specifications in a written agreement
  • Focus on desired outcomes
  • Agree review stages, so you know the process is working
  • Provide feedback at the end of the project to enhance the relationship for future collaborations.