All About Consulting -- Using Consultants, Doing Consulting

© Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC

The topic will be useful to you whether you plan to use a consultant or be a consultant, including to start a new consulting organization, expand a current consulting organization, or start a new consulting product or service. Many of the articles in this Library topic were adopted from Field Guide to Consulting and Organizational Development and Field Guide to Consulting and Organizational Development with Nonprofits.

For training about consulting to organizations, see the Consultants Development Institute.

Sections of This Topic Include

Understanding Consultants and Consulting
Hiring Consultants
- - - Basic Considerations
- - - Potential Issues When Hiring Consultants
Requests for Proposals, Proposals and Contracts
- - - Requests for Proposals
- - - Proposals
- - - Contracts
Doing Consulting (professionalism, field of Organization Development)
- - - Professionalism (Ethics, Boundaries, Salaries)
- - - Consulting Process (Process, Roles, Clients)
- - - Consulting for Organizational Change
How to Start a Consulting Business

Additional Information for Nonprofits
To Develop Your Consulting Skills
General Resources

Also see
Related Library Topics

Also See the Library Blog Related to Consulting and Hiring Consultants

In addition to the articles on this current page, also see the following blog that has posts related to Consulting and Hiring Consultants. Scan down the blog's page to see various posts. Also see the section "Recent Blog Posts" in the sidebar of the blog or click on "next" near the bottom of a post in the blog. The blog also links to numerous free related resources.

Library's Consulting and Organizational Development Blog


Understanding Consultants and Consulting

Consulting: Expanding The Definition
Internal Compared to External Consultants
What Should Be Primary Goals of Consultants?
Hanging Your Consultant Shingle in the Nonprofit Sector
10 Myths of Management and Organizational Consulting Part 1
10 Myths of Management and Organizational Consulting Part 2

You would also benefit from reading the following section on Professionalism for consultants, so you can set some standard of performance when selecting and working with consultants. Also review the materials in the section about Request for Proposals, Proposals and Contracts.

Hiring Consultants

When hiring consultants, it's often useful to use requests for proposals, proposals and contracts. So be sure to see the next section Requests for Proposals, Proposals and Contracts.

Basic Considerations

All About Using Consultants
Why Hire A Consultant?
What Do Consultants Bring to the Table?
Sample Checklist for Hiring Consultants
Defining Success With Consultants
Is Your Consultant Enriching Your Judgment or Retarding it?
Generalist or Specialist -- Which do I consult?
Business Consultant Prices & How Much You Should Be Willing To Pay
Working With Consultants

Potential Issues When Hiring Consultants

Land Mines Ahead -- Avoiding 12 Common Pitfalls of Hiring Consultants
Do You Really Know Your Contractors?
Hiring consultants with poor screening invites lousy work
Sole Proprietor? Or Independent Contractor? What's the Difference?
What is a "Self-Employed Individual?"

Note that the concerns of the IRS regarding "independent contractor status vs. employee status" also exist as concerns in Canada with the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency.
Independent Contractors/Freelancers
Independent Contractors -- How to Classify Workers

Requests for Proposal, Proposals and Contracts

Request for Proposals

You might develop a request for proposal (RFP) and provide it to many potential consultants, asking them to respond with proposals. This section will be helpful when developing an RFP.

How to Write an RFP
Sample Request for Proposal
All About Using Consultants (includes sample proposal, plan and contract)
More sample requests for proposal (scroll down to Request for Proposal (RFP))
What to Keep in Mind When Writing an RFP
Your First Goal with an RFP??

Proposals

Consultants usually respond to RFPs with a proposal that specifies how they can meet the requirements in the RFP.

Sample Proposal Form
anatomy of a proposal
How to Write a Proposal As a Consultant

Contracts

The client selects the best proposal and ideally the client and consultant establish a contract that specifies their responsibilities and commitments to accomplish a successful project.

Sample Agreement for Services (much of what goes in a proposal is also in the agreement)
Benefits of Developing a Written Contract
Sample Consulting Agreement
sample agreement

Also see
Business Contracts

Doing Consulting

Professionalism (Ethics, Boundaries, Salaries)

Although the following links mention consulting, they refer to resources with guidelines that might apply to other fields and professions for personal, professional and organizational development.

Ethical Consulting
Principles for Effective Consulting
Boundaries for Consultants
Working on Ourselves, as Consultants
Understanding Yourself as an Instrument of Change

Minimize Consulting Liabilities and Risk
Daily Tips for Consultants
2011 Management Consulting Salaries
Why I Left McKinsey | Shortcomings of Management Consulting
Why I Left McKinsey | The Benefits of a Consulting Background
From Part-Time MBA To Full-Time Management Consultant

When to Bail from a Consulting Project
Why Should Practitioners Know Their Paradigms, Theories and Models?

Also see
How to Start a Consulting Business (below)

Consulting Process (Process, Roles, Clients)

Consulting Processes and Frameworks

Collaborative Consulting (one-page depiction)
Seven Step Consulting Process
Example of a Planned, Systemic Change Process
--- Phase 1 Startup -- Clarifying Expectations and Roles
--- --- A First Set of Questions to Ask Your Potential Client
--- Phase 2 Joint Discovery and Feedback to Identify Priorities for Change
--- Phase 3 Joint Planning of Organizational Development Activities to Address Priorities
--- Phase 4 Change Management and Joint Evaluation
Consultant — What’s Your Natural Approach to Gathering and Processing Information?
Consultant — What’s Your Natural Approach to Problem Solving?

Consulting Roles

When Consultants Should Facilitate, Coach or Train
Are You Doing OD? Training? Consulting? Coaching? All of These?

Clients and Client Relationships

Types of Clients (to answer critical question: "who is current client?")
12 Breeds of Client and How to Work with Them
Defining Success Between Consultants and Clients
How Much Should Client Be Involved in Consulting Project?
Be Careful About Proclaiming "Failed Management Movements"!

7 Options for "Success" in Consulting Projects
Gestalt Consulting
Is Your Consultant Enriching Your Judgment or Retarding it?
Consulting Case Studies: How to Make Them Work
As a Consultant, Know When You’re Giving Away Too Much
Quick Tips for Consulting to Small Organizations

Consulting to Accomplish Significant Change in Organizations

If you are consulting to accomplish significant change in organizations, then you can get a great deal of guidance by reviewing materials from the field of Organization Development.
Organization Developmental Development and Change

How to Start a Consulting Business

This subtopic assumes that you already have some expertise that you could provide to clients in exchange for a fee and that you also have a good understanding of a consulting process as described in this overall topic, and that you also are thinking about starting a business to be a professional consultant. The guidelines in this subtopic are focused on helping you to start a new organization, expand a current organization, or start a new service.

Are You Really an Entrepreneur?

Are You Really an Entrepreneur?
Preparation for Starting a New Venture

Top 10 Tips To Become A Business Consultant
7 Top Benefits Of Small Business Consulting

Starting a New Organization?

Should You Start a For-Profit or a Nonprofit?
Starting a For-Profit Organization
Starring a Nonprofit Organization
3 Ways to Choose What Consulting Services to Offer First

Planning Your New Organization

Preparation for Starting a New Venture
Strategic Planning
Business Planning
How to Create a Strategic Plan for Consultants
Start Your Consulting Business Affordably

Deciding the Legal Structure of Your New Organization

U.S. Enterprise Law -- Forming Organizations

Or Expanding a Current Organization?

Business Development

Or Starting a New Product or Service?

Product Development

Marketing Your Organization, Product or Service

Social Networking
Authentic Marketing vs. Self-Promotion
4 Branding Checklists for Consultants
How to Promote Your Consulting Business
Word of Mouth Marketing for Consultants
Consultants Building Syndrome - Take Action

Sales -- Getting and Keeping Clients

Sales
Close More Business (Get More Clients)
Focusing On What's Really Important
10 Tips for Improving Consulting Sales
Customer Service
Customer Satisfaction
Close More Business (Get More Clients)
Consulting Q&A: Filling Your Pipeline With Clients
Bouncing Back After Losing a Big Client

Fees and Getting Paid

Getting Paid What You're Worth
Consulting Fees and Free Work
Consultant's Crack the Billable Hour Ceiling
What To Do When A Client Cant Pay
Guest Post: How Consultants Should Set Their Fees

Dealing With Clients

Types of Clients (to answer critical question: "who is current client?")
How to Fire a Client (Without Killing Your Business)
Defining Success Between Consultants and Clients

When to Bail from a Project

When to Bail from a Consulting Project

Minimizing Risk

When Should Consultants Buy Liability Insurance?
Minimize Consulting Liabilities and Risk
Risk Management

Staying Centered as a Consultant

Work-Life Balance
Personal Wellness
Challenging Our Own Mental Models and Our Growth as Consultants (Part 1 of 3)
Challenging Our Own Mental Models and Our Growth as Consultants (Part 2 of 3)
Challenging Our Own Mental Models and Our Growth as Consultants (Part 3 of 3)

Additional Information for Nonprofits

See Charity Channel's Consultants Registry Online which lists a large number of nonprofit consultants and how to contact them. (Information in this topic is relevant to for-profits, too.)

"Consulting with Nonprofits: A Practitioner's Guide" written by Carol A. Lucas, published by Amherst H. Wilder Foundation. Call 1-800-274-6024.

"Field Guide to Consulting and Organizational Development with Nonprofits" written by Carter McNamara, published by Authenticity Consulting, LLC.

To Develop Your Consulting Skills

There are many resources from which consultants can start and market a consulting business. However, there are very few programs in which consultants can further develop their skills to solve problems or achieve goals in the clients' organizations. Consider the following resource, the
Consultants Development Institute

General Resources

The Directory of Management Consultants -- Online
http://www.hfpg.org/cdb/how_consult.htm


Submit a link


For the Category of Organization Development:

To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may want to review some related topics, available from the link below. Each of the related topics includes free, online resources.

Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.

Related Library Topics

Recommended Books

Starting and Operating a Consulting Business

About the Consulting Process



Starting and Operating a Consulting Business

The following books are recommended because of their highly practical nature and often because they include a wide range of information about this Library topic. To get more information about each book, just click on the image of the book. Also, a "bubble" of information might be displayed. You can click on the title of the book in that bubble to get more information, too.

About the Consulting Process

The following books are about the general consulting process, including how to work with clients to improve their organizations. Some of the above-listed books also explain how to work with clients, but the following books go into even more detail about that process. The following books do not explain how to start a consulting business -- the above-listed books do that.

Consulting and Organization Development - Book Cover Field Guide to Consulting and Organizational Development
by Carter McNamara, published by Authenticity Consulting, LLC. Provides complete, step-by-step guidelines to identify complex issues in for-profit or government organizations and successfully resolve each of them. This book is also helpful to organizations that are doing fine now, but want to evolve to the next level of performance. This is one of the truly comprehensive, yet practical, books about this complex subject! Includes online forms that can be downloaded. Many materials in this Library's topic about guiding change are adapted from this comprehensive book.
Consulting and Organization Development With Nonprofits - Book Cover Field Guide to Consulting and Organizational Development With Nonprofits
by Carter McNamara, published by Authenticity Consulting, LLC. Provides complete, step-by-step guidelines to identify complex issues in nonprofit organizations and successfully resolve each of them. This book is also helpful to organizations that are doing fine now, but want to evolve to the next level of performance. This is one of the truly comprehensive, yet practical, books about this complex subject! Includes online forms that can be downloaded. Many materials in this Library's topic about guiding change are adapted from this comprehensive book.


Also See

Organizational Change -- Recommended Books

Capacity Building (Nonprofit) -- Recommended Books




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