The great thing about consultants is you hire them, they do the work you’ve charged them with, you pay them and they leave.
So says Dr. Michael Lewis – and he’s right, as he many times is. Dr. Lewis stated this sentiment at the 2012 Craft Brewers Conference. I made it intentional that I attended Dr. Lewis’ talk as he’s highly knowledgeable based on decades of experience, his information is always a great learning opportunity for me, and he’s quite entertaining.
When he talked about consultants, I all but stood up to applaud. There aren’t that many of us in the beer community and WEB is for sure the only one doing what we do. Anywhere on the planet for that matter. The small constituency of qualified consulting professionals that directly support the beer community has been incredibly fortifying and reinforcing for me. People like Sam Merritt, JB Shireman, Lucy Saunders, Mike Kallenberger, Scott Webber, and David Kapral. Marti Barletta has been open armed and super helpful and generous in her collegiality as well. I always want to meet and know more since we also can help each other out within the consulting ranks; sharing best practices, information exchange that helps us better serve the industry, and provide professional support.
Consultants serve a true purpose. They have focused information and expertise you can immediately apply. They are creative, innovative, flexible, and eager to help. They are solid value for what you are seeking out. They can see the forest and the trees, which not all business owners, operators and investors can when they’re in the thick of executing their passion and goals. We provide a neutral and reasoned perspective, bringing knowledge outside of the existing talent pool that greatly contributes to the successes you’re aiming for.
Hiring consultants for the job at hand is a smart move. See them as an available choice, just as you would staff. Before they were employees they obviously were not and there’s a reason for why they are now. Some were in fact consulting, and the rest were great choices (hopefully since you hired them). Seek them out, ask the consultants you do know for referrals since we all specialize in different areas.
Like Dr. Lewis stated, don’t view consultants as vendors. View them as colleagues. Bring them in to help you out. Do not ask them to work for free – you don’t. You’ll be glad you did.