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Choosing the Right Consultant

"Our success multiplies each time we lead someone else to success."
Susan Collins

Consultants can provide valuable service and offer an objective perspective to assist organizations and team members in a variety of areas. Woodland Strategies, a business consulting firm in Minneapolis, MN, offers an assortment of consultancy services including Strategic Planning, Marketing Strategy, Development and Fundraising Strategy, and also Leadership Coaching.

We work with both for profits and nonprofits, as well as start-up companies.

What is the best way to select the right professional for your project?

Boardsource (2022) and Mittenthal (2024) suggest these steps to choose your next professional consultant for optimal outcomes:

  • Identify the project.
  • Confirm if you really need to hire an external consultant.
  • Assemble your team to oversee the project.
  • Outline your goals for clarity to be sure that your expectations are met.
  • Prepare a written description of the scope of the project and your timeline.
  • Conduct a search for potential candidates. Start with referrals. You can also research professional organizations and current professional memberships
  • Request initial meetings and/or proposals with selected firms and qualified individuals.
  • Evaluate the proposals and check references from previous clients.
    • Are they skilled at working with teams?
  • Are they are involved with their respective professional associations? Have they published their own company values, mission and vision statements? Do they have a framework to maintain ethical standards?
  • Choose your consultant.
  • Make sure all of your questions are answered before you enter into a written contract. This is to provide you with clear communication regarding all expectations for both parties. You shouldn’t feel rushed or awkward for asking questions to seek ongoing clarity.

There are no guarantees with any kind of organizational planning. Remember, markets and circumstances vary. However, you can be informed and prepared to uncover strengths and weaknesses and assess future opportunities and challenges. Always be sure that your Board of Directors is ready to work together for the best possible outcomes. If you do decide to hire a consultant, be sure that it’s the correct fit for your internal group. Engaging the right consultant for your planning purposes can be an invaluable tool to refine your organization, build your internal team, and grow for your future success.

Woodland Strategies is celebrating eleven years this year! We have a variety of experience with both for profit businesses and nonprofit organizations. Our team of consultants shares expertise in marketing, strategic planning, nonprofit operations, risk assessment and management, leadership coaching and more! Contact us today for your next consulting project!

Boardsource. Choosing a Consultant July 2022 Mittenthal, R. A. Ten Keys to Successful Strategic Planning for Nonprofit and Foundation Leaders. TCC Group. 2004.

This article or any other promotional material(s) from Woodland Strategies, Inc. is in no way intended to be a comprehensive plan.

Please note all markets, circumstances, and results vary. Any strategic plan or marketing initiatives must follow all State and Federal laws and regulations, accordingly.

Please contact us directly for a complete assessment and plan for your individual organizational needs.

Ten Steps to a Successful Strategic Plan

Strategic planning is a significant undertaking. It requires energy, creativity, time and money. Your resources are important and limited. Get what you want! This is what we do at Woodland Strategies. Here are a few tips as you consider your upcoming planning project.

How long does a typical strategic planning process take?

This is a question we are regularly asked at Woodland Strategies. Typically, a full strategic planning process can take up to six to eight months, depending on how in-depth the organizational planning team wants to take things.Your messaging – your values, mission and vision statements – can, and should, last between eight and twelve weeks. This is really the most fundamental part of your plan. It should never be rushed.

Succession Planning for Your Nonprofit Board

Leadership transitions within organizations can be anticipated or be quite sudden. Transitions may be due to a personal change for a board member or staff, or they may be the result of a thoughtful and long-term decision to make a change. If you are looking to keep your nonprofit sustainable, you will want to be sure that you have a written succession plan ready to go.

Market Research and Competitive Analysis for your Small Business

As a small business entity, you have to know your market. Having this knowledge will assist you with an effective and efficient marketing strategy to reach your customers and steer you to a profitable position.