In the world of small business, owners need to be a Jack of All Trades. Knowing your services and products by heart is essential for every small business owner, but what do you do when you’re not an expert in sales, technology or finances? With all the tasks that you need to oversee, it’s easy to slip up and lose focus on aspects like marketing or branding. If this is the case, hiring a consultant is a wise step for you to take.

The interview process is crucial because many entrepreneurs fail to pay attention or ask the right questions. It’s easy to bring on someone with the same personality that you have, but sometimes that’s not the best decision to make. There are several instances where a person with very different skills is just who you need to take your business further.

Here are several insightful questions you can ask a potential consultant:

  1. What has been your biggest failure as a consultant?

Failures are bound to happen. When that time comes, you’ll want someone who’s going to take responsibility for any missteps and not be quick to pass the blame to another person. It takes strength to admit failure so a consultant who’s honest, humble and readily accepts responsibility is a must-hire.

  1. What’s your biggest success?

Carefully consider whether their response is an adequate measure of success. Maybe what they consider a success doesn’t translate as such in your eyes. A great follow-up question is to ask them about their next biggest success since most candidates don’t expect this and is a great way for you to figure out if they’re right for your small business.

  1. What do you think needs to happen to make this partnership a success?

This question helps you gauge whether they’re willing to work together with you to ensure that your business goes in the direction you want. A consultant who wants to do everything by themselves can be risky since they could potentially go against your business strategy.

  1. Do you have a system in place or do you create one as we progress with the partnership?

Having a system is best since it’s easier to measure results. If a consultant says they create personalized strategies as you go along, ask if they at least employ a basic system that you can look over. This will help you figure out if the strategies they employ could work for your business.

  1. How can you help my business?

This is an important question that you should save for last. If the consultant gives you a detailed and specific response that’s tailored to your business, then congratulations! When you feel like you can’t wait to get started with a consultant, that’s the best sign that you should move forward with the partnership.