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#271: Staffing Your Firm

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, March 29, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, March 30, 2010
I've been a solo practitioner for more than 15 years. Although it's been satisfying, I want to start to build a larger consulting firm. What do I need to consider before selecting people?

Building a firm is more than just "staffing up." Do you want to staff up for a current engagement or a long term business strategy? Would a stable of 1099 consultants work better than permanent staff? What legal form of business do you currently have and is it appropriate for your intended staff? Do you want to hire experienced staff or "grow your own?" Do you want staff to help run the business or just deliver client service? Is this part of an exit strategy?

There are a lot of questions that go into this decision. However, let's assume you answered them so we can address your question of how to select the right types of people.

Look at the following characteristics:
1. Skills in the technical disciplines you need
2. Attitude toward working on a team
3. Experience in your industries of interest
4. Enthusiasm toward your operating style 
5. (tolerance for risk, work pace, willingness to lead or follow)
6. Compatibility with your other team members
7. Compensation needs and flexibility
8. Commitment to professionalism and ethics

Tip: Remember the adage that we hire for eligibility but fire for suitability. As you build, give at least equal weight to attitude, behaviors and perspective as you do to technical skills and experience. Talented people are in short supply. Even if you can identify the perfect staff, you will still need to market your firm successfully to these prospects.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  planning  practice management  work-life balance  your consulting practice 

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