1. Determine Real Industry Experience.
If a potential consultant has not worked on similar projects in the past, this should be a deal breaker in the hiring decision.
Assess the candidates credentials, how long have they been working in the field and their particular skills. If you hire someone without adequate experience, you’re gambling.
Choosing a consultant who has a proven track-record of cannabis industry experience cannot be stressed enough. Request to see examples of their work in cannabis. This can include quantitative results, testimonials, or even better, speak with their previous clients.
The right consultant has the insights, connections, and data to help you optimize your business.
Questions to ask:
How many years have you worked with cannabis clients?
How many cannabis clients have you had?
What experience or skill sets do you possess that makes you capable of completing the project.
2. Ask for work samples.
Although a candidate might have previous experience in a similar role, you need to do due diligence and ask for proof.
Have a potential hire provide concrete examples of successful projects and campaigns so you can judge the caliber of their work. Hard evidence is the best way to gauge someone’s ability to produce great work for you.
Request to see writing examples to better identify their technical skills and capabilities. If you’re contemplating working with a previous cannabis operator who now consults, identify whether they have assisted businesses before and are knowledgeable of the specific compliance requirements and demographics of your particular jurisdiction and market.
3. Ask for references.
A consultant’s reputation can say a lot about their ability to execute tasks and level of professionalism. Talk with their past clients about their experiences and judge how willing they’d be to serve as a professional reference.
The positive or negative feedback you receive will answer some of the questions you might have about a consultant before they start working for you.
4. Determine Work Habits, Flexibility, and Common Goals
Oftentimes consultants will work remotely. Understand their work habits and set expectations for a healthy and successful relationship. Your original mandate may change throughout the course of a project, so hire someone who can adapt and pivot with ease. If you require your consultant to be flexible, you must be, too.
There are many qualified consultants in the cannabis industry, so your focus should also be on whether you trust this firm and their people. A quality consultant should have excellent listening skills, and be transparent, technically savvy, and trustworthy. Establishing a relationship with a trusted consulting partner who shares your long-term goals and understands your needs is key.
5. Consider Price
Resist the urge to go for the cheapest hire, especially if you’re trying to get your business off the ground, but also make sure that the consultant is charging similarly to other consultants that offer similar services. Never hesitate to ask for further explanation of cost breakdowns.
Prices are also negotiable. If someone is a new consultant you may be able to ask for a discount so they can build their client base.
It is always wise to have a written contract with a consultant that lists terms, prices and conditions. Consider what conditions could be granted to you if your consultant fails to meet deadlines or expectations.