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When Should You Consider Hiring A Consultant

There is a saying that “Lunch across the table with a wise man is worth reading ten books”. Also true (and often worth a fortune) because that person can customize the information to your exact situation. The devil is always in the details.

The real challenge is making sure you have the right expert. Most people do not know how to do that. Get a Sherpa, do not try to climb Mount Everest alone. They always die. Imagine reading a book on flying a plane and then getting in one alone. Again, you are most likely dead. Yet, businesspeople and entrepreneurs do this all the time because they “Do not know what they do not know”.

A top consultant can answer questions off the top of their head correctly that might take a day to research, and would still lack deep understanding and wisdom.

Use a consultant when:

  1. It is a strategic decision, or bet the farm one, that could have far-reaching impact
  2. Your staff lacks ten or more years’ experience in this area collectively.
  3. You could spend (waste) a month researching the issue and still have low confidence in the result. Get a Sherpa, do not try to climb Mount Everest alone. They always die.
  4. You need an independent perspective that is not subject to group think, drinking the cool-aid or some personal agenda. What I call “Fresh Eyes”. Always worth some validation from outside, especially in strategy, marketing and innovation.
  5. It is very complex and multidisciplinary, and you can find someone with 5+ years of each discipline.

And do not forget the classic political answer: To have someone to blame if it goes wrong. Bad thinking but worth a mention. And why bigger companies hire consultants sometimes too.

And no, AI does not change this decision, though it can make it more efficient. See diagram below.

By definition, AI does not possess “Wisdom” which takes 5 to 10 years to obtain on a topic. Large Language Models are just a collection of sentences (LLMs scrap sentences). They contain no “context” for your situation which likely includes dozens of factors and thousands of permutations of answers as a result. They contain no new or groundbreaking data or creativity. Just historical information.

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Bob Norton is a long-time Serial Entrepreneur, CEO and investor who founded six companies with four exits that returned over $1 billion to investors for a 25X ROI. Two others are still in development. He has trained, consulted and advised thousands of Entrepreneurs, CEOs and boards since 2002. ™. Mr. Norton works with companies to 2X to 10X growth rates and valuation using AirTight Management™, the world’s most comprehensive Leadership Operating System™. He also helps companies raise capital to fund growth. He is also the Founder of The CEO Boot Camp™ and Entrepreneurship University for early-stage companies that have not reached product-market fit and $1M ARR.

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