Hiring a consultant to help you with an e-business plan can save you critical time in launching your product - and keep you from making fatal mistakes. Before you hire a consultant, get a head start by going through the evaluation process that the top analysts at McKinsey & Co.'s eCommerce Practice follow.
|1. Define your objectives.|
Often this isn't as easy as it seems. You have to decide what role you want the Internet to play in your business, then identify the key areas where you need help. You'll be in one of the following categories:
New e-business strategy - Most companies, even those with an existing Internet strategy, find themselves in this role.
Integrate into an existing plan - If you have a sizable investment in an existing plan, or the current plan is serving you well, you'll be in this category.
|2. Develop short-term and long-term goals.|
Articulate your desired outcome. For example, you might want customer loyalty in the short term and doubled profits in the long term. Consultants will then help you balance these two, estimating a timeline and budget for your project, researching strategic partners, identifying recruits, and filling crucial management positions.
|3. Choose a business model.|
The key is creating a plan that can sustain itself in the midst of marketplace trends. Based on the size and scale of your business, transaction fees, and fulfillment and supply chain costs, you'll typically choose from the following:
- Multiplatform Business - Create a new online community from a traditional store.
- Category Killer - Dominate a narrow market.
- Auction House - Stress convenience and competitive prices.
- Vertical Portal - Offer goods and services tailored to the individual. Define your objectives.
|4. Address technical considerations.|
Technology is at the core of e-business, and the number of choices available is dizzying. You need the right combination of technologies that can be realistically implemented within time and budget constraints. You'll need to consider the following areas: current capabilities, back-end operations, data capture and management, level of personalization, security, and open standards.
|5. Analyze the rest of your business.|
Your e-business plan isn't just an extension of your current plan. It's a new business that affects every aspect of what you do. Consultants should help you re-evaluate the following areas and see how they are affected: advertising, customer service, design, human resources, and marketing.
|5. Choosing a consultant||
7. Top management consultants