Receiving Help Without Paying a Cent

New business owners or project leaders often need professional help with starting their endeavours, but lack the finances needed for a formal consultation. Experts can charge intimidating figures for their advice, but those seeking information need not take that route.

The first step is finding an expert who can provide the relevant information you need, but who also seems willing and interested in helping you. Once you have found said person, it is important to follow these tips:

  1. Do not expect everything from them. Most people won’t devote hours of their time to you when they are not earning a consultation fee or receiving some sort of benefit. This is just the cost of their time. To make the most of your meeting, decide on what the most important questions you have are and focus on those. Try to make your limited time efficient and meaningful so that you do not need further consultation.
  2. Come prepared. You should have a good idea of what your project or business will need, and it is perhaps wise to first research if the person you are consulting has written advice articles before. By being prepared, you are able to ask more specific questions and understand the answer better. In reading the advisor’s previous work, you may find that they have already answered your question, and you can save time by moving on to a question they have not covered. Bring any relevant information with you, such as business plans or logo ideas, so that the expert has a good idea of what your needs are.
  3. Remember to be grateful. Experts need not expend their time to you for free, and doing so is a huge favour to you. It is polite and wise to express gratitude for their help after the meeting as well as when you update them on your progress. A good relationship with an expert in your field is invaluable and may prove beneficial in time.

About the Author:

Chintan Bharwada is a simple man with simple needs. Chintan specialises in customer acquisition, retention, engagement and loyalty management. He is founder and editor of Loyalty and Customers. Chintan is a frequent speaker to industry events and professional groups. Reach him via: LinkedIn: Chintan Bharwada or Twitter: @chintanbharwada 

About Prof Janek Ratnatunga 1129 Articles
Professor Janek Ratnatunga is CEO of the Institute of Certified Management Accountants. He has held appointments at the University of Melbourne, Monash University and the Australian National University in Australia; and the Universities of Washington, Richmond and Rhode Island in the USA. Prior to his academic career he worked with KPMG.