Business consultants can help your company solve problems you can’t tackle on your own, or offer a brand new perspective by bringing their unique expertise to the table. Whether you need help starting a new business, are looking to expand into a new market, or need a third-party, objective, look at what you can do better, having a consultant on your team can be invaluable — if you choose the right consultant. While the type of advice you need will vary greatly, the qualities you’re looking for don’t.

The right consultant will have both expertise and experience in your particular field, with the same type of challenge you’re hoping to do well in. No matter how good a consultant is, they won’t be able to help you unless they understand you and your goals. You’ll also want to look for proven past results. Many companies will want to work with someone they’ve been recommended, but consultants you find on your own can be just as valuable.

Remember — the more specific and transparent you can be about your needs, the easier it will be for you to narrow down your choices, and the better a consultant will be able to help you.