The consulting industry has enjoyed significant growth during the last decade, averaging between 20% and 25% growth depending upon market sector. The reasons for this are easy to understand. The competition generated by the new global economy has resulted in many companies downsizing in terms of internal employees. This has meant that their need for professional external skills has increased, as and when deemed necessary. The information age has also changed the way that Company Directors and Managers think and operate. Instead of only having to consider change or strategy perhaps once every year or even five years, they now have to consider change and strategy daily. This means that their dependence upon external sources of information, guidance, training and service implementation has increased substantially and this trend is set to continue, even during the recession. As unemployment increases, it becomes a more cost-effective option for organizations to hire in specific skills on an independent basis as and when they need them. Employees constitute a fixed cost, whereas consultants are considered to be variable.
All major proactive companies and indeed governments now depend upon external independent consultants for an objective view or an independent service. It is without doubt, probably the most exciting industry to be involved in at the moment and is certainly one of the most lucrative. A good management consultant should be able to develop an independent practice earning annual fees between $250k USD to $1,000k USD. As management consultants become more capable with professional training and experience, they are likely to play a leading role in the development of the new world economy during the online age. This is just as true at ground roots level with SMEs as it is with blue-chip organisations. The future is very bright for the proactive management consultant.
So, it is a growing and exciting industry to be involved in, but what makes the difference between a good consultant and a bad one? Often when individuals consider becoming consultants, they think of the logistical steps for getting started, such as developing business cards, setting up an office, buying a computer, or quickly achieving business opportunities. They have good qualifications, good experience, surely this will be enough! However, you need to consider why a client should employ you, when there are likely to be thousands of other consultants and established firms providing similar services. What makes you any different or any better than the rest? consultant
Many consultants make the mistake of trying to develop a general service and would develop a brochure, for example, in the same way that they would develop their CV, incorporating as much as they possible can, believing that the more skills they appear to have, the more interest they will generate. In reality, these consultants will simply generate more competitors for themselves.
The first stage in establishing a profitable consulting practice is to be specific about your business direction by defining your vision for the future of your consulting business, identifying your unique service proposition, and developing the core consulting service from which your whole practice will be developed around. A good consultancy is no different to a good manufacturing company or a good service provider. The consultancy is only as good as the products or services that it offers. If there are no products or services on offer, then there are simply no sales. The success of your practice will depend, almost entirely upon the quality of your service, your ability to present and implement it and your client’s ability to understand it. Indeed trying to develop consultancy business without developing a consulting service first is rather like trying to sell a book before you have written it.