So you want to be a consultant

13th, October 2017

What is your concept of what a consultant does? They consult with businesses, but what is it that they offer that the business can’t handle itself? Generally they have a specialty that the business lacks, or a specialty that is in short supply. The specialty is often called the consultant’s “niche.” Can you identify your niche? It is important that you be able to describe this niche to the prospective client so that they are clear about what you have to offer. Specialties include business services for the self-employed. One such company offers “a suite of services for the self-employed” that consists of:

  • Use of our Comprehensive Business Management Software
  • Up to $10 Million in Liability Insurance
  • Contract Review and Administration Services
  • Automated Invoicing and Payroll
  • Expense Compliance Review and Processing
  • Payroll Tax Administration
The list gives you some sense of the areas in which business services for the self-employed would compete. You need not offer all in this list, but the more the better.Another specialty is business strategy planning. Despite the widely held belief that a written strategic plan is vital for business success many companies, if they even write a plan, only give it lip service. A recent survey shows that:
  • 60% of organizations don’t link strategy to budgeting
  • 75% of organizations don’t link employee incentives to strategy
  • 86% of business owners and managers spend less than one hour per month discussing strategy
  • 95% of the typical workforce doesn’t understand their organization’s strategy.
Business strategy planning must include implementation of the plan to be effective. On Strategy defines implementation:“Implementation is the process that turns strategies and plans into actions in order to accomplish strategic objectives and goals. Implementing your strategic plan is as important, or even more important, than your strategy.” Entrepreneur Magazine defines the difference between a good consultant and a bad one:“… what separates a good consultant from a bad consultant is a passion and drive for excellence. And--oh yes--a good consultant should be knowledgeable about the subject he or she is consulting in. That does make a difference.” There are some questions that we need to ask ourselves before entering the field:
  • Am I sufficiently qualified to add value to my clients?
  • Am I organized enough to handle multiple clients?
  • Do I have the necessary certifications and licenses?
  • Am I comfortable selling my services?
Good luck!