Too often consultants try to be all things to all people and, as a result, lose credibility. But what happens if you do a lot of different kinds of consulting work spanning more than one specialty area? What's wrong with being a generalist?
There is a time for being a generalist and a time to be a specialist. You might appear to be useful to a wide prospect base if you are not too specialized but your best value comes from providing a deeper, more nuanced and forward looking expertise in a specific field. Some consultants have separate, customized biographical information that they use for each of the different audiences they serve. For example, they might have one bio for speaking engagements, another for mailing to specific category prospects. Also, you might have general processes for diagnostic work and different service sheets for each industry segment.
That said, you may be a generalist in marketing your services, but recognize that your client is hiring you for a particular problem that requires specific skills. Once you are engaged and into a project, you will need to shed the generalist mindset and narrow your focus. The more you consider yourself a generalist, the more you will have to work to narrow that focus once you start to serve the client.Tip:
You can't be all things to all people, but you can be different things to different people. Position yourself appropriately for each audience and, once you are engaged, keep focusing to provide more value in increasingly narrower areas of need. © 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA