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#497: Finding the Next Big Thing in Consulting

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, February 08, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, February 08, 2011
The economy is in turmoil, technology is generating new markets, and globalization is running full steam ahead. It seems like there should be lots of new consulting opportunities opening up. What are they?

Every change in technology, culture, demographics, or trade brings about a need for expertise to plan and manage effectively those changes. First, look though the Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, Fortune, the Economist, or any other business magazine or management journal with an eye to how your current consulting skills could support those emerging businesses. Don't read the articles just for information. Look deliberately at each article about an emerging business or product as a way to develop your own new line of business.

The clues are there. Pick a few trends and follow them for a few months to get a sense of who the players are, where activity is, what institutions (companies, government, and nonprofits are all relevant) are engaged, and what enabling and constraining factors are relevant. Think of this as research for investment, because it is - investment in your consulting practice.

Tip: If an article isn't something for which you can provide consulting services, can you refer the idea to a consulting colleague? Do you have clients for whom the article might be relevant as an emerging product or service? You might even suggest that you could help them develop a product or service around the idea.

One idea (of many) is the boomer exit planning/execution trend. As baby boomers retire, many of them will want to sell or liquidate their businesses. Several organizations, consulting firms and books have resulted from this trend. One example (IMC does not endorse this organization, but provides it as an illustration only) is The Exit Planning Institute, which certifies exit planning professionals and has published a popular book, The $10 Trillion Opportunity: Designing Successful Exit Strategies for Middle Market Business Owners

This is one good example of how demographic changes continuously create consulting opportunities for those willing to look closely.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  market research  marketing  trends  your consulting practice 

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