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#120: Are You Worrying Too Much About "Restoring" Your Consulting Business?

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, August 28, 2009
I have been working really hard over the past year to get my consulting practice back on track. What new hurdles will consultants have to overcome until the market comes back?

Two issues come to mind. First, many in business recognize that economic conditions have been difficult over the past year. Our clients have challenged us to serve them better with innovative approaches to streamline processes, improve revenue and find new markets. Regardless of what challenges they face, our job is to use our skills and experience to help clients navigate into new markets in new economies, adopt new technologies, leverage new social and business relationships, and figure out new financing . . . get the picture? The theme is that economic disruptions, especially this one, accelerate changes that would have eventually come. They also create disruptive conditions to create new opportunities and challenges that no one expected.

Second, why should our consulting practices be any different than the business of our clients? We face the same accelerative and disruptive forces they do, so it stands to reason that our business would evolve like theirs. One aspect of this situation is that many parts of our business also may not be the same as they once were. While some aspects of our practice might look the same, there are distinct changes in consulting. Engagement sizes seem to be decreasing, clients are more selective about choosing for individual talent than firm pedigree, more are using pricing models, participative compensation or value pricing, and many clients are building internal consulting practices again. We are more likely to restore our consulting practice to health not by doing more of what we used to do but by doing what we advise our clients to do - create a new practice.

Tip: Do some research on the consulting marketplace and what clients need from consultants. Kennedy Information and Top-Consultant research and write about emerging consulting trends. Attend conferences like Confab where you can connect with experienced consultants in a range of fields who are successfully refining and building their practices. Write a business plan for your business that focuses on innovation instead of restoration.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  consultant role  customer understanding  innovation  market research  planning  practice management  product development  trends  your consulting practice 

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Luiz C. Esteves says...
Posted Saturday, August 29, 2009
Brilliant comments, touching the nerve ... no less than that! helping me for sure put in perspective my own "innovation approach".

By that I mean, reaching out to potential partnerships rather than 'carrying on' as until now, whether just during this disruptive times or seeing it evolve into lasting relationships. Going back to 'roots' and teach the mix management/business/technology courses that i should be very capable of, increasing visibility with new memberships within and around my subject matter, even contacting the accounting firms for they may have a sudden shortage of talent+experience as they themselves are writing about.

The key sentence to me is " stands to reason that our business would evolve like theirs". Again, let's remember that a "recession is a terrible thing to waste" and work on it patiently, methodically, imprinting very clearly in our minds that we are doing what we recommend our clients, what we preach !
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