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