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#157: Using National Trends to Identify Consulting Opportunities

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Updated: Tuesday, October 20, 2009
As the economy rebounds, where can I find broad targets for my consulting services?

Race car drivers accelerate coming out of a turn instead of waiting for the straightaway. This is also a good model for consultants. What areas of the economy and your market are going to be slow to recover or never recover? Which of your clients will you stand by if it takes longer to get back to their former strength? What trends were you counting on that are picking up strength or were shut off by a changing economy? Now is a great time to be looking at national trends to see where you can begin to cultivate opportunities.

Many major trade organizations publish occasional "state of the industry" summaries. Recognizing that these are promotional to some extent, they still contain good information on current structure, capacity, demand for products, and changes in production practices or consumption of its products. Look at the State of the Carwash Industry as an example. Here is an industry that many management consultants might consider "under the radar" as a prospect but the industry faces some challenges for which you might be able to provide value. Go to the trade associations to which your clients belong and see what they have. Also consider government reports that address more macro trends or longer term trends. These reports, even if they are not in your industry, can provide some deep insights into how the economy is changing and where your opportunities may lie. For example, a report on measurement of productivity in the construction industry highlights a lot of opportunities for consulting work related to assessment, performance measurement, and project evaluation (if that's your area of interest and expertise).

Tip: If the trade association for your industry has no such "State of the Industry" research, and you feel reasonably sure you know a lot about the industry, suggest teaming up with the association's research staff in developing such a report. This is something their members would value and what better way to get known as the "industry expert" than to have the implicit endorsement of a trade association.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client development  market research  marketing  planning  trends 

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