The Best In Class IT Consultant

Introduction

In the fast moving and ever changing world of IT the ability of IT Managers and Practitioners to be truly effective consultants has never been greater.

So what are the capabilities and attributes displayed by the very best IT Consultants? I believe they fall into seven categories as follows:

1. Thought Leadership

2. Client Knowledge

3. Strategic Thinking

4. Experience and Know How

5. Problem Solving

6. Relationship Management

7. Change Leadership

In looking at each of these seven key contributors to success in turn I have made the underlying assumption that the primary objective of the IT Consultant is to explore, reveal and extract the full commercial value within a client account. In other words it’s all about CLIENT INTIMACY.

1. Thought Leadership

A Thought Leader is someone or a corporate entity, recognised to be a leader in their field. The outside world determines whether an individual or an organisation is a thought leader.

Thought leadership is based on reputation. That reputation is based on the person’s or organisation’s understanding of its business, the needs of its customers, and the broader market-place in which s/he operates. Quite simply they are deemed to be pre-eminent in their area of expertise.

To be a thought leader requires a spirit of generosity – generosity of time, intelligence and knowledge. It also requires the ability to philosophise, intellectualise and think ahead in order to push the boundaries of current thinking.

Thought leaders are constantly hungry for knowledge and insights. They know where and how to find out about current best practices adopted by market-leaders. They know how to access information on emerging technologies, product/system updates and leading edge/”bleeding edge” thinking.

They use this knowledge to be a catalyst for change, to challenge current thinking and to change existing paradigms. They apply their thinking to test out new hypotheses and to draw conclusions which they share openly, frequently putting at risk their reputation.

Thought leaders know how to influence others through the use of different media to publish their thoughts. They know how to:

– Cultivate the Press

– Publish White Papers, Case Studies and Research/Survey Results

– Submit Articles via Social Networks

– Engage with Professional Groups and Communities

– Obtain high level speaking engagements at Conferences/Trade Shows

– Organise and lead Brainstorming Events

In short, thought leaders give Thought Leadership the highest priority in their lives. They see Thought Leadership as a strategic imperative and are fully committed to it. They have an unswerving belief that they can make a difference in their chosen area of expertise.

If you are going to be a Best in Class IT Consultant you must be dedicated to this task of Thought Leadership.

2. Client Knowledge

When considering the difference they can make to their client’s situation the Best in Class IT Consultant engages in “outside in” thinking. In other words they start with a full understanding of the drivers of change surrounding their client. They understand that their expertise is one of many enablers of their client’s future success and that to fully leverage that expertise they need a full understanding of the client’s market-place and the client itself.

Best in Class IT Consultants therefore take time to research the context in which they will be operating with a given client.

When it comes to the client’s market-place they make sure that they fully understand:

– The demands of its customers, now and in the future

– Competitor threats facing the client

– The threat posed by new entrants to the client’s market

– The impact of substitute products and services which could undermine the client’s business

– The power and influence that existing suppliers to the client exercise over the client

They also research and understand the drivers of change in the client’s market including:

– The Regulatory Environment

– The state of the Economy

– Social/Cultural trends

– Adoption of new and leading edge Technologies in the market-place

– The use of new routes to market being adopted by organisations in the client’s market sector

The Best in Class IT Consultant uses this external research to identify and analyse the client’s current and likely future response to these drivers of change by finding out as much as possible about the client’s:

– Vision

– Objectives

– Strategy

– Current Resources

– Structure

– Systems

– Employee Capabilities

– Quality of Management

– Style of Leadership

– Current Values and Culture

S/he then uses this understanding of the client’s current situation and preferred future situation to identify key issues which s/he could address with IT related solutions.

Instead of starting with their technical expertise and thinking how they can work more productively with the client IN the client’s business they start with big picture thinking and spotting opportunities for helping their client to work ON the business for future success.

This Outside/In thinking versus Inside/Out thinking enables them to have far more wide reaching discussions with their client, and thereby to differentiate themselves as someone who can bring long term added value to the client’s business.

Best in Class IT Consultants see the importance of this bigger, wider, holistic approach to their client involvement.

3. Strategic Thinking

A thorough understanding of the client’s big picture will lead the Best in Class IT Consultant into thinking about how best to help the client to come up with different IT strategies and options aligned to the overall strategy of the client’s organisation.

To consider IT related strategic options the Best in Class IT Consultant takes time to understand the organisation’s overall strategy in its given market-place. S/he takes time to find out:

– Where in the market-place will the client be focussing its efforts to gain long term competitive advantage

– Its growth model, e.g. organic growth, acquisition, merger, disinvestment, joint ventures etc, and if the strategy for growth will be different in different geographies if the client is international/global

– Its key differentiators, e.g. product quality, customised services, price, niche player, one stop shop etc, and therefore what the brand stands for

– Its economic model, e.g. highly customised premium priced products/services or standardised low cost offerings, or a mixture of both sold direct to customers or via franchising, licensing or reseller networks

– Its speed of expansion using its existing routes to market and also new, additional routes to market e.g. e-commerce

By understanding the strategic intent of the client the Best in Class IT Consultant will put forward different IT related options for the client to consider and evaluate.

The Best in Class IT Consultant will construct, with the client, an evaluation process to compare the different options and select the best one. S/he will work in partnership alongside the client to co-create the best option powerfully aligned with the organisation’s overall strategy.

This strategic thinking discipline and rigour enables him/her to effect transformational change in the client’s business and not just transactional changes. It’s a key area of skill.

4. Experience and Know How

The most successful IT Consultants know everything there is to know about their chosen area of expertise stemming from their background and experience. They also know a lot about a wide variety of the current best practices specifically relating to IT including:

– Existing Technologies

– Emerging Technologies

– Operating Systems Upgrades/Platform Changes

– Product Updates/Enhancements

– Systems Development/Deployment

But in addition they are very familiar with the use of broader concepts relating to:

– Quality Improvement

– Business Process Improvement/Re-engineering

– Continuous Improvement

– Lean Manufacturing

– Efficiency Improvement/Use of Self Managed Teams

They use their specific and broader knowledge and experience to ‘educate’ their client on:

– The true reality of their current situation

– What is a possible, preferred situation

– The gap the client needs to address

– How to address it

– How to use the expertise of external specialists/suppliers to provide additional necessary resources to bridge the gap

Best in Class IT Consultants are not afraid to challenge their client’s existing thinking, inform the client on what is now possible and advise on how best to go about initiating and delivering required changes.

In fulfilling this role they come to be viewed by clients as a trusted friend, someone to be relied upon for best advice, and a long term partner in their business.

Not surprisingly there is a strong link between this Experience and Know How capability and their Thought Leadership capability. The two are inextricably woven together. The one, Thought Leadership, is a strong contributor to Experience and Know How, a key differentiator for the best in Class IT Consultant.

5. Problem Solving

The best in Class IT Consultant is not only capable of giving the best advice s/he is also a problem solver. The skill of diagnosing problems leads to the ability to solve problems with all the experience and know how the consultant possesses. So, problem solving is a key area of skill for the best in Class IT Consultant.

What do the best in class do differently from the rest? Here are some thoughts:

– They see themselves as something of a ‘detective’, objectively, and with an open mind, information gathering from a number of angles. They possess an instinct, an intuition, when hearing something that doesn’t quite ring true.

– They use others to share their hypotheses to try and establish the root cause of problems

– They look at problems/situations from a variety of angles using proven diagnostic processes and techniques

– They gather information which is both objective (existing data) and subjective (thoughts, views and opinions of key stakeholders)

– They are ‘emotionally intelligent’ seeing how people’s differing values and/or objectives, internal politics, power plays and hidden agendas may be clouding the root cause of problems

This ability to not ‘be put off the scent’ when diagnosing and solving client problems is a key contributor to the success of the Best in Class IT Consultant.

Not only are they good at combining their objective and subjective information gathering and interpretation skills they are positively interested in growing and developing the combination of skills.

They are addicted to rooting out the truth so that whatever the advice they give or the solutions they put forward, they know that what they are proposing has real integrity and will solve the problem.

Having said this they are realistic enough to know that often proposals will not be fully accepted by the client for reasons of timing, key stakeholder influences, implementation of other changes and a host of other reasons. They therefore are willing to work collaboratively with the client to deliver what is realistically possible.

Best in Class IT Consultants quite simply are excellent problem solvers.

6. Relationship Management

The Best in Class IT Consultant regards networking and relationship building within a client as essential to their success.

They recognise the importance of identifying and getting to know key decision-makers and decision-influencers within the client as well as within their own organisation.

They know how to use both direct and indirect networking activities to meet with new people. They understand how to build rapport, start a conversation, continue a dialogue and build a relationship into one in which they are viewed as a valuable friend, confidante and adviser.

They understand how to use a variety of influencing styles and skills to best effect.

They recognise the needs and agendas of key stakeholders and can sell the benefits of their ideas to them in a way which clearly shows empathy and an understanding of their needs.

They understand the decision-making processes their clients use when it comes to specific areas of change. They are in tune with how the internal structure of the organisation actually works versus should work.

They recognise the importance of teamwork when it comes to client relationship building and they orchestrate meetings between colleagues in their own organisation with counterparts in the client organisation to build a strong, multi-layer engagement between the two organisations.

They know the importance of working with colleagues servicing different parts of the client’s business feeding them information and intelligence on the client’s activities and future plans. This enables them to constantly ‘scan’ and interpret the client’s bigger picture in a holistic way.

Best in Class IT Consultants are socially ‘at ease’, able to converse with people on a variety of topics on a variety of levels, in a variety of situations. They are very much ‘people centric’ talking WITH people and not AT people. They are highly responsive to people’s needs fulfilling promises and commitments they have made to build trust in the relationship.

In short, far from being ‘technology geeks’ and talking about themselves, they are genuine believers in client intimacy i.e. fully understanding the heart beat and emotions of the client not just the exterior facade.

This ability to build relationships enables them to stay in touch with the client, learn from the client, spot new business opportunities and turn them into new revenue streams, probably the ultimate test of their success!

7. Change Leadership

All consultants are ‘change agents’. That is the reason they exist. That is the primary focus of their role. And that is why the skills of change leadership are so important to them and their success.

Effective change leaders have positive beliefs about change and the value of change. They possess an understanding of change management processes. They know how to use and apply change management skills in the processes.

Change leadership and management of course is a whole topic in its own right so I will focus on a few of the essentials for the IT Consultant.

For the Best in Class IT Consultant change leadership is essentially about three areas of contribution – Consultation, Collaboration and Communication.

Consultation

– S/he will help the client to see and confront the brutal facts, bringing fresh information and new insights to help the client see their current reality, and the need for change, clearly

– S/he will help the client create a future, preferred situation using a Gap Analysis or similar diagnostic

– S/he will explain the financial benefits of a proposed change so that the client can clearly see the Return on Investment

– S/he will assist in creating a coalition for change within the client i.e. the key stakeholder group

– S/he will assist in explaining the proposed change and selling it to this group to gain their support

– S/he will add value to the client’s planning and implementation processes as a result of similar experiences with other clients

Collaboration

The Best in Class IT Consultant will:

– Act as a team member, with the client’s own team of people, to identify problems and their root causes

– Identify and evaluate strategic options

– Co-create customised solutions to the client’s needs, adding know how based on their experience and knowledge gained over the years

– Partner the client in selling solutions internally with the client

– Bring into play specialists from within his/her own organisation to provide additional resources to the client’s own resources

Communication

The Best in Class IT Consultant will:

– Help the client to construct a stakeholder map

– Assist in the delivery of key stakeholder communication plans

– Actively support the client with internal stakeholder communication and influencing before and during roll out of changes

– Help the client with internal conflict resolution

– Act as a coach/facilitator in the change management process

In summary, in the area of change leadership, the Best in Class IT Consultant will partner the client throughout the change management process to ensure that the change is implemented effectively and anchored into the organisation as the new norm.

In Summary

So there you have it – the seven practices of Best in Class IT Consultants.

Use the checklist below to consider your current level of expertise in these seven practices and use the results to focus on your own personal growth and development needs in these areas.

Consulting Readiness Program – What You Need to Know

Consulting readiness programs are most favored amongst consulting analysts and entry-level consultants. So if you are an aspiring consultant, this article might be of good value to you.

Every consultant would have gone through this training program at some point in time early during their career. Large consulting organizations invest heavily in their resources. The commitment that consulting organizations show towards training and continuous learning is truly inspiring. One such effort is the consulting readiness program.

What do they teach at consulting readiness program?

While a consulting profile requires many attributes, the consulting readiness program focuses on specific training areas that are considered key for consulting. Do keep in mind, that consulting readiness programs are not focused on grooming you into a consultant from scratch. These programs are meant for individuals who already have some industry experience and knowledge and would like to leverage those in the world of consulting. Now let us look at a few key attributes from a consulting readiness program.

a) Mind Mapping – Mind mapping is a popular exercise taught in consulting. Mind mapping is the process by which you map various tasks and activities of an idea in a visual structured form. Usually when mind mapping is completed, the resulting diagram looks like a big banyan tress with tons of roots hanging down. More often in consulting, you are always dumped with information. This exercise will effectively allow yo to filter the right information, map them to the basic idea / concept or business problem. It is intended to better structure a consultant’s thoughts and represent it.

b) Problem definition / Defining a problem statement – Another key area of consulting is understand a problem. Usually in consulting projects, you may be faced with situations where, you are thrown to the client and are required to identify their problems. These problems often tend to become independent consulting opportunities for the firm. So it is critical that when presented with a set of statements in a given business situation, a consultant is able to understand and identify the core problem (s) that the client is facing. This exercise is as close as it can get to consulting world.

c) Problem solving through case studies – Now a lot of us might think, this is a pain. But case studies are often a wealth of information and learning. I wouldn’t think there could be a consulting readiness program without case studies. Again depending on what you are being trained for, the cases studies would differ. As always you are dumped with a wealth of information in these case studies and as a consultant or an analyst you are expected to identify and understand business problem to come up with potential solutions. If you do not like case studies, then you may not like consulting

d) Communication skills – As I have always emphasized communication plays a vital role in consulting. As a part of the consulting readiness training program, you could very well expect role plays and case studies that focus exclusively on testing and developing your communication skills.

e) Power point skills – Thanks to Microsoft, the life of a consultant revolves around power point presentations. In consulting, like case studies, there is no escape from power point presentations. There are plenty of articles and options on presentations. In fact, there are some cool tips and tricks that one could learn in effectively using power point in the world of consulting through this program. Of course, some organizations have skill development exercises exclusively focused on power point skills. These may help you better.

All the attributes above belong to a mother characteristic of structured thinking and problem solving. So key is to develop structured thinking and problem solving capabilities in consulting. You can also expect to have other activities like team building, role play decision-making etc that may get added to the exercise depending on the day and the sessions post lunch.

Do consulting readiness program really live up to expectations?

Like every other learning program, the effectiveness of consulting readiness programs varies with participants. The focus of these programs are provide you with elementary direction on how to proceed and tune your thoughts to the world of consulting. If your expectation is that these programs stand-alone would help you become an exceptional consultant, then you may be in for a disappointment. Consulting readiness programs are enablers that allow a candidate to learn and shape their consulting careers better. The key word being “better”. This means, you already need to be good in certain aspects of consulting and this program would help you become better consultants

If you are entering the world of consulting then you may find these programs to be of great interest. But like every other walk of life, irrespective of what you learn, unless you are willing to apply them in your area of work or life, the skill set would die with time. So good luck. Ensure you learn as much as you can and apply them in all walks of life and work. Happy consulting!

How To Become a Spa Consultant

Spa consulting companies regularly receive inquiries from people who are interested in becoming a Spa Consultant. Changes in the economic climate have made an increasing number of spa industry professionals consider a career change to consulting.

Spa consulting is a business, plain and simple. There are professionals who are ready to begin a consulting career and have knowledge and skills that will provide great value and benefits. However, most people have not thought it through as a business and should spend more time analyzing the opportunity before making such a big decision. Be optimistic but realistic especially when it comes to your income, financial security, career goals and enjoying the work you do.

The best Spa Consultants have strong business skills, an in-depth knowledge of operations and the development process as well as previous financial responsibility for a spa or related business. They have information and skills that translate into valuable benefits for a client.

Being a Spa Consultant can be rewarding work. But it’s not easy, relaxing or glamorous. Carefully consider if you have what it takes to begin working in this profession and if the timing is right before making this or any career change.

Here’s an Insider’s View on what you should ask yourself if you’re considering becoming a Spa Consultant:
Are you prepared and cut out to be an Entrepreneur?

Do you have the right stuff to be in business? Many Spa Consultants are business owners and/or Independent Contractors for Consulting Companies. If your goal is to work for an established firm, your resume should be top notch and those firms need to be growing rapidly enough to warrant additional assistance.

Ask yourself:
Are you willing and able to work 12-14 hour days and weekends to meet deadlines?
Can you risk your personal finances to start the business and keep it running?
Can you “close the sale” when presenting your services to prospective clients?
Does your schedule allow for travel that may last a day, several days or weeks at a time?
Can you effectively turn your plans into goals and actions?
Do you have the technical skills to accurately complete the work?
Does the business have profit potential both short term and long term?
Do you have a plan if the business is not successful?
Can you be flexible in your plans, services and fees when the market changes?

Is this the right time to make a career change – emotionally and financially?

No matter how good change may be and how excited you are about it, change can be stressful. Though the job market and economy may leave you feeling insecure or overwhelmed with your current job, determine if you can emotionally and financially handle a career change right now.

Ask yourself:
Am I better off looking for a similar job with a different company?
Will it be better to create a business that is similar to my current job?
Can I emotionally and financially handle the ups and downs of consulting?
Can I emotionally and financially handle starting a business?
Do I have enough money saved (or alternate source of income) to live for at least six to nine months while the business is started and grows?
Are family and friends supportive of my plans? While not absolutely necessary, it sure will make your life a lot easier. Find at least one person who you can turn to for support.

Can you withstand unpredictable monthly income?

For all the positive attributes associated with owning a consulting business, by far one of the hardest things to deal with (especially for a new business) is unpredictable monthly income. When you work for a traditional company there is income stability with a regular paycheck. You know how much money you will make and can plan accordingly. This is very appealing and necessary for many people.

With consulting, there is a time lag between getting the work, doing the work and getting paid. Can you handle that? At this point we won’t even discuss clients not fulfilling contracts and delayed or terminated development plans.

For example, you get a contract with Aunty Aloha’s Day Spa on May 1st. That’s May Day in Hawaii and everyone is busy with flower lei contests so you can’t get in touch with the client. A week later you finally connect and they snail mail you a deposit. On May 20th you begin working on their Menu of Services which includes researching and choosing product vendors along with creating signature services and writing all the text. The client wants product samples. Vendors prove to be harder to connect with than expected. The process takes 3 weeks and still needs client approval.

The client wants changes and the product line must be organically made in Hawaii which was never mentioned before. Research takes more time and you need to review samples but amazingly you’re done in two weeks. The final menu is submitted on June 24th and approved a few days later. You send an electronic invoice at the end of the month. They take 30 days to pay and mail the check. You receive payment on August 1st, a full 3 months after the contract is agreed to. This is not unusual. In fact, it’s actually a bit quick. Meanwhile, you’ve been hard at work five to six days a week building the business but don’t see the financial effects for several months.

The moral of the story is…Just because you may be good at what you do doesn’t make for immediate financial success. It takes time to build the business and time for clients to pay.

Do you really want to be a Consultant or do you just want to do something different than what you’re doing now?

Some people really are cut out for consulting, love the work and excel with a variety of projects and clients. Meeting with prospects and selling their services is thrilling, not scary. They understand the pros and cons and continue to be excited and passionate about the spa industry.

If knowledge truly is power, do you have enough knowledge about consulting to understand why you want to do it and how you will get started?

Ask yourself:
Have I spoken with any Spa Consultants about their experiences?
Have I researched the field of consulting in general?
Do I know the pros and cons of Spa consulting?
Do I know what to expect in terms of working with clients?
Do I think of consulting as a serious business venture or as just another way to be or stay in the spa industry?
Is consulting more or less attractive than other possible opportunities and why?
Do I really want to be a Spa Consultant or do I just need a job change from what I’m doing now?

Have you done a business plan and know the cost to start-up and operate?

You may be thinking, “Are you kidding? Write a business plan? I just want to be a Consultant. Why should I go through all that time and effort?” (Hint: you’re going to recommend that clients do this)

A business plan is a road map that is part of the process of preparing for a business. Even if you don’t need it for funding, it will provide you with a valuable and thought provoking learning experience. Be honest with yourself during the process as you navigate thinking through your business opportunity, concept, competition, financial risk & plan, marketing plan, and who will be involved.

There are many low or no cost resources to assist you with creating a business plan including books, software, websites and agencies such as the SBA and SCORE. Don’t overlook the library as a free resource.

Even if the thought of creating a business plan seems overwhelming, a good place to start assessing the feasibility of your business is looking at the cost to start and run the business.

Begin by researching the costs for the following:
Start-Up Costs – business license, legal fees, business filing fees, etc.
Fixed Expenses – administrative, office rent, utilities, insurance, permits, salaries
Variable Expenses – advertising, marketing, website development, travel, etc.
Owner Equity – how much money do you need to draw from the business monthly to live on?

Great news! Through your research, you may discover new and better ways to provide services or ideas for other businesses!

What skills, information and resources do you offer that is of value?

This is very important. Pay close attention. Many people considering becoming a Spa Consultant believe that they have what it takes because they have worked in the industry as a Spa Director or Manager, Supervisor, Vendor Sales Rep, Massage Therapist, Esthetician or Make-up Artist. These skills are indeed useful. However, developing a spa or fixing a troubled business is a much different ballgame and other essential skill sets are necessary.

Some of the experience from those jobs will translate into needed skills. Being a Spa Director or Owner for multiple openings of different sizes, in different locations, with operations experience and financial responsibility will give you a better starting point than other jobs.

However, there are many tasks associated with spa consulting that there is very limited exposure to while working in a spa regardless of your job description.

This includes:
Architectural and Design Review
Space (square footage) Allocation
Feasibility Study
Market Study
Competitive Set Analysis
Concept Development
Critical Path Development
Sales & Marketing Plans
Retail Planning & Merchandising

Do you know what services to offer and what fees to charge?

To better understand the services that Spa Consultants offer, go to the websites of several different companies. Evaluate their services then determine how your services will compare.

Ask yourself (and be honest):
What is the definition of each service that is offered?
How will I describe each service offered to a prospective client?
Which services do other companies offer that I can offer?
Which services do other companies offer that I am not qualified to offer?
What type of research and work goes into each service offered?
How long will it take me to complete the work that is offered?
What is the final document or deliverable given to the client based on each service?
How can I learn how to efficiently and accurately provide these services to clients?
If you were the client, why would you choose to hire a Spa Consultant to do the work?

It’s easy to find what services are offered because they’re listed on websites. Most companies don’t give full descriptions of services online but you still get an idea of what is offered.

What is harder to determine is pricing for the various services. If you can’t find out what other companies are charging, how will you base your own fees?

Here’s the answer – it varies from company to company but there is a general range. There is no standard and each company sets its own fees. There are hourly rates and a range of rates per deliverable. Pricing isn’t necessarily based upon quality of work but rather what the consulting company feels their work is worth and what the market will bear.

How will you differentiate yourself from other Consultants?

The Spa Consulting field is likely much larger than you think. The International Spa Association (ISPA) website lists 82 companies as Full Service Consultants. Frankly, some of those companies listed are vendors and not consulting companies. Just for kicks, Google “Spa Consultant” and watch the 82 companies soar over 100. However, safely there are 25 consulting companies who are will be your top competitors.

How will you differentiate yourself especially from those with more industry experience, more consulting experience, an established presence, and more money in the bank?

Ask yourself:
What strategies will I use that will provide an edge over competitors?
Is there a service that competitors are currently not fulfilling?
What adjustments have competitors made to be successful in a changing economy?
Who are my competitors?
How do my competitors differentiate themselves from their competition?

Where and how will you find clients?

This may sound very basic, but since consulting is based upon working with clients, do you know where and how you will find clients? The best way to grow the business is through further work with current clients and their recommendations and referrals. But that’s a Catch-22. How can you build it this way without an existing client base?

Part of the answer is with your Marketing Plan. Some clients find Spa Consultants on the internet. Consider what you need to do and how much you will have to spend to attract them in this manner. Put yourself in a client’s shoes, how would you find a Spa Consultant?

Ask yourself:
Which companies and associations can you affiliate with that will provide referrals?
Do you have the ability to speak at conferences and write articles for publications?
How strong is your network within the spa industry?
How will you build a list of prospective clients?
What is the most effective way to contact them?
Do you have collateral and a website to back you up?
Which conferences will you attend to meet prospects?
How much will it cost to help clients find you?
Are you willing and able to work in other countries?

Your Options

There are two basic options for consulting – work for yourself or work for a company. Both have pros and cons. If your consulting experience is limited, you have a need to work with others to stay motivated or aren’t confident in your sales skills then working for a company is beneficial. If you have experience, prefer control over decisions, are self motivated and have the skills to run your own business then working for yourself is a good option.

If you’re convinced that working for an existing company is the best option, contact consulting companies and find out if they are hiring. If they are, ask what qualifications they require for their Consultants.

Business Planning

Congratulations if you’ve made it this far! The information provided was meant to be thought provoking and supportive of those considering a career change into consulting. I believe that competition is healthy and regularly support and recommend the work of other Spa Consultants who do a great job.

That said, it’s hard to watch other Consultants struggle because they didn’t properly plan for their business, were unprepared and quickly got in over their heads. They not only hurt themselves financially and in their careers but also hurt the reputation of the spa consulting profession.

Even for successful Consultants, having the ability to adapt to changing economic conditions, development, services offered and client needs is imperative.

How Can You Become A Business Consultant?

Learn the key secret to becoming a consultant and improving your consulting practice.

When you brainstorm to make a career change to consulting, what you need to understand is not only its definition, but also the responsibilities a consultant has.

Being a consultant, you are expected to offer your skills to other people or businesses. You would be required to give suggestions, solve problems, make recommendations and provide specialized work so as to streamline the process you provide consultation for.

If you think that anyone who knows a thing or two about a certain process would be able to provide consultation, with all due respect, you are wrong.

Actually, what separates a good consultant from a bad one are passion, knowledge and drive for excellence. A person who has in-depth knowledge about the subject can only be able to provide insight into a certain process.

This is the difference, isn’t?

If you are transitioning to consulting, first you need to understand the things you should consider prior to making your first move towards your goal.

What licensing and certifications will I need?

Depending upon your expertise and profession, you may need specific certification or a license before you start providing your services. Let’s say, if you long for consulting for manufacturing and distribution companies, you need to have a license from a trusted organization or a consultant licensing platform.

Am I qualified enough to be a consultant?

Before approaching one of the consulting groups for small and medium size enterprises for license or training, what you need to do is a self-analysis. This would help you ascertain whether you hold the traits that a consultant needs to succeed or are able to provide error-free deliverables.

Do I have my long-term and short-term goals in place?

If your goals do not align with the time, energy and expertise it takes to start and maintain a consulting business, your chances get significantly lowered to make it big. Approach a consultant providing expert consulting for manufacturing and distribution companies to understand what goals you should strive for.

Here are some fields a consultant can join

Lean manufacturing

To become a lean manufacturing consultant, you need to become at home on all areas related to lean manufacturing process – a process incorporated into a production process to eliminate waste, thereby ensuring efficiency.

A lean manufacturing consultant is expected to provide a good piece of advice to key decision makers in large corporations and non-profit organizations on how they can minimize or eliminate waste to attain maximum production. You can approach one of the well-known consulting groups for small and medium size enterprises to understand the nitty-gritty and get a license to start your own consulting firm.

Human resources

As long as businesses need workforce, a human resource consultant will be high in demand. A human resource consultant would help a business – for example a software development company – to create essential department and hire qualified candidates as well.

Marketing

A marketing consultant needs to chalk out an efficient marketing plan to help a business reach out to its targeted audience. In order to churn out such a plan, you need to be efficient enough to understand a business’ product, target audience and how an advertisement campaign of the same would be executed.

Along with this, there are a wide range of professions you can choose from to be a consultant for.

Listed below are the reasons why a company hires a consultant

A business of any size and nature needs to be backed by a consultant in order to execute every business operation in such a way that it generates positive returns.

We are providing you some of those reasons why a consultant is important to any business.

A consultant is valued for:

Expertise over the subject matter
Ability to identify the problem and rectify the same
Ability to act as a catalyst
Ability to provide much-needed objectivity

If you are longing to become a consultant, join a training session provided by the reputed consultancy firm – Group 50.

A Guide On Different Types Of Business Consultants

The consulting services industry is known as one of the most diversified markets available within the professional services industry and as a result, different types of consultants are found working in this industry. Being a professional consultant is not the protected professional title like any other professions and this is why the consultants can easily title themselves as management, strategy, business, IT, HR or financial consultants. Given the wide range of areas where the consultants mainly run, there has been an immense rise in the total number of independent consultants in the last several years.

This article aims to offer a glimpse of different types of business consultants, who specialize in business consulting services.

Technology consultants: The main job of these consultants is to deliver software solutions, which can improve the business performance of the clients while converting the initiatives into reality. In other words, it is the strategic understand and knowhow of the main technology drivers to plan the adoption, integration and development of the advanced technology into the client business.
HR or Human Resource Consultants: The main job of these consultants is to manage the workforce or human resources of any organization. Most of the companies now outsource the total job of attraction, selection, assessment, training and rewarding of the employees while overseeing the organizational culture and leadership. In this case, the human resource consultants co-ordinate between the companies and the employees and new candidates.
Strategy consultants: These consultants assist companies to figure out any issues in the work strategy and operations and to improve the performance mainly through analyzing the present organizational issues and developing new plans for improving the business.
Marketing consultants: The job of these people is to focus on developing different types of strategies to sell, promote and distribute services and goods of a company successfully to the targeted clients. The companies mainly take the help of these consultants to discover different creative techniques to launch and sustain their businesses.
PR or public relations consultants: The main job of these consultants is to manage the flow of information between a company or any person and the public. These consultants build a point of view or reputation of the company which they serve in front of the investors, public, employees and partners.
IT consultants: The job of this consultant is to recommend computer software, networks and hardware to develop high performing workflow and high performing software. Besides, these consultants also offer technical expertise in the fields of software programming, information system design and development.
Finance consultants: Also known as the financial analysts or advisors, the professionals are licensed to help organizations or people to make smart financial decisions. To do this, these consultants use information about the stock values, market trends, taxes and other types of economic factors.
Legal consultants: The legal consultants mainly play the role of identifying, solving and preventing legal issues faced by any company or any client. One can find different types of specializations in this field like legal consultation in banking, employment, corporate, contract, tax, intellectual property, information technology, real estate or trust.