What is a consultant? What do they do? Consulting business doesn't have to be hard. They are problem solvers, someone, you hire to come in and take care of a problem or issue that you have. They can also put on training sessions and evaluate things within your business. But primarily they are a problem solver. So when you have a particular problem to be solved that is when you are going to hire a consultant.
As of present, there are nearly 6000 consultancy business firms in metropolitan cities comprising Delhi (25.7%) come next by, Mumbai (25.5%), Chennai (12.1%), and Kolkata (9.1%). Also, the service sector contributes more than 50% of the nation's GDP.
If you don't have the talent on board at your company already and so when you think about that a consultant is who solves problems and tells you that when you hire a consultant you need to be sure that you have a clear definition of what the problem is and what the result is that you want to get from that consultant how they are going to solve the problem.
When they are going to solve the problem how long is it going to take to do. What is it going to cost to get this problem solved? It's not an ongoing relationship but it's about the short-term project-based set of results. If someone comes to me and wants help with their tax planning that's a consulting engagement.
They may have a problem in trying to hire the right person in the accounting department as an example and they don't know how to figure out whether or not the person that they are interviewing has the technical skills to do the job and so they may hire me as a consultant sit down and interview the candidates for them looking for whether or not they have the technical skills and abilities. So consultants can do a wide variety of works.
I will share some of the skills which lead to becoming you as a consultant,
Time management is an important key in the consulting business. One can think of it in two different ways. Time management is more short-term so daily, weekly, making sure you are managing all your tasks and things that need to get done. Consultants work on several projects at a time so they need to be sure of paying the appropriate amount of attention to those projects.
There's also long-term time management which goes into the more overall project management. So being sure you know when those long term deadlines are. The project might not end in five or six months. So you need to work backward from whatever that final deadlines are.
So that's you're giving yourself and your team enough time to get everything done without being crunched and rushed at the end of the project. So work back schedules are your best friend from whatever the deadline is and working back from there making sure you include enough time for all different handoffs and steps that need to happen in between.
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Flexibility With Work
Being quick on your feet and being flexible, it's another important in consulting business. Things change all the time, the client's needs can change and that's because throughout the project different things come up, different priorities happen. So you need to be able to be flexible. So that's a bit more long-term flexibility within a project. You also need to be flexible at the moment I.e if you are on a phone call. Somebody asks a question or has an issue you need to be able to respond quickly.
Communication skills are a key factor in the consulting business. Whether that's written or verbal. That includes everything from emails making sure those are clear and concise speaker notes in a presentation and even talking on the phone. One of the most important things in communications is the expectations of the project whatever the interaction is.
Going back to long-term time management and project management it's really important to communicate clearly with your team. If everyone is on the same page and you are not handing something off to someone and they are like " I didn't know this is happening".
You still do need that basic understanding of how businesses work because there are a lot of things that apply to all companies regardless of the industry and that hopefully, you will deepen that understanding as you continue to work with that client. Hence, having commercial awareness is paramount in the consulting business.
Having good analytical skills will give you an edge over others in the consulting business. Analytical includes both the qualitative side and the quantitative side. A lot of times you will be looking at data whether it's general trends of the industry that the client is in or actual specific reports within the company. On the qualitative side, you might be looking at interview responses, customer surveys, employee response.
Whether you are looking at numbers or at words you need to be able to interpret the data. Pick out common themes and understand the significance.
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I'm not saying you need to organize your emails or your files in a certain way necessarily but it's about being consistent with the ultimate goal of being efficient and protective. So find a way that works for you when it comes to organizing your emails, documents or your calendar.
Basically, you don't want to be wasting time and fishing around for things or interpreting yours came calendar because that's just precious time wasted. To be a consultant you need to be a team player. Consulting business is a team game not individual game.
It's very important to make sure that the client's needs are met and looked after. You also make sure you are thinking about your team's needs. So going back to the communication and project management make sure you are keeping your team members needs in mind and not just your own.
Managing Consulting business is a client-facing job so an important part of that job is making sure you are building relationships with your clients. It's not that you are supposed to have a certain type of personality but just finding how you can connect with the clients with even your co-workers in an authentic way.
The reason for having social skills so important is it is just going to make your job so easier. When you are able to make those connections with the team is more enjoyable.
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When you are doing the same job or activity repeatedly for an extended period. It can be easy to stop thinking outside the box but if you want to provide good value for your clients you want to always be asking yourself how can I do this better or how can I make this better you want to have a mindset of always improving and thinking creatively can help. Of course, this is something that also applies to every business not just consulting business.
In consulting business or in any business days can be harder and I don't think people normally think of self-care as a skill but I think it's because it's something so many of us do and it does take practice. Self-care might look different for different people but when you are demanding a job like consulting you need to be able to replenish yourself so you can continue to give a good effort at work.
For some people, it means when they go on vacation they unplug completely and they make sure that they communicate that and set those boundaries with their team. It might mean something like making sure not to skip meals which sounds like something very simple.
Whenever self-care looks like for you it's important to keep investing in it because it's really easy to forget about it especially if you are focusing on the demands.
I hope it was useful maybe if you are working on starting a consulting business or you already have one. Whether your consulting business is going to be big or small, brick-and-mortar-based or online-only, expensive or economical, you need to have the experience, resources, and confidence to help other business owners get back on track. Everything else is about managing workflow and expectations.