If you are or plan to be a consultant, this post is a must-read for you. Consulting business is a challenging albeit interesting one. It comprises of problem solvers who are here to take up issues head-on. Consultants also deliver training sessions and evaluate the existing state of one's business.
As of present, there are more than 6000 consultancy firms in metropolitan cities with the approximate distribution as follows: Delhi (25.7%), Mumbai (25.5%), Chennai (12.1%), and Kolkata (9.1%).
Consulting is not an evergreen relationship with the client but a short-term project meant to achieve specific results. An example would be a business entity approaching a financial consultant for tax planning. This is known as a consulting engagement.
While consulting comes in various forms and flavors, a successful consultant generally excels in certain aspects and qualities, irrespective of his or her area of work. This post discusses 10 qualities a consultant, whether experienced or just starting out, needs to work on to have a successful career trajectory.
Time management is essential in the consulting business. One can think of it in two different ways: short-term and long-term. Short-term time management is involves daily and weekly tasks and action items. Consultants may work on several projects at a time; they need to pay appropriate attention to all of them.
There's also long-term time management which revolves around overall project management. The project might not end in a month. So one needs to be proficient in time management, be it long-term or short-term.
Mastering time management will save you from the pitfalls of unexpected and unprecedented occurrences. Get your planner ready!
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Flexibility With Work
Being quick on your feet and flexible is another ingredient towards becoming a better consultant. Client expectations and requirements can change anytime, and unexpected issues may come up in the project. As a consultant, you need to be flexible. With the kind of travel involved in the consulting business, don't fret if you have to catch a flight all of a sudden.
Communication skills form a person's first impression. Whether that's written or verbal. Email writing, presentation skills, documentation abilities, and even talking on the phone are directly dependent on one's communication skills.
Communication skills will decide how well you fit in the team.
You need to have a basic understanding of how businesses work because certain points and frameworks apply to all companies regardless of the industry. Your commercial awareness will continue to deepen with time. Some points to work on are basic finance, economics, and management topics.
Good analytical skills gives you an edge over others in the consulting business. Analytical capabilities include both qualitative and quantitative aspects. You will be looking at data, whether it's general trends of the client's industry or actual specific requirements. Quick calculations, pattern identification, logical deductions, etc. are some of the topics that rely on analytical skills. On the qualitative side, you will looking at interview responses, customer surveys, and employee responses.
Whether you are looking at numbers or words, you need to be able to interpret the data. Hence, build up your cognitive skills to take analytics and logical reasoning by their horns.
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A good consultant is consistent in terms of efficiency and planning. And these come under organizing one's place and work related items. So find a way which works for you when it comes to organizing your emails, documents, calendar, and having everything in place.
To be a consultant, you need to be a team player. Consulting business is not an individual's game; working as a team is prioritized and stressed upon.
It's important to make sure that the client's needs are met and looked after. And this has to be done while being mindful of your team's needs. Keep your team members in mind, work in sync, and don't aim for individual glory.
The consulting business is a client-facing job. And building relationships with your clients decides overall success as a consultant. While intelligence, analytical skills, and logical skills are highly valued, emotional quotient (EQ) is equally important.
The ability to empathize with others and build an intimate connect with clients will fast-track your journey of becoming a good consultant.
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When you are doing the same job or activity repeatedly for an extended period, it becomes easy to stop thinking outside the box. If you want to provide value to your clients, you need to be creative and come up with innovative solutions. Ask yourself, "How can I do this better, or how can I make this better?" Creative thinking will definitely get you noticed!
In any business, some days can be harder. People don't think of self-care as a skill, but it is one. You can work efficiently only if your health levels don't drain. Self-care might look different for different people but at the core, it's all the same. Take necessary breaks, give it a rest when your productivity is down, and don't take it hard on yourself.
For some, it means going on vacation to unplug completely and ensuring they communicate and set certain boundaries with their team during the break. Identify what fits in your self-care routine.
If you are in the consulting business, comment on what you think makes a good consultant.