The consultant role is one of the three constituent components of the building your consultancy business framework.
In terms of the consultant role, you should firstly reflect on the key challenges which you would face as a Consultant; you would then move on to consider the different consultancy models which you could follow (e.g. subject matter expert, sector expert, change agent…), and decide which is the best one for you; and finally you would look at the key success factors which would determine whether you were going to prosper or merely survive.
Key Startup Challenges
The key challenges revolve around you going into consultancy with your eyes wide open, so that you really appreciate what you are getting yourself into.
– One set of challenges revolve around credibility; what is it about you and what you know that would induce someone else to hire you? Remember, you want people to see you as an investment, and not a cost, so how do you position yourself to achieve this.
– Then there are behaviours and attributes; what are the aspects of your behaviour which will help you to be accepted as a source of valuable input.
– And finally there is lead generation – do you have a process to turn strangers into customers.
The different consultancy models again fall in to three basic categories.
- Firstly there is subject matter expert, which helps to address the suspicion of the “Jack of all Trades”. Furthermore, a single product or service cleverly promoted and flexibly applied is likely to command higher fees.
- Secondly there is change agent, where the consultant has the ability to facilitate either macro or micro change.
- Thirdly there is trusted adviser, where the consultant has built sufficient rapport with the client that he becomes the client’s “go-to” person on all manner of matters. One of the fundamental questions you need to address is whether you see your role as 100% advisory, 100% operational, or a mix of the two.
Key Success Factors for Consultancies
The third component is key success factors – what are some of the main areas that you are going to have to focus on if you are going to be successful.
One of the areas is self-awareness. How well do you understand yourself? How well do you understand others? Can you adapt your behaviour in order to relate better to others?
Another area is clarity of purpose. Are you crystal clear in all your internal planning and all your interaction with the marketplace? What exactly is it that you are offering and is it a compelling proposition?
A third area would be price integrity. Are you genuinely creating the perception that investing in you is a worthwhile decision for the prospect? As a result are you commanding the fees that you deserve? Or, operating as a “registered charity”?
We will consider each of these components in future articles.