Consultants can provide a wide array of services to their clients. From executive level strategy building to supplementing a technical team that is short of resources, there are vast opportunities in consulting. This video discusses the possibilities if you are considering a career as a consultant.
- Consulting is like ice cream. Really, when done well, both are quite enjoyable and they come in different flavors. So let's look at the most common types or flavors of consulting. Technical consultants help a business with complex tasks that involve a specific technical specialty. That includes information technology, product engineering, manufacturing engineering, and security, both physical and information. Other examples are chemists, construction engineers, mining or aerospace experts.
Management or operations consultants take on assignments to propose improved operational functions for a business. This includes marketing, sales, inventory, client services, business advisory services, and distribution management. Human resources or HR consultants help organizations manage their people, including how the HR department operates, and how staff members' learning and development are handled. In addition, rules, guidelines, and contracts for employment are also addressed by HR consultants.
Financial consultants look at cost patterns, investment, tax management strategies, and systems used by a business to manage its money. They also investigate and propose ways to help a business understand its target market and how to project costs and revenue. Strategic consultants provide high-level business direction and advice, guiding a business as it enters new product markets or conducting business in different parts of the world. People working in this type of consulting typically work with a chief executive and members of the C suite.
Along with these different types of consultants, there are three approaches consultants take when working with their client. The first approach is giving advice. This approach looks through a client's businesses to find and make recommendations for performance improvement. The improvements can be cost focused, efficiency focused, or both. The second approach is delivery of services. Delivery focused consultants help deliver the performance improvement outcomes their clients need and want.
One form of delivery based consulting is when a consultant has technical expertise the client needs. The consultant signs a contract and joins the client as part of a team of technicians and helps the team achieve the goals they have for their business. Finally, a review or audit consultants. These consultants specialize in examining their client's approach to a business function or examining the status of a large initiative like auditing and accounting practices, or serving as an architect for a complex IT system.
Based on your interest and expertise, there are a lot of opportunities in the consulting space. Choose wisely and rocky road will be an ice cream flavor in your life and not a description of your consulting journey.
- Identify the critical requirements needed to become a successful consultant.
- Review the roles a consultant can fulfill to increase their success when dealing with clients.
- Recognize approaches for assessing your success level with a client before you've received a formal evaluation.
- Explore how to switch between consulting roles without confusing or aggravating your client.
- Review the change management conditions that must be in place to successfully deploy your consulting solutions.
- Identify the actions that maximize your chances for future work with a client.