About Business Consulting
A consultant is usually an expert or a professional in a specific field and has a wide area of knowledge in a specific subject. Consultants can save their clients time, increase revenue, and maintain resources. The role of a consultant outside the medical sphere (where the term is used specifically for a grade of doctor) can fall under one of two general categories:
- Internal consultant – someone who operates within an organization but is available to be consulted on areas of specialism by other departments or individuals (acting as clients); or
- External consultant – someone who is employed externally (either by a firm or some other agency) whose expertise is provided on a temporarily, usually for a fee. As such this type of consultant generally engages with multiple and changing clients.
The overall impact of a consultant is that clients have access to deeper levels of expertise than would be feasible for them to retain in-house, and may purchase only as much service from the outside consultant as desired.
Things to Consider Before You Become a Consultant:
Am I qualified to become a consultant?
Depending upon your profession, you may need special certification or a special license before you can begin operating as a consultant. For example, fund-raising consultants don’t need special certification, although you can become certified through the National Society of Fund Raising Executives. And in some states, you may need to register as a professional fund-raising consultant before starting your business.
Am I qualified to become a consultant?
Before you hang out your shingle and hope that clients begin beating your door down to hire you, make sure you have the qualifications necessary to get the job done. If you want to be a computer consultant, for example, make sure you are up to date in the knowledge department with all the trends and changes in the computer industry.
Am I organized enough to become a consultant?
Do I like to plan my day? Am I an expert when it comes to time management? You should have answered “yes” to all three of those questions!
Do I like to network?
Networking is critical to the success of any type of consultant today. Begin building your network of contacts immediately.
Have I set long-term and short-term goals?
And do they allow for me to become a consultant? If your goals do not match up with the time and energy it takes to open and successfully build a consulting business, then reconsider before making any move in this direction!
Top 20 Consulting Businesses Thriving Today
1. Accounting: Accounting is something that every business needs, no matter how large or small. Accounting consultants can help a business with all of its financial needs.
2. Advertising: This type of consultant is normally hired by a business to develop a good strategic advertising campaign.
3. Auditing: From consultants who audit utility bills for small businesses to consultants who handle major work for telecommunications firms, auditing consultants are enjoying the fruits of their labor.
4. Business: Know how to help a business turn a profit? If you have a good business sense, then you’ll do well as a business consultant. After computer consulting, people in this field are the next most sought after.
5. Business writing: Everyone knows that most businesspeople have trouble when it comes to writing a report–or even a simple memo. Enter the business writing consultant, and everyone is happy!
6. Career counseling: With more and more people finding themselves victims of a corporate downsizing, career counselors will always be in demand. Career counselors guide their clients into a profession or job that will help them be both happy and productive as an employee.
7. Communications: Communications consultants specialize in helping employees in both large and small businesses better communicate with each other, which ultimately makes the business more efficient and operate smoothly.
8. Computer Programmer: From software to hardware, and everything in between, if you know computers, your biggest problem will be not having enough hours in the day to meet your clients’ demands!
9. Editorial services: From producing newsletters to corporate annual reports, consultants who are experts in the editorial field will always be appreciated.
10. Executive search/headhunter firms: While this is not for everyone, there are people who enjoy finding talent for employers.
11. Gardening: In the past decade the demand for gardening consultants has blossomed (pun intended) into a $1 million-a-year business. Not only are businesses hiring gardening consultants; so are people who are too busy to take care of their gardens at home.
12. Grantsmanship: Once you learn how to write a grant proposal, you can name your price.
13. Human resources: As long as businesses have people problems (and they always will), consultants in this field will enjoy a never-ending supply of corporate clients, both large and small. (People-problem prevention programs could include teaching employees to get along with others, respect and even violence prevention in the workplace.)
14. Insurance: Everyone needs insurance, and everyone needs an insurance consultant to help them find the best plan and pricing for them.
15. Marketing: Can you help a business write a marketing plan? Or do you have ideas that you feel will help promote a business? If so, why not try your hand as a marketing consultant?
16. Payroll management: Everyone needs to get paid. By using your knowledge and expertise in payroll management, you can provide this service to many businesses, both large and small.
17. Public relations: Getting good press coverage for any organization is a real art. When an organization finds a good PR consultant, they hang on to them for life!
18. Publishing: If you’re interested in the publishing field, then learn everything you can and you, too, can be a publishing consultant. A publishing consultant usually helps new ventures when they are ready to launch a new newspaper, magazine, newsletter–and even websites and electronic newsletters.
19. Taxes: With the right marketing and business plan (and a sincere interest in taxes), your career as a tax consultant can be very lucrative. A tax consultant advises businesses on the legal methods to pay the least amount of tax possible.
20. Writing services: Anything related to the written word will always be in demand. Find your specialty in the writing field, and the sky will be the limit!
Your idea may be the best one you have ever thought of, but there needs to be a market for your ideas. Someone must be willing and able to pay you for your expert advice.
In other words, who are your potential clients? Will you be marketing your consulting services to large corporations? Or will you offer a specialty that would only be of interest to smaller businesses? Perhaps your services will be sought after by nonprofit organizations. Whatever the case, before you go forward, make sure you spend time preparing both a business plan and a marketing plan. You won’t be disappointed with the results–especially when clients begin paying you!