Is This a Good Time for Consulting?


A logical question which leads consultants to other questions like these:

  • Are we in a continuing recovery or are we still just limping along, having pulled ourselves out of the worst economic decline in modern times?
  • Are the new jobs being created the kinds of jobs that a real recovery should produce?
  • What impact does this really have on opportunities for consulting?
Right time for consulting

Which way is the economy heading?

 

Consulting realities in a down economy

In a down economy, businesses tend to cut back. Managements are hesitant to add expensive staff for the long term. Instead, they turn to contract employees to meet immediate needs.

This short-term perspective  opens opportunities for people with specialized skills and problem-solving capabilities. Established consultants – especially those serving the small business (under 500 employees) and mid-sized companies are likely to find many opportunities.

Consulting realities in an up economy

Conversely, in a booming economy, companies are pressed by competition and scarcity of available candidates to fill specialized employment needs. This also creates opportunities for consulting.

Are there any bad times for consulting?

Probably, and certainly when viewed from an international perspective. But at any given time, your opportunities will be determined by the specialized skills and experience you have to offer, who needs them and where are they located.

But there’s one other factor that will decide how effectively you are able to take advantage of these opportunities.

Opportunities depend on marketing skills

For the most part, there are always likely to be opportunities for the qualified consultant who does a professional job of marketing for his or her services.

Next to your skill set, your marketing skills are the major factor in determining your success in identifying, locating and attracting clients. We continue to explore various strategies, tactics and marketing scenarios that can produce consulting client opportunities.

By way of a “preview,” here are some of the critical marketing activities we recommend for beginning and seasoned consultants alike . . .

Website – Your website is the central focus of your communication in the world of business. It must answer all the questions a prospective client needs answered (including, “Can I trust this person?”) – and help that client contact you. Just as all roads lead to Rome, all paths from your various activities should lead to your website. We’ve pulled together an entire workbook on setting up an effective website for the professional. Check it out here.

Professional Image – From a business card to appropriate stationery and a multi-function business telephone system, your interactions with people should convey the image you wish to project. Contrary to popular belief, a “brochure” may or may not be beneficial.

Writings – White papers, (i.e. position papers), articles in industry publications that can be reprinted and distributed in response to inquiries, published on your website, etc. are among the most valuable forms of “marketing collateral.” Depending on your writing skill, you may need to engage the services of one or more writers.

A Published Book – Establishing yourself as an authority by producing a book on the subject of your expertise can have an enormous impact on your marketing success.

Professional Networking – Possibly the single most effective way to reach the “hidden job market” (yes, the very same companies that have unpublished job openings) is through strategic networking. Unfortunately, too many people with otherwise excellent people skills make a number of mistakes in their networking activities that shut them out from receiving the true referral benefits of this activity. Are you making any of these mistakes? Our training guide and its workbook review these mistakes but more to the point, aim you in the right direction for getting those true referral benefits. Find out more about Professional Networking here.

Social Media – Among the most interesting ways to get yourself in front of potential buyers is to participate selectively in appropriate social media. LinkedIn, for example, is almost certainly an appropriate medium for you; both your profile and your activity in targeted groups can add real fuel to your efforts. Twitter may also a likely candidate. Facebook or Instagram may or may not fit your plans.

Public Speaking – In front of the right audience, presenting is a superior way to generate inquiries about and for your services. But don’t be fooled. Just getting in front of an audience is only the beginning. Knowing how to present yourself and your subject as well as how to strategically withhold information (to provoke inquiries), etc. are techniques you must learn to use properly. Otherwise, the speech is a waste of time at best and can even harm your image. At The Marketing Machine® Group you’ll also find a course on giving powerful presentations.

Are there other ways to market your services? Absolutely there are, including operational tools and practice management activities such as the proposal, pricing, method of reporting results, etc. We cover these and other aspects of Marketing Your Consulting Services in our articles and training materials. You’ll see more on items from this list because we think they must be given priority.

(Have a marketing topic you’re particularly interested in? Let us know and we’ll add it to our list and share what we know!)

Joseph Krueger
The Marketing Machine®

Interested in getting started right now? Ready to pick and choose from proven training materials? Take a look at TheMarketingMachineGroup.com. There you’ll find a collection of courses in three categories: Marketing Toolkit, Professional Skills and Start-up.

 

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