When a baby is born he/she needs his/her mother to look after him/her. To bathe him/her, to feed him/her. The mother is a source of comfort and relief. When the baby wanders off to explore a world of possibilities, he/she turns around and there mom is, smiling with a nod of encouragement.
When the mother reaches a certain age she needs her son/daughter to look after her. To fill her meds, drive her around to the grocery store, and pay for those peanut butter crackers she loves so much. The boy/girl is her rock and the mother smiles in heartfelt gratitude.
Much like mother and son, consultants and organizations share a relationship of mutual desire to be cared for. This article shares five reasons why consulting is an advantage to individuals and companies.
In 2017 the global consulting market was forecast at around $262B USD, and $63M was reported in the U.S. alone. The management consultant sector, which advises organizations on how to improve their performance, had a market size of $129B.
659,200 management consultants worked in the U.S. with a median annual growth of 9.3 percent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a growth of 14 percent by 2026, onboarding 115,200 new consultants in the coming years.
There is no doubt that the demand for consultants is rising as businesses become more complex and cannot devote the time and resources to reduce their costs and increase revenues.
The Top 5 Consulting Advantages
- Variety of Projects
Individuals: You won’t get bored
Every day is different because you are exposed to a variety of clients in many different industries, each with their own unique issues. You exercise problem-solving skills, implementing solutions and exciting ideas for each special situation.
The three main types of consulting are management, corporate, and independent. If you like being your own boss or working as part of a team, you might prefer one type from another.
You’ve raised your own business you call your baby, and it’s hard to admit when something’s gone awry. Problems may be glossed over and implausible solutions are proposed. Having an objective third-party come on scene provides a new perspective you can not get internally. A consultant works with a variety of different businesses, so he / she has a basis of comparison to measure trending pain points. Plus, a third-party consultant will be more likely viewed as a neutral person by others in your company.
- Continuous Learning
Individuals: Being a subject matter expert
You establish yourself as a thought-leader, influencer and the go-to person. You can name problems companies have because you know the answers and solutions to those problems. When you become memorable in the minds of others, you serve as an industry spokesperson. Learning is a life-long process so you keep up with the latest books and conventions across the planet. And the most valuable subject matter experts (SMEs) know how to sell new business.
When you are a SME, you don’t make a fool of yourself when a client asks questions. It’s a universal truth that people are attracted to confidence. Be it finance, engineering or any other industry you wear the badge of certainty.
Companies: Extensive knowledge
Consultant expertise in the marketplace answers questions you have about industry trends, innovations, new technologies, pitfalls, best practices and competing companies. You can learn from the mistakes and triumphs of others in the marketing space
Typically you have someone in place to manage the budget of the company. But your expertise may be in only one or two categories like accounting and finance. When you harness the power of a consultant, you open the doorway to dozens of cost savings categories.
- Big Growth Opportunities
Individuals: Salary potential
The average consulting salary is right around $75,000 per year. In comparison, the average white-collar professional salary is $63,076. Those numbers can be misleading because consulting is incredibly versatile depending on what category you decide to pursue. Income can range from $42,000 and upwards to $1M.
Keep in mind, the salary is only a baseline. The job is commission-based and you gain bonuses for performance and sign-ons. The harder you work, the more you make!
Companies: Saved time and money towards other aspects of business
You have a slew of other responsibilities to handle and managing inefficiencies will deplete your most valuable resource: time. All the research and data collection, organization and execution of waste removal is all handled by the consultant allowing you to focus on what’s most important.
He / she can act as a catalyst for change by uncovering something buried deep. Change is hard, but the authority of a SME can be just the needed push for leadership to justify new direction.
Individuals: Work life balance
Say goodbye to the traditional corporate life of a 9-5 job and stop living in a box. Set your own schedule, pick your clients, choose how many projects you tackle at any given time, and work at home in your pajamas or at the local coffee shop on your laptop. In this digital fast-paced era, technology enables you to consult globally right in your hand.
Companies: Adapting to last minute changes
Life happens and sometimes you’ll have an emergency crisis erupt. You might need to delay a meeting because of a fire that needs dousing. Consultants work for the client, so they accommodate their schedules to meet your needs. They give you a realistic picture on business problems and provide alternate solutions to best fit your unique need.
Individuals: You work with a variety of people and build up a huge network.
There’s an old saying that goes, “it’s not about what you know, but who you know.” The statement rings truer than ever in consulting because what your network looks like directly reflects your business. You’ll rely on referrals to beat out other consultants vying for client work, and your network will vouch for your reputation as a public figure.
Online networking is gaining in popularity and LinkedIn is the professional platform to grow your following. Build relationships and engage with other people and companies to get the most out of your network.
Companies: You have access to a huge powerhouse with one person who knows people.
Hiring a consultant opens a gateway to a rich ecosystem you can tap into. Discover influencers and find introductions to future partners in his / her network. Understand that the consultant works with his network to solve your problems. The bigger the network, the more leverage he has to draw experience from.
Consulting is more than just a job. It’s a valuable skill that benefits everyone with sustainable savings and revenue. But it isn’t easy. If you are a people person who thrives on making connections with others, then you will succeed in this fast-paced industry of problem-solving.
And new companies wanting to cut costs and find savings would do well to hire outside help finding the chinks in their armor. Stephen Hawking said it best. “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”