Becoming a Management Consultant
I was so naive! I started my first management consulting business in 1997. Another followed in 2000 and yet another in 2004. Since then I’ve added other businesses in fields such as education.
But wow, I wish I knew way back then what I know now…..
Let me share perhaps the biggest lesson of all. I know it sounds simple and maybe to you it’s obvious, but back then it wasn’t obvious to me at all.
To be a great consultant and grow your own consulting business, being a great technician doesn’t count for much! There, I said it….
You might be the best at what you do. The best financial consultant, the best consultant engineer, the best construction consultant, the best whatever. Of course it’s important to be good at what you do. Your clients expect it. But is it enough to start your own consulting business and be successful? In my view No. Not without other far more important knowledge and skills.
Look around your industry. There will be consultants who are far less technically skilled and competent that you are, but they appear to be more successful. Be honest now. I know its true.
You see they probably have many ‘non consulting’ skills that you don’t. Or maybe have them to a higher level of competence.
This is what I see every week here in my own industry. Highly competent middle managers leaving a corporate role, perhaps with a pay out, wanting to get into consulting. They call me, email me, wanting to ‘catch up’ to see if I might want to hire them. Or alternatively wanting advice on going out on their own.
I very rarely take them on. Because they simply don’t understand consulting.
95% of them fail and are back in a Corporate role within 9 months. And they wonder where it all went wrong. In their previous corporate role they were the ‘Big Cheese’. They had status, respect, they were listened to. Yet out in the big wide world, very few people wanted to hire their consulting services.
So what was the one thing that led to all these failures? Simply this. They thought that being technically competent was enough……
It’s like a great hairdresser starting their own hair dressing business.
Or a great baker starting their own baking shop. Ring a Bell? Read ‘The Goal’ by Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt
Well it’s not enough. Never was, never will be.
That’s why I started this Blog and soon, my online mentoring program for those wanting to ‘go out alone’.
Because to be successful starting your own consulting business, you need to be very competent in a wide range of skills. We’ll assume you’re already highly competent technically, in whatever it is you do.
But you also need to be highly competent in these essential skills:
Marketing. Precisely who is your target market? What do they desire the most? What are their pain points? How can you solve these pain points?
Closing Sales. Understanding the structure of your offer, hitting the hot buttons, making your solution irresistible.
Managing Relationships. Seeing beyond the current assignment and getting closer to your clients.
And then of course you need to understand small business strategy, structure, law, finance and a whole ‘raft’ of other things.
My point? Technical competence is assumed. That alone won’t make you a successful consultant with your own growing consulting business.
So don’t make the same mistake as the other 95%.
Gain the knowledge before you make the leap. It’s not that difficult.