The sheer size of the management consulting market almost guarantees success to the independent consultant when armed with appropriate business skills. Virtually all industries are markets for the management consultant. Whether you are an accountant, financial expert, business expert, or any other profession, there is a market out there for you. The management consulting market for most professionals offers a broad range of opportunities.
Size of the Consulting Market
The management consulting market can be expressed in terms of billions of dollars. There really is no ceiling when looking at the size of the consultant market in terms of dollar expenditures or the potential for an independent consultant's income. Look at your own industry to see what companies are worth and you will get an idea of how much money is out there for consultants like you. Those companies will spend millions of dollars on external help and expertise. That can be you.
Why do Corporations engage Consultants?
Large companies are constantly streamlining their operations to remain lean and profitable. Among their streamlining strategies lies outsourcing. Many corporations have learned that it is more profitable to outsource certain aspects of their business to outside firms or individuals than to do it themselves. This includes the hiring of consultants who have specific expertise that is of value to the hiring company. This is where you come in.
There are basically three reasons consultants are sought:
- In the instance where the volume of work required to be completed at a particular time is beyond the capability of the staff, a company will hire a consultant to help alleviate the overload. This is usually on a project-by-project basis, some of short duration, some can go on for months or years.
- When a certain expertise is required that is not available within an organization, an outside expert is sought to either work with others in the organization on a project or work independently offsite to contribute a certain aspect of a project.
- All organizations have problems and many of them cannot see the forest for the trees in trying to solve those problems or day-to-day business keeps them from spending the time and resources needed to finding answers. They look to outside management consultants, who have a fresh, unbiased perspective and specific knowledge and experience, to use their expertise to find solutions to the firm's issues.
There are a myriad of reasons companies hire consultants and they generally fall within one of the reasons stated above. There are unique situations and niche markets that are also available within large corporations. Once you get into an organization, other opportunities become apparent. Let the company's management know that you can do them.
Reputation of the Consulting industry
Prospects for independent consultants are very good in today's management consulting market. Although most companies who hire consultants know the value these professionals bring to their organization, there are some individuals or firms that scoff at the value of consultants. They believe that consultants merely rearrange numbers and regurgitate information that is already known and present results to paint a picture the way the client wants to see it rather than providing useful solutions. But, for the most part, the independent consultant is highly respected and sought after.
Competitive advantage of the Independent Consultant
There are thousands of companies that hire consultants on a regular basis because they understand them in terms of profitability. Independent consultants can act more quickly, cost the client less money, and get better results in their discipline than a larger company can, often because the bureaucracy that is inherent to a larger firm slows them down.
Risk / Reward - some projects are best left to the Big Boys
The client may also be looking to the Consulting firm to share the burden of risk associated with a complex program, regarding payment of consulting fee almost as a risk premium that will underwrite the success of the program.
For example, if one of the Big 5 is engaged to deliver a complex IT systems integration program, then you can be fairly sure that the multi-million dollar fee will be structured on a risk-reward basis. If the program is delivered successfully, on time and on budget then the full fee will be paid, along with performance related bonuses.
Conversely, if the program is unsuccessful then the client will probably look to the professional indemnity insurance cover held by the firm to provide some compensation for losses incurred and disruption of business.
The International nature of the Management Consulting Market
Besides the USA, other countries around the world have management consulting markets that expand your reach. Technology has brought the world onto your desk, wherever that may be, even on an airplane. These days you are connected to most parts of the world and your consulting market is boundless in your area of expertise. Even language barriers have been narrowed with translation technology on the internet facilitating ease of communication. And consider that English is the language of money and computers that most businessmen of the world understand. You can easily have international clients and deal with them from almost anywhere on the planet.
The emerging markets in China, India, and the rest of Asia present significant opportunities in their management consulting markets waiting to be capitalized upon by independent consultants and firms. Remember that the world's consultant markets are not only for the large management consulting firms. You have hundreds of niches that you can exploit where the multi-nationals cannot compete just because of their sheer size. Besides, the big firms don't even want to bother with the small stuff. But you can. The small stuff to them is the big stuff to you. It works out just fine.
To put this into perspective, consider the management consulting market opportunities of the IT industry. They are sending out programming and other types of work worth multi-millions to mainly India, but also to other parts of the world where expertise is high, costs are low, and results come fast. Isn't this exactly what you offer - your expertise, fees lower than what the client would spend themselves, and you get fast results?
If you are living in America, an American firm doesn't need to go to India or elsewhere when you are right here in the US. If you are living in England, an English firm will generally favor you over someone in some remote part of the planet. And you don't need to be an IT guru. This outsourcing is prevalent among most industries, which offer a large management consulting market.
Find your Niche and Blaze Your Trail
Can you see the remarkable opportunities that you have as a consultant? Can you fathom the depth of the management consulting market and what it can mean to you? You are only limited by your imagination. Exciting, isn't it?