LEARN CONSULTING PRACTICES
Do You have Expertise or Experience that can help others?
Turn what you already know into a whole new career, by becoming a consultant.
Consultants are needed in every industry imaginable. Being a successful consultant however, involves more than just having knowledge to sell. You also need to know how to sell it; what to charge, how to find clients and how to sustain a consulting business.
This course can help you add the skills yo do not have, to those that you have already spent years developing.
Consultants need to also be good communicators with strong skills in analysis, problem solving and organisation. Consultants also need to understand productivity issues and have a range of business skills; more often than not because they are operating as a small business.
Note that each module in the Qualification - Certificate in Consulting Services is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.
You Do Need More than Just Expertise
Some succeed and others fail as consultants; and often it isn't just about how much of an expert you are in your industry. Getting the work and delivering the service, as well as managing the income; are all important tasks for a consultant -and all quite separate to being an expert at something.
Some consultants may work continuously as consultants by joining employment agencies specialising in the provision of consultants, through setting up their own consultancy practice, or joining an already established consultancy practice. For example, a business consultant may offer their services to a range of businesses when required. Others may mix consultancy work with other forms of employment or self-employment. Regardless, a consultant will need to ensure that they have appropriate resources.
Before starting consulting work, a consultant should ensure that they have sufficient resources to be able to carry out this work. Of course this will include financial resources, but finances are not the only resources required by the consultant.
If a consultant is employed by a larger organisation, then their pay and employment is relatively safe. But for self-employed consultants, their work and income may not be so secure. A consultant who does not have continuous work must therefore guard against the ebb and flow of contracts and financial income. They may need to establish own retirement fund, holiday pay, sick pay, indemnity insurance etc. They may also need to ensure that they charge sufficient fees to remain in business, but also to cover themselves during periods when they may not have other work. No business scan survive if it operates at a loss for too long so it may be necessary to have sufficient resources in place to allow for lean times - particularly when first setting up.
A consultant who is self employed also needs to ensure that they have good physical and mental health. If firms employ a consultant on a set term and the consultant is then ill and unable to do the work, this will have implications for the consultant:
- They may lose their good reputation – word of mouth can mean that other people find out that they did not keep to the contract regarding their work.
- They will lose money as they will not be paid for work not completed.
- They may lose future work if they lose their good reputation.
It is therefore important that a consultant ensures that they maintain their good physical and mental health to work effectively as a consultant.
A consultant must also have a physical presence. Although many consultants take on contracts with different organisations or institutions, some consultants will have their own offices and staff, whilst other consultants may operate from their own home. As more and more people work from their own homes now, this is increasingly acceptable and obviously reduces costs as they do not have to rent or buy offices, and do not have the associated running costs.
If you are considering using your home as your consultancy premises then you may have to section off part of your home for this purpose, and use signage to direct clients to a particular doorway. Perhaps you could use a lower floor. You might also have to apply for council approval to do this and take out business indemnity insurance to cover accidents or injury on the premises.
However they operate, the consultant must ensure they have access to sufficient equipment – the obvious things such as computers, desks, stationery, landlines, mobile phones, and any specialist equipment they need for their consulting job.
They must also be accessible. If they are a one man/woman operation then they need to ensure that they are accessible to clients via phone or email at flexible times. There is nothing worse than potential clients and actual clients not being able to reach a consultant. This can also lose them business.
Most consultants will find a greater amount of work in inner cities and so being located in or near one may be advantageous. Some consultants may find that they have to travel throughout the country or even the world. It will depend on what they are consultants in, how exclusive their work is, and how successful they are. Some consultants may be experts in such a niche field that they are in high demand and can therefore charge large fees and be wanted throughout the world.
So before starting work as a consultant, it is important to ensure that you have the appropriate resources to be able to fulfill the role, as well as the appropriate knowledge and expertise to be able to obtain work within that field.
WHO NEEDS A CONSULTANT?
Consultants are employed in all industries, by public authorities, businesses and by individuals
Whenever knowledge and a professional opinion is of value; there is an opportunity for a consultant to be employed; and in a world that is increasingly complicated, those opportunities are more and more common.