What is consulting?
Sometimes it’s easier to explain what consulting isn’t. Consulting is not a job. It’s not a career path like investment banking or services industry like accounting, advertising, PR, or law.
Consulting is a business with a product that is custom-made by the consultant for each client engagement. The product generally has three components: ideas, advice, and execution.
Consulting is an industry that offers intangible products like research and analysis, problem-solving advice and execution of recommendations. Many companies hire consultants as independent contractors to help them make better informed business decisions and solve problems in their operations.
What type of work is involved in Consulting?
In consulting, the consultant provides a company or client with a specific service or their expert knowledge in their field for a specified amount of time. The job of a consultant is to enable the client to find a lasting solution to their specific problem by offering them advice and new information in that field.
Consulting is a combination of work and learning. It is based on knowledge, skills, experience and expertise of a person or a group of people who provide professional advice or services to other people or organizations.
In consulting, you are required to give the client complete focus and use your skills of thought, analysis and brainstorming to come up with a solution and new ideas.
What makes a great consultant?
When you decide on a career in consulting, you should be able to provide your client and their organization with intense motivation and excellent ideas. You should also be prepared to deal with situations that are often complex and perhaps even hostile. You should use your assessment skills and competency to know what needs to be done in any situation.
The different types of consulting
There are two general types of consulting available to those who wish to enter this career. These are called specialists and generalists. A consulting specialist tends to focus on one area of practice such as a specific area of expertise or a specific industry. A generalist focuses on a wider area of consulting. These types of consultants typically go to work for a firm that gives general type of advice to many different companies.
What do you need to get into the field of consulting?
People looking for consultants are looking for a person who has the ability to not only offer advice, but also create ideas, insight and share knowledge in their area of expertise. You must be able to provide your client with new and innovative ideas for creating and implementing solutions.
You also must possess the desire to help provide service to your clients in the areas that are needed. Furthermore, in consulting, you must be a people person in all aspects. This is important because you will certainly not want to work those long, hard hours with someone you simply cannot get along with. You should enjoy working with all types of people.
Many large companies have internal consulting units whose sole purpose is to provide advice internally to other departments within the company. This can be particularly true in industries such as banking or insurance where the products themselves are highly complex, and require expert knowledge to fully understand how they work and how best to use them for optimal benefit.
In consulting, it pays to do your homework. If you are considering becoming a consultant, you should conduct thorough research to decide if consulting is right for you.