Consulting in Tough Times

It’s not hard to find economic gloom and doom in the news. After all, bad news sells; good news does not. But with the media talking down the economy, along with a genuine cyclical slow down, how does this affect your consulting opportunities?

First, let’s get positive and realize this is a great time to be a consultant. Why? Everyone is cutting back on hiring, but their service needs may have not decreased. Companies still need help and a relatively easy and inexpensive way is to use a consultant or independent contractor on a temporary basis. This saves the trouble and expense of a full time hire.

This is where you come in. As a consultant you can provide crucial services with limited time and cost exposure to a company. Plus, you can provide specialized skills and capabilities that their regular staff may not have.

So your selling strategy can be oriented to assuring your client that her exposure will be limited. An added benefit can be to promise to train her staff how to do the service you are providing. On the surface this appears to be putting you out of a job. On occasion this may occur, but consider the good-will that is engendered. This is helpful for winning the next assignment with this client and for the essential referrals you’ll be requesting.

But in most cases, this strategy will open the door for more of the same work, or for an ongoing monitoring opportunity. The reality is that those you train will not have your level of expertise or experience. So while training will bring them to a level of capability, more help and guidance is likely, for you are now the back-up.

Other consulting opportunities in tough times include helping companies:
o Be more efficient
o Cut costs
o Develop new systems
o Realign strategically
o Find new customers
o Open new markets
o …you name it for your specialty

Take advantage of this down-cycle to create value and help your clients thrive. You will then reap even greater rewards when the inevitable upturn comes.

The Consultant’s Edge, a free monthly e-letter from Steve Kellogg, founder of [] a site dedicated to helping individuals be wildly successful in their consulting or freelance business.

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