Working as a consultant, and working as a successful consultant, can be two very different things. From understanding your strengths to how you communicate with people, there are many important factors that help elevate the success of a consultant.
The Consultant Hub explains what traits and skills consultants should have in order to maximise their effectiveness and their chances of success.
Consultants thrive when they’re able to deliver a quality service. Being thorough in the work you deliver, and in how you manage your consultancy, provides a solid foundation for ongoing success. It also ensures you don’t miss anything, like an aspect of a project, a legal requirement or a financial obligation.
Successful consultants will have a deep understanding of their specific industry – influencers, terminology, clients, and their customers, their needs and expectations.
Capitalising on knowledge and experience can help you to not only find work, due to being able to navigate an industry. It can also help you deliver better results, due to a deeper understanding of what leads to success for your clients.
When working for yourself you should be financially astute, be able to manage your finances, and ensure your consultancy remains profitable.
This stems not only from understanding the value of the work you do, but also being able to take care of your taxes, expenses and other financial responsibilities which go hand in hand with being self-employed.
Successful consultants will play to their professional strengths and find ways to work around their weaknesses.
Understanding what you do well and where you might struggle allows you maximise your effectiveness as a consultant. This puts emphasis on those areas where you’re able to demonstrate high levels of skill, while downplaying areas where you might run into problems. For instance, from a skills perspective or dealing with a topic or area that you aren’t as proficient in.
Self-awareness can also help with your motivation, so you should remain aware of your goals and the driving reasons behind being a consultant. When working for yourself, you need this mind-set to drive you to do your job and do it well.
As you start out as a consultant, you’ll need to work hard to break into your industry, develop a customer base and build your reputation.
Being persistent and maintaining your focus on growing your business is crucial when getting established. Understanding that you won’t always succeed, and that you’re building from the ground up, can help to temper expectations and motivate you to be successful. The most successful consultants will be undeterred by mishaps or failures and you should look to do the same.
Building your contacts, resources and a list of potential clients is absolutely paramount in business.
One of the key ways to do this as a consultant is to master the art of networking. Not only do you need to be able to connect with people, manage and develop relationships and maintain a network of contacts. You should also understand the levels of preparation and research that go into preparing for a networking event. This involves working out who you want to talk to, researching their business, understanding what their needs might be and what you could talk about.
This will give you a firm foundation for opening a conversation, leading to more success from your networking efforts.
These traits are applicable throughout your time as a consultant, from getting started and established to building on an existing network. Understanding what can help elevate your work as a consultant, and build on the platform this can provide, is crucial to long-term success.