You've decided that you've got everything it takes to be a consultant, and you're ready to build your consultancy brand. How will you start? What will your brand promise be? How will you position your brand in the market? How will you compete?
These are just a few of the million questions running through your head.
One way to start sorting through them is to focus on what kind of consultant you'll be.
On Monday, we talked about the questions you need to ask to learn if consultancy is right for you. If you have determined that, yes, this is the right path, the next step is to position your brand in the market (i.e. determine what is unique about you and how you will use that to build a unique brand).
Where to start?
What Type of Consultant will You Be?
There are many different kinds of consultants, and those varieties can change, depending on the industry in which you're working.
Here are a few different types of consultants (and options you should consider as you begin to define your brand):
- The Gap Finder: Some consultants are hired to come into an organisation and look for problems—to identify the reasons that things just aren't going as expected. This type of consultant will have the knowledge and experience to pinpoint common problems, as well as the perseverance and motivation to investigate not-so-common glitches.
- The Outsider: Sometimes, all that's needed for a business to get back on track (or on track for the very first time) is the expert advice of an outsider-looking-in. Too many things aren't obvious from "inside the globe." And are glaringly obvious (especially to a professional) who can view everything objectively.
- The Full-Time Consultant: Some consultants work as permanent fixtures, constantly monitoring operations to ensure the highest efficiency and effectiveness.
- The Contractor: Other consultants work on and as-needed basis; to come in for quarterly reviews and strategy sessions, or to intervene when problems arise.
- The Teacher: Some organisations will want a consultant to put their team on the right track—to create a well-oiled, self-propelled machine—and then leave them to their own, well-educated, devices. This type of consultant is focussed on creating self-sustaining businesses who credit their solid starts to great training. This may seem like a once-and-done sale; however, as this type of consultancy grows, it can include things like new-employee training and yearly process reviews.
- The Change Agent: Change is necessary for business growth; however, change isn't always welcomed. Often, a consultant is needed to come in to escort and motivate—to guide teams through the rigors of change and to create the best environment for success.
- The Motivator: Sometimes, a company needs a good swift kick in the arse by a positive, practiced motivator. Maybe current management hasn't been effective in this area. Or, maybe the staff simply isn't on board with (or hasn't been enlightened to) the brand's mission, vision and values. This type of consultant is a team-builder at heart.
- The Bad Guy (or Gal): Some consultants make a career of going into organisations and "trimming the dead wood." This includes unpleasant tasks like reprimands, restructurings and firings. When strategised and orchestrated with the best interest of the organisation and its people in mind, this can actually be a satisfying and rewarding type of consultancy…and one that pays well.
- The Connector: If a business owner is not a fan of networking, or simply doesn't have the time, energy or desire to get out there and make profitable connections, a consultant can advise on the best places to make those connections, and the most direct ways to enact them. This type of consultant often maintains a massive list of deep, meaningful business connections and then makes business-to-business connections for clients based on common values and visions.
- The All-Around Expert: This is a great approach if you've been "in the business" for decades, and have built a reputation for yourself. Your name is well-known, and you can expect to be hired based solely on your reputation. This can be risky, because specialising is usually best. Make your practice too general, and you'll fail to appeal to those who need a specific service. However, if your reputation in the industry really does precede you, this can be a viable option.
Use what's unique about you to determine what type of consultancy will best fit your skills, your goals and your passion. Do the work and ask the hard questions now, to avoid having to redo it all in the future—a fate that will cost your business big-time money, effort and time…all of which you can never recoup.
At How to Build a Brand, we're all about getting it right the first time, spending the absolute minimum investment, and getting every resource you'll need all in one place. It doesn't get much simpler than that, and you can gain a feel for the type of network we support by joining the FREE How to Build a Brand Facebook group, where freedom-focussed entrepreneurs are gathering to learn how to build their purposed-driven brands.
In just a short amount of time, we'll be starting the 10-Day Content Strategy Challenge in the group. Join now so you don't miss it!