Top Consulting Trends for 2019

The consulting industry continues to play a large role in many business industries. The demand for experienced consultants only continues to grow.

Let’s talk about some challenges that are facing the consulting industry, which may cause disruptions. Then, we will move on to talk about current trends in the consulting industry in 2019 and beyond.

Unlike many other industries, consulting is not something that can be automated or left to artificial intelligence. Consulting requires human input and intelligence, which means that it will continue to be in demand. With a deluge of information on any industry on the internet, some companies may turn to “articles” instead of a consultant for customized services. A good consultant is someone who can provide information and advice in a particular niche garnered from experience and education.

Another challenge to consulting firms is the recent trend of employees leaving to join other firms or to start their own freelance agency. There are a number of reasons consultants are doing this. Some of the top reasons include finding a better opportunity, not finding their current compensation and benefits to be adequate, and not finding enough career growth potential in their current positions.

Now, let’s move on to some notable trends. First, prices are going down, due to many freelance consultants and budget agencies providing consulting services at lower costs. On the other hand, some larger consulting firms have been buying off smaller firms. This can raise prices and create a monopoly.

Some companies, instead of hiring outside parties to provide consulting services and advice, are creating built-in teams of strategists to guide their staff.

Something that we may be seeing in the near future is consultants moving towards a value or outcome-based pricing model. Most consultants are still charging clients based on an hourly fee. While this works out better for consultants, it can raise prices for clients, especially if they are not seeing satisfactory results.

It is interesting to note that many consulting firms have reported anxiety due to increased competition, as well as increased customer expectations. Consultants are now striving to meet customer expectations as a top priority.

Diversity is another trend in the global consulting industries. Firms are looking to improve and expand when it comes to diversity. Different backgrounds can be valuable resources for creative problem solving.

With these challenges and trends in mind, the consulting industry will continue to flourish. Management consulting is still needed for a variety of industries (i.e. financial services) as new technologies emerge and customer behaviors change. Disruptions will occur, but consultants that have competitive pricing, personalized services and strong technical knowledge will survive them.

How to Banish Workplace Stress

alexandra arrivillagaIt’s a well known fact that companies with healthy and happy employees tend to perform better overall. This is due to the fact that employees have enough energy and focus to perform as efficiently as possible within their roles. Managing levels of employee stress not only makes for  a more pleasant working environment, but it has been proven time and time again that this allows for employees to have a greater output, quality of work  and potential for retention than their stressed out counterparts. While this may not be terribly surprising or revolutionary news, the truly difficult aspect of this information is creating a company culture that truly enables its employees to appropriately manage their stress levels.

From a higher level perspective, CEOs and the executive team need to identify whether or not high levels of unchecked stress are currently impacting their workforce. If that is indeed the case, then correcting the overwhelming levels of stress taken on by the employees needs to be addressed at multiple levels within the company.

While a healthy amount of stress can lead to employees completing their tasks on deadline and taking their work seriously, too much stress is detrimental to all parties involved. With that being said, below are 5 ways that Managers can aid their workforce on the road to stress recovery!

1. Encourage Your Employees to Get High Tech Healthy

From FitBits, to a million apps and a multitude of other health minded apps, make sure that your employees are using tools that will encourage them to get up and move around, drink more water and even get more restful sleep. Whether you decide to sponsor the cost of a new fitness gadget for all employees, encourage everyone to join a particular app, or reward those who wear FitTech the best, make sure that you are communicating a clear message that health is important and that your employees need to create that space for themselves using the tools available.

2. Meditation

Whether you bring in a speaker on the benefits of meditation, create a quiet room with comfy pillows and blankets designated as a meditation space or demand complete silence and reflection for ten minutes out of the work day, make a point to show that meditation is valuable.

3. Offer Support

Although the First two methods of decreasing the amount of stress at work through encouraging beneficial health and wellness practices, offering support is a bit broader. Make sure that your employees have a clearly defined role and that the expectations are transparent. Additionally, it’s important that employees are qualified and trained appropriately for their jobs. There’s nothing like on the job training, but that is often times not enough, so making a point to regularly evaluate where your employees stand in terms of their skill sets and if there are any gaps in their knowledge is absolutely key to helping the employees not only grow, but be able to competently and comfortably fulfill their roles. In addition to ongoing training, offering proper managerial and structural support is key to ensuring that the employees are able to do their jobs well, and get help if they need it. This is critical in de-stressing your workforce.

While all companies maintain a different approach to de-stressing their workforce, these are some of the most helpful ways to do it, but remember that it requires a holistic, thoughtful and realistic approach.

The Signs That Consulting Is Right For You

Consulting is a career that comes with many perks such as flexible hours, new projects and clients every few months, and autonomy over your work. After hearing this, you might think that consulting is your dream job. However, there are a few things to consider before jumping into the world of consulting. There is a lot of buzz going around about the lucrative industry which is why many professionals are considering making that move to the more fluid and flexible career. It is important to recognize whether or not consulting will be the right fit for you. So, here some of the signs that will tell you that consulting is the right career choice.

 

You Like To Focus On The Work You Are Doing

Do you see yourself as someone who likes to roll up their sleeves and working hard to create outcomes? Then, consulting might be the right fit for you. By going into a career in consulting, you leave behind all the other aspects of being an employee. This means no managing of other people, no more performance reviews, no more worrying about the last company meeting, and no more thinking about your next steps within the organization. Now, some people enjoy managing others and want to be involved in a company’s long-term strategies. However, consultants are primarily detached from all those other things, so if that sounds like something you would enjoy, you would then enjoy working as a consultant.

 

You Lie Control Over Your Schedule and Workload

While consultants don’t exactly work less than other employees do, they do have more of a say in what they work on and when they work. So, if there is a new project to work on that you are not interested in, as a consultant, you can decline that project. Employees, otherwise, wouldn’t have that same luxury. In addition to this, the time you spend working is based on the deliverable. So, when you are able to take away all the other aspects of being an employee, you find that, as a consultant, you can work fewer hours but show more results.

 

You Have A Specific Expertise/Niche

If you are someone who enjoys working in a particular field like email marketing or even social media, then consulting might be the career choice for you. Most companies, when hiring a consultant are looking for someone who can give specific expertise on a project or initiative. They are not seeking general advice on a broad range of topics. However, this is not to say that consulting is your chance to change your expertise. For example, if you have worked on brand marketing your entire career to this point and suddenly want to go into digital analytics, consulting will not be the best way to go about that. Your best bet would be to work as an employee where you can get your feet wet, learn from the other teams within the organizations and get that hands-on experience before you make the jump to consulting.

What You Should Know Before Starting A Consulting Business

Many professionals are becoming more and more interested in starting their own consulting business. It has the perks of a great career path with a lucrative upside. However, what people don’t initially realize is that consulting is not as easy as it appears to be. In fact, it is a lot harder than you might think. Now, this is by no means to discourage you from starting a consulting business if that is what you are passionate about. There are some cautions to be aware that can save you a lot of headaches down the line and move you closer to that dream. So, with that said, here are some of the things you should know before starting a consulting business.

 

You Will Face Cranky People

You’re going to have to deal with cranky people. It is just part of the nature of the job. Consulting is a face-to-face business where you are meeting with people, shaking hands, and have conversations with them. Not many people can handle unpleasant relationships, and if that is the case for you, then you may want to reconsider going into consulting. You are going to deal with people who aren’t the nicest when they speak to you, but part of the job is figuring out who is worth working with and who is not. You will find that at some points, you are going to have to deal with some relationships that aren’t most pleasant to handle.

 

Knowledge Is Your Deliverable

At the end of the day, as a consultant, you were hired for one reason, and that is your knowledge. It is the one thing, individuals and companies expect from their consultant. They want your expertise in the particle niche for which you were hired, and for this reason, you must assert this knowledge and present yourself as the expert. Your clients are hiring you because when it comes to certain projects, you know something that they do not. So, don’t hesitate to tell it like is and deliver the knowledge that they paid for. Some people may agree, and some people may disagree, but you would be doing them a disservice if you didn’t deliver your knowledge to its fullest capacity.

 

You Might Not Be Charging Enough

One of the common mistakes that new consultants make is not charging enough for their service. Whether it is guilt or inexperience, this is a common blunder that most people make. While there is no magic formula for setting your fee, there is a general rule, and that is to charge more than you think you should. You have to remember that just as your clients are getting a return on their investment, so should you. Also, the higher your rate, the better you and your service look. A consultant whose fees are $100 per hour will be viewed as far less valuable than one who charges $5,000 per hour. You are selling yourself and your knowledge, so you want to make sure that clients know it is worth the investment.