Consulting Tips 101: Where to begin

By theconsultant. Published on Monday April 25, 2022

When you go to the doctor to check up on a medical issue, we call it consulting. Yes? But what if I told you that helping or advising someone using your skills and expertise is consulting? Would it make more sense to know what consulting is? Once you figure out that you have a skill or expertise which you can use, you will be able to answer the question ‘why consulting?’. How to navigate this new space then becomes the next question which will also help you navigate where and why a specific firm or place or even space in the industry.

We are going to go through four aspects which you need to consider as you begin.

Type of consulting

You can be a consultant in any kind of industry. There are different types of consulting and a majority of them fit into five major categories; strategy consulting, operations consulting, financial consulting, information technology consulting and human resources consulting. Understanding this will help you know where your skills and expertise is. And what specific companies or/and organisations do narrowing down your search when seeking or when you are approached by a client. In essence, it will help you remain focused.

Industry

There are also different types of industries. These include, but are not limited to; automotive, healthcare, government, environment, real estate, financial, hospitality, energy, consumer products, retail, education, hospitality, transportation, telecommunication, pharmaceuticals and the public sector among others. You will need to do some research to figure it all out. Which industry would you specialise to get the most out of your skills and expertise? Understand the different industries and how they operate. This will also help you know where your interest lies.

Niche

Once you discover your industry/industries, break it down even further. What really resonates with you? For example if we pick on the environment as an industry we have niches ranging from sustainable development, oil and gas, mining, sanitation, water, wildlife, climate change, hotel, transport, Human Resource, IT, environmental policy, environmental impact assessments, environmental impact audits, among others. The list is endless and is in most cases linked to your expertise – What do you do? What can you provide? Most of these niches overlap with other industries. You will also be in a position to identify who your client will be.

Focus / Day to Day

This is linked to the type of consulting you have chosen. What happens from a day to day basis in that sector? When you break down strategy consulting, for example, this is consulting that will help a company reach a strategic answer. They answer ‘the what’ – What should a company do? Other consulting types focus on specific functions like financials.

Once you understand the consulting types you will be able to know what work is needed and where your strengths in your specific skills and expertise are.