In the year 2016, the size of the consulting market worldwide was around 133 billion US dollars. By the year 2020, this market is expected to expand to 158 billion US dollars globally.
Take a look at just the management consulting niche in the US, and you will see that the same report shows annual growth in employment for five years consecutively until 2016 in this sector.
Over 637,000 people were employed as management consultants in the year 2016- a whopping number that is still on the rise.
Clearly, there is immense competition in this segment, and that could pose a huge challenge for a business like yours that may just be starting out.
There is no question that making your presence felt among many competitors, most of whom may be better established or longer running in this niche, can become quite an uphill task.
This especially is true if you do not have an effective strategy to make sure your consultancy business stands apart from the crowd. But what IS an effective way to do that?
That is the million dollar question. Well, here are a few ideas you may be able to implement to make your prospective clients see why you offer better value to them than your competitors.
Establish a clear differentiator
The easiest way to set your business apart is to have a distinctive feature, something unique about your service.
That might sound simple but when you are running a business that is similar to scores of others in the marketplace, finding something that you can do differently is quite a difficult task.
A good way to make yourself distinctive would be to tweak your service offering in a way that is not the norm in your niche.
For example, you could offer a guarantee on results, something that most consultancies balk at doing because there are so many factors that could impact outcomes.
There is a risk associated with giving such guarantees, but the reward is great too, so that’s one good thing you can consider.
Advertise your flexibility/adaptability
A consultant who can quickly regroup to keep pace with the clients’ evolving businesses is a valuable ally for them, but rarely do consultants leverage this.
You need to realize that this could be one major area of concern especially for a client who is expanding quickly- wondering if the consultant they hire will be too rigid in their work techniques and only work within the boundaries of the initial brief.
If the client’s business is changing on an ongoing basis, then you can be effective as a consultant only if you tweak your recommendations to match up, even if it means you have to rework to some extent.
Not only must you be flexible enough to match the new needs of your clients as they grow but also you must take care to showcase that you are able to and willing to do so.
This makes you a very appealing prospect for fast-growing businesses that can take your consultancy business along when they soar to the top.
Be willing to share knowledge
Building trust is the key to attracting more clients in the marketplace. As a consultancy business owner, you want to be seen as someone with a great deal of expertise in your chosen niche; in fact, you want to be seen as the person with the most expertise when compared with your competitors.
The best way to do that is to showcase your knowledge, share it freely with all. You can do this very efficiently by putting out podcasts, blog posts, videos and other kinds of content and also by actively helping your existing clients with insights and contributions in areas that are not strictly part of the brief you have accepted.
Doing so makes the client begin to look upon you as a ‘partner’ in his/her business growth rather than an outsider, and the chances that they will keep coming back to you whenever they have needs you can fulfill is higher.
To make yourself appealing to clients, you need to make your business distinctive too. Implement these ideas to set yourself apart from the crowd, and you will find it easier to both garner new clients and retain them for the long run. It is also good to protect yourself by having consultant liability insurance when claims happened.