Tips for Running a Successful Consulting Business Even When the Economy Is Down

Don’t let the headlines and news stories paralyze you. While there’s abundant fear about the economic uncertainty, it’s important that we not let anxiety freeze us into inaction. This is especially true if year-end is historically a slower time for some of us.

Yes, there are layoff announcements and some companies are putting new hiring on hold. However, a recent survey by consulting firm Towers Perrin found that most companies aren’t looking at mass layoffs as a solution in this recession — a departure from past downturns. Most companies that are cutting jobs are doing so in a very targeted fashion, and fully two-thirds of companies surveyed don’t foresee employee layoffs on the horizon.

The good news: many of the companies that have laid off employees will need consulting talent to fill some of the gaps. Often, this work may not be the larger strategic consulting projects we have as our goal, but the client still needs the results. And they need them now — in this quarter, in this fiscal year.

Tips from Successful Consultants

  • Be proactive in searching for and developing new clients and projects. You may need to adjust your pitch or focus on a new set of challenges for the client; and you may need to explore new resources. Don’t be afraid to try new things just because the economy bad.
  • Be mindful of the audience to whom you’re pitching and the place they hold in the direct revenue stream. It’s that revenue stream that’s most crucial to the client, especially today.
  • Be confident in your own value and let that confidence help you in negotiations, but don’t be overly confident.
  • Follow your passions. Continue to search for the clients you really believe in and who fit your “best clients” model; and do your due diligence on potential clients.
  • Use your network productively. Let colleagues know that you’ve some time available, and let them know how you can help them as well.

So let’s cast off the doom and gloom and get busy providing great consulting to our clients, both old and new.' About Deb McClanahan

Principal of BroadBand HR Consulting, Deb is an Executive Search and Human Resources consultant, and has served in WIC's leadership in different roles. As a consultant, she works with companies of all ages and stages to identify talent critical to their success. Her practice also includes compensation, performance, OD, and other HR and business consulting. As a WIC board member, Deb serves today as Secretary overseeing the organizational structure and association development as well as 2-way communication initiatives.

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