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Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of The Society for the Advancement of Consulting, LLC - Issue #76: January, 2010

Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of the Society for Advancement of Consulting, LLC<br>

My predictions for you for 2010:

  1. The jobs market will improve dramatically and there will be a resurgence in hiring. That means opportunity for those assisting in search, selection, and so on. It could mean some problems for those consultants doing work which might now be undertaken by full-time employees.
  2. IT and technical consulting will encounter a fork in the road. One will lead to increased strategic considerations and purer consulting, using a client's business objectives to guide the nature of technical support and innovation. The other fork will lead to increased commoditization, downward pressure on time-based fees, and practitioners who are merely a mindless pair of hands.
  3. More large consulting firms will turn to value based fees (and probably claim they invented it!) because their hourly billing simply can't sustain them any more. However, they won't have the talents to pull this off very well, and solo practitioners utilizing value-based pricing will continue to have the advantage.
  4. "Communities" of professionals who help each other will continue to grow and proliferate, and those non-profits and trade associations which are merely a conference and a newsletter are going to have problems with declining populations. I hope I'm wrong, but I think the Institute of Management Consultants will continue to see declining membership (as will the National Speakers Association).
  5. Financial services, health care, professional services, real estate, and international expansion will be some of the largest growth potential for consulting.
  6. Remote consulting will become more desirable from the client's perspective, since it will be less costly, more flexible, and more inclusive. Part of this will be fueled by technology, such as virtual meetings and Skype, but some by a sea change in buyer's expectations about results instead of mere presence.
  7. It will be vital to build on strengths and shore up any critical weaknesses. Repeat business will no longer be so assured since there are so many other alternatives easily discovered. Marketing and sales skills for consultants will be absolutely essential, mandatory for the successful solo consultant or boutique firm owner.
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