With the explosion of the internet and all the guidance and information users want, anyone can claim to be a business consultant.
It is a job title that appears easy to slap on your CV, take credit for work not done and achievements and awards that are non-existent and put together to impress clients. But what separates successful consultants from the rest?
To be a successful business consultant requires good habits. If you want to be a successful business consultant, you don’t need a set of hard-to-follow rules, but you need good habits.
You can use these habits to grow and develop critical thinking skills.
Let’s look at some habits of highly successful business consultants:
1. They Have Morning Routines
This often-overlooked action is a key secret to starting the day stronger. This may seem basic, but starting your day early gives time to think and strategize before the rest of the world wakes up, and distractions get thrown at you.
When you wake up early, you speak positivity to your day. You have time to meditate and exercise. It also gives you time to collect your thoughts, go through your to-do list, prioritize activities for the day.
A good way to ensure you wake up earlier and not sleep-deprived is by going to bed before 11 pm. Going to bed at mid-night may mean that you wake up groggy and not able to start the day in the upbeat way you should. Want to be a sound-minded, successful business consultant?
Sleep early and wake up earlier.
2. They Schedule Their Activities
Creating a schedule makes tasks make it small enough to be estimated, managed, monitored and controlled.
Successful business consultants know that this way, you don’t get overwhelmed with work and end up not achieving anything.
A successful consultant values his schedule and will plan his appointments and activities to maintain mental clarity and measure success. Jumping into every meeting just because you have a few minutes will not help a business consultant grow.
A schedule helps you stick to a goal, track your goals, and manage your time.
3. Their Clarity of Focus is a Habit
This trait is one that big businesses like McKinsey, BCG and Bains look for business consultants that can cut through the clutter and think critically.
When creating business solutions for clients, there will appear a million ways you can approach the problem. Also, thanks to the availability of information, there will be a myriad of data and information available to the consultant, but the consultants that become successful are the ones that can prioritize the right things at the right time.
A successful consultant will also use the 80/0 rule. The saying that 80% of your results will come from 20% of your efforts A successful consultant can leverage this lopsided rule and help their clients succeed.
Build a sturdy structure, prioritize your structure. Be comfortable not focusing on everything at once so you can focus on the most important things.
4. They Build Rapport
A business consultant who has a problem-solving mindset uses rapport building tactics to get the support of the client without always saying ‘yes’ to the client.
A successful client builds value in every interaction or touchpoint, will ask the keenest questions. Often, this means having the right analysis backed by the right data.
This will help the business consultant confidently recommend solutions, and this elevates the consultant to trusted advisor status.
A business consultant that consistently helps the client win through the rapport and confidence the client has in their recommendation will be successful.
5. They Have Speed
Speed in consulting is a simple concept. The quicker your business is, the more you can get done, which increases your output.
Why is this critical? With more output, the more solutions that you provide.
While accuracy can be more substantial than speed when you launch your consulting career, speed is the inevitable progression for a successful consultant.
However, what makes successful business consultant different is the speed with which they can get to their analyses or insights and help the client.
Exceptional consultants don’t just excel at focusing on the important 20%; they are also extremely swift to get to what’s important without keeping the client waiting for too long for a solution or wondering if there is no solution to their business issue.
As time goes on, consultants recognize patterns and can get to their analysis more quickly. To get to this level, successful consultants seek mentorships and guidance from thought leaders and follow industry leaders online.
This is because that close mentorship—constantly being pushed to speed something up, answer the question first, or expedite the data analysis—helps focus consultants.
6.They Are Not Inflexible
A flexible business consultant is one with the ability to respond to changes both rapidly and at a low cost.
Business consultants are perhaps the most flexible people, by nature of their position as hired external consultants is another reason that it’s so important for consultants to be flexible is that they’re often the first to experience the waves of change and its effects.
When a company cuts costs, they cut the consultants first by reducing the volume of projects.
A successful consultant is one that is aware of trends related to their industry and responds by utilizing this information to serve his clients best.
We expect you to maintain authoritative opinions about things you are an expert on. This adds to their credibility. But a consultant is not to be opinionated and inflexible to where he is no longer a listener, and when you don’t listen to others or specifically your client, how are they supposed to ask you questions.
And when your clients stop asking questions, this could mean you are no longer listening, and it will likely affect the business relationship.
Contemplating things not to change is just impracticable. If a consultant expects things to go exactly as planned, they lose credibility with their clients.
But a consultant needs to know when to listen to a client and find a middle ground, maybe about the layout of a design solution or to resolve conflict with a client.
We are often told that being uncompromising is a beneficial trait, like ‘we will not compromise on quality.’ That’s not a bad thing, but if a business consultant is uncompromising with everything and only wants to get their way, clients will stop dealing with them.
Another trait that is distinctly common with consultants because they think they’re supposed to be the experts. If they have a plan and the client comes up with a better idea, consultants feel almost reluctant to admit that the client that hired them has a more brilliant idea and may want their own ideas to be implemented.
This is, of course, at the detriment of the project. If your client is saying something you think is brilliant, it’s ok to admit it instead of trying to sway them to your own thinking or ideas alone.
The consultant’s role is to facilitate solutions. As a habit, consultants also add value by making clients comfortable and drawing out ideas from them. And compromising on those solutions makes for a better consultant.
Ultimately, inflexible people often want to stick with a standard routine. They often take the same route to work, work in the same office building for years. They get to work at the same time and leave at the same time every day.
If a business consultant gets set on a fixed routine like that, it may affect their response to uncertainties with the client while it’s great to be consistent. A consultant should have a variable schedule that can differ from one day to the next.
7. They Want to See Ideas Come to Life
Innovative ideas are never far from the minds of successful consultants. They are passionate about helping these ideas to fruition through implementing the same in their client’s business.
They want to help their clients set the appropriate business goals and assist them in conceptualizing and converting their dreams into business plans and business plans into execution and reality.
8. They Ask Questions
Questions unearth the visions the clients have for their business and also reveal their preferred future. Skilful use of questions will give the consultant valuable insight that will support your relationship.
Listening is crucial to building trust in the client-consultant relationship. One outstanding quality of successful consultants is they ask questions and pay attention to the answers. They are unfrightened to request clarifications when in doubt.
They wholly want to make certain they comprehend what they are being asked to do. Clients consistently place their trust in curious consultants and tend to appreciate their role in the project.
If you master these eight areas, you’ll find success as a business consultant. Your ability to keep a consistent routine, assist customers with your effective, respectful questioning.
Also, showing genuine enthusiasm and interest in client growth. Consulting isn’t about handing down expert opinions; it’s about succeeding with the client.
Successful business consultants adopt a structure to problem-solving that involves defining the problem, gathering relevant data, listening to stakeholders, and implementing solutions.
They can do all these because of the good habits they create. Want to succeed as a consultant?
Form good habits, and you will be extremely successful in what you do!
About the Author
Eugen Spivak is a multi-award-winning author, business strategist, and a business coach. Eugen is the founder of the Canadian Institute of International Business, an organization focused on a better way to learn business!
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