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November 25, 2008

As Wall Street steadies, what does the future hold for consultants

Leaks from President Elect Obama's camp have helped buoy the economy, at least for a short time. The Market seems comforted knowing that at least there is a competent team on the way. One that will help direct the economy towards stability and maybe even more abundant times one day.

So how can we help? What is it exactly that consultants do? We facilitate the spread of leading practices. Period! We watch and study, learn and create, and then implement practices, technologies and programs that will improve the businesses of our clients.

For us, networking is more important now than it has been in the recent past.

Times are tough, they are going to get tougher, and many of our clients are focusing on sustaining profits with demand turning downwards. This means costs, and this means cutting discretionary spending.

So if you are a consultant, and we all are these days, then you need to work doubly hard to express your value and the value you can add to clients in this particular point in history.

Opportunities abound...

Plastics manufacturers and suppliers are being hit by the housing industry crisis and the technological shift away from CD's and towards digital music . Where do they need help? Cost cutting, efficiency, reductions in waste, and increasing the value they get from every operational dollar they spend.

Are you innovative enough to help them create an entirely new market? Then pitch for it, and do it now!

Paper manufacturers are reeling from the reduction in paper based systems all over the world. Newspapers are giving way  to blogs and webzines, paper money is giving way to credit cards and other forms of stored value, books are giving way to Kindle books and audio books .

Again - how can you help these companies to be productive without waste? (The dictionary meaning of efficiency by the way) Or are you the innovator who can help them to develop entirely new markets for their products?

For all the talk about the death of the newspaper and Magazine industries, these companies till hold brands that are respected, trusted, and hold a lot of inherent value.

What they need is somebody who can show them, very clearly, how to rapidly use the trust that their brands have engendered into online products and services somehow.

How can the Economist transform not into an online version of the magazine, but as an online influence broker capable of influencing the worlds leading decision makers? How can other journals become a powerful counterpoint to controlled online media spewing out of Asia and the Middle East?

Is anybody even considering that Oil and Gas companies are now facing oil prices nearly $100 less than they were at their height? How much cost cutting is going to be needed there?

What about financing? Credit is hard to get these days? But there are loads of wealthy private investors who are always looking for high yielding investments? Can you match a client needing finance with an VC or private investor?

A Network of Rivals

As The Consultant your goal in all of these situations, and any others that you may come across, is to provide a way forward. A way to make things better in some form, and a way to thrive in times of crisis.

But you aren't smart enough to do it alone, and thats okay!

You have a network. People who are thriving, people with very specific areas of expertise, people who know people, and people who have ready cash to invest.

Get them together, do it today.

Get your clients to attend a lunch where one of your more successful clients can discuss with them how they were able to dramatically reduce the costs of their operations.

Or get them into a workshop with online business development leaders who can help them to brainstorm and build new phases for distributing their content.

The more you connect with other people, the more you will be able to connect them to each other, and the more you will be able to thrive in times of crisis.