Thats all there is to it. If you do it well, then revenue follows.
Oversimplified? I don't think so. In fact, the deeper you look at what you do as a consultant, the more this makes sense. But finding them is very hard isn't it?
Have you ever seen the reports from McKinsey, IBM, Accenture, KPMG or any other of the large consultancies?
If the information in these reports strikes you as earth shattering and new, then you are way behind the curve. These companies aren't in the discovery game, at least not in their published works.
They are always commenting about a trend that is already underway. Something that the industry already knows.
The entire intention is to inform you - the prospective client - that they know something that could help you. More to the point, they may even have some track record that they can parade in front of clients to show they can be trusted on this issue.
So this isn't discovery for consultants, not really. We should already know the issues and trends that they write about.
So...how to find or create leading practices?
An easy answer; and a harder one.
I read a lot of stuff from Analysts. Gartner Group and Aberdeen Group are particular favorites actually. Again, they often just tell me trends that I already know.
Like the Gartner quote about SaaS being worth around $11.5 billion in 2011. I didn't know the figures, but the trend was everywhere and obvious.
But they tell me something more. They tell me what major companies are doing about it! This is what helps.
(Okay, I understand the issues about the analyst companies business model, suspend disbelief for a second)
Analyst reports often give you cold hard facts, trends that pitch off into some near time future...the sort of thing you can use, and they often tell you what the best are doing in order to be the best in this area.
Nowhere near perfect, but a good start.
The rest comes from you. Keep your ear to the ground. Always be talking with your clients, reading through industry journals, tapped into blogs who are forward thinkers on your subjects, and continue to push the envelope in your own thinking.
It is absolutely astounding what you can think of given enough soltitude and clarity of focus.
Start networking your clients, not just networking with them.
Invite them, or their representatives, to workshops, lunches, purposeful events of some kind, get them all talking together - not just one on one to you.
The role of the consultant is to create, find and spread leading practices. If you aren't seen as leading thought in your area, then you are just a cheaper copy of someone who is.
I can see I am going to post a lot on this over the next couple of days...