How to be a consultant in India

6 min read
Vipin Labroo

For those of you who want to know how to be a consultant in India, it is important to understand what being a consultant is all about.

You can become a consultant without having to invest anything — or even leave your job.

Businesses hire advisors for everything from management and operations advice to office design and decor. The only requirement is that you have experience and demonstrated skill in your field before launching a career as a consultant.

Here are the five steps to becoming a business consultant.

1. Identify your strength

The first step in becoming a business consultant is to develop a skill. You can advise or counsel people only about something that you are yourself extremely adept at.

For instance, if you are a wizard at coding and programming, you can look at advising businesses about their software development and business processes.

IT consultant sitting at his desk with a smartphone

Because an extremely large number of businesses in India are yet to fully embrace the power of computers for their businesses, a software development consultant could do quite well for himself or herself.

Similarly, a journalist covering the business beat would be well-positioned to become a public relations (PR) consultant. Such a person could advise businesses on how best to promote themselves via newspapers, magazines, television and newswires.

Somebody who has practiced in a court of law for many years could offer legal consultancy to businesses or individuals who need it.

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2. Find a profitable niche

It is all very well to have realized what you excel at, but it will be of little use if there isn’t much demand for it from people willing to pay for your expertise.

You may be an expert at outdoor advertising but may find it challenging to get people to hire you to advise them about that because the COVID-19 pandemic has put a halt to most outdoor advertising activity.

If, on the other hand, you are well-versed with the nuances of human resources (HR) management, you could use that skill to set up a successful human resources consultancy.

There is a demand for workers at most times, and if you have skill in this area, you could do really well for yourself. Even in times of a pandemic, businesses need expert advice on transitioning employees to a WFH (work-from-home) scenario.

3. Sell solutions, not services

The next step in becoming a business consultant has to do with how you think about yourself. Being a consultant is not the same thing as being an employee. You have to position yourself as not just a competent professional, but a problem-solver extraordinaire.

The knottier the problem you help your client solve, the more successful you will be and the more money you will make.

Two people looking at machinery
Be ready to show how you have solved past clients’ problems to their delight.]
Photo: Science in HD on Unsplash

If, as a financial consultant, you can show a business owner that it is possible to stop making a loss by implementing certain financial measures, you will have earned more than their gratitude.

You will have earned a long-term client, someone who will likely recommend you heartily.

When presenting your services, let your prospects know of your reputation as a problem-solver. They will be quicker to engage you if they think you have the exact solution to their pressing issue, rather than if you just position yourself as a competent professional.

4. Price yourself well

The biggest mistake by any business consultant is to underprice their services to establish their consulting business. This will likely only give you the reputation of a low-quality consultant who can be made to work more for less.

It is important to come out of this mindset and instead focus on providing real value and demanding fair compensation for it.

If you can solve your clients’ pressing problems in a manner that satisfies them, they will have no issues in paying you what you want.

For example, if, as a legal consultant, you suggest a course of action that helps a company avoid a huge financial penalty, they would hardly grudge you the high fee that you might demand for your expert advice.

Related: How to avoid becoming a startup failure

5. Specialization is the key

For a consultant to be taken seriously, he or she should be seen as a specialist, perhaps even a super-specialist.

If you are a digital marketing consultant, you would do well to excel at a specialty such as:

Handsome young man with only half his face showing

You can offer your superior skills at managing one aspect of their digital marketing and show them how you can make that work for their business in a most impactful manner. When the client sees what you can do for them, they would be more than happy to hire you and pay you the price that you ask for your services.

Editor's note: Start promoting your consulting services online in less than 10 minutes with Online Starter Bundle.

Now you know how to be a consultant

While it is a great idea to try and strike out on your own by becoming a consultant in India, you should have a fair idea about what you're getting into.

The very first thing you should do is identify your strengths or skill area.

You can advise people only about something you are very good at.

Secondly, you should determine whether your area of expertise is in-demand. Thirdly, for you to go ahead and make a success of your consultancy business, you must present yourself as a problem-solver rather than a merely competent professional.

The ability to receive a fair price for your services is the fourth important attribute of a successful business consultant. If you possess the wherewithal to solve your clients’ serious problems in a very effective manner, you should not hesitate to demand a fair price for it.

Lastly, it would do you well to understand that the most successful consultants are those who are seen as niche specialists in a specific domain. This gives them the ability to impress clients with the results they obtain and in turn receive a fair price for their excellent services.

We hope the advice given above adequately answers the question as to how to become a business consultant.

Good luck!

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