Are you thinking about specializing in a specific area of consulting?
But what exactly does specialization mean? And how can you become a specialized consultant?
Being a specialist doesn’t just mean choosing a specific type of project, such as B. Finance or strategy. To be successful, you should also consider other aspects of the process.
In the following article, we will discuss four aspects of specialization and show you how to find the right niche.
What does specialization mean in consulting?
Consulting is a broad term encompassing various niches, such as business consulting, strategy consulting, and digital transformation, to name just a few. If you are new to consulting, deciding on a specific consulting niche and specialize is almost impossible. The consulting firm you work for will have you start with the basics, which includes projects from all areas of consulting.
Once you get used to the process, think carefully and find the niche you are passionate about. You could ask your supervisors to give you specific projects related to the consulting niches you like.
As time passes and your experience grows, you will discover more clearly which niche you want to specialize in.
Specialization includes not only the type of work you do but also several other factors such as geographical location, type of industry, type of service, etc. Let us take a look at these factors below.
KEY FACTS AT A GLANCE
- Specializing in a specific niche can help you become a thought leader in that specialized industry.
- Specialists can charge a higher price and attract new customers more efficiently.
- Specialization may be based on a specific industry, geographic location, customer problems, or organizational tasks.
- A consultant should find a niche they are passionate about that will grow in the future.
- You should conduct a competitor analysis before deciding which niche you want to specialize in.
- Finally, ensure that the market accepts the service you plan to offer.
- Specialization by location
Are you an expert on the economics and political affairs of the European Union? Or have you lived in Singapore for the last ten years and therefore know the market well? Before you decide what type of consultant you want to become, look at the world map and select the locations where you will most likely succeed. Being an expert in a specific geographical area could have a snowball effect. For example, if a potential client types “best freelance marketing consultant in Frankfurt” into Google, your name could be at the top. Other clients could find you using the same method, which in turn means an increase in the number of inquiries for you.
- Specialization by industry
Whether technology, government, or finance, specializing in an evergreen industry comes with benefits. For example, you can be sure that there will be constant work for you in the future. This, in turn, will guarantee you a stable income. Second, when you market yourself as an expert in an industry, you become the go-to person for clients in that industry and a consultant who is in high demand and can command a high fee.
Before you decide on a specialization, you should find out about the future growth of this industry. For example, A financial advisor specializing in stocks could be in trouble in the next decade as AI and online trading websites take over the industry and make stock advisors obsolete.
- Specialization according to the role of customers
As a freelance consultant, you can only offer your services to specific groups of people within a client’s company. For example, if you are a corporate strategy consultant, choose to work only with CEOs and advisory boards. If, on the other hand, you decide to specialize in human resources consulting, you will primarily support the human resources department of the customer company.
- Specialization by type of problems
What business problems have you solved in the past? Is there a particular type of problem that you’re good at? If so, you should find a niche specializing in solving these problems. Let’s take cost reduction as an example. Regardless of industry, every company follows a common goal: reduce costs and increase profits. Suppose you are one of the consultants who can develop better processes, streamline existing processes, optimize resource allocation, and negotiate with suppliers. In that case, you should try to specialize in cost reduction.
And that’s just one example – there are many other problems that companies regularly face and therefore turn to consultants for. So are, e.g., E.g., lead generation, mergers and acquisitions, overseas expansion, market-entry, etc., some issues that businesses face from time to time. It is advisable to list problems you are particularly good at solving and then specialize in this area.
How do you find a specialization that suits you?
With all these specialization options, you may find deciding on a consulting niche challenging. So let’s take a look below at how you can find the best alternative for your career:
- Choose a specialization that is close to your heart
What makes you get up in the morning? When do you feel like you have achieved something in your role as a consultant? List the projects and events that made you feel perfect. If you look at the list, you may notice that many consulting projects you particularly enjoyed in the past were in a specific niche. This may be your niche!?
- Choose a niche that is in demand and will grow in the future.
You don’t want to work in a consulting niche for years only to find that it’s no longer in demand. Therefore, you should first do thorough research and ask experienced consultants about the prospects of success in specific consulting sectors. For example, if you’re considering specializing in retail, remember that e-commerce is a multi-billion dollar global phenomenon that is literally overtaking retail. So, choose your specialization carefully!
- Conduct a competitor analysis.
So, you’ve chosen a consulting niche you’re passionate about, which will likely grow. Now, remember that there are many other advisors with the same goal. So, if you’re considering starting your business as a digital transformation consultant, do a quick LinkedIn search to find out how many competitors you’ll have in this specialization.
However, if the competition turns out to be fierce, don’t be discouraged. There is still the option to narrow down your niche to reduce the number of competitors. As a result, you could, for example, become a digital transformation consultant but only work with SMEs in London. In this way, competition decreases significantly.
- Test before you go all out
This is the final step if you want to find a niche that suits you long-term. Let the market validate your offer first. Market validation means selling a product or service before it even exists. So you should, e.g., B. Know what your target group wants, when they want it, and how often and how much they are willing to pay.
In summary, specialization brings many advantages. You could become a leader in a particular niche and charge a higher price. It will also make finding new business more manageable, as your reputation as a “go-to business” will attract customers. However, you must carefully research before choosing a consulting niche to specialize in. Whether you choose a geographic location or a specific problem, you should know the demand, competition, and future growth in that area.