One of the biggest industries that seems to have the ability to weather any kind of change in the economy is consulting. The market for operations consulting was as big as $71.2 billion in 2016. Human resources consulting was as large as $30.9 billion in the same time frame.
However, despite the fact that consulting has been a constant in the economy, trends can change fast. With this in mind, here are some of the top trends to watch in regards to starting a consulting business.
One new trend that has appeared in the market is crowdsourced consulting. We typically think of crowdsourcing in terms of funding projects on platforms like KickStarter. However, Wikistrat and other companies that provide a platform for crowdsourcing consulting services are now available as well. Crowdsourcing can refer to any business in which the resources or talent of a large group is pooled. This is certainly possible with consultancy.
In the traditional model of consultancy people are generally used to, analysts work in-house to do things like draft reports and make predictions for clients. However, crowd consulting takes this a bit further. A “crowd” of hundreds of analysts may work together to create simulations to provide similar services. Wikistrat employs 850 academics, consultants, journalists and ex-military personnel to act as their consulting crowd. While this is a significant shift from the traditional consulting business model, it is one that is growing and has potential to grow even more in the coming years.
Another area that has seen significant growth is compliance consulting. This area of consultancy deals with the regulatory frameworks that dictate how businesses can legally operate in countries. In the United States, there are plenty of regulations in almost every industry conceivable. Factories, for example, must follow regulations regarding environmental impact as well as worker safety. Doctors and hospitals must follow healthcare regulations, including those recently enacted under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
While regulations will likely be repealed under the Trump administration, there’s sure to still be hundreds of thousands of regulations that companies both large and small will have to worry about following to maintain their legality. It’s not something likely to go away anytime soon. Compliance consultancy is the perfect career choice for professionals who have had experience working to conform to the regulatory frameworks in different industries. Even carpet cleaner companies must conform to rules and regulations.
Big Data Consulting
Third, big data is making a big wave in consulting. Big data may seem like a hard to define buzzword. However, it’s quite simple. A company collects a lot of information regarding its daily operations, sales, customer interactions, vendors, suppliers, machinery and more. That information is then analyzed to help develop competitive advantages and increase efficiency within the organization.
However, collecting millions or even billions of bytes of data is one thing. Knowing how to use that data to improve a company and its business prospects is another thing entirely. This is where the services of a consultant may come in. For example, a big data consulting firm can show cabinet painter companies what data to record with software. Then they can use the data to forecast trends. It can show those companies how to expand their business logically based on the data. It can also show them how to paint cabinets in a more efficient manner to improve productivity and cost savings. Overall, big data is a big tool to leverage if you know how to use it. The use of consultants can certainly get the most out of this information.
Consulting is a form of business that has been around for thousands of years. While it’s certain to exist for thousands more, it will probably not remain the same for long. If you wish to start a consultancy business, make sure to follow trends in consulting as they develop.
Lee Flynn is from the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, UT. After Lee spent years preparing himself, his home and his family, he decided he had to do more. In his free time, Lee helps educate those who want to do the same. Through small local workshops and articles, Lee trains and teaches others on home preparation, food storage techniques, wilderness survival and self reliance. After obtaining a bachelors degree from the University of Utah, Lee moved to the Salt Lake Valley where he now lives with his wife and daughter.
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