When starting out in the business of consulting, it is good to know who your potential clients are going to be. In fact, it can be vital information when deciding how you are going to be marketing your services!
Consultants, depending of course on the field they are engaged in, have clients from a host of different sectors. Whether this is good or bad news in terms of your marketing plan, I do not know, but it does mean a large amount of prospects at least!
Small business consulting is a large area of potential for individuals wishing to become consultants. Small businesses often need help with specific projects that they lack the skills and manpower to handle by themselves.
Ditto individuals within small, medium or large corporations. There will probably come a time where they have a task that requires specialized assistance, which they are unable to handle on their own. That is when the consultant steps in!
Non-profit organizations and NGO’s also regularly use the services of consultants, as do public sector clients, such as local and state government, and even at times national government departments.
Then there is the private sector – companies in every industrial sector, at every level, of every size use consultants.
Moreover, that is what can make your marketing planning so tricky! You will need to decide whether you are going to focus on public or private enterprises, on a particular industry for example the boutique consulting industry. You will also have to decide whether to target your services at a specific size business – for example small businesses only.
By choosing a niche, you do set yourself up better to become an expert, and to be known as such within your chosen sphere. The downside is that niche marketing can paint you into a corner when things get tough, as opposed to being a generalist!
Since it is clear that there is no limit to who your client’s could potentially be, the onus is on you to decide who you would like to work for.
Many consultants choose to work solely within a specific organization, for example insurance companies. On the other hand, they choose a specific industry, such as automotive manufacturers, to market their services to.
Narrowing the field of your services to, to a specific target, for instance, small business, marketing, or IT, further enhances your chances of enhancing your niche marketing potential.
It may be tempting to market your services as a generalist, to all and sundry. But it also seems clear that by targeting your approach, rather than just throwing the net out there and hoping you catch something, you may actually improve your chances of success in consulting.
Maybe what is best is to sit down and think about which companies could use your services, afford to pay for them, and who you would like to work for. This will be one of the first steps in formulating your consulting marketing plan and will help determine your marketing approach.
At least, with so many possibilities out there, you do have options – if your chosen niche appears to be the wrong one, you can always look elsewhere for prospects. Remember, no marketing plan is written in stone and it can and should be flexible!