May 20, 2024
5 Tips for New Consultants to Hit the Ground Running
Career Pharmaceutical

5 Tips for New Consultants to Hit the Ground Running

Jan 9, 2024

Lots of people want to become a consultant, but they can’t seem to make up their minds.

Their primary concern is how to start on the first project. Particularly, if you come from the traditional employer/employee work models, the consultancy world may seem intimidating – with its fast pace, lack of formality, and laser-like focus on goals.

Knowing and doing a few easy things will make your entry into the consulting world effortless.

And while I can’t claim that I am a settled consultant – I joined the consultancy world less than 3 years ago – I can say that I’ve come a long way. A few basic things make my job easier. It wasn’t always that way, and I’ve had my share of struggles along the way. But I’m on much more solid grounds these days.

Here are 5 effective tips for new consultants.

  1. Set up google alerts for your client

Sounds easy, right? It’s also a must.

Takes a minute to do it. Google Alerts give you the latest online information – news, blogs, videos, and finance – related to your keywords. You can get a daily or weekly summary – I’d recommend weekly, not daily, to avoid information overload. (I want to know about Roger Federer and Denzel Washington but not every day.)

This is the most efficient way to learn about your client and the industry they’re in. This information may come in handy during a crucial juncture in the project. Being better informed = More valuable to the project.

Don’t think too much about it.

Set up Google alerts for your client and other keywords now.

On a side note, you should also set up a Google Alert for your name to periodically check your web presence.

  1. Know basic financial data for your client

I can’t tell you the number of times a basic question like “What’s Client X’s total annual revenue?” has come up in internal discussions.

You want to be the one that can provide an accurate answer, as opposed to “Oh, I think it’s something like $10-20 billion…let me check.”

An inaccurate answer is like a wide weather forecast (e.g. 2 to 22 inches of snow expected). Sure, there are numbers in it but it’s not useful.

Some key numbers about your client to know:

  • Market cap
  • Overall revenue
  • Gross profit
  • Margins (profit and operating)
  • Number of users/employees

Memorizing them doesn’t take long. I promise you that it will come in handy.

  1. Learn about the client CEO and senior management

Regardless of the size of your client company, knowing about the CEO (and the senior management) is beneficial.

Even if it’s a fortune 500 company, and you don’t get an opportunity to work directly with the CEO. Ask around. Use Google and YouTube. Learn from the media. Know their strategy and priorities. Not only it will make you a better project contributor, but also enlighten you on the occasional unexpected factors that no one can explain. This becomes particularly useful and apparent when the project suddenly and drastically changes direction.

But if you have learned about the CEO/senior management long-term strategic direction, you will have insight into the changes happening.

  1. Store the contact information for all people on your team

Obvious, right?

More so in the ever-expanding remote work culture. At some point, you will need something from someone very quickly – maybe a yes or no answer. A keyperson will be missing in the meeting. Not intentionally. But the meeting got buried in half a dozen other meetings.

Having everyone’s contact information will enable you to reach anyone quickly.

It also comes in handy to stay in touch and send Christmas and holiday greetings.

  1. Thoroughly review previous client-related work

This is like reverse reference checking.

Instead of finding out what the person is to work with, find out what the person(s) is like to work for. If your consulting firm has done work for your client in the past, use it. Reach out to your colleagues who have done the work. Ask them about the company culture and people’s personalities. Review the documents.

It will help you adjust your expectations, be more effective and valuable to the client, and identify growth opportunities for you.

 

Joining a consulting firm can be intimidating for first timers.

But in the end, it’s all about working on interesting problems and developing new skills by working with good people.

Doing these 5 things, which will literally take you minutes, will make it easier for you to hit your new gig running. Maybe even fun.

 

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