Strategic planning consultants help businesses evaluate their abilities and goals in comparison to the trends of today and the future. Strategic planning consultants then help businesses create a plan of action that will allow them to make the most efficient use of their resources for the most impact and profit. Strategic planning consulting can be a lucrative career path for those with expertise.
Things You'll Need
- A three-ring binder or other materials for creating a portfolio
How to Become a Strategic Planning Consultant
Evaluate your educational background to determine if you would benefit from additional courses or certifications. To have more credibility, you should have a degree or certification in management, leadership, planning or business administration. Online programs are available that would allow you to further enhance your skills while still working at your current job. Some of these programs even offer strategic planning certifications.
Gain some valuable experience in the industry. To be a successful consultant, you'll need to be able to draw from real-world experience. Try getting some experience in management or administration at a couple of different organizations before breaking out on your own. More varied experience can be more impressive to potential clients. You may even be able to get a position with a strategic planning firm.
Develop a portfolio of achievements. Keep track of your accomplishments at all of your positions, and keep any records that prove your successes. Put together an attractive portfolio that includes your artifacts and a description of how you used your expertise in strategic planning to achieve these results.
Create business cards and a business website. You can try to do this yourself, using a program such as Microsoft Office Live Small Business, or you can hire a freelancer or design firm to create your materials for you.
Begin networking with your business contacts and acquaintances. Let everyone know that you are now offering your expertise as a consultant, and ask them to share your information with anyone they know who might benefit from your help. Contacts you've made through your previous employment are a logical place to start.
Develop a consistent style. You may not have a good feel for your style until you've worked with a few clients, but you should try to identify something unique about your approach. Use this information to build a brand identity for yourself, including information about your personal style and approach to solving business problems in your website and other marketing materials.
Work on building your business by offering your expertise through seminars and writing articles related to strategic planning. This will help make your name more recognizable and will start building your reputation.
Tips & Warnings
- Be realistic with your goals and your timeline. You won't see results overnight, and your clients won't either. Be up-front and realistic with your clients about what they can expect. It's better to underpromise and overdeliver than to have disappointed clients.
- Becoming a successful strategic planning consultant can take time. As with any business, it can take time to build your reputation and get enough clients to feel secure. Don't be discouraged if you don't meet your financial goals right away.
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