12 tips to survive and thrive in management consulting

In the first two years, consulting can be a very demanding job. As a general rule of thumb, you will likely work an average of 10 to 15 hours a day, six or seven days a week. The upside is that you will become very efficient in no time at all.

To make life a little easier for new (and old) management consultants, here are 12 top consulting tips and life hacks and work hacks that you can introduce to not only survive but thrive in management consulting.

These range from strategic planning to efficiency tips to understanding the role that management consultant insurance can play in reducing exposure to risk.

What makes a successful management consultant? Read on to learn timeless tips for consultants.

1. Make friends with your customers

Whether you’re a business analyst, a partner, or the owner of your very own management consulting small business, make sure to develop good relationships with clients. You may not have a direct line to the CEO or Director, but that doesn’t matter.

Instead, try to reach out to people at all levels, especially the specialists, assistants, and key middle managers, who are the engines that propel the company.

You are a consultant and you sell intangible goods. Whether they pay you depends on both the quality of your work and recommendation, as well as whether they have a good rapport with you.

Be proactive and think ahead when consulting. You can do the analysis ahead of time if your boss hasn’t asked for it yet. You may be overwhelmed by some unexpected requests (usually nearing your deadline), which may require that you work extra hours. It can be in your interest to not let this become a common occurrence.

2. Plan ahead

The majority of things that cause you to work long hours during a project are things you could have accomplished ahead of time. Start by sending customer data requests one or two months in advance to avoid the stress of last minute rushing.

3. Outsource everything and anything you can

Outsource everything you can, including cooking, cleaning, and driving (if you are in the position to do so). Also, try to get help with data collection, analysis, and data gathering. If you have a good relationship with the client, consider asking them to collect their data ahead of time.

4. Be as efficient as possible

A perk of being a management consultant is that it is the best way to learn efficient business processes. You can work faster if you take into account the whole situation. To do so, consider implementing some productivity hacks for management consulting, such as introducing the use of the 80/20 rule.

As part of your mission to unlock newfound efficiencies, use to-do lists – one for yourself and your team (if you have a team to support you) – and also a to-do list for your clients to help them stick to your schedule and meet the deadlines you have given them for deliverables.

5. Inspire urgency in your team and with your client

When it comes to strategy consulting and project management tips it’s worth noting that one of the main reasons why most projects don’t meet deadlines is because the people involved in the project people put off work until the last minute.

So setting very short deadlines is important; don’t be afraid to push your client and your team. If you are not on their case, someone else will. And that can delay your consulting work.

6. Do not go home too frequently

This one may sound crazy, but when on the road it is better to stay in your city or country if you have a project in another city or country. You may waste time by going home (back and forward travel, packing, and so on), but you’ll also have to catch up with your family. You went from one stressful circumstance to multiple stressful circumstances.

7. Sports and a healthy diet

You may think it sounds crazy, but just like any machine your body needs to be maintained. This means eating healthy food every day and exercising. Whether you run, cycle, or take an extended walk, all exercise is good exercise, so consider where you can regularly squeeze it in.

Recommended reading: Work-life balance: How to work smart and stress less

8. Don’t be overwhelmed by the details

Most people find business very complex and are overwhelmed by the number of variables that can affect a situation, and they feel powerless as a result.

You will usually have three to five key drivers to focus on. Ignore the rest and concentrate only on those. This will help you to see the important things and organise your tasks accordingly.

9. Sharpen your tools

One of the best consulting tips is to regularly sharpen your toolkit. Consider mastering the techniques that consultants and analysts use. For example, learn Microsoft Excel basics, be able create financial models, and learn how to create professional presentations using programs such as PowerPoint.

Use your downtime during the slow season to improve in these areas so that you can work faster on future projects.

10. Communication skills

As a consultant, every communication you send – from the way you draft your emails to the way you structure your meeting invites or deliverables – will reflect your reputation. Having access to many senior clients can also add more complexity to the task.

Your communication needs to be succinct and professional. It is best to avoid using words such as ‘so like’ with your clients. The same goes for emails with lots of exclamation marks or capital letters or emojis.

Recommended reading: 9 crucial business skills you need for business success

11. Structured thinking

Strategy consulting is all about problem-solving. In most top tier firms, teams are open to new ideas when brainstorming the solution to complex client issues. Even if you are a new associate, your seniors would like to know your point of view on key matters.

The more you exhibit logical thinking and participate in discussions with a solid point of view, the more opportunities you will get. Your seniors will pull you into more projects if they can trust you with more responsibility.

This is key to boosting your confidence and gaining that momentum that gets you on the better and high visibility projects.

12. Running meetings/conference calls

Our final project management tip is one of the first things your seniors will delegate to you: planning and running meetings/conference calls. There are several things to keep in mind before, during, and after these meetings to make them a success, so take the time to learn them.

Now that you know what makes a successful management consultant and how to not just survive but thrive there’s really nothing stopping you from doing just that!

When was the last time you checked in with your management consultant insurance?

As a management consultant, your job is to provide game-changing results for your clients. At BizCover, our job is to make purchasing business insurance faster and easier than it has ever been. Over 220,000 Australian small businesses trust their business insurance to BizCover, and you can join their ranks today.

Learn more about how insurance for consultants can play a starring role in reducing your businesses exposure to risk.

When renewing, reviewing, or purchasing business insurance choose BizCover and get your management consultant insurance online in just 10 minutes. There’s no drama, no paperwork and no waiting. If you prefer to pick up the phone, you will find us on 1300 920 874.

This information is general only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It should not be relied upon as advice. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording.
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