Career Advice

The Smart Consultant’s Toolkit From Excel Invoice Templates to All-in-One CRM

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Business consultancy is one of the most interesting fields of work available, and also one of the most richly rewarded. According to the Economic Times of India, consultancy companies are attracting even higher contract prices, and that’s trickling down to employees; the average wage for a consultant is now $73,842 according to Indeed, a considerable hike above the per capita average wage. Building a career in business consultancy can be difficult, however, given the results demanded by businesses and the ferocity of the competition. One mandatory requirement for any smart consultantis a proper toolkit, and that starts with mastery over Microsoft Office.

Starting with Office

The software suites and programs that businesses deploy are many and varied, but there are some consistent trends. One of those trends is the use of Microsoft Office; according to the Financial Post, over a million businesses worldwide default to the use of Office applications in their work and business management. Even when Office isn’t used, it’s file extensions and practical applications are replicated in open source variants. Essentially, the technical language of businesses is Office.

Business consultancy is one of the most interesting fields of work available, and also one of the most richly rewarded.Click To Tweet

This means it should be your application of choice too, and something that you have mastery over. Setting up your own personal affairs in a way where you can produce documents is essential, and it’s also important that you adhere to timely invoicing and receipt. This will provide both a sense of professionalism around your business in addition to ensuring you are paid properly. Create and make use of a live Excel invoice templateto give consistency to your contract holders and promote your own business.

Embracing communications

2020 saw the widespread adoption of remote working, and a huge acceleration in the rate of digital adoption – even for businesses not entirely located within the digital sphere. With that has come remote work and, according to Forbes, 74% of businesses expect their workers to remain at home rather than returning to office.

Meeting the challenge requires consultants to have a broad range of communications tools. Express your preference to employers, but be ready for any eventuality. Be comfortable with Zoom, Teams, Slack, and everything in between. Also have the technology you need to communicate clearly. A camera is a must in order to build relationships with the businesses you’re consulting, as is a high quality microphone or headset. Your smartphone can achieve lots of this, so it’s worth considering investing in a high quality model – this can, of course, become part of your expenses.

Benchmarking equipment

Consultants are brought in for a variety of reasons when it comes to business, but a common task is efficiency. Having outside eyes who are willing to call out inefficiencies and help correct them, wherever they may lie, is of huge benefit to businesses – especially bloated ones. According to Harvard, proper benchmarking software tools are key to this, whether through simple timers or through managed productivity tools that can show exactly how employees are distributing their time. Purchasing the tools you need to make a qualitative assessment of a business and its efficiency will enable you to provide real results for the business you are contracted to. Results are the name of the game in consultancy, and will help you to find new leads and elevate your business.

All-in-one CRM

Customer record management, or CRM, are systems that businesses use to manage their record of customers and provide analysis on them. They help in showing key financial data, organizational information and provide guidance on managing new sales and where to streamline processes. CRM is a powerful tool for consultants by the same measure. Having a clear record of who your customers are and what you can do to gain new customers is crucial – identifying trends in your own work will help you to develop new clients.

According to Deloitte, businesses are already spending the majority of their enterprise software budget on CRM, so consider that when enlisting your own system. The growth of your business is dependent on new sales, and CRM can help you to find them before they become obvious to you. The data shows the trends, and CRM is a massively powerful tool in that regard.

A consultant is only as good as their toolkit. Before heading into the competitive world of business consultancy, you need to be equipped. This is especially true given the big changes the world of business has experienced over the past two years, and will continue to experience as remote working takes hold. Give yourself the technological advantage before heading into the field.

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