How to Become a Business Consultant

The anonymous quote "never do anything for free when you can get paid to do it’ is the lifeblood of a business consultant. If you have the natural eye to look over a company’s operations and determine its successes and failures, you can have an extremely rewarding career as a consultant who works with businesses both large and small to guide them towards better profitability. Consultants can do anything from study invoices to interview managers to study ten years’ worth of statistics in order to help a company succeed. Entrepreneur reports that no less than twelve billion dollars changes hands each year as companies ask consultants to help their organization grow and succeed. How can you become part of this job market?

Develop Business Expertise

Have you always had a particular inkling or talent in the business world? Perhaps you have gravitated towards sales ever since you were a kid, auctioning your Halloween candy to the highest bidder at school, or perhaps you can look at a financial platform and see exactly where the leaks are coming through. Whatever aspect of the business community you prize yourself on, pursue a college education in that field in order to generate the know-how to become a specialist upon graduation. You will need a four-year degree in any of the business fields, such as management or advertising, in order to become employed as a consultant. While you are in college, look for internships that allow you to get in on the ground floor of a business and see how they run their operations. Internships give you the inside track to employment on graduation, even if they pay only a little while you work there.

Cultivate Experience

How to Become a Business Consultant

You will need a four-year degree in any of the business fields, such as management or advertising, in order to become employed as a consultant

Just like an NFL head coach will have much better chances of becoming employed if they have coached a team at a lower level, so too do you need to get work experience before you can sell your consulting talents to the workforce. The type of experience you get may not matter as much as your analytical abilities in the long run, but it is best to choose your area of specialty and interest (if possible) to create a steady background. Take on projects early in your career to demonstrate leadership abilities and hit the ground running so that you create a reputation as a hard worker. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that consultants and analysts need anywhere from one to five years of experience before they can ply their trade.

Consider An MBA

Though it may not be necessary if you can find employment with a consulting firm, an MBA gives you the tools needed to become a mid-level manager or even an executive. Since these managers represent the pool that most consultants draw from, and since consultants interact mainly with management, an MBA lets you understand the business world from an analytical point of view. Upon graduation, you can choose whether to return to a company as a manager or begin your career as a consultant.

Bachelor's Degree
1 to 5 years
Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Becoming A Consultant

Just like a doctor needs a great deal of experience before they can perform surgery, so too do consultants need years or even decades of work before they can get paid for their opinion. To actually start business consulting, you may need to stand out to the point where a consulting firm recruits your, which can take a very long time. A faster, but more riskier, track for many will be opening their own consultation firm. This can be a one-man operation or it can involve several partners, but you will need a professional license and a business plan to succeed. Then, you can begin to market yourself and find clients.

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