Surviving a Downturn as a Consultant
Many executives in career transition are consulting as independent contractors during the interim of their job search campaign. Here are thoughts on surviving and thriving through a downturn as a consultant.
It is very important that you strengthen your offering, positioning and foundation.
Over-deliver core offerings to core customers. The temptation is to expand into new products or new services and new customers. The issue is the risk/reward trade-off of that investment, particularly given the likelihood of irrational behavior by the people who will lose business or customers to your initiatives. Plus, there’s the additional risk of diluting your positioning. Instead, deploy extra resources to strengthen your core offerings and delight your core customers.
Strengthen your existing positioning. Downturns are good times to increase market-share. They’re even better times to increase mind-share. Use extra time to accelerate your thought leadership in your current area of strength, resisting the temptation to try to broaden your positioning.
Manage cash. This is different than managing profits. Downturns require disciplined management of cash inflows and outflows. There are longer-term investments that make sense in normal times that may be too risky for the short term. Remember, you have to make it through the short term to get to the long term.