Different Clients, Different Shoes: An Independent Consultant’s Insights On Putting Yourself In Client’s Shoes

By Jill Mehta Freelance Consultant @IndusGuru

The gig economy is growing larger than we can think. The reason behind this dominating growth of gig economy lies in the fact that most of us would prefer a flexible, independent and controlled work environment where we own what we do. 9 to 5 jobs with fixed payroll structure are no longer as attractive to the millennials as they used to be, but it is not just gen Y that is affected by the emergence of gig; even the earlier generations find it satisfying to work freely, especially after having the experience of working with corporates.

All in all, the gig economy is growing at a pace where all working professionals need to catch up and therefore it becomes essential to get some tips and ideas as to “how to thrive in a gig economy”.

One such insightful event to address the concern was organized by IndusGuru Network Partner‘s Gurukul arm and named: “Thriving In The Gig Economy”. It aimed at exploring the idea of freelancing, how professionals and businesses can benefit from the same and how independent consultants can gain from booming of the gig economy.

Vinu Vishwanathan, a consultant with IndusGuru Network Partners emphasized on 3 key learnings for all consultants to survive in the gig economy.

1. MSMEs are a huge market for all consultants. When they grow we grow.

But consulting MSMEs is a big challenge.

Consultants have to take some extra steps to make MSMEs aware of how exactly the consultant’s services will benefit them, how it would work and what solutions can they expect – the value proposition stated explicitly. A consultant must also clearly justify the costs attached to consulting, with an understanding that unlike large corporates, MSMEs often work with smaller budgets and smaller teams, necessitating scrutiny of costs associated with any service. That said, Vinu asserts that, “MSME’s are like goldmines” because the size of opportunity they present. A consultant must serve the MSMEs on their terms and even hand hold them till execution stage if necessary.

2. Agility is the key to success in the gig economy.
MSMEs are a huge market for all consultants. When they grow we grow.

Sharing the tricks of trade from his experience, Vinu threw light on a unique strategy that helped him seize a sizeable portion of Jaipur’s design and electrical market. Agile consulting is the process of adapting to the client’s needs and the market’s needs – innovating and improvising, to deliver the best result.

When Jaipur was developing its infrastructure i.e. malls, buildings etc Vinu saw an opportunity to consult and founded a company to tackle just this – infrastructural development. To bridge the cultural and skill gap between the local contractors understanding and expectations, he hired sub-contractors and incubated them to design according to the requirements.

Thus, an area and opportunity usually left for operational experts from the infrastructural segment, was converted with agility and flexibility.

3. Small fishes need to come together to fight the bigger shark.

How do you compete with the large consulting firms when you cannot match their budgets, reputation built over decades or their team size? The answer lies in strategic collaborations.

According to Vinu, small businesses with no conflict of interest should collaborate to get their product to the customers in order to level up with their counterparts. When Vinu started his culinary sauces company, they sold products door to door which was good and did well in the initital stages. But when he approached distributors, they declined holding his stocks because of larger giants dominating the market with a larger bouquet of products & larger revenue, whereas his firm had very few products.

Collaboration saved him. He approached other companies in the same business but selling different products (no conflict of interest) to create a shared distribution channel (successful collaboration). Finally, 5 companies collaborated and together they got 23 stockists and 300 distributors within 18 months.

Will these inputs from IndusGuru’s consultant suffice to thrive and succeed in the gig economy? Perhaps not. But the insights make for excellent food for thought and to introspect why we, as consultants, drop certain opportunities believing they are out of our range, when we can tap into those. Let’s look at the opportunities of gig economy with a fresh mindset, while IndusGuru churns out some more insights!

#VinuViswanathan #GigEconomy #Freelancing #Independentconsultants

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this column are that of the writer. The facts and opinions expressed here do not reflect the views of IndusGuru Network Partners.

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