Share Business

Why share business with other consultants and investors?

Find out why independent consultants and investors should collaborate with Asia Investments Services to share business for mutual benefit.

 

Why do business partnerships arise and what are the reasons companies do co-operate?

We are aware that several contemporary developments do lead to an increase in partnerships. Some of these developments are:
- the decline of competitive distinctions
- solutions are more important to customers than just products
- market globalization
- a more competitive environment
- creating value through synergies (own core activities merged with those of the partner)
- a set of (changing) standards and compatibility requirements
- risks and uncertainties in the business environment (less predictability)
- a visible trend towards developing alliance skills within organizations
- development of technology 

Current market developments in consultancy


1. Reduction of the consultant's knowledge advantage.

Due to three obvious but critical developments, the consultant has lost his knowledge advantage over the client.
a. The knowledge of business administration, before a small discipline in the 1980s, has increased dramatically within the company's management. The models on which the consultants advise are now known to most business managers.
b. Many former consultants have joined the companies
c. Internet offers for free a lot of business and management information.

2. The rise of the gig economy

The term "gig economy" refers to a free-market system in which traditional firms hire independent contractors, freelancers, and short-term workers to complete individual tasks, assignments, or jobs. Despite a number of advantages of increasing supply and acceptance of freelancing and the associated flexibility, independence and variety in work, there are also disadvantages with an increase of self-employed people. Disadvantages that seasoned independent consultants experience are increased competition and associated lower fees, quality levelling (particularly by 'can I do' freelancers), more complex regulations, stress to acquire assignments and to deliver on time. In addition to the already listed disadvantages, there is also a threat of personal isolation and the forced, involuntary self-employed. Partly because of all this, the self-employed individuals are increasingly working together in all kinds of networks, cooperatives and other informal associations. The emergence of network consultancy firms means that the implementation of larger advisory processes is now within reach of collaborating independent consultants.

3. The advent of new business models

Surprisingly enough, in consultancy, it is still mainly the 'hour/invoice' concept. Consultants are rarely rewarded for their performance and participate in a low-risk manner. Most customers also want not to deviate from the hour/invoice model because it is at least transparent what they must pay the advisors in this model. Procurement and controllers prefer simply certainty. However, there is a constant trend towards new business models that pressures the traditional time/invoice. Think of other compensation methods such as subscriptions, risk sharing and incentives. More and more entrepreneurship is expected from consultants, and this development will eventually take shape through the exchange of experiences.

4. Shifts in global top-segment of consultancy

The large worldwide operating consultancy (MBB) and accounts (big 4) are mostly partnerships owned by the top management and a considerable layer of very talented younger employees (junior consultants) deployed on lengthy projects. As indicated above, an 'hour factory'. Assignments are acquired through the pressured 'old boys network' and 'name and fame' to which less and less importance is attached. Clients are the huge MNC companies (fortune 1000), while the large national company (starting at 250 FTE and a turnover of more than $ 50 million) will hardly make use of this group of prestigious service providers.
Some other aspects that cause unrest that we do not want to leave unmentioned;
- there is decreasing investment in knowledge; after all, the company must be LEAN
- it may be concluded that practical knowledge and concrete experience is limited
- subjects such as concept formation and strategy formation are more highly regarded internally than implementation
- the attractiveness of the global top-segment consultancy employer is fast decreasing
- the companies are still a breeding ground for entrepreneurs and companies for their top management and ambitious startups
- the emphasis has increasingly shifted to the new and core business made possible by digitization and artificial intelligence.

5. Decreasing demand due to an existing knowledge pool within companies.

As an extension of the above, the larger companies will build a knowledge pool themselves that they can deploy if internal demand arises. The great advantage of this is that employees know the organization, but objectivity and proven experience in similar projects are often limited. Moreover, conflicts often arise between the primary process and projects with a character of change and implementation.
The current trend is that clients are increasingly taking over part of the advisory tasks of carrying out the analysis and making implementation plans. External parties are then possibly hired, but with a much more specific and narrow goal than before, and start working together with customer employees based on equality.
We want to point out that this working method, driven by ambitions and alleged cost savings, does not always yield the intended result. It would be wise for companies to limit themselves to temporary and replacement management of the primary process and not lead the significant change and implementation processes without external expertise. Albeit that, it is a given that companies themselves build their capacity for change.

6. Changed vision, needs and role of customers

Clients will need to become more and more proficient in selecting, appointing and leading consultants and teams. Customers and advisors will have to focus more and more on their added value and ensure lasting results. In this process, an external advisor, in particular, can make a substantial contribution to steering and creating momentum.
Often used procurement advisory services through framework agreements and tenders do not fit into this vision. Such a method only provides standard solutions and no innovation or customization and ultimately dissatisfied customers. Clients realize that a changed role is expected when working together with advisors to achieve better results together.

7. New market entrants

Other organizations have already added solving organizational issues to their primary services. Examples of this are; recruiters who take over parts of the HR management or the advertising consultancy that also optimizes clients' sales process. Their approach is experienced as inspiring and action-oriented by generating quick solutions and results. It is characteristic that such organizations are effective through concrete and specialist advisory services for their existing customers.

8. Globalization

Companies are internationalizing and are looking for advisors who can assist them internationally and provide them with expert service. This development (partly) requires local knowledge and a direct link with local advisors, f.e. an own branch or a local network relationship with related services. In such a way, the consultancy can continue serving the customer as a contractor or coordinator/supervisor.

An appropriate strategy of the independent advisor on these developments in the consultancy market


We believe that nowadays, the strategy to follow of an independent consultant should be:

1. Distinctive consulting

First of all, to deploy a successful sales strategy, a consultancy business should do a positioning and value proposition. Ask yourself; why a customer chooses your service instead of the service of a competitive?
The value proposition must clearly define;
- target customers
- functional value (problem-solving, removing pain points)
- economic value (financial benefits {increase in turnover or cost reduction}, time savings, value of property)
- emotional and symbolic value (relationship, prestige, trust)
Distinct consulting is the focus of highly specialized top knowledge of a particular niche. Customers expect a consultant to know the industry and deliver the solution based on their understanding of best practices in a specific sector. They demand consultants to get started right away and get immediate results at acceptable costs. Consultants immediately need to convince customers of core and secondary benefits, tailored and related to the possible assignment at a remunerative compensation. Make the fees early clear, so they are not ultimately the breaking point for acquiring the potential contract.
Again, a distinct consulting stands for selective service and added value that the customer can immediately understand and apply within the company.

2. Customer Integration

Acquisition of consulting assignments is a challenge, on the one hand, due to the generally one-off nature, and on the other hand, needs are difficult to identify. It is wise to start with a client profile and symptoms to reveal a possible need for consulting services. This discovering needs for advice require further research, testing and selection of a limited group of customers. This discovery should align with the independent consultant's most promising yet intensive sales strategy, consistently networking (see below) and parallel integrating with a limited number of selected potential customers. As an independent consultant, you should have frequent substantive contact with both the owner and top management to build a close relationship of trust. To assist them with, where possible, unpaid(!) objective advice, to demonstrate a customer-oriented attitude to obtain and maintain a positive image. Targeted marketing while at the same time gaining much knowledge of the company and potential customer.

3. Collaboration and assignments with larger consultancies

Other larger management service providers and organizational advisors such as legal, financial-economic, technical and information technology services can be stable partners for independent consultant cooperation. In keeping and strengthening their policy, they may want to relieve customers and offer integrated services. For this, they often are forced to hire (part of) a specific knowledge and capacity.
Another possibility are those projects of such a small size that they want to outsource them completely.
A third option for acquiring assignments through a collaboration with larger consultancies is to be recommended by those larger consultancies to their clients as an independent expert. And while some larger agencies have long offered 'one-stop' consulting services, in reality, integration with the other parts of their organizations has often been limited to referring clients. The reason for this is the nature of the work, rates and the business models used.

4. Networking

Independent consultants must explicitly network, collaborate and form alliances. Partly because of this, they can bundle knowledge, profile themselves better, exchange leads and, if possible, even tackle larger projects. About networking with Asia Investment Services, we will give some outlines below.

What may independent consultants expect of an association with Asia Investment Services?


1. A collaboration concept in line with market developments and customer  expectations

We have addressed several key issues consultants above to which consultants have to contend with. First and foremost, our business concept mainly has adapted to current and future developments to guarantee the commercial effectiveness of the self-employed, independent consultants. Together we want to position ourselves perfectly to take full advantage of this now and in the near future.

2. Respecting entrepreneurship of an independent consultant and simultaneously adding value through within connectedness and solidarity

Share business and working together makes you and the consultancy business stronger, as it is inspiring, motivating, developing, and innovating. Of course, collaboration requires genuine commitment and effort. We believe that the added value is many times greater than the obligations, possible limitations and disadvantages. We also emphasize that everyone is and remains a self-employed entrepreneur with the attached responsibilities. After all, you did not start a business as an independent consultant to aspire to get an employment contract.

3. Marketing platform

Above all, AIS is a marketing platform; we partly take the marketing activities off your hands. One less worry and a significant time-saver. In addition, promotion as a team member through the profile with which you can profile yourself internationally, Asia-wide and locally in your native language. The marketing communication and positioning have already been (partly) done for our members.

4. Generate more and better leads

Marketing companies and generating leads is more accessible as a collective. As an associated consultant, you are part of an umbrella organization that is simply more visible, radiates solidity and provides members proper access to potential clients. Furthermore, a considerable spin-off can be expected from our other business activities.


5. Better job execution & best practice

We are sharing vision and strategies, consultancy knowledge, project experiences and networking! We all aim for a more effective, efficient service with sustainable results. In a sense, a form of quality assurance in which we do not rule out any certification by an independent organization in the long run.

6. More trust of customers

Firstly, there is the group, a collective that has united itself and will already impact customers. However, we also continue with our tested contractual conditions and a dispute settlement that makes binding decisions for all involved parties.

 

7. Supervision (optional service)

As an extra assurance, an additional provision can be arranged out at a limited cost by actively monitoring project progress (milestones) and quality. Before the assignment, this supervision is given to a third person to coordinate the consultation, remove irritations and conflicts and steer things in the right direction.

 

8. Exchange of experience and expertise

We have already mentioned it, but we believe that this also justifies a point of interest. Knowledge increase through interactive sounding board groups or constructive consultation on subjects suggested by the associates. All this to enhance expertise and improve assignments results.

 

9. Achieve associates happiness

As an independent consultant alone, but not wholly alone. Constructively working together is more pleasant and benefits personal and business development and thus productivity. Moreover, cooperation must strengthen the collective feeling to achieve better results.