6 Consulting Frameworks Each Freelance Consultant Should Master
Frankly, ask yourself: “What consulting-related topics do I thoroughly remember from my bachelor degree?”
Well, it’s true that you generally need to go to university and earn a degree to start your consulting career. But the fact is, out of hundreds of topics that you will learn during your time in university, you will need to remember a few topics really, really well to actually be an efficient consultant.
This means that you should walk the extra mile and earn consulting certificates to specialize in those consulting frameworks that consultants use on a regular basis.
Here are some important consulting frameworks that you should be well-versed in as a freelance consultant in order to be the most competent consultant you can be.
1. SWOT Analysis
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. This is probably one of the most commonly used consulting frameworks. However, what most people do not realize is that simply being aware of these four elements is not enough—one must actually know how to use this internal analysis for their own advantage. For example, strengths must be used to take advantage of new opportunities, and weaknesses must be studied and eliminated. Having a consulting certificate in SWOT Analysis will help you use this framework like a pro. An amateur may be able to tell what SWOT stands for, but only a professional knows how to use this model to the fullest.
2. Three C's
The three C’s stand for Customers, Competition, and Company. Developed by an organizational theorist named Kenichi Ohmae, this industry model helps consultants analyze the factors that are needed for business success and create a strategy for their clients accordingly. If you’re planning to earn some certifications for consulting, you should not miss this one. You could read internet articles on this subject and get surface-level knowledge, but when you go for a formal consulting certificate, you will understand this model in detail—which you must because as a consultant, you would be expected to know what is not available on the internet for free.
3. Balanced Scorecard
A Balanced Scorecard is a strategic planning and management tool that has four main elements: Financial, Learning & Growth, Internal Processes, and Customer. This framework can be complicated to understand, and even experienced consultants may need to brush up their memory on this one if they don’t use this tool regularly.
4. Porter’s 5 Forces
It is highly likely that you remember this topic from your bachelor degree. While SWOT analysis is used to assess a company’s internal position, Porter’s 5 Forces are used to analyze external competitors. Almost every business, big or small, has competitors. For this reason, it’s highly likely that you will have to explain this framework to your clients quite a few times in your whole consulting career. When it comes to certifications for consulting, one in Porter’s 5 Forces and other frameworks that are designed to beat competitors may come in handy more times as compared to others.
5. BCG Matrix
Created by Bruce Henderson for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), this tool is used by consultants who are employed by top consulting firms as well as freelance consultants who work independently. The matrix is divided into four quadrants: Star, Question Mark, Dog, and Cash Cow. The BCG Matrix, also known as the Growth-Share Matrix, can be of great help when consultants help companies choose the right products and services to invest in. The fact is, not every product will be successful. So, it’s really important to find out which ones have the potential to generate profits (Cash Cows) and which ones are a complete waste of money (Dogs). Of course, this is a very short summary of the BCG Matrix, and there’s way more to it that a consultant should be aware of. This is why some extra certifications for consulting, in addition to a university degree, are very important.
MECE stands for Mutually Exclusive Collectively Exhaustive and is a very sophisticated problem-solving framework that is used by management consultants. Large problems are hard to solve, but things get a bit easier with the MECE principle which helps us categorize our options into two categories: mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive. Mutually exclusive items are the ones that can only fit into a single category at any given time, while collectively exhaustive items are the ones that can all fit into one of the categories. It’s hard to wrap your head around it, isn’t it? Well, then this warrants earning a professional certification in MECE.
Where (and How) to Get Your Consulting Certificates?
Before we end this article, it’s better to discuss where and how to get certified in the aforementioned areas.
Universities and colleges all around the world offer online courses. But the problem is, not every course is tailored towards consultants. And if a course is not specifically designed for consultants, then can it really help you propel your consulting career forward?
That is why you should stick to consulting courses that are designed by consultants for consultants, for example, the Consultport Academy.
You see, people who have worked as consultants for decades know exactly what skills and certifications can genuinely help a freelance consultant like yourself. You do not have to know everything about every topic, but you need to know a lot about those topics that are most likely to help you solve a client’s problems.