No matter the job you do or industry you work in, you can’t afford to neglect doing your homework, whether it’s for a client’s company, industry or you just generally need to stay on top of the latest consulting news.
That’s why it’s vital that you’re regularly checking up on what’s going on. Finding the latest insights and trends can help you stay ahead of the curve, so you can ensure you’re the best independent consultant you can be.
Here, we’ve put together a list of the 10 resources you should be reading on a regular basis so you can deliver the best results to your clients!
1. Harvard Business Review
If you’re an independent consultant working with businesses of all shapes and sizes, a subscription to the HBR is an absolute must. Not only can it give you useful insights into the challenges that your clients face on a regular basis, but it can also be an invaluable aid to managing your own practice.
This invaluable resource covers a wide range of topics including leadership, organisational change, negotiation, strategy, finance, operations and much, much more.
Of course, with your busy schedule, you may not always have much time to read lengthy articles. Fortunately, there are also podcasts (which you can listen to on your commute), as well as videos and webinars worth checking out in your downtime.
2. McKinsey Insights
McKinsey Insights is another terrific resource with a strong focus on consulting itself. The world of consulting moves at a blistering pace. As an independent consultant, although you’re not beholden to the practices of any one firm or the operational trends which can sweep through the industry, McKinsey Insights is still a valuable resource for staying abreast of the world of consulting.
As a resource, it’s full of handy tips which can help you in your ongoing quest for operational excellence and bringing outstanding value to your clients.
If you’re looking for an accessible yet informative online periodical which gives you a handy overview of what’s going on in the business world, Fortune is a great resource to turn to. As the famous “Fortune 500” suggests, its focus is on big business and can be very useful in getting to know the ins, outs, challenges and pain points of large and highly lucrative prospective clients.
Fortune is both a useful research tool and an informative and entertaining read for your coffee break.
Another online magazine with an extremely diverse range of subject matter, Forbes has long been a very popular read in the business community.
One of the things that makes Forbes so appealing is its interesting and provocative think pieces written by people who are not only great writers but highly knowledgeable minds within their respective sectors.
These can be useful in helping you to look at consulting from new perspectives and think about common challenges in different ways.
Inc is another useful and accessible online magazine that covers a wide range of business topics. Not only does it provide an overview of the business world, it also covers useful information for a range of industries. It also offers tips and tricks for helping to grow your own business through various guides.
Your clients want to see hard facts, stats and meaningful data to support your suppositions and conclusions. Gallup is an extremely useful resource when it comes to mining data.
Gallup can give you handy stats on the way people work and behaviours of employees and customers to use in presentations. What’s more, its insights can go a long way toward informing your practice and strategy with clients.
When you’re looking for articles with substance, it can be frustrating when the above resources are light on the details. They are, after all, designed to cater to as broad a readership as possible. If you’re looking for the real meat and potatoes on a given issue, Quartz can be a really useful resource. It’s great for getting in-depth perspectives on a wide range of global issues all in one place.
Whatever industries you cater to, Quartz is an excellent source of data-driven sustenance.
8. Visual Capitalist
As great as the above resources are, most of them lie predominantly (or exclusively) on long passages of written text. And these can be hard to parse for quick reference just before going into a meeting with a new client.
What makes Visual Capitalist great is its emphasis on visual depictions to allow easy access to complex data. Whenever you need to reach for a useful stat or get to know a certain trend, VC presents it in a way that’s quick and easy to consume.
It’s a handy resource for staying ahead of the curve and getting key news, insights and trends from across the world at a glance.
We all wish we could read more books and consume as much useful information as possible, especially as an independent consultant looking to learn more. However, although they allot time to their professional development, many simply don’t have the time to invest in 2 or 3 400-page tomes a week.
Blinkist is a great resource for time-poor consultants! It provides key takeaways from a wide range of non-fiction books in both text and audio form. Whether you’re on your coffee break or driving to your next meeting, you can consume a book’s worth of content in minutes! If you want some suggestions on the best books for consultants to read -- Blinkist or not -- we have a listicle just for you.
Finally, no successful consultant’s list of resources is complete without TED. If it’s not already on your shortcuts list, that needs to be remedied post-haste.
It provides a vast repository of fascinating and engaging content from all kinds of experts and influential people across a wide range of fields. The short video clips are easy to consume and cover a phenomenal range of topics on all aspects of business. This is great for gaining new perspectives and engaging with a huge range of issues efficiently. We have put together an article all about the must see TED talks for consultants if you want more details.
Easy access means no excuses!
In order to inform their strategy and improve the service they offer their clients, independent consultants used to have to dig deep across many published periodicals to find the insights they needed. Now, the internet makes it quick and easy to engage with interesting, informative and useful insights from all over the world.
The digital age opens up a world of information to you through your laptop and smartphone to consume during your commute to the office or while you enjoy a little light reading before bed. So, not having the time is no longer a viable excuse. And if you genuinely struggle to find the time, make the time by reorganising your schedule or leaning on the administrative support of your franchise partnership.
And remember, this list is by no means comprehensive. Feel free to combine it with some of your other favourite resources to help you broaden your knowledge base and bring greater value to your clients.