What Are the Best Niche Markets for Consultants?
There is no shortage of business opportunities for most consultants. However, if you can engage in a niche market or trend before it becomes mainstream, you can position yourself as an expert as it grows and as your business develops. These can be lucrative opportunities because the market is often untapped and not saturated with competing consultants.
Use your expertise and interest to start or expand a highly specialized consulting business in one of these fast-growing markets.
Americans are increasingly spending more time at home and are subsequently investing more in their houses, both indoors and outdoors. A rapidly expanding segment of the home improvement industry is outdoor landscaping and gardening.
Homeowners, ranging from avid gardeners to those without a green thumb, are hiring gardening consultants for guidance on planning, developing and maintaining personalized outdoor living space. Consider taking this trend a step further and specialize in a specific type of gardening, such as water gardens, cottage-style gardens or traditional English gardens.
Green Living Consultant
It is difficult to pick up a magazine or turn on the television without finding a reference to the benefits of going green and protecting the environment. The result is that both corporations and individuals have a growing awareness and desire to become good citizens of the world.
In some cases, companies are offered economic incentives by city governments to adopt more environmentally-friendly strategies in their daily operations. Individuals are also reaping economic rewards in the form of lower water and utility bills when they make their homes more energy efficient. This is a prime area for knowledgeable consultants to succeed by offering energy efficient expertise.
Home Office Design Consultant
Remote workers, telecommuters, and home-based business owners all need one thing: a functional home office. The number of people working from home is booming and includes those who work from home full-time and the occasional telecommuter. Home office design consultants are being hired to help plan and set up an efficient, secure space.
As another branch of this specialty, there is also the opportunity to work with the federal government as a telecommuting consultant. The government currently offers telecommuting opportunities for federal employees and contractors, and even has funding requirements for establishing and promoting the telecommuting programs.
Organization or Efficiency Consultant
As people look to de-clutter and reduce stress, they are turning to organization and efficiency experts to help. The organization or efficiency consultant specializes in advising busy professionals, small business owners and over-extended families on how to reduce "stuff."
Consultants provide direction in organizing everything from desks and closets to garages and craft rooms and help clients learn how to regain control of both work and home life.
A background in interior design or an eye for color can be used to advise businesses on the best colors to use in specific rooms or areas. For example, the medical field is utilizing color consultations to help create peaceful environments inpatient recovery rooms and cancer treatment centers.
The retail industry and restaurant industry are also seeking color strategists. With more research being released that indicates color can influence everything from buying behaviors to appetite stimulation, retail stores and restaurants are seeking help to determine the best color palettes for stimulating profitable customer behaviors.
Millenial Marketing Consultant
As baby boomers are nearing retirement age, small and mid-sized communities are trying to attract the next generation of young professionals. The cities are often competing with large, metropolitan areas that offer greater diversity, entertainment venues, cultural opportunities, and career options.
Millennial consultants are being hired to help smaller communities learn how to market to this unique group to build their future workforce. Businesses are also seeking help in understanding this target demographic. Consultants are being tapped to help companies sell to this consumer, and they are being asked to consult on work relationships and bridging the communication gap between the multi-generations of workers.
Second Career Consultant
Another business trend keeping consultants is helping individuals establish a second career. Typically, this means working with baby boomers, serial entrepreneurs and the working retired. This group of clients has found success in one career already and is now searching for the next one.
However, unlike when they were 20, they now have more options and are looking for advice on how to pursue a different dream job with an intrinsic pay-off.
Business Transition Consultant
Segueing from one business phase to another can be challenging for people at all levels of a company, including owners, executives, and employees. There is a demand for consultants who specialize in working with companies who are in the midst of transition.
This type of client includes small and mid-sized businesses preparing for the next level of growth, companies that are seeking to sell or be acquired or have recently been part of a merger or buy-out and those business owners who are trying to define new market opportunities for growth.
Image or Style Consultant
Who does not want to look good? As it turns out, a large number of people are seeking help developing a personal style in their dress and grooming, and are willing to pay an image consultant for it. This trend probably stemmed from the use of personal stylists by celebrities, but it is now a sought-after service for everyday people.
Clients typically include professional men and women on career fast-tracks, community volunteers and professional fundraisers, trend-setting teenagers, and new moms trying to adapt to their post-pregnancy bodies and lifestyles.
Home Security Consultant
Today, security consultants are being hired by homeowners to offer advice on both physical security issues and security vulnerabilities from home computer systems. Those specializing in physical security identify how to protect a house from home invasions and may include recommendations on alarm systems, safe rooms and the use of wall or floor safes.
Network security specialists ensure that wireless networks are secure and computers are protected against viruses, spyware, and other malware that can leave homeowners vulnerable to theft of passwords, bank accounts, and other personal and financial data.