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As counterintuitive as it may sound, most consultants say they actually feel more secure in this down economy working on their own than they would if they were still grinding out a corporate existence. One reason is that there may be more opportunities.
“I definitely feel safer,” says Bob Cottrell, principal, Facilities Management Partners. “People are trying to be cognizant of spending money better, and consultants can help them do that.”
Another reason, says Carol Farren, president of Facility Management World Wide, is that “companies are laying off so many people that there may be gaps that can be filled by consultants.” So consultants can step in and show facility organizations how to run more efficiently with fewer folks.
Finally, there may be more opportunities in education and training. Kit Tuveson, founder of Tuveson and Associates, suggests getting involved with educational institutions, one sector that seems to thrive in a down economy as people try to go back to school to make themselves more marketable. Many consultants are actively involved in teaching, not just at universities, but also doing Webinars or seminars at trade shows.
The reverse side of the coin is that in a down economy, organizations will examine closely all existing contracts — which may include a consulting contract — to look for ways to save money. But that just means it’s more incumbent upon facility consultants to illustrate their value and show that their services are a source of savings, not a cost.
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