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ICSC Connect Virtual Series: Passionate consultants can make niche knowledge profitable

May 13, 2020

Many small and midsize retail real estate companies need help but can’t hire full-time employees these days. That creates an opportunity for furloughed or laid-off experts to launch consulting businesses. Experienced, motivated, passionate and well-connected consultants increasingly will be in demand, experts said on the ICSC Connect Virtual Series episode Best Practices for Launching a Consulting Business.

The deeper and narrower your specialty, the higher your value proposition as a consultant, said Lyneir Richardson, co-founder and CEO of Chicago Trend. “Choose a niche, and leverage your existing relationships.” Richardson launched his own consulting business, which helps bring development to overlooked urban neighborhoods, after General Growth Properties furloughed him during the Great Recession.

Kenneth Lamy — founder, president and CEO of The Lamy Group and of DataPoint International — named five sectors within the retail real estate sector that are ripe for consultants: accounting, branding and marketing, human resources, sustainability and organizational behavior.

“You can fill a spot where a company cannot justify hiring a full-time professional but they may be able to afford a part-time consultant,” Lamy said. All you need is three or four of those relationships, and you’re on your way: You’ve launched your consulting practice. Fill a void in companies that can’t afford it. Our industry is made up of small to medium-size companies with limited resources.”

To determine your consulting fee, divide your current compensation by 2,080 hours. Then double it to get an hourly rate, Lamy advised. For example, a consultant will need to earn roughly $100 an hour to approximate a compensation of $100,000 as someone else’s employee.

The full ICSC Connect Virtual Series episode is available here (Chrome works best).

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By Brannon Boswell

Executive Editor/SCT