The announcement of the Union Budget recently has again brought the spotlight firmly back on the state of the Indian economy. The years of 8% growth are now obviously behind us and while India has not yet receded to the ‘Hindu’ rates of growth that prevailed earlier, the economy is estimated to grow at around 5%. The growth in the Indian economy has been driven by the service sector and recognizing this, there are renewed initiatives to stimulate the infrastructure, manufacturing and agriculture sectors.
The Indian business environment has also recently come under flak with the CEOs of Vodafone and GE voicing their opinion about the deteriorating business climate. India has been ranked 132 out of 185 countries in the World Bank’s annual global report on the ease of doing business. Competitiveness, as calculated by the global competitiveness measures of the World Economic Forum is also on a decline with a rank of 59 for the country with the size of market and financial development being the redeeming factors. Such circumstances essentially raise the cost of doing business in India and may deter investment opportunities and growth. 
Combine the moderating economy with an uncertain business environment and you won’t be blamed for feeling gloomy and worried. There is immense competition in every sphere and domain and such times mandate that one must always be on one’s toes. There is continual change and innovation. Whether you’re an employee or a consultant, it is important to keep learning new skills. This will add to your repertoire and hold you in good stead always.
For freelancers, a changing business environment need not translate into slowing down since companies might prefer using their services as it presents a cost advantage. Make the most out of this and market yourself well and engage in online platforms and discussions to make your presence felt.
For consultants, such a scenario mandates the need to diversify and also invest in themselves. It is important to rely on more than one source of income and have a broad range of assignments and clients to fall back on. One must also reinvest the money in their business and themselves by adding new skills, developing and showcasing new knowledge etc. The latter is often taken care of by companies for salaried employees. For those working independently, however, this has to be self-driven and something that should not be neglected in the pursuit of newer opportunities.
The Indian economy may not be at the peak it once was, but it is still steadily growing. According to a 2012 survey, the demand for freelance professionals reported a growth of 21%. Thus, there is no dearth of opportunities in the market and a consultant must continually strive to explore those while maintaining a constant focus on yourself, your skills and your business.
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