How to Start a Consulting Business
According to Wikipedia, a consultant is “a professional who provides expert advice in a particular area such as security (electronic or physical), management, education, accountancy, law, human resources, marketing (and public relations), finance, engineering, science or any of many other specialized fields.”
Wiki offers, of course, a very pinpoint definition even though, at this point, everyone knows what a consultant is and what they do.
A consultant may vary in skills and expertise, of course, but basically, a consultant offers proficiency in the area they have been paid for, that will promote a business.
Building a consulting business is fairly simple.
The focal point is helping an exact people in solving their problems because, everybody has problems and the more critical the problem is, the more money they are willing to spend to have it properly solved.
That said; everyone seems to be a consultant these days, owing to the reasonably high demand for specialized services and the comparative ease of beginning online businesses.
Consultants handle pretty much anything from business strategy to PR. Most businesses testify to their company or business booming after hiring the services of a business consultant.
In every business, there are the benefits enjoyed and of course, there are the cons that might mar some of these benefits. Consider these things before starting a consultancy business.
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Why should I start a consulting business?
A consulting business does not require a lot of expenditure. The basic requirements to start up are expertise, an internet and a computer; although the business license will be necessary later.
As your business grows, an extension of your staff might be necessary and with this, more expenses but, as a start-up business, expenses are very low.
Great opportunities for networking
While growing your business, you will definitely rub shoulders with some of the bigger names in consultancy. Maintain these connections and advertise yourself as an expert in your chosen niche.
Allows For Experience
It’s been said that some of the better discoveries were made while working on something else.
Consultancy is a good opportunity for serving clients and creating an experience for yourself, which may lead to you creating your first, mastermind product.
Pay is Good
There is a tremendous value placed on good advice. Having a god rap sheet of success allows you to charge a higher rate than your rival consultant businesses.
Remember that good advice does not come at a cheap price even though cheap advice can be found at every turn.
Offer meaningful and quality advice to your clients, this will make sure they stick with you, give you a good recommendation and be willing to pay you for your top-notch counseling.
On the other hand, some of the cons of starting a consulting business are
- Lacking Certification
- Limited expertise
- Sole Responsibility
- Travel might be extensive
If you are still resolute in your foray into the consulting business world, read on as we will highlight the Steps to take when starting a consulting business.
Starting a consulting business checklist
Build Up Your Portfolio
The internet has made everything so much easier these days. Professional websites for networking, like LinkedIn, is vital for networking and staying in touch with people in your industry.
Online platforms allow you to keep your competitors in sight, introduce yourself and makes finding people easier.
Know Your Niche
Like every other business sector, you will need to be well versed in your niche of choice.
Some factors may also be considered to ensure the profitable success of your consulting business. Questions like:
- What services have a large opening in the industry?
- Who is your ideal client?
- Who will need your services the most, can your biggest opportunities be found here?
Are what you should consider.
You can’t offer all the services to the masses, keep in mind that you will more likely have more success as a specialist in a particular area, offering the best services to people in need.
Finding and building on your strengths makes it easier to find and retain clients.
To make your options easier, here’s a list of 20 of the top consulting business niches.
- Business Writing
- Career Counseling
- Computer Programming
- Editorial Services
- Executive Search/headhunter firm
- Human Resources
- Payroll Management
- Public Relations
- Writing Services.
Some of these consulting businesses, like computer programming and accounting, require special skills to really thrive in them but, others like writing, offers flexibility, an allowance for limited expertise, and a high demand.
Create Clear Talking Points
Your talking points are 30-second descriptions of yourself, detailing what you do, how you would do it and why you are the best at what you do.
Understanding and communicating these is vital in ensuring the success of your consulting business.
One of the first things you should inform your clients is the value you will bring to them.
Detail how you can help them, the gain derived from hiring your consulting services and their experience after your services.
This is an actual spoken message and you will need the practice to ensure you keep it concise, accurate and refined.
A good tip is introducing questions into your message, listening is always better than speaking.
Plan A Pricing List
Your pricing structure needs to be laid down clearly for clients. Before establishing a pricing structure, you should do a breakdown of the costs of a standard project and other side expenditures.
It is imperative to do this early enough, as soon as you begin your consulting business because you should have a reasonable and professional price once someone asks for the pricing of your services.
There has to be a balance in your pricing. People generally tend to think that more expensive services offer more value and skill.
Underpricing is a big no but, overpricing is equally as dangerous and may lead to losing clients.
Your advertising budget will be the limit you place on advertising your consulting business.
Advertising can be extremely expensive and even if you are lucky to have a fat advertising budget, all of the money does not have to be funneled directly into the ads.
Some of the best ways to advertise include placing your business in a directory of consulting businesses across the country, advertising in special trade magazines and, word of mouth.
To guarantee success with your advertisement and minimize wasteful expenditure, examine competitor’s and past ads and determine how yours will best reflect your business.
With this information, starting your consulting business should not be as daunting as it seemed, remember to take time to plan ahead. Review your plans frequently, set goals and go for them.