Consultancy is a billion-dollar industry. Companies are willing to pay significant amounts to individuals who prove to be valuable advisers. If you have a marketable expertise, then you might get a piece of that pie. Just make sure that you check every angle and give yourself a good chance to succeed. Below are some of the basic elements that you need to consider when getting your consulting business started:
1. Qualifications and Expertise
What field are you an expert on? Are you good at computers, gardening, construction, funding, or public relations? How long have you practiced in this field? What types of job titles have you held and what projects have you handled? You must inspire confidence in your clients so that they’ll trust your advice. You should also have the required qualifications to operate as a consultant. Some industries won’t require a license or certificate but others will.
2. Mindset and Skillset
Consultants operate on their own. They may have several clients but they have their own office and they hold their own time. They need to be self-starters who can do what needs to be done without prompting. This business demands a high degree of organization. You will have to plan every minute of the day to make it all work. Time management is an essential skill. You should also be comfortable networking with others in the field and beyond. After all, the people you meet can open doors to various opportunities.
3. Business Feasibility
Gauge whether your planned consultancy business is feasible given the current market climate. You may have the expertise but is it in demand? Look up the statistics to see what’s thriving. Identify your potential clients. For example, consultants with proven track records can easily land projects in advertising, business, communications, headhunting, and insurance. If you think that your knowledge would be valuable to others, then go ahead.
4. Operating Location
Where do you want to work? Will you be targeting clients within your city or venture out to other places within the state? Is your expertise geared towards local knowledge or do they have a general application? Can you operate through a home office or would you benefit from being in the central business district? Would you be able to afford the unit rental? Can you allot fund for a website to capture clients elsewhere?
As your consultancy business grows, you may need to hire staff to help you run the business. They can do research, manage payroll, answer the phone, go through documents, and do other tasks to free up your time for more important activities. You can meet clients and fly to different places with peace of mind knowing that the business is running well without you. Of course, you must ensure that they can receive proper compensation and benefits.
6. Fees and Expenses
Consider different business models. How will you be paid for your services? How much will you charge? You can study the prevailing consultancy rates in your location to get a feel for what you should charge to be competitive. You might charge per hour or per project. Make sure that these are neither too high nor too low. Both with make people scamper away. You could also charge a retainer fee per month while setting a certain number of hours of work.
7. Marketing Strategies
Lastly, think about how you’ll sell your services to potential clients. You might do cold calls, advertise in trade magazines, publish a newsletter, speak in public, or ask for referrals from past clients. See if they can point you to others who might benefit from your consultancy. If they allow it, then they might mention their name when you introduce yourself. People tend to be more receptive if you have the backing of a trusted friend or associate.