How to Start Your Consulting Business
- October 1, 2022
- Posted by: Scale My Hustle
- Category: Consulting
Consultants are people who have great skill and expertise in a particular field and give expert advice regarding that field. They are highly skilled individuals who know their onions when it comes to their field of expertise. They have the ability to influence decisions because they have great problems solving skills. Businesses need your consulting business because they want the expert opinion of a professional in making decisions, fixing problems, or for the wellbeing of their business in general. There are different types of consultants, so the need may vary from one specialization to the other, based on what the company needs.
There are many areas of specialization when it comes to consulting such as; accounting, branding, web design, human resources, organization, green living, marketing, sales, technology, public relations, and so on. They all have different paths, but the ultimate goal is to provide what the business that hired them needs.
Starting a consulting business
Any time is a good time to start a company.”Ron Conway.
At the start of any business, especially the consulting business, it is important that research is done, and a great deal of information is known. The inner work takes place first, which is the evaluation of oneself and its capabilities. This includes identifying what you’re skilled at, what you can handle, the services you can provide and the problems you can solve. Being a consultant is mostly about solving problems; consultants fix things, which is why it’s important to know one’s capabilities and area of expertise.
You can either work with a company full time, or as a freelancer. If you decide to work as a freelancer, you might want to look into a field that has high demand.
In this article, we cover the primary things you need to know that will guide you on starting your own consulting business.
5 Steps to Help You Start Your Consulting Business
Here are a few important things to do when starting your consulting business:
1. Identify your strengths and skills
Consultants are hired by business owners and managers to fix issues that they can’t solve themselves. They are hired because they are expected to have a vast knowledge of the business for which they are being hired, otherwise, there won’t be any need to hire them in the first place.
It is important that you are fully equipped and properly prepared for that moment.
While preparing for that moment, it is important to ask a few questions for self-evaluation. These questions are a way to examine your skill set and identify the areas where you are strong, and where there’s room for improvement.
- What areas do I have deep knowledge about?
- What am I confident about?
- What do I need to work on?
- What soft skills do I possess?
There are 4 consulting business models that guide you in understanding what style of work is suitable for you based on your interests. They are; the solo consultant model, the consulting firm model, the productized consulting model, and the hybrid consulting model. These models help you get clarity on the type of consulting business you want to start.
Do your research about your desired niche, find out problems and how you can solve them and what value you can offer.
2. Establish your services and pricing
After deciding on a niche and figuring out what business model works for you, the next questions are;
“Who are my services for?”
“How much am I going to charge?”
Answering these questions helps you be clear on who exactly your service is for, and helps you focus on your target audience.
Identifying the services you provide and the clients you provide these services to enables you and your business to stand out.
Also, identifying what industry your potential client is in, the problems they have, the size of their company, and the duration of your service, helps you to fix your prices accordingly. Your prices should be a mirror of the amount of preparation that will be required of you to carry out a project. Prices could be short-term or long-term, depending on various factors. It could also be hourly, depending on the size of the project or the company. It is important to fix prices according to the range of companies and businesses you will be offering your services to.
3. Set up your business
You know your niche, at this stage, you most likely have established your services, and you have fixed prices. By now, it’s all coming together.
In setting up your business, the first step is to decide on a business name. When selecting a business name, it’s advisable to use something intriguing and eye-catching. Otherwise, simply use your name. That way, it feels more personal, relatable, and unique.
Your branding must be memorable and easy to sell because your business name is responsible for a large amount of marketing, especially when you’re just starting. Your business logo and everything that has your business name on it must be eye-catching.
After this is done, the next step is to register your business. Legal Trunk is a platform that allows you to register a company in the US or Nigeria from anywhere in the world.
You can go further to create a website; this boosts your professionalism. In recent times, you do not have to break a bank to create a website. There are free sites to create your online presence.
Your website should include your business name, the services you provide and prices. It makes clients get a heads up on what you do and speeds up transactions and project launching.
The best platforms to create free professional websites are; WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix.
Explore our course that teaches you everything you need to know about starting a profitable consulting course.
4. Market your business
Marketing a new business can be strenuous. You can’t wait for the perfect client to come around. You will have to put in the work by putting yourself out there and attracting your ideal client.
There are many modes of marketing. They include:
- Organic Marketing: This is also known as referral marketing. When your ideal clients find you on any platform and trust you, they can refer you to other potential clients; this is called organic marketing. Your clients can be found on social media such as Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. Keeping great relationships with your clients is the gateway to getting more clients. Consistent excellence at delivering projects makes your clients trust you and feel valued, hence the referrals. This is a great method because it comes at no cost.
- Paid media: This is basically marketing your business through advertisements. There are a lot of channels to choose from; YouTube ads, Instagram ads, Facebook ads, Google ads, Facebook ads, and many more. Find out what social media app works for you and stick to it. Ensure to put your business out there. You can achieve this by creating ideas that start up conversations and drive engagement with your potential client.
- Practice your elevator pitch: All the amazing skills you have are close to being useless If you can’t convince a potential client and close the sale. This is where the elevator pitch comes in. What is an elevator pitch? An elevator pitch is a brief introduction of yourself, what you do, and a call to action that makes a connection with someone. An elevator pitch is usually 30 seconds; so you have 30 seconds to get a key point across to your potential client. When you attend seminars or conferences that allow you to connect and network with people that are your potential clients, your elevator pitch is what you use to get important information about you and your business across. An elevator pitch does not have to be done physically. It can be communicated through email or LinkedIn when you reach out to potential clients. What matters is the content itself. Write it down and know it by heart.
5. Be prepared to put in the work
Now that you know all of this information, ensure to put everything to good use. Have a process in place that is useful and easy to navigate.
Do well to be organized, put in your best and deliver excellent results. Remember, your clients trust you and are counting on you to do something exceptional.
When you meet and surpass the clients expectations, they will be sure to refer you to other businesses.
Staying organized involves documenting the problem and process, so you don’t lose valuable information that may be useful when dealing with the next client.
After finding your niche by identifying your strengths and skills, you know for sure what you want to do and where to find your potential client. Next, you want to set up your business, so you’re well prepared for when the clients start coming in. When you’re prepared and fully equipped, you can put your business out there with confidence. Lastly, the clients come in and the real work starts. As stated above, ensure that you have processes in place that would guide you and your client. It’s okay to hire people so that you don’t get overwhelmed. Remember, excellent work is paramount for client retention in consultancy.
Following these steps and building up on other important skills a consultant should have, would have you on the path to a great career in consulting.