Are you ready to share your knowledge with the world? Starting a consulting business is pretty easy; making it work is the hard part. With more and more people making their way into the consulting sector, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate yourself from the rest.
If you have the passion, knowledge and drive to offer people what they don’t even know they need, then you’re well on your way to becoming a great consultant.
Follow our guide and start creating your dream consulting business today.
Before you start, ask yourself some questions
Before you get serious about starting your business, you should ask yourself some of these questions to establish whether or not you’ve got what it takes.
- Am I qualified enough to become a consultant?
- Do I have the organisational skills needed to meticulously plan out my day?
- Have I set myself goals, both for the short term and long term?
- Do I enjoy networking?
- Can I run a business and look after my accounting?
If you’ve answered yes to all of these, then you’re probably ready to take on the challenge. If not, you should think carefully about whether or not consulting is the right path for you.
Unearth Your Target Market
Next, you should consider your target market. Who exactly are you looking to provide services to? If there’s no market for the services you are trying to offer, then you aren’t going to have a very successful consulting business.
Do some research into your chosen area and see if there really is a market for you. Some of the top industries for consulting right now include:
- Editorial services
- Computer consulting
- Payroll management
If you don’t fit into one of these categories, don’t worry. There are different consulting services popping up all the time and if you’re lucky, you might even find a niche that hasn’t been discovered yet.
Find Premises For Your Business
Most consultants initially run their businesses from home. There are sometimes legal issues surrounding this but there is plenty of information online to help you get your head around it. Working from home has its benefits including greater flexibility, lower overhead cost, less time spent travelling and tax deductible office space.
Set Your Prices
It’s always a good idea to set hourly and daily fees, as well as fees per project and hire on a retainer basis. This way, you can offer your clients flexible payment options which could lead to a better chance of securing work.
If you’re not sure where to start with setting your fees, do some research into what your competitors are offering and try to match their prices. How much you charge will also depend on how experienced you are. However, it’s important not to undersell yourself and set your fees too low or people aren’t going to take you seriously.
Starting a consulting business is a strange thing because you will probably find that most people don’t actually know they need you. This can make the task of marketing yourself more difficult because not only do you have to prove that your services are of a high standard, you also have to persuade people that they need you at all.
There are several ways you can market yourself as a consulting business:
- Clearly explain what services you provide.
- Tell people why you are the best (but don’t be cocky, back it up with facts).
- Include a brief statement about the company.
- If possible, detail previous clients to build trust.
- Research the best places to advertise for your industry.
- Don’t overspend on advertising if you don’t have to.
- Take advantage of word-of-mouth advertising by networking.
- Prepare a script in advance but don’t become a slave to it.
- Act like a human, not a salesperson for the best responses.
- Limit your cold calling to a few days each month so you don’t tire yourself out with them.
- Make use of three or four different social media sites or apps that are best suited to your industry.
- Keep it impersonal and friendly, social media is about being social not about sales tactics.
- Show people you’re a leader in your field through photos and links to your blog posts.
If you’re willing to put the time and effort into your business, then it is likely to flourish but you need to have that determination that makes entrepreneurs special. Prove that you’re the best and people will be willing to pay for your services.