Everyone needs help, advice, or guidance at some point, and that is why the consulting business continues to thrive. As you know, starting and running a consulting firm is not for everyone. Therefore, you need significant knowledge and a passion for helping others find their way. However, if you have put in reasonable effort in a specific area and gained substantial knowledge and expertise, you might consider starting your own consulting business. According to an old publication by the consultancy.uk, the United States consultancy business increased exponentially between 2012 and 2016 for the top 40 firms. In addition, prospects for more industry explosion continue to grow as more people invest in self-improvement and skill acquisition.
Whether you want to quit your job as an employee or advance your career by providing expert services, this blog post promises a step-by-step process to starting a consulting business. Let’s get started!
What is a consulting business?
A consulting business or consulting firm is an establishment offering professional guidance to those who need it. The consulting company can have several business structures, each providing industry-specific advice to clients who may be individuals or a corporate organization.
Business executives and individuals engage the services of a consulting firm for their expertise in specific fields. These experts are called consultants and can work for themselves or affiliate with another significant consulting business.
Why start a consulting business?
The market for a consulting business is large and replete with prospects. As a result, several options abound. To serve clients, you can pull several experts in different niches together under your consulting firm. In essence, your team of experts or consultants becomes your employees, which you can deploy to clients for understudy jobs. Consultants work with available information and data to analyze present issues and give real-time actionable advice to solve problems. As much as human problems abound, there are opportunities for a consulting business.
Here are examples of several industries or sectors where you can operate a consulting firm:
- Human resources, etc.
Steps to start a consulting business
Starting a consulting business is not just about advising people. You need to know how to source for clients, pitch your services and set up your consulting price. Fortunately, this is where a step-by-step approach to starting a consulting business comes in handy.
Analyze your strength and skill
Before considering starting a consulting business, the first step is to conduct a SWOT analysis to ascertain the success of your business. The reason is that people will only pay you because of your skills and expertise. As a result, you need to prove that you are worth their time and money by ensuring that you are an expert. To gain your clients’ confidence, you need to prove that you have all it takes to be helpful. You can engage in introspection to find out what areas you are highly skilled in. Additionally, you can acquire further training in places you could use some extra help. Take those additional classes if you must but by all means, skill up!
Do a careful market analysis.
The consulting business market is a large one. As a result, there are many opportunities for your business to thrive. Before setting up your firm, take some time to study the market and follow up with market trends. Figure out what areas people need more help in and how you can be relevant. It is no use setting up a business if people do not need what you have to offer, regardless of your skills.
Build your team carefully.
Now that you know what you have to offer and are sure of what the public needs, it is time to pull your team together. You can source teammates from your immediate network of experts or set up a recruitment exercise. Alternatively, you can employ human resources personnel to assist you with recruitment. The essence is to ensure that you have the best team of experts. While recruiting, endeavor to group your staff according to their strengths and skillset. For example, you can get a set of people to handle payroll activities, where they are responsible for generating employee paystubs and W-2 forms to ensure that everyone gets paid. Your payroll team can also generate online invoices for clients and other necessary financial documents.
Actively seek out clients.
With your team all set, the next step is to seek out your clients actively. You could either put together an elevator pitch, write proposals and cold emails, or send newsletters to clients. Alternatively, you could set up a marketing or advertising committee among your team members to handle the publicity of the consulting business. Whatever method you choose to get your clients, your presentations should be to the point and highlight your expertise and how much you can be of value to them. Also, do not forget to advertise to your target audience. Advertising or pitching to the wrong audience is a waste of your resources and will not convert any leads for your business.
Fix your price
Pricing can be challenging in the consulting business, whether you want to charge by the hour or your service and skills. However, the best way to get around the seeming difficulty is to offer competitive prices. Research helps you get a general idea of what others in the same business charge. However, do not be afraid to charge higher if you offer higher-quality services with a premium methodology. There are always clients willing to pay higher for quality.
Skill is paramount whether you choose to set your consulting business online or follow the brick-and-mortar pattern. The hallmark of a consultant is your expertise and extensive knowledge because, in the end, that is why people are paying you. Therefore, before starting a consulting business, ensure you have the requisite skills and more.
FAQS: what do consultants call themselves?
What do consultants call themselves?
Consultants prefer to attach the prefix of the actual service they provide or their industry to their names. For instance, a consultant in the healthcare industry will choose to call themselves “a healthcare consultant.” The reason is that most consultants are more interested in their service, which is expert advice in a specific field.
Can you be a business consultant without a degree?
Being a consultant requires lots of knowledge and expertise. Sometimes extensive years of studies to deliver premium advice to clients. Also, you should know that most of your clients as a consultant are likely to be top business executives. As a result, you need a degree in a specific field to pull off a job in the consulting business. Top consulting firms sometimes require even a master’s degree besides your first degree.
What is the difference between a freelancer and a consultant?
Freelancers work as independent contractors, providing their services to clients. In contrast, a consultant works as a self-employed individual or employee for a private firm or even the government. Some consultants work in both the private and public sectors.
How do consultants make money?
Consultants make money by giving professional advice to help individuals and businesses solve their problems. Some people in the consulting business charge by the hour, while others prefer to charge a certain percentage for their expert services.