Interview with J. Karl from Mind Storm www.mind-storm.com
What are your recommendations on how to start a consulting business?
Business consultants are very high in demand currently and their popularity is increasing with each passing day. If you are an expert in any particular field, you may decide to start your own consulting business. Starting a consulting business such as a Management Consulting Firm can be quite difficult. Here are 10 steps on how to start a consulting business:
1. Identify your expertise area: Before starting a consulting business, you have to first figure out the area which you will specialize in. There are different kinds of skill areas which you may select like- Strategic Financial Management, Web Designing, Coding or any other technical skills. It should be something in which you are really passionate about and have plenty of knowledge. And you should also make sure that the skill is in demand.
2. Get the necessary certifications: While starting a consulting business, it is very important to comply with the legal regulations. Otherwise, you may get in trouble later on. Some consulting businesses don't require any certifications. However, if you are focusing on a specialized skill like accounting, you need to show that you have certifications from any certified accounting institution. In case you are not sure whether certifications are required or not, you can speak with any other consultant offering the same kind of service.
Also, make sure that you have all the licenses which are necessary to start a consulting business. The licensing requirements will vary from place to place.
3. Be patient: Generally, it takes some time for a consulting business to take off. Don't expect clients queuing up to avail your service within a week of starting the business. If you have such ambitious expectations, then you will be disappointed. You need to focus on the long term goals and believe in what you are doing.
4. Target your market: The success of your business depends largely on how well you choose your target market. You should take some time and choose a market where there is sufficient demand for your product and where there are clients who can afford to pay for your service. For example, in case you have a career consulting business, you need to decide whether you will work with individuals or you will tie up with a company and offer advice to their employees. Similarly, if you are a legal consultant, you should select those areas which are high in demand like insurance claims or foreclosure.
5. Research your transfer Market: After you select your target market, you need to research on it. You have to find out several ways through which you can help them. You need to convince your clients why they need your service. For example, if you are a cyber security consultant, you need to inform banks about the potential threats that they face and convince them to use your service.
6. Go for a home office: It is advisable to build a home office. However, make sure that it is legal as per the local laws of your state. Renting an office space is going to cost a lot. And if you work at your home, you will also be able to save a lot on traveling expenses and utilities.
7. Build your network: Network building is very important for your business to succeed. Try to build contacts right from the moment of starting your business. Especially in the initial stages, you need to depend on your contact list to get good clients. Apart from that, it is also very important to be active on social media networks and create a good network over there as well.
8. Decide your fees: Initially, it is advisable not to demand very high fees. It also depends on the current market scenario and the competition level. You should also decide how to bill your clients. Hourly billing sounds a bit expensive at times. You may decide to charge a flat fee for the entire project.
9. Marketing: You also need to market your business. Otherwise, no one will be aware of your existence. You can go for brochures or newsletters for marketing. Your business logo need to be aligned to your business objectives, rather than your personal taste. However, in this current business scenario, online marketing is the cheapest and most effective option.
10. Outsourcing: Initially, you have to perform all your tasks by yourself. But once your business is established, you may decide to outsource some of the small tasks. Outsourcing is going to save you a lot of time and will allow you to focus on the more important tasks.