Are you considering starting a consulting business? It can be a great way to make money and help others, but it's important to understand the steps involved in setting up a successful consulting business. From evaluating your skills and strengths to choosing your niche, analyzing the needs and weak points of the market, developing your brand, website and service offerings, opening your business, marketing your business to attract new customers, staying organized and scaling, there are many steps to take. Before you start your consulting business, you'll need to consider the legal aspects. Depending on the jurisdiction, you may need general business licenses, zoning permits or a professional or occupational license.
Additionally, state and federal labor laws may apply if you hire employees for your consulting firm. Once you have the legal aspects sorted out, it's time to start building your brand. Cultivate relationships with potential customers, partners and influencers in your industry to generate more leads and increase your customer base. Some marketing assets that are “must-haves” for most consultants include a website, a LinkedIn presence and business cards.
When it comes to choosing a niche for your consulting business, evaluate your skills and strengths to determine what type of consultant you want to be. Some consultants offer general advice while others specialize in specific areas such as accounting, marketing or human resources consulting. You may need special training to offer certain types of expert advice depending on the consulting business model you select. When it comes to running your consulting business, make sure you stay organized and deliver results so you can get repeat clients and referrals.
You may need to hire virtual assistants to schedule meetings and organize emails or an accountant to enter receipts into their accounting software. Additionally, consider hiring a social media consultant to manage your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Finally, decide how much you will charge your customers. Factors such as your level of experience, the rates charged by consultants with a similar skill level and credentials, geographical location and company costs should all be taken into consideration when setting rates.
By following these nine steps, you can set yourself up for success when starting a consulting business.