Do you consider yourself to be a problem solver and love helping out others? Do you think your level of expertise in your niche is unmatchable? If yes, then a career in consulting might be the right thing for you!
To put it simply, consulting involves providing expert advice to businesses and professionals to help them improve and grow. Consultants use their expertise, expertise, knowledge and problem-solving skills to equip these businesses with the strategies and tools they require to overcome challenges.
If you are looking to learn how to start your very own consultation business, you’ve come to the right place. But before we do that, let’s dig a little deeper into what is consulting all about.
So, What Does A Consultant Do?
There are a variety of reasons why organisations and businesses may seek the help of a consultant. This could involve, implementing changes, training personnel, reviewing strategies, bringing in new business systems, etc.
Broadly speaking, here are a few major tasks that consultants are trusted with:
- To identify problems, weaknesses, and challenges
- To improve processes and find solutions for existing problems and challenges
- To teach expertise and educate the staff
- To oversee business development
- Not only advice but also help businesses implement new methods and strategies
8 Types Of Consulting Businesses
Before we tell you how to start a consulting business on the side and #BeALittleMore than what you already are, let’s talk more about the various types of consulting businesses that are much sought after in the current market.
1. Management Consultant
As a management consultant, you will be in charge of the process of improving or developing business strategies. You will aid business leaders in running their organisations smoothly. This is perhaps the most common type of consulting and various niche consulting careers come within this category. As a management consultant, you may want to specialise in a particular industry like IT, HR, healthcare, etc.
2. Strategy Consulting
In business strategy consulting, the focus is on performing better than competitors and maximising business profits. This subset of management consulting is about reviewing major business strategies and guiding the business owners on how to improve their current strategies or how to develop new ones.
3. Financial Strategy Consulting & Accounting
As a financial strategy consultant, your job will be to help business owners make objective, legal, and informed financial decisions that will lead to better returns. As a financial consultant, you can work in financial restructuring, corporate finance, and risk management, among other sectors.
Accountants (yes, an independent accountant is a type of consultant!) help businesses in managing their books and financial requirements.
4. Human Resource Consulting
Human Resource consulting is all about helping organisations obtain and manage and retain employees. HR consultants help with onboarding, training and development, employee management responsibilities, conflict resolutions, employee satisfaction, and more. They also make sure that organisations follow ethical and legal HR practices.
5. IT Consulting
As an IT consultant, you will work with businesses to improve the structure and efficiency of technical systems and implement and manage new technologies. This highly specialised consulting division requires an excellent understanding of technology services.
6. Sales Consulting
Sales consultants handle the responsibility of improving the performance of the sales team of an organisation. If you choose to become a consultant in this niche, you’ll probably be handling tasks like training and development, improving sales processes, selecting a CRM, boosting team morale, etc.
7. Brand Consulting & Marketing Consulting
The role of a brand consultant is to assist brands in finding and refining their voice and image. This niche is the perfect fit for those with a marketing background.
Marketing consultants evaluate the marketing efforts of a business and then guide the business on how to do better to reach its goals.
8. Business Consulting Services
Another highly sought after consulting niche, business strategy consulting is all about helping businesses run smoothly and turn a profit. Unlike management consulting (where you’ll probably assist enterprise-level businesses), if you provide business consulting services, you will be working with small to mid-sized businesses.
5 Prerequisites For Starting A Consulting Business
Before you are all set to execute your consulting business ideas, here are a few things you need to take into consideration:
1. Assess Your Skills & Strengths
An important part of how to start your own consulting business is finding your niche. Assess your strengths and skills to choose your area of expertise. You must have deep knowledge in the specific area you choose so that you can help your clients solve problems they can’t solve themselves. Make sure to assess your weakness or the skills you lack so that you can work on them before diving in.
2. Indulge In Market Research
Once you are done selecting a niche, it’s time to figure out the problems, challenges and pain points that the players of that niche may require your expertise. Having a thorough knowledge of your field and the ability to identify market needs is vital for running a successful consulting business. Reading online blogs and articles, and conducting surveys among your network are just a few ways you can conduct market research.
3. Networking Is Your New BFF
Networking can be critical to this profession. If you really want to be a consultant, ask yourself whether you are good at networking. Start building your network right away!
4. Creating A Budget
Starting a business is a costly affair, so make sure you have a well-planned budget that includes all your costs.
5. Licensing & Certification
Research about special licensing, certifications, and registrations you may need. Depending upon the niche you select, you may require special certification before you start practising as a consultant. Besides, having certifications will help you get more clients.
5-Step Guide On How To Start A Consulting Business
Once you are done with all the pre-work, you have come a little closer to turning your consulting business ideas into a reality. Here is how to start your very own consulting business from scratch:
Step 1: Creating Your Business’s External-Facing Components
The first thing you need to do is create your brand, service offerings, and website. These external components are what will help potential clients identify you. Give you consulting an official name and its very own website. List your service packages and tell your potential clients about the issues and challenges you can help them with.
Step 2: Setting Service Fees
Set your consulting fees keeping in mind factors like the services you offer, the clients you target, and the time taken by a proposal. Once you have decided on the fees, you also need to choose a suitable payment system for your business.
Step 3: Invest In What You Need
Here is the next step in the process of how to start a consulting business. Make sure you have all the software and other technological tools you require to conduct and manage your business and connect with clients. At this point, you must also have a business bank account. You may also want to hire a few people, especially an accountant to help you out.
Step 4: Client Proposal Template & Established Elevator Pitch
Writing a client proposal is important because it is here that you state exactly how you are planning to serve your clients, solve their problems, and help them meet their goals. It includes crucial details like deliverables, budget, timeline, etc. So, before you are finally about to start bringing in clients, make sure you have a client proposal. A clear and convincing proposal will make it easier for you to close the client.
You will also need a short and informative elevator pitch explaining how you can help your clients and what makes you better than other consultants in that niche.
Step 5: Marketing Your Business
Now that your business is legit, it’s time to put more effort into attracting new clients and growing it. Some of the tools you can use to promote your business are organic marketing, webinars, blogging, podcasting, social media marketing, digital advertising, print advertising, emailing, cold calls, and referrals. Whatever marketing strategy you choose, it should be a balanced mix of awareness marketing and direct marketing. Once you reach potential clients, it is time to use your elevator pitch and client proposal to reel them in.
8 Tips On How To Manage & Grow A Consulting Business
These easy-to-follow essential tips can help you grow your small business consulting services and ensure that it keeps running smoothly.
- As your business grows, stay organised, and consistent to keep it running smoothly.
- Work on building strong relationships with clients, so that they can refer you to new ones!
- Analyse your business at least once a month to figure out what’s working and what’s not.
- Look for ways to cut extra resources and efforts for higher returns. You will get good at this once you have been running the business for some time.
- Keep up with the industry trends to keep your business relevant.
- Conducting a competitive analysis to understand your competition better can help you grow and improve.
- Explore new consulting verticals to expand your small business consulting services
- Network and make new connections.
Consulting gives you a chance to use the expertise you have in a particular niche to help others succeed and grow. If you know how to plan, present, and market your service the right way, there is no stopping your consultation business from succeeding.
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