6 Steps to Take Before You Start a Consulting Business
If you’re thinking about starting your own consulting business, it’s recommended that you begin to plan a year or two ahead if possible. Your current work environment is a great place to begin building relationships with colleagues, competitors, and suppliers—really, anyone who you think will be a good contact when you start on your own.
As you’re planning and thinking ahead, these are six tips that will help you begin your own consulting business.
Find Your Niche
Don’t try to offer something to everyone; it’s best to specialize. What do you believe is currently missing in your industry? What areas do people struggle the most in? Taking the time to dig deep, study your industry, and find trends are your best opportunities. Also, take time to understand your strengths and specialties; who would benefit the most from your knowledge? This will help you find ideal clients, and you’ll have some good grounding before you even start your business.
Take Up Networking
Professional networking sites such as LinkedIn are great ways to connect with others in your industry and begin to build contacts. If you meet, try to connect online. You never know who you will want to reach out to later on, and utilizing online tools makes it a lot easier to find people a couple years later.
Practice Talking Points
Talking points should be like 30-second sound bites. They are short and concise explanations of who you are, what you do, and how you do it. Getting these down will be essential for starting your business. Try to highlight what sets you apart from other consultants, and talk about what you’ll bring to the client.
Create a Pricing Structure
This is an aspect that requires a lot of time to plan ahead for. You’ll want to figure out your pricing and make sure it’s put in writing. You need to study your industry to see what the average prices are and what outside sources you’ll need, as well as how much to budget on your end. Costs and pricing are vital to a successful business.
Create Templates for Proposals
To be effective, you also need to be efficient. You should design forms for fill-in-the-blank templates that clients can refer to. You may need data gathering forms, or a set of questions that you’ll ask everyone. Using templates will ensure your work is consistent and has the same look and feel as you take the same approach with each client.
Understand What Comes Next
When you snag a client, you want to be ready to go with the sales and design process. Have contacts ready, and be prepared so once you get that “yes” you can lay out a timeline and expectations for your client, instead of being left wondering what to do next. This can be delivered through a welcome email, or a packet. This way, you’ll have an idea of what the whole thing will look like from start to finish.
If you need more help and training be sure to check out Sam Ovens Consulting for a complete blueprint to starting your consulting business.