Setting out on your own with a consulting business is a great idea especially if you are not particularly taken with the idea of simply following instructions from your boss. With your own firm, you have the creative freedom to choose projects that are truly challenging, explore your own potential to the max and keep growing with the industry.
However, to ensure your success in this very competitive niche, it is important for you to lay the groundwork.
Don’t hesitate to start small
Your very first project is not likely to be the most profitable one simply because you have to prove yourself in the industry before you are entrusted with high-value gigs. Don’t lose heart if the initial projects you get are small ones. Give your best in terms of creativity and passion to earn respect from your clients who may later hand you your biggest project as well. Focus on the quality of the projects you pick initially and not the size.
Deliver more than you promise
This is the simplest way to make your clients really love you enough to give rave notices about you to their network of contacts. Always try to deliver more than the client expects. Keep in mind that this means you tone down what you promise to do for them. Of course, you have to give clients good reasons to entrust their project to you so ensure that your project proposal is comprehensive and attractive enough Always add a provision to give them a little extra so that they get maximum value for their money spent in hiring you.
Keep a standard proposal ready
Your proposal outlines your credentials, your skills/ competencies and what you can do for the client. The last may vary from project to project but the other two segments can remain pretty much the same during your initial days. Having a standard proposal ready to tweak and offer to the client makes you super-efficient and this gives your client the assurance that you are professional, competent and fast. Invest time in making up the initial two segments of your standard proposal because they need to pack a punch and impress your client at first reading.
Define your niche clearly
Consultancy is a highly competitive field of work and that is why you should take adequate care in the initial stages of setting up the business to ensure regular clientele and good income. Take the time to study your specific field of consultancy and identify the areas where experienced consultants are in good demand but not easy to find.
Think about honing your skills in that area. Another good move is to offer a value-add service to the run of the mill consultation, something that most of your peers do not give. This sets you apart from the crowd and ensures that you make a better value proposition to clients than your competitors.
Keep costs low
Do not overextend yourself right from the outset because initial costs can cut deeply into your finances and make it tough for you to sustain your business. Start with a compact office that you can get for a reasonable rent. If you wish to go solo, consider a home office.
When your business grows, you can always hire more people at a later stage. Avoid investing in frills that do not add direct value to your offerings, such as spending on interior decoration when an austere, elegant design would do well enough.
Address risks adequately
One of the most important and yet most often neglected aspects is the risk that your business faces. Most business owners are aware of the direct risks like fire or theft and they cover the business against this with the right kind of insurance. However, there is a significant potential risk that is posed by clients who may be dissatisfied with the service you offer.
Irrespective of how impeccable your services are, you may have clients who are unhappy to the extent of filing a lawsuit against you for negligence or faulty solutions or incomplete fulfillment of contractual obligations. Fighting a legal battle can be a very costly proposition that can bring your business to its knees.
However, with comprehensive professional liability insurance from BizInsure, your business is safeguarded from not just the financial drain of the legal proceedings and attorney fees but also the damages that you may have to pay the client.
1) Entrepreneur.com, How to Start a Consulting Business, Available at https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/41384
2) Tim Berry, 10 Tips on How to Start a Consulting Business, Available at https://articles.bplans.com/10-tips-on-how-to-start-a-consulting-business/
3) Dana Anspach, 6 Steps to Take Before You Start a Consulting Business, last Updated: November 20, 2019, Available at https://www.thebalance.com/before-starting-consulting-business-2388409