Show all

The right way to begin a profitable engineering consultancy business

How to start a successful engineering consultancy business
How to start a successful engineering consultancy business

The consulting sector in the UK continues to grow, according to a survey by Savanta.

Despite the impact of COVID-19, the Management Consultancies Association (MCA) Annual Report 2020 estimates it has increased by 7% in the past year and is now worth £11.3 billion to the UK economy.

“Clients are investing more heavily than ever in new technologies whether it’s advanced analytics and machine learning; AI and virtual reality or assistance with cloud adoption. The consulting industry is at the forefront of driving technological change and transformation for businesses and Digital and Technology consulting activity (25%) continues to lead service line fee income distribution followed by Programme and Project Management (19%)”. Management Consultancies Association (MCA) Annual Report 2020 

The job market is changing, with more people moving into independent, freelance and consulting work. For many, this is due to their own circumstances changing, such as role redundancies, salary reductions and decreased opportunities. For others, it is because they have found their passion and, perhaps, their calling.

Do what you love.

The so-called ‘gig economy’ is growing as businesses rely more heavily on contractors and consultants to fill specialised roles or gaps in organisations. If you can combine an industry gap, or need, with something that you love doing, why wouldn’t you consider starting your own consulting business?

There are several reasons to start a business and the benefits might include:

  • More freedom and flexibility of working hours
  • Variety and diversity of work – every day is different
  • Career opportunities could improve
  • Earnings can be higher and growth opportunities increase through scaling
  • Learn about a range of industries and improve your skills
  • Have more fun!

What does it take to be a consultant?

Cambridge dictionary defines a consultant as “someone who advises people on a particular subject, someone who is paid to give expert advice or training on a particular subject”.

The two key phrases here are ‘expert advice’ and ‘particular subject’. This means that, for consultancy to work for you, you need to have a specific skill that can be used to help customers solve a specific challenge. In other words, find a problem that a customer has and then find a way to solve it for them using your knowledge and experience and expertise.

Starting a business can be daunting. According to the Office for National Statistics, 80% of new businesses fail in their first year and only 42.4% of the businesses started in 2013 were still trading five years later in 2018. However, following a planned and proven process can increase your chances of success.

You can start a business with just a laptop and a phone.

Nowadays, many successful entrepreneurs are running a business from their living room using a webcam, phone and a laptop to reach thousands daily. Why are they so successful? They don’t have better technology, and they definitely don’t cater for a wide target audience. They are doing business differently to the way it used to be; they have developed a strategy, assessed their target audience needs, built a database of customers and paid attention to their conversion rates and the customer experience.

What do you need to get started?

There are only a few core things that you need to start your own consultancy business.

Actionable tips:

  1. Define. What problem does the customer need solving?
  2. Create value. Find a solution to the problem.
  3. Nurture. Find people willing to pay for what you offer and build relationships.
  4. Set up your business, clarify your goals. Prepare for success by getting the fundamentals in place.
  5. Deliver. Find your market and communicate your solution to potential customers.

For a consultancy business, your job is to help people solve their most pressing issues and there are three reasons why they would pay you to do this:

  1. They have tried it themselves and been unsuccessful.
  2. They want to get there faster.
  3. They want guidance from someone who has been there and done it.

What you create and sell helps someone move from where they are now to where they want to be so that they can create their own value.

For more tips about how to start your own journey and to hear from someone who started their own business, join the free webinar ‘How to successfully launch a consultancy business in challenging times’ on 1 December 2020 at 12.30 pm GMT.

You can now also book a place to attend the virtual course Launch an engineering consultancy business in four weeks, which launches on 5 February 2021.

For more information on training courses and webinars, visit or contact the team at or +44(0)20 7304 6907

Meet the trainer:

Matthew Laskaj

Matthew Laskaj

Matthew is the Chair for the IMechE’s Scottish Region committee and director of a successful engineering consultancy. After 20 years working in a variety of engineering industries around the world, redundancy allowed him to reassess what was most important and he decided to start up a small business. Fast-forward five years and he is running a business he loves – following his passion in engineering and being able to help others at the same time.

Comments are closed.