Apparently, everyone today behaves like a consultant. The moment we meet an aspiring entrepreneur, our expertise in that particular field jumps out of nowhere and we make sure to transfer a few pieces of advice to the listener, absolutely free of cost, but what if you actually are an expert in the field and all that knowledge you transfer free of cost is truly invaluable? You can actually start a consulting firm or business if you know your skill’s potential.
With the growing demand for specialized freelancers and contractors in place of full-time employees, there has never been a better time than today to start your own consulting firm, be it offline or online.
What a Consultant Exactly Does?
Although the skills vary from industry to industry, typically a consultant is an expert advisor hired by individuals and companies to help move their business or service forward. The consultant’s job is to just consult. He doesn’t implement any strategy or works towards achieving a goal. A right consultant with stringent business and industry knowledge can prove to be an invaluable asset.
A good consultant drives for excellence and is hungry for answers. He is also thoroughly adept with the subject he is consulting in. If you want to start your own consulting firm, you will need to discover where your expertise lies. It could be anything, such as the latest software and hardware information, economy, tax, accountancy, cosmetics, fundraising or anything that needs deep understanding.
For instance, if you are good at software and hardware then you could be a computer consultant or if you are good at Information Technology, you could be an IT product and service consultant or if you are good at education, subjects and syllabuses, you could start a career consulting firm. There are consultants in everything you see and use, including business organization, personal style, fashion, and even communication development.
[Also Read: Is Independent HR Consulting The Right Job For You?]
What Do You Need to Start?
Although there are no special credentials or certificates required for starting a consulting business, you will need to consider certain things before you become one.
- Depending upon the field you choose, you may need a special certification or license to start the business. For instance, if you want to get into the software and hardware business, you’ll need to pursue a degree or certification in computer science application. On the other hand, if you are planning to open a career firm, you can start it without any special license or certification.
- Make sure you are up-to-date in the knowledge department. The latest industry trends, changes, evolution, and everything related to the subject should be known to you. You have to obtain all the qualifications necessary before you become a qualified consultant. Research and analyze your field as much as possible, every day.
- Networking and communication are imminent and inevitable factors in the consulting Consulting are all about talking, advising and sharing information. You can only become a successful consultant, when you can transfer your ideas and thoughts in an effective manner, so much so that people get inspired by them and take actions. Refine your communication skills.
Also, begin social networking as this factor also determines your company’s growth and success. Join business associations in your city, take part in company fests and events and build your social contacts.
List of Top 20 Consulting Businesses Successful Today
As we’d said earlier, you can be a consultant in any field you like; however, these 20 businesses are currently trending in 2018.
- Human Resource – One of the best and lucrative consultation firms. Help clients hire and recruit employees. Consultants also teach employees about corporate culture and business ethics.
- Accounting – Help businesses with their financial needs.
- Auditing – Help small and large firms in handling their taxes and filing and returns.
- Advertising – Hired to develop and build great advertising strategies and campaigns for branding and promotion.
- Digital Marketing – Hired to develop internet marketing strategies best suitable for the business.
- Insurance – Help clients find the best insurance policy according to price and features.
- Marketing – Hired by businesses to help write long and short-term marketing plans.
- Writing – Help write and understand legal documents for various businesses and legal issues.
- Business Plan – Establish business plans and help companies optimize resources with cost-effective
- Business Writing – Assist individuals in writing business reports, memos, presentation and anything related to business development.
- Editorial – Produce newsletters, annual reports, press releases, and more varieties of editorial copies.
- Career – Another lucrative business where counselors guide students and professionals towards the right job or higher studies.
- Grantsmanship – Expert advice and skills are used to write and develop a grant proposal for companies.
- IT Consultant – Guide companies and clients with the right IT strategies and software applications for mobile and web to boost growth and productivity.
- Computer Programmer–Everything between hardware and software will be your expert field, including products.
- Gardening – Hired to provide tips and steps to start and maintain a healthy garden.
- Pets – Help people to understand pets’ behavior and tips to take care of a variety of pets.
- Public Relations– Hired to get good press coverage from the media.
- Marriage Consultant – Counsel distraught couples in relationship management and show them the right path.
- Publishing – Help new ventures in launching anything new, such as newspapers, magazines, websites, online products, and newsletters.
[Also Read: How to Start and Run a Small Construction Company]
Steps Involved in Start a Consulting Firm
Look for the Target Market
You may have unparalleled ideas and solutions, but you need a market to hear your ideas. Find a market that is willing to pay you for your expert advice. Ask who will your potential clients be? Whether your clients are from large corporates or small businesses or non-profit organizations? Prepare a business plan based on the findings.
Where and Who (Place and Staffs)
You can actually start your consultation business right from your home – so, no capital investment there. However, check with an attorney if you are allowed to do that, especially if it concerns a particular niche or subject.
You will be able to handle all of your operations yourself in the beginning. However, depending upon the field and business growth, you may require staff for administrative work and assistance in assignment completion. When the time arrives to hire staff, it is a good idea you evaluate the kind of job you would want your staff to do. If it is more like administrative management, a full-time employee should be the right choice for you.
If the work doesn’t require much assistance, something like accompanying you to shoots (for fashion or cosmetic consultancy) or participating in events alone, then a freelance employee should be a practical option.
Having someone in your office does has several benefits, such as you save time and money while you focus on primary work, you don’t worry about not being at your desk as someone else is available there to attend your clients and you have someone to offer you better perspective or another perspective. You also don’t feel lonely.
How to Earn More and Make Profit
Getting serious about the money and budget should be a primary concern when deciding to open your consultancy firm. We have already discussed that it doesn’t take much to start a consulting business in terms of money, but at the same time you have to decide how much money you will charge your clients to earn a profit and make this a worthy business.
You have to find a middle ground when it comes to charging your clients. And one of the best ways to achieve it is to find out the current market situation and have a look at your competitors’ businesses. Find their rates and how they charge. You can look up their website or social media page for the answers. You can also call up and find the rates.
Before you set your fees, think carefully and plan diligently. Don’t be in a hurry to quote a price; list all your expenses first. This should be done to avoid any additional expenses materialized in midway. You cannot ask your clients to pay more after fixing your rates right? You can charge hourly, per session wise, project wise, or retainer basis; the latter gives you a monthly fee for an agreed number of hours.
Marketing and Advertising
Selling a consulting business is different from selling a product, such as a car, house or mobile phone. In the latter’s case, you know customers probably are already looking for one. But here, you are marketing a service that customers are not aware that they need those services.
Instead of selling your service, you’ve to sell the values your service will bring into your customer’s business or life.
On the other hand, advertising can be an expensive element in start-up businesses. We suggest that instead of spending on advertising, start with free or low-cost advertising strategies, such as your website blog, LinkedIn, brochures, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter self-promotion and WhatsApp-ing your friends. (1)
We hope that we were able to speak about the important points in starting a consulting business. Like we said earlier, this is the right time to get into this career and earn a profit.