Consultants are professionals involved in offering expert and useful advice in different fields like human resources, law, marketing, accountancy, environment, entertainment, communications, management, technology, finance, medicine, economics, engineering, waste management, graphic design and public affairs.
Consultants work in the form of independent contractors possessing extensive knowledge and experience in the field that they serve. They do not serve as the employees of a particular hiring company. A consultant can either be self-employed or work for a consulting firm. However, if you want to know how to start a consulting business then there are some important steps that you need to follow:
Step 1: Identify your Focus
Being a professional, you possess many years of quality experience in a particular field. Prior to starting with the procedure of marketing yourself, it is necessary for you to identify your focus. Try differentiating your potential from those of your competitors. You can get a clear idea from this example.
There are a lot of marketing experts throughout the market but not all of them might possess the experience of a specific industry or business. Be clear with the fact that there is huge difference between an online retail marketing professionals and a marketing expert. Identifying this focus or niche will help you in increasing your potential and demand in the market. There is a lot of money to be made with in the finance niche. Take for example businesses that offer small loans online. With interest rates as high as 400% there is a lot of room to make a very nice living by just focusing on this niche.
The time that you spend in consulting businesses is worth it. But apart from this, if you have spare time then make it a point to use that time for getting hold of good clients. You must also check for a non-compete agreement that holds you back from working for certain clients. In case you have left the former company in good terms then that company might serve as your first client.Step 2: Educate Yourself in Finding Sales
Remember, that in order to build a very solid base for work, you need to have solid clients. A good place to look out for clients is close contacts. You can use the social media platform for informing your friends, colleagues and relatives about your consulting business. You must inform them about the fact that you are actually looking to help clients by offering your expert knowledge which will eventually help them in succeeding. When trying to contact clients include your educational information. You also have the option of starting a newsletter or blog including useful information for readers. The blog or the newsletter will show the readers that you are completely up to date with industry standards and an expert in the field that you serve. Next time, the readers have a new project or a question, they might ask for your guidance and recommendations.
Step 3: Showcase all Your Credentials
Clients will hire you only if they are completely assured of the fact that you possess the expertise in expanding their business. When starting your consulting business, make sure to state your knowledge, experience and most importantly, your credentials. While bringing in important marketing materials, keep in mind to highlight your credentials. Your credentials might include certifications and licenses, certificates and school degrees. Apart from this, it might also include honors and awards which you might have obtained. Provide references to events where you have featured like some media stories or blogs. This can help you in gaining the trust of your clients.
Step 4: Construct the Sales Pipeline
Apart from using the social media for contacting friends and colleagues to serve as solid clients, there are other streams of clients that you also need to develop. Try introducing your business to various staffing companies. Most staffing companies have certain contract openings for minimum one month. These can serve as secure sources of income for your business. Other effective methods of finding clients include using web-based consulting websites like oDesk, Elance and Guru. You can also partner with the other companies and consultants in getting good business.
Start your consulting business only if you have put also the above mentioned steps in the proper place. There is no use starting with a business that does not work out well for its clients. You should not only aim towards building solid clients but also towards providing quality services.