How To Start A Successful Consulting Business

With the jobs market unstable and many employees finding themselves facing an uncertain future, more and more people are looking into the possibility of working for themselves.

For those who have a skills base and a good level of experience in their field, consulting can be a great way to go – offering advice and services on a freelance basis to clients and companies who are cutting cost by doing without in house specialists in a number of areas.

For technical types there is IT consulting, while the media savvy may wish to consider setting up a PR consultancy and experienced manager offer consulting in business structure and employee management fields.

Whatever your own area of expertise, it is likely there is an opening to branch out into consulting. So what do you need to know before you take the plunge and go it alone?

Market Research

Before committing yourself (and your finances) to a consultancy business you will need to ensure that there is a market out there for whatever it is you have to offer. Internet research can prove useful, as you may be able to see what services others offer – you can gauge the level of saturation in your field in your own local area, or spot whether there may be a gap in the market that has not yet been filled. Consider asking business contacts if they or anyone they know might use a consulting service if you were to set them up, but be wary of carrying out this face to face research if still in employment as your contract may include a non-compete clause, which even mooting ideas to clients could see you falling foul of.

Remember Red Tape

Consider the kind of business that you want to run – will you simply be a freelance self-employed consultant or do you want to set up a company? Consider consulting an accountant to advise you on all of the relevant issues of the available options and ensure that you cross your Ts and dot your is before business begins.

Building Business

If you have set up your business, then you will need to find clients and quickly. Networking is key when it comes to building a client base for your consultancy. Look into networking organisations in your area, and consider joining your local chamber of commerce who are likely to host networking events such as business breakfasts and meet and greets for local movers and shakers. If your skills are not well known in your area you may wish to consider offering introductory rates to the first few clients who use your services – since word of mouth advertising can be a great way to build more business. Remember that in the modern world, an online presence is really important, so ensure that you have a great website and maintain a credible social networking presence – offering content that is relevant to your field and really adds value to other internet user’s experience.