Consultants are experts in their field. Businesses seek them our for their expertise, as a way to find strategies and solutions that will help them reach their end goals. Starting your own consulting business can give you a lot of freedom when it comes to your career. However, many new consulting businesses end up closing in a few years because they didn’t prepare for longevity ahead of time.
If you want to not only set up a consulting business, but one that endures over the long term, then here is everything you should know:
1. Find Your Niche
A business that endures is usually seen as one that has successfully crossed the ten-year mark. This can be incredibly difficult, especially for consultant businesses that are competing against larger established firms. If you want to set up a consulting business, then you’ll need to position yourself within the industry.
How you do this can depend on several factors. These factors include the state and city you’re operating from, the kind of professional services you offer, your pricing strategy, and more. If you want to set up your business in a commercial hub like California, then you should prepare yourself to deal with fierce competition. In Texas, you may find it easier to set up your business as you may not need to deal with licenses and permit regulations.
When you’re deciding upon your niche, you’ll need to factor in these variables as well. If you want to run an advertising consultancy business, or even a talent consultancy, then California would suit you better. If your expertise was in tourism consultancy, then Florida might be ideal for your consultant business.
Most kinds of consultant businesses, such as management consultants, business operations consultants, IT, HR, financial strategy consultants, and others, can usually find regular clients in most states in the country.
2. Conduct Market Analysis
As a consultant, what you know can have a huge say in how successful you are as a business owner. Doing market analysis on the industry your expertise is based on can keep you up to date with latest developments and trends.
You can add to this knowledge by doing consumer analysis as well. This will tell you what your potential clients are looking for, from consultant businesses. You can learn about the kinds of consultants that are most in demand, as well as pain points reported by clients. You can then use this data to position your consulting business ahead of your competition. By targeting customer pain points, you can also both generate and convert leads for your consulting business.
3. Registering Your Business, Permits and Licenses
When you register your business, you’ll need to provide a business name, as well as a legal entity for your consulting business. If your business is operating under an assumed name, then you may need a ‘doing-business-as’ or DBA certificate in several states in the country.
The term legal entity refers to the business structure, such as sole proprietorship, LLC etc. that your business will be recognized as. Keep in mind that your business’ legal entity has implications when it comes to both your personal and legal liability, as well as taxes.
The permits and licenses you need may vary from state to state as well. The best way to ensure that you have met your legal requirements is by visiting the website of the state your business is based in, and then checking for the same. You should also consider visiting the local county website to ensure you aren’t violating local regulations.
4. Managing Employees and Daily Operations
If you choose to hire employees for your consulting business, then you may be required by law to invest in workers compensation insurance policy in most states in the US. Many consulting businesses choose to operate as sole proprietors, while others hire employees to boost business and revenue.
You can consider hiring employees who specialize in fields different from you, or hire those that can support and supplement your knowledge. However, many administrative and routine tasks can be left to software or outsourced virtual assistants. This helps you focus your attention on your clients and training your employees instead. With an accounting software, you don’t have to worry about hiring or paying an accountant, but can still get quality results.
You should also think about your pricing strategy. Remember that your clients are coming to you because they value your advice, so try not to price your services too loo. At the same time, high prices can make it difficult for individuals and smaller businesses to seek your help.
5. Getting The Word Out There
Once you’ve set up your consulting business, you’ll need to market it to ensure that you have clients and projects. Networking and referrals can be a good way to secure work early on. You should also consider investing in a well-designed SEO integrated website.
You can then use your social media business profiles to post content that informs and educates your audience. Informative content is often more likely to be viewed and widely shared, especially when the information shared is valuable. You can take advantage of this to boost your reputation by posting helpful advice through ebooks, videos, webinars, podcasts, live sessions, books, articles, and more.
With these five steps, you can both set up as well as launch your consulting business. By ensuring that all the tips here are accounted for, you know that you have done everything you can to set your consulting business up for success.
To further improve your business’ chances for success, consider business insurance. If you want to learn how business insurance can help your consulting business to succeed, then click here.