If you are the type of person who has large amounts of knowledge in a specific field you might be able to leverage your knowledge and successfully build a profitable consulting business.
Regardless of whether you are in between jobs or looking to make a change, learning how to start a consulting business is the first step to making great use of your skills. In return, you can create a lucrative business and can charge potentially up to $300 per hour all for sharing your expertise with others.
Here are some tips for establishing your consulting business.
Outline Your Plan
The first thing you will need to do to get started is to put together a strong business plan. Although you don’t have to stick to every single thing, it’s a good idea to have guidance for your business.
The first decision you need to make is to give your business a name. Since you’re starting an individual consulting business, your business name can be your personal name as a trade name or a business name. If you have a name that you want to use that feels more recognizable and eye-catching, make sure you factor the registration costs into your original budget.
If you need to design a logo, you can do that yourself or reach out to designers. The logo will help you start marketing to your target audience, whether that’s business owners or companies or individuals. If you want to consult in a certain industry, you should start building a list of contacts to reach out to when you’re ready to launch and take on new clients.
Register Your Consulting Business And Obtain An ABN Number
Another important step that must be taken before you launch your business is to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN). An ABN is a unique 11 digital number that is used to identify your business.
Unless you are operating under your own name you will be required to register a business name.
Try to come up with a few options in case your favourite is already taken. You can check for availability with online searches.
Determine Services and Their Pricing
Determining the rates, you set will be determined by what kind of services you want to offer. Consultants offer a variety of services. You can offer a wide range of support for a business, but do less of a deep dive. Alternatively, you can be hyper-specific in your expertise and go deep on a certain aspect of a company’s business. For example, if you’re an HR consultant, you can take a larger view of a company’s HR operations, or focus on their hiring practices for a specific department.
Another important thing you need to take into consideration is if you want to take on short-term or long-term clients. Doing one-off consulting sessions is still a lot of work, even compared to long-term consulting. Your pricing strategy should reflect the amount of preparation you have to do. It also may depend on your industry to decide how you want to price your services: either a one-time payment, hourly rate or monthly retainer.
Create A Strong Professional Looking Website
Whether or not your potential customers like the look of your website will play a huge role in whether or not they decide to make a purchase with your business. If people aren’t hooked by their first impression, they are unlikely to look inside. They also expect the purchase process to be straightforward and simple. This isn’t a place to cut costs. Your success could depend on how professional your website looks and how easy it is to navigate.
Unless you have extensive experience in web design, it is much better to invest some money in a professional web developer. Before they start work, have them sign a contract setting out things like delivery timelines, how and when you’ll pay and, most important, that you’ll own all of the codes and passwords so you can easily use a different developer in the future. If you’re entering into a contract with a web developer, it’s a good idea to get legal advice so you understand each parties’ rights and obligations.
Market Your Consulting Business
Marketing a new business can be full of challenges, but being diligent about finding new marketing channels and leveraging connections will make it a lot easier. Here is a list of low-cost and simple strategies that can help you with your marketing during the early days of your business.
• Search engine optimization to rank on Google
• Online business directories (i.e., Google My Business, Yelp, Yellow Pages)
• Pay-per-click advertising (e.g., Google Ads, Facebook Ads, YouTube Ads)
• Subreddits for entrepreneurs or your industry
• Slack groups for freelancers
• Find local networking groups (e.g., local business associations)
• Participate in industry networking events
Working on the marketing side of your business to begin with will require a huge amount of time, but when your business grows, you might be able to hire a social media strategist or partner to work on finding business leads.