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How to Start a Business Consulting Company – Checklist
Do you know how to form a consulting company? How much does a consultant make a year? While there are many articles written on the subject of starting a consulting company, you still need to remember that everyone’s situation is not the same. The process of starting a consulting company that may work for one person may not work for another.
Starting a consulting company can be a smart move only if you have the required skills and mindset to effectively run such business. No matter what your areamanag of specialty, chances are, you have something to offer that others would be willing to pay.
There is no specific formula to starting a consulting company but I want to share with you some practical undeniable steps that you must follow to start a consulting company irrespective of the niche or area of specialty you belong to. These points can also help with learning how to start a consulting business while working full time.
Here are 7 steps to starting a consulting company;
Evaluate your Skills
As a consultant, you should be able to tell why your services are the best compare to that of your competitors. Choosing a consulting area where you have a lot of expertise and knowledge would be an added advantage to you.
So, you will need to evaluate your skill to find your area of strength over your competitors in the same niche you are consulting in. Are you good at networking, direct marketing or good communication?
These are skills you will need to evaluate to see if you will need to go secure training on any particular skill that you are lacking behind. It is compulsory that all consultant must have a good communication and sales skill. Do you?
Get Certified and Licensed
How do you become a consultant for a company? Depending on your profession, you may need special certifications or licenses before you can begin operating as a consultant. The last thing you would ever want happen to your business is to get shut down by appropriate authority because you don’t have the required certificate or license to operate as a consultant.
Though, you will need to ask yourself if your profession need any special certification or license as some consulting profession like financial planner, real estate consultant some others doesn’t need.
Being certified or license also gives you an edge because top brands prefer to work with experienced and certified consultants and not newbies.
A Business Plan
The best way to start a consulting company is by drawing a business plan. A business plan will help you manage your expense and plan your strategies. Your business plan should be drawn based on a research you must have carried while deciding on starting the business.
If you are planning on inviting investors, then you will need to show them your business plan to convince them to invest on your business.
A proper business plan must contain;
- Executive summary
- Mission statement
- Vision statement
- Financial projections
- Marketing and advertising plan
- Operational expenses etc.
If you are not knowledgeable to draw a business plan, you can hire the service of a business consultant or get a software that can help you with that.
Choose an Office Location
You will need to get a good place to site your business office. It must not be a big place as it is just an office for business discussion and not for business seminar. But, it should have a safe car parking space so that your client can park their car with rest of mind.
If you are one of those consultant who may wish to run their consulting business from home, you can do that as it helps you save on rent and other expenses. But, make sure to keep your home office separate from your personal living room.
Get the Business Name Registered
Registering a business name should not be seen as an expenses but as an asset. Although it is not necessary to register a consulting company but it has many benefits. When you get your business registered, you get a tax identification number from the IRS. This number will be needed when you want to apply for bank loan.
Registering your business is not expensive and does not involve any vigorous process. When your business name is registered, no one will have the right to use your business name in your country. I know you don’t want that as it may end up confusing your clients.
Lay Out your Consulting Fees
You need to have an idea of how much you will be charging your client either per hour or per project. Your consulting fees should be drawn from how much your company will need to stay operational.
Never underprice yourself. People value what they pay for, so if you charge too little, people won’t take you seriously. You should create a template for your hourly rate and consulting fees.
Promote your Company
How do I get clients for my consulting business? The easiest way to promote a consulting business is by word of mouth and by asking present clients for referrals. Other consultants buy newspaper ads while other use business conference and social networking events for meeting potential clients. It all depends on you. Choose the one that is convenient for you and is most effective too.