Consulting Business is zero investment and easy to start. You can start a consultancy business part-time.
Life as a consultant is full of challenges. They come across many challenges. However, they enjoy flexible working hours and live life on their own terms. After all, they are the boss.
Consultants are always paid well & almost every business owner goes for the consultant. Let’s try to understand this by example. If you want to consult a doctor for your child – Do you prefer a general practitioner? No – You will prefer a pediatrician (child specialist). A pediatrician is best when it comes to medical help for the child. Similarly, when it comes to business problem consultants are hired by businessmen instead of a general practitioner or in-house staff. This is to ensure the proper solution to the problem.
A consultant is a professional with a lot of experience who can provide solutions or advice on specific topics such as business, education, finance, law, etc. Consultants are area-specific such as financial consultants, marketing consultants, business consultants, etc. You require problem-solving skills and knowledge to become a consultant. You will get good knowledge and expertise through experience.
So, if you are ready to become a consultant here is a complete guide that will help you to start your own profitable consulting business. This guide is helpful to everyone –
- Even if you don’t know consulting business
- Even if you don’t have skills or experience
- Even if you don’t have money
Let’s get started.
How to Start Consulting Business?
#1. Find Your Niche
The first step is to find your niche. Niche means the area for which you would be providing consultancy service. This could be HR, Finance, Marketing, etc. You have to be extremely careful while selecting a niche. You need to ask the following questions in order to decide your niche.
- What is your area of interest? (Finance, HR, Marketing)
- An area in which you have professional experience.
- An area where your potential can be utilized and you can earn money.
Few areas require a certificate or degree to start a consulting business. For example, if you want to start consultation on income tax and GST you need CA certification or law degree. Similarly, if you want to start an investment consultancy you need to take a certificate of Investment Advisor from SEBI.
However, there are a few niche where you only need experience. You can go through the following areas when starting a consulting business.
- Accounting – Every business requires accounting. An accounting consultant helps businesses to solve finance-related issues.
- Auditing – Auditor helps the business in auditing finance and legal records.
- Human Resource – HR consultants help businesses in maximizing HR operations and implement the policy for business.
- Marketing – Marketing experts help in preparing marketing comping, developing strategy, and capturing the market.
- Public Relation – Public relation and media communication is a special skill. Media consultants help in planning and deciding communication.
- Computers & IT – Nothing works without IT. Computer and IT consultants help businesses in solving hardware and software related issues.
#2 Target Market
Once you decide your niche, the next step is to find out the target audience (market). You are offering services but someone should be present to avail of your services and pay you. In short, you need to prepare a list of your potential customers. The customer could be a small enterprise or big organization. This will come as your business plan.
To identify the market, you need to survey in the local market. You may take help from the agency for doing this survey. The basic idea here is to predict the counts of potential clients.
You can make use of the funnel concept here. First, you need to identify small and big businesses/organizations in the target area. Next is to narrow down specific to areas where you would be providing consultancy. Suppose you are providing consultancy in marketing -How many companies would be actually interested & looking for marketing consultants. You can incorporate this detail in your business plan.
This step would help you in getting an accurate picture of your potential earning and target customers.
#3 Location of Business
The third step would be deciding the location of the business. It is a very important step. This step would decide the capital required for the business. If you are new in this business, you should start a consultancy business from home. You will get the following benefits if you start a consultancy business from home.
- Low Overhead – You need not to worry about taking space on rent. You will also save money on utility cost
- Flexibility – You can decide your own time for work. This gives lot of flexibility as a consultant.
- Transportation cost – As you are starting a business from home you will be able to save transportation cost and time.
# 4 Hiring People
The next step would be hiring people. From day one you may not need an employee. However, when your business grows you need to hire people. You need to decide that you will be able to handle the entire load on your own or you need manpower as work grows. The manpower would help you in completing administrative work as well as consulting assignments.
Hiring people will help you in many ways. He/she will be helping hand to you. You can deliver extra to the client. Someone will be present at your office and you need not to worry about administrative work. However, your income reduces as you need to pay salary to the manpower. You have to be very careful in selecting manpower.
#5 Deciding Fees
Now, you need to decide your fees. It is a good idea to do a survey while deciding on fees. If you charge higher you will not get any client. If you charge lower, it will be difficult to survive in the business. So, you need to keep reasonable fees. The best idea to decide a fee is to find out your completion rates.
Before deciding a fee, you need to consider all expected expenses such as travel cost, hotel expenses, and other miscellaneous costs. There are multiple options to decide on fees. You can charge on an hourly basis, time and material basis, project basis or as a retainer.
The option of paying a consultant on an hourly basis, project basis or retainer basis is usually decided by the client.
Once you are done with the above steps, it is time to market your business. The task of marketing consultancy business is somewhat difficult as the target audience is not fixed. Customers may not be aware that they will be needing your consultancy services. You can adopt the following options to market your business.
- Prepare brochures
- Telephone calling
- SMS Marketing
- Targeted marketing campaign
#7 Online Presence
It is a good idea to establish your online presence. You need to design your own website. Your website should contain information about your consultancy services and fees. You should include some customer testimonials on the website. Once you start your website you should create a social presence such as Facebook and twitter page.
#8 Find Your first customer
Now you need to find your first customer. You can try contacting your friend or reference customer for getting business. You can try even other methods such as social media, WhatsApp, etc. You can offer your first consulting services with token money or with a higher discount compared to the market price.
Once you get your first customer, you need to offer your best services. It is advisable to offer extra services compared to what you have committed. You should work for customer delight and not for customer satisfaction. The first customer is like your brand ambassador who will help you to get the next customer.
You should take testimonial from the first client. The testimonial could be in form of the document, audio or video format. You can use this testimonial to promote your services.
Consulting business is a very good business option that can be started with low investment or no investment. You can start a consulting business even from home.
I hope you have got a fair idea about – How to start a consulting business? If you are in need of establishing your own consulting business, please drop a message in the comment section. I will surely try to help you out.