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You’ve put in the hard work, you’ve paid your bills. You’ve spent a lot of time and you’ve learnt a lot about your niche.
Now you want to start something on your own. Live the entrepreneurship dream, make a lot of money, go on a lot of vacations, right!
Being your boss, flexible hours and living life as you want are a few perks Millennials can’t ignore.
If you don’t have a product to sell and still want to start a business, the right thing to do is consulting!
Like in every business, you must take some steps to get you started on your entrepreneurship journey.
So if you are confused as to how you must start your consulting journey.
Let me help you start your consulting business in as little time as possible, sounds interesting? Let’s Go!
How To Start A Consulting Business (2021)
1. Assess Your Strengths and Skill Set
Consulting means solving another person’s or company’s problem. Well, you can’t solve a problem if you don’t know anything about the industry.
Why would any company hire you if you’re not great at the skill they need the most?
So take out a piece of paper and start writing all your strengths, forget the weaknesses, we only need the strengths.
If you’re starting a consulting business, you need to have a deep understanding of the niche you’re going to offer your services in. The options for consulting are endless so don’t hesitate to try something new.
What I mean is that you’ll see so many social media consultants out there so don’t think that you too need to be a social media consultant.
That’s just one sector and there are so many sectors you can dive in. Did you write your strengths? Okay now go online and type: (Your Strengths) + Consulting.
If you’re good at cooking and want to do something in this space, type: Cooking Consulting, read the top 10 or top 20 articles and see what they are offering.
I found Cloud kitchen consultants, Cooking for weddings consultants, Chef for restaurant consultants, etc.
These are your micro-niches in the cooking consultant category. Pick the one you’re good at (let’s say chef for restaurant consultants) and read articles on how to be a consultant for a restaurant or how to help restaurants grow through consulting.
Use questions and throw them at Google, read the top searches you get and gain knowledge.
You’ll learn a lot more about your micro-niche by doing this, thus gaining more knowledge.
I hope you know that the more knowledgeable you are, the more your income earning capacity is in consulting.
If you could get some certificates regarding your niche, that would be better.
For example, a digital marketing consultant may need a Google digital marketing or ads certification. This is mainly to build credibility in the market.
2. Spend Hours Everyday On Networking
What do you think, when does a consulting business make money? When a company asks them for help right?
That usually happens when the consulting company is well known in the industry.
If you’re new, chances are other than your close family and friends and your dog (or cat or both), nobody knows about your new venture.
If you want to get business, you need to go out there and network. Networking in simple words is meeting new people and being friends with them with an intention that they will or someone they know will do business with you in the future.
Many people have underestimated the power of networking, but you better not do that.
Don’t tell me you’re an introvert and talking to people is difficult and weird for you! If you want to earn money, you better learn to network.
A few tips you must use to ace Networking meeting (be it online or in-person)
1. Be Confident
Is there a business you can do without being confident? I’m sure there aren’t any!
Confidence can change the scenario instantly. If you’re confident and the front person sees it, they know you are the man for the job.
They know they can rely on you and that you will get the work done.
2. Listen more than talking
Everyone loves to be heard, everyone loves to speak at all times or given a chance.
The easiest way to make the other person comfortable is by letting the other person do more of the talking than you.
Learn to be a good listener and your conversion rates will always be high.
3. Don’t try to be someone else
Don’t try to copy others who have made a fortune in the consulting space. Don’t try emulating their voice, the way they approach.
You are unique and that’s new, if you’ll do what someone else is doing, you’re just another competitor and that’s a more difficult business to handle.
Instead have your unique way to approach people, that makes you stand out, thus getting you the clients you want.
4. Try finding a connection
By letting the other person talk, you’re making him comfortable, take this to the next step by trying to connect on a topic.
Maybe you both like Star Wars movies or you appreciate art or maybe you both like politics.
Whatever it is, find a connection and get yourself engaged in a conversation with the other person.
3. Create A Pricing Structure
This isn’t as difficult as it sounds. But if you start a new consulting business today, I’m sure pricing is what you’ll spend most of your time in.
So to make things easy, let’s break pricing down in three categories,
1. Market Analysis
This must be your first step for deciding a pricing structure. Assuming you’ve figured out your niche, now you need to see how much people earn in this type of consulting business.
The easiest way to find the price of a competitor is by asking the company. Just ask them for their pricing structure.
They’ll cooperate and help you. You can also call such consulting companies as a businessman wanting to hire them and ask for pricing.
If all this seems difficult, use Networking to get your pricing. If you network with people, you can ask them what other consultants in this niche offer.
Many consulting businesses have a website, where they may provide pricing details or an email address. Shoot them an email and ask.
2. What’s Your Real-Time Value?
How valuable are you? A general rule of thumb is that if you’re new in a niche, your value is 0.
If you’ve got work experience or knowledge about the niche you’re targeting as your consulting service, you have value in the market.
As to how much value you have depends on your skills and your interpretation of others in your niche.
This doesn’t need to be an exact figure, just a range will do. It shouldn’t be that you invest 10 hours in a project and you get paid extremely less.
3. Trial and Error
There’s a 100% chance, actually 110% chance if it’s your first time with pricing, you’ll get it wrong. That’s fine.
The perfect price is that sweet spot where your client doesn’t hesitate to pay you and you are satisfied with the price.
That will only come with time and different price points. So don’t hesitate to price your services low initially, then increase it if you feel it’s too low or decrease your prices if you feel it’s too high.
Also, don’t be too stiff on your pricing. Keep some room for negotiations. Be flexible in your pricing, often companies would love to be in business with you but if you charge them a hefty sum, they will think thrice before accepting you.
As a new consulting business, your main goal should be to provide maximum quality for a price your client doesn’t need to think twice.
4. The 3R’s Method
The 3R’s Method is Rehearse, Rewrite, Repeat. It’s important to practice what you’ll be saying. Takedown points, don’t make it too long, short, crisp, to the point should be the way to go.
These points must focus on what your company is about, how you are different from others in your space, how you will help the company reach new heights and how there is no one like you.
To fill so much in a small time frame is tough, so you need to write down exactly what you’re going to say, word to word.
Then rehearse it a few times. You’ll likely make some changes. Adapt to that and repeat rehearsing. Make changes again and rehearse again.
Do this till you believe in what you say. Your speech needs to be so good that you must be able to sell yourself.
I mean imagine you being the client and you selling the consulting service. Would you do a deal? If not, rework on your writing. Make it saleable!
5. Set Short and Long Term Goals
When you grow and be a successful consultant, how are you going to handle this much growth?
Have you planned for the future for your consulting business? You must have a simple yet strong plan that ensures you don’t get deviated from your actual goal.
Your short term goals must include how you’re going to go about your project, who will run it, how will be its workflow.
How much time it takes you on average to finish one project and how you can optimise your and your team’s time to its full potential.
Your long term goals must have things about how you will be placing yourself in the market. How will you do advertising and how will you attract good businesses and clients?
How much growth are you looking at each month and year? How much do you want to earn in the next 1 year?
Set a business plan for the next 5 years or 10 years. Review it from time to time and see if your company is on the correct path right now. Adjust accordingly and move ahead.
6. Automate Your Procedure
From day 1 your focus must be to automate your process. Put specific systems in place so you don’t need to repeat yourself again and again.
Instead of repeating the procedure again and again, automate it by maintaining systems and reduce the manual work that takes place.
You must also list down in detail all the services you offer, clearly with multiple FAQ questions that clients may have. Best to do this on your website.
Moving on, you must have a flow of how things go in your consulting business. Let’s say you start with data aggregation, then you segregate the data in a specific order of preference.
Then how to use that data to grow the business, main pointers to always follow, schedule specific tasks and outsource the others.
Whatever you do from start to finish has to be properly explained each time a new employee comes to work for you.
So instead of explaining it all over again, give the new employee the ready-made template/worksheet you’ve prepared that explains everything.
Templates will help you
- Work in sync.
- Work efficiently.
- Have a unique system that has a good workflow.
- Maintain quality every time
- Be consistent and reduce stress
Anytime one of your teammates or clients have a problem, they can refer to the template to solve their problems.
It’s a simple strategy to simplify and smoothen the entire process without creating hassle and repeated questions over and over again. You need to have this!
7. Maintain The Relationship Forever
Your relationship with your network must be Forever! Notice how I said network and not client?
Exactly, you don’t only need to maintain good relations with your existing clients, you need to be in good touch with your entire network.
That way they remember you and notice your growth. So tomorrow, someone approaches them and asks about consulting services and they take your name.
That will only happen if they like you and admire your dedication and hard work towards your business.
A video call, a phone call, a message or meeting in person are great ways to keep the relationship ongoing and fruitful.
Remember the network may not help you right away, maybe never or maybe in 5 years he gets you the biggest deal you’ve ever closed, you never know.
So your task has to be to talk to everyone politely. Ask them their difficulty and see if you can help them grow.
If they grow they will be more inclined to help you grow. You don’t need to talk to them every day, no that’s too much. They’ll know that you love to chat and waste time.
They value their time so don’t make the mistake of texting them once a week or every day.
Once a month or once in two months seems okay and not too desperate.
Be friendly, helpful and don’t expect anything in return. If it has to happen, it will happen.
The Bottom Line
You don’t need to make your consulting business a big one, even a small business can make you enough money.
All you need to focus on is giving results and being consistent and having experience in the field.
If you tick mark all of these things, you can easily take your business from a B to an A+ in just a year.
Just make sure you have systems in place to automate processes and have good workflows.
Are you planning to start your consulting business in 2021? Let me know down in the comments. I’ll help you as much as I can!
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