“Opportunities don’t happen, you create them.” – Chris Grosser
Starting a consultancy business can be a daunting task. However, if you have made up your mind to pursue this field, don’t stop. Consultants help their clients identify and solve their problems; they show them the possible routes and strategies they could implement to achieve their goals. Businesses greatly value a fresh set of unbiased eyes that can see things from a different perspective and give advice about how to tackle the situation at hand.
Why should you consider opening your consultancy firm?
First and foremost, because of your skillset, you possess the knowledge and experience in a niche that can prove invaluable to your clients. Secondly, it’s a flexible business. You decide where you work, when you work, what type of projects you take on, and what rates you charge – you have complete autonomy. Additionally, there are minimal overheads and not much administrative fuss involved. You can scale as you please, depending on how much you want to expand and how you want to accommodate it around your lifestyle.
Before you start, you need to know the type of consultancy business you want to start. We have rounded up seven ideas for you to consider, depending on your expertise.
Financial consultants identify problems and create strategies to improve their clients’ profits and wealth. They do the risk analysis and evaluate the returns that each project or investment decision would bring in. They help their clients make well-informed and objective decisions regarding their money. A popular niche in this category is CPA firms, where CPA stands for Certified Public Accountant. These firms provide accounting, auditing, and other financial services to various businesses, including government businesses. But not everyone can start a CPA firm. How to start a CPA firm, you might ask; the answer is you must have at least one licensed certified public accountant in the firm for it to be legitimate. Ernst & Young (EY), Deloitte, PwC, and KPMG are all CPA firms and are among the big four in the world of financial consultants.
Management consulting aims to help companies boost their performance. It is more of an umbrella term that ranges various forms of consulting under its name. You will be giving your clients advice about their day-to-day leadership, looking through and collecting data such as their revenue and cost trends, and giving advice on how to improve based on the data collected. Further, you might also be expected to interview employees and resolve conflicts. McKinsey is the most popular name in this niche. Generally, people with a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) degree are preferred as they are considered well suited for a role in this field; however, people with a bachelor’s degree are just as capable of providing advice.
If you have watched Suits, you will have a fairly good idea of what legal consultants do. You will be giving legal advice to your clients, drafting agreements, and defending or fighting for them in court when the situation requires you to. There are sub-categories in this niche, of course. For instance, you will come under the category of corporate law if your clients are strictly from the corporate world with business-related issues. However, unlike Mike Ross, a photographic memory will not be enough to get you into legal consulting. You need to possess a professional law degree and a legal license from your state that allows you to practice; otherwise, your firm will not be considered legitimate. If anything, it can land you in further legal issues.
IT Consultants advise technology. For instance, they advise their clients which software they should invest in based on their goals. They also resolve any problems and inefficiencies in the system and design a technological infrastructure that would help their clients with productivity. The most popular IT consulting firm that comes to mind is IBM. The overall industry is quite specialized, with an expected growth rate of 2.5% according to consultancy.in. It is essential to have a degree in Computer Sciences; however, more competitive consultants usually pair their degree with an MBA.
Human Resource (HR) Consulting
HR consultants ensure that businesses manage their employees well. They make strategies regarding the training and development of employees, as well as how to retain high-performing talents and their satisfaction, and focus on resolving internal conflicts. Additionally, they also help in creating and implementing new HR policies smoothly and effectively. To excel in this niche, a degree in Human Resource Management, Business, or Administration is considered advantageous.
Career consulting is slightly different from HR consulting as it focuses on identifying the possible fields their clients would likely enjoy and excel in. Mostly, you will either be helping lost students find their true calling or help redirect executives to a fresh new career path after they got bored of their existing profession. You may have to conduct a series of personality tests and evaluate your clients’ experiences, to see if there is anything new that they can do with these skills, often with the help of assessments and quizzes. This field values up-to-date industry knowledge quite a lot. You need to be aware of the job market to know what skills are in demand and what new fields are opening up that could interest your clients. As with all other types of consultancies, an MBA degree would help you get competitive in the market of career consultancy.
Brand consultants work alongside the Sales and Marketing departments of their clients. As the name mentions, their main goal is to focus on their client’s brand image. Their job includes assessing their brand’s current market position, conducting market research, and gathering data. They are further expected to analyze the customers and competitors and help their clients form and implement appropriate marketing and branding strategies using all the data found. To become a successful Brand Consultant, you will require a degree, preferably in the streams of marketing and branding. Zippia.com mentions that 74% of brand consultants have a bachelor’s degree, and 14% have a master’s degree. However, to become competitive, you need to have hands-on experience in the industry. That means you must work in good companies before and have had sufficient market exposure to be fruitful to your clients.
Conclusion: Where to begin?
So you have decided to start a consulting business. You have a niche where you can share your valuable expertise with your clients. All you need to do now is begin.
Analyze your market and your prospective clients for their issues, and go in great depth to figure out exactly what they could need help with problem-solving, strategy building, etc. Then mention those services on your website and social media pages. You need to have those built up, as they are the external face of your business. Once you have all the essentials settled, you can legally open your business. Get all the paperwork sorted, licenses made, and hire your accountant and assistant to smoothly run the administrative aspect of your business. You need this to show that you are a credible, legitimate business that your clients can rely on for advice. Spread the word! Let your network of people know what you are offering and spread awareness to the market through social media marketing. Finally, don’t forget to reflect. Go through the progress of business now and then to see what strategies worked, where you can save yourself cost and effort, and where you can maximize your profits.
Consulting is not just a career, it’s a mindset. As long as you are passionate about helping others, you will always find success.
Vivek is a published author of Meidilight and a cofounder of Zestful Outreach Agency. He is passionate about helping webmaster to rank their keywords through good-quality website backlinks. In his spare time, he loves to swim and cycle. You can find him on Twitter and Linkedin.