Self-employment can definitely be a great thing. It offers an opportunity for people to make a living, while still enjoying a level of flexibility and freedom. There are many potential opportunities to pursue as a self-employed individual, and if you have the right set of skills, the idea of becoming a consultant is of course highly recommended. The consultancy industry has grown massively in the UK over the last few years and there is still a lot of room for entrepreneurs to make great returns offering consultancy services.
The following are a few tips that can help you start a consulting business:
Identify your Niche
The first thing you should do is to identify the niche you intend to pursue. There are many areas of consultancy you can venture into but the rule of thumb is to make sure that you have enough expertise to offer customers full value for their money and endeavour to provide a level of service to ensure they will either extend your contract or provide a good reference in the future. In most cases a reasonable amount of experience is a pre-requisite for becoming a consultant.
Get Licenses and Certifications
It will be hard to attract any clients if you don’t hold the appropriate certifications and/or licences. It doesn’t matter how good you are. Depending on the area of study, there are a number of requirements that you may need to fulfil before a licence is issued. Read about them and make sure you’ve met all necessary criteria.
Set Your Goals
Operating a business without a clear set of goals is very hard. You need to sit down and reflect on where you want to go with your new consultancy firm. Set short-term actionable and practical goals to guide you in your work. Ensure you also have a vision or a long-term goal that you’d like to achieve in a few years.
This could be a specific daily rate or bagging a certain company as a client.
Identify Your Target Market
You need to also know the people/businesses you will be targeting with your consultancy services. The advantage of narrowing down the market is simple. It allows you to focus your energy on customers who are likely to have a need for the service you are offering. This will significantly increase your return on investment from the effort needed to market your services. Identifying your market also helps you lay down effective plans to reach each and every customer.
Depending on business type, registering with recruitment agencies as a contractor looking for work can be a great way of drumming up business in the early days.
Set Up Your Office
You may also want an office where customers can come and meet you. This will also be the base of your operations. It can be a home office or an office somewhere in the city. It all depends on the service you are offering.
Build Your Network
Networking is vital for success in any consultancy business. You should start doing this as soon as possible. Attending conferences, workshops and networking events in your field. Hand out your business card and get involved in community activities in order to expand your contacts.
Networking sites such as Linkedin can help you build and maintain your network.
There are also a few contractor collective consultancies that can prove very helpful in assisting to find roles and making sure your approach & CV is fit for purpose.
These are some of the simple steps you can take to become a consultant. If you get the simple things right, you will definitely succeed.