Are you interested in starting a consulting business? Do you have ideas in your mind on the kind of consulting firm you want to run, but are not sure where and how to begin? Are you stuck at the initial stages of coming up with a business plan?
If your answer to any or all of the above questions is ‘Yes’, you have come to the right place. In this post, we will be discussing all the basic things that you need to know and so before you start a consulting business.
But before we dive into that, let’s define what a consulting business is.
What is a Consulting Business?
The word ‘consulting’ literally means giving advice. A consulting firm is a business that offers the services of giving different kinds of professional advice and guidance to other businesses and firms. Every business is bound to face problems, and a consulting business is hired or contracted for solving these problems.
A consulting business comprises industry-specific experts and subject matter experts, who can understand and analyze the situation of another firm, and offer actionable solutions accordingly.
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In this day and age, we can practically find a consulting firm in almost every industry. Some of these firms are specific to several practices and trades, such as advertising, finance, architecture, engineering, healthcare, technology, and the public sector.
4 Examples of a Consulting Business
Here are 4 examples or types of consulting firms along with a brief description of what they do.
1. Engineering Consulting Firm
These are businesses that have experts in planning, designing, building, and constructing different kinds of projects and infrastructure for both private and public clients. Their clients could be government entities, private organizations, real estate developers, or construction firms.
Engineering consultancy is usually about construction and civil engineering, rather than the other types of engineering like hardware or software. Most engineering consulting businesses start as sole proprietors and grow gradually with time.
2. Financial Consulting Firm
Financial consultants are also often termed as ‘financial advisors’. These consulting firms advise other businesses on how to manage their finances. Financial consultancy can actually take many forms, and the exact kind of service delivered depends on the context of the client’s firm and situation.
Financial consulting businesses often provide actionable financial planning solutions for individuals as well. On one hand, they give personalized advice to individuals, while on the other hand, they can also be hired by entire businesses for guidance on financial risk management, corporate governance, and supply chain operations.
3. Healthcare Consulting Firm
These consulting businesses revolve around interpreting the management practices in the medical and healthcare industry. These kinds of firms hire experts in medical technology, delivery systems, pharmaceuticals, healthcare payers, and more.
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3. Human Resources Consulting Firm
A consulting business that helps address the human resource management issues of other businesses is called a human resources consulting firm. HR consultants are typically either expert resource consultants or people/process consultants.
Things You Need to Do to Start a Consulting Business
If you want to know how to start your own consulting business, keep in mind that there are just a few steps that you would need to take as prerequisites.
Here are 7 things you need to do for starting a consulting business.
1. Set Your Short Term and Long Term Goals
The first thing that you will need to do is set your business objectives and goals. You need to be clear on what you want to achieve and by when. Having goals without any specified timeframes is usually not so helpful.
This step would include doing a little bit of research on your specified industry and niche. Conduct a competitor analysis to see what other firms are already offering within your vicinity. Master the subjects and fields of expertise. Go through case studies and do your homework properly before starting your consulting business.
2. Get the Certification and Licensing You Need
Depending on the field or type of consulting business you want to start, and on your locality, you might need to get a special certification or license before you can legally start your business operations. For example, consulting firms involved in fundraising do not require any special certification in some states and countries of the world.
You must find out the requirements specific to your state or location before you start a consulting business because you wouldn’t want to get in trouble once you start getting clients and your business starts hitting off the ground.
3. Build a Website to Showcase Your Services
For any business to establish its name in the digitized global environment we live in these days, it is absolutely crucial to have a website to showcase its products and services. Firms that do not sell anything online also build a website to have some form of an online presence for their brand.
The good news is it is relatively easier to develop a website now than it was in the last decade. There are several website-building platforms available out there that enable any layman who doesn’t have any programming language to design and develop a website on their own.
If you are looking for a quick and convenient way to create a website for your consulting business, you can try Strikingly, which is a website building tool with features that are sufficient to build a simple and professional website.
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4. Hire a Team of Industry Experts to Work With
When you just begin operating your consulting business, it is obvious to assume that you would need to manage your finances carefully. But in time, if you can get a few good clients and build a sustainable stream of income, you will probably need to hire a small team of industry experts to help you with the workload.
This is typical for any business. When the time comes, you would need to choose your employees mindfully. The quality of service that you offer will have a great impact on your positioning. If you hire top-notch experts in your field, you will be able to satisfy your clients and keep your business going with more and more long-term contracts.
5. Market and Promote Your Business
To grow your business, you will have to put in the effort to do its marketing and promotion. Digital marketing tactics are more effective these days than the conventional forms of marketing. Since you already have a website to showcase your services now, all you need to do is try to enhance your site’s SEO and search rankings, so that more and more people can discover your consulting firm over the internet.
If your website is built on Strikingly, take the following steps to increase its on-site SEO.
- Key in a precise site description.
- Use appropriate tags on all the web pages.
- Link the website to your social media profiles.
- Update your website regularly with the latest news or testimonials from clients.
- Use images and embedded videos in your web content to promote your services.
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If you have a professional network, talk to the people you know about your consulting business and the services you are offering. When you start getting clients and delivering your consulting services to them, they will speak about you in their social circle if they are satisfied with your service. This will give you the added benefit of organic marketing and word-of-mouth promotion.
6. Keep Your Clients Engaged
The best way to maintain a good relationship with your clients is not to get completely out of touch with them once you have finished delivering your service to them. Following up on how they are doing from time to time can help you build a good rapport with them. They are more likely to take on your services again in the future if a similar problem or situation arises in their life or their business. They might also recommend you to their friends who are looking for a consulting business to seek guidance on a similar topic, and you might end up getting more clients merely through recommendations of your existing clients.
7. Continue to Build Your Expertise
One thing every businessman needs to realize is that no matter how well they are doing, there is always room for improvement. The same goes for a consulting business. Whichever field or industry you are offering consulting services in, there will always be news updates, technological breakthroughs, economic influences, and expansion opportunities that you need to keep an eye on.
When you are consulting other businesses about their operations, you need to be even more diligent about obtaining this kind of information firsthand hand. You wouldn’t want a client pointing out to you that they have heard about a new tool or technology that can outdate the solution that you are offering to them.
Now that you know how to start your own consulting business, go for it before you start changing your mind or run short of finances merely out of procrastination. To begin with, if you have already done your research, create an account on Strikingly and start creating your fancy and professional consulting business website. Once you have something to look at as evidence of your upcoming business, you will be able to further plan out what to do next and how to start getting your first few clients.
We, at Strikingly, are happy to see our users grow and expand in their pursuits. That is why we offer most of the features required to build a basic website or landing page in our free plan. Only once your business grows and you need more features on your site, you may consider upgrading to our Pro Plan.