Most business executives have the experience and contacts to start a consulting business. But, can they kickstart a consulting business, taking it from inception to profitability in less than 12 months? There are some of us who simply don’t want to wait 24 months or more to reach profitability in a consulting business. It is time to kickstart your own consulting business!
First things first
Your initial thoughts should go toward the business associates you know who could use wise counsel and go farther in their own business sector. Create an initial list that should have at least 20 to 30 names on it. This is the primary target market for your initial efforts.
Second things next
Next, prepare a list of business associates or those people whom you know through your associates, most of whom may be open to working with a consultant for a short-term period of time or on a set and specific project. This is your second-tier target market.
Assess your competitors
After compiling a list of first and second-tier associates in your target market, begin the search for potential competitors. First, consider those who are known to you. Examine the pricing of each competitor and note unique offerings they have for clients. How do the consultants differentiate their services from those of others? This assessment will offer pricing models you can use for your own consulting business and it will indicate how active the consulting business is in your area of expertise.
Create a Kickstart Business Plan
The primary effort in launching the kickstart business plan will be in the formation of the essential objectives of your consultancy, as determined by securing funding and creating financial projections. Also included will be the target audience and competitor assessment, along with marketing strategies and an operations outline for the first six months of your business. If you do not yet have a business plan, use this simple business plan template as a solid, comprehensive guide. When completed, this will be your kickstart business plan, to be followed by your growth-phase business plan dedicated to months 6 to 12.
If needed, use the business plan to secure funding from investors, lenders, banks or other financial institutions. Be wary of any investor interested in becoming a stakeholder or shareholder, as such structures can become problematic.
Create a Kickstart Marketing Bliz
A kickstart marketing strategy is one that will cover every possible candidate for your consulting business. Implement creative, attention-getting ways to market your consulting business, such as using memes on social media that direct interest toward your business, phone everyone on both the first-tier and second-tier lists to invite them to a free breakfast consultation. Use the meal time for casual conversation while making mental notes and listen to the business concerns of your contact. Use one hour for these conversations; keep it brief. Direct your attention to the one who has a business concern or project that needs attention. Schedule another consulting session as soon as possible. This effort alone may net more breakfast appointments than you can easily meet; however, this is a large part of a kickstart plan and it will quickly bring in clients
Additional marketing strategies could include meals with business associates and partners, as casual conversations typically lead to business. A round of golf or a visit to a brewery may spike interest among potential clients, and other ideas can be specific to meet your client’s needs.
A consultancy is fairly atypical, as most consultants are sole proprietors and business is conducted with one or two other people in the conversation. Whether you present a sophisticated pitch deck or sip coffee during a sidewalk talk, the operations of your consultancy should be structured and complete. Outline equipment and supplies needed, add software, furnishings and other components to your office. Use a virtual assistant initially, if needed, and keep the remaining operations simple. Your focus for six months will be on gaining clients.
If the competitor field in consultancies is crowded and you find that clients are few, consider changing your kickstart plan to create a niche business plan. For example, use this financial advisor template if your revised game plan is narrowed to financial consulting. Add a specialty to your role, such as software consulting, or communications consulting. Narrowing the field, so to speak, can create additional opportunities for client interest and initial meetings.
As a business consultant, you can kickstart and grow your own business within 6 months by investing in research, creating a business plan, funding the business, making financial projections, and marketing your services. You’ll need to call every person on your first and second tier lists, and add more names as your contacts continue to build. Placing every effort into the first 6 months of your consulting business will result in additional referrals, return clients, and long-term growth. Nice work!