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How To Start A Consulting Business: 7 Things You Need To Know

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by Brett Shapiro, co-owner of GovDocFiling

With the changing business landscape, people are leaning more towards flexible jobs and work hours. Being a consultant offers that flexibility in terms of when and how much you want to work.

No wonder you want to learn how to start a consulting business.

After all, it is a lucrative business option that gives you more control over your work and is also quite profitable, if done right.

Want to learn how to start a consulting business the right way, but not sure where to start?

Don’t worry, we have got you covered.

Read this post to understand what you need to do to start a consulting business.

1. Select a Niche.

The first thing you need to do to start a consulting business is to select the right niche for yourself. 

Your choice of niche should depend on:

  • Expertise: Which niche are you experienced in?
  • Skills: Do you have the required skills to give consultation to individuals or businesses in that niche?
  • Demand: Is there a demand for consultants in your niche?

Think about what you’re good at and what people will be willing to pay for before you pick your consulting business niche.

Some popular consulting niches are:

  • Management consulting
  • IT consulting
  • Career consulting
  • Marketing consulting
  • Strategy consulting
  • Environmental consulting

These are just to get you started. Do your research and find a niche that can be profitable for you and suits your skillset.

Irrespective of the niche you choose, you can easily register your business by leveraging the services of a company like GovDocFiling. They will take care of documentation and form filings for you and also expedite the application processing.

This way, you’ll be able to register your consulting business quickly without additional efforts.

2. Define Your Consulting Services.

The next on this list of tips on how to start a consulting business is: defining and listing your services.

You don’t need to offer every service that you possibly can. In fact, it’s better to do a few things right than trying to do everything and failing.

Choose a few consulting services that you think you can deliver perfectly and then define what those services will entail. This will help you set the right expectations with clients and maintain transparency.

Getting clarity on who you’re targeting and what you’re offering will help you design high-converting service pages for your website. So, be thorough with this step.

3. Make a Business Plan.

One of the best tips anyone can give you on how to start a consulting business is to make a solid business plan.

This is where you will strategize about how to run your consulting business, what you’ll offer to clients, and what competitive advantages you have.

How to create a business plan, you may ask?

Here are some things that you can include in your business plan:

  • Offerings and solutions
  • Target market segments
  • Unique value proposition
  • Potential expenses
  • Possible revenue streams
  • Resources required
  • Business name
  • Marketing plan

4. Set Your Pricing.

No post on how to start a consulting business is complete without mentioning pricing structures.

You need to decide how you want to get paid before you start a consulting business. Here are some of the common pricing strategies that you can use:

Per-Hour Pricing Model

Get paid for every hour that you spend working for a specific client This pricing model is quite simple as long as you have a system in place to track the number of hours spent.

Project-Based Pricing Model

This is a flat pricing model where you get paid a specific amount of money for completing a project. It is important to estimate the duration and scope of the project to avoid project creeps and additional time investment.

Retainer Model

This is the most suitable option for long-term clients and ongoing projects. Here, the clients treat you and your team as an employee and pay fixed salaries on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis.

You can choose different pricing strategies for different clients, as long as you maintain complete transparency and are on the same page.

5. Register Your Consulting Business.

This is perhaps the most important step in this guide on how to start a consulting business.

You need to register your consulting business with the federal and state government. Here are some things that you should do:

  • Choose a business name.
  • Select a business structure (LLC, Partnership, Sole Proprietorship, etc.).
  • Complete the formalities required to file for your chosen business structure.
  • Apply for an EIN (Employer Identification Number).
  • File the forms and register your business.

6. Establish Accounting and Bookkeeping Processes.

Before you start a consulting business, you should learn how to set up your accounting and bookkeeping processes.

You simply need to hire a bookkeeper to help you with that. It is important to do this before you start a consulting business so that you can organize your financial data properly.

Another alternative is to invest in a bookkeeping software solution that can automate the process and make it more efficient.

7. Promote Your Business.

The last step in this guide on how to start a consulting business is to market your business and let potential clients learn about you.

Here are some tips to promote your consulting business:

  • Create accounts on a few social media sites and start posting about your consulting business.
  • Design and launch an SEO-friendly website to get organic traffic that you can convert into clients.
  • Create high-quality content on trending topics to build your authority and attract more website traffic.
  • Promote your content on multiple platforms to reach more people.
  • Start building your email list by using web forms and gated content.
  • Use your email list to run drip email campaigns.

Ready to Start a Consulting Business?

Use this post as your guide on how to start a consulting business and follow all of the steps mentioned above to do it right.

Remember that you should create a solid business plan before you register and launch your consulting business. Planning ahead will improve your chances of success.

Did you find this guide on how to start a consulting business useful? If yes, then start applying these tips to start a consulting business right away. All the best!

 

Brett Shapiro is a co-owner of GovDocFiling. He had an entrepreneurial spirit since he was young. He started GovDocFiling, a simple resource center that takes care of the mundane, yet critical, formation documentation for any new business entity.