Consulting Business Ideas: How to Start a Consulting Business

To be regarded as a consultant you should be an expert in a specific field. There are basically two types of consultant’s internal consultants and external consultants.
There are many consultancy work such as Finance, IT technology, Accountancy, Engineering and Security to mention a few. Other things to consider before becoming a consultant are your qualifications and professional experience.
You also need lots of networking and organizational skills. Other things are long and short term goals and growth potential for your enterprise.
Why Organizations Hire Consultants
Companies hire consultants to identify a problem or as supplementary staff for a project. They use experts to act as catalyst or provide objectivity in decision making.
Many companies use consultants to gain expert knowledge and pass on valuable knowledge.
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They taught other technicians new specialized knowledge and skills.
Consultants sometimes work as lobbyists or are hired to build new businesses from scratch.  Sometimes when the work is difficult and requires expert impute companies use consultants.
It is cheaper to hire a consultant than a full staff.
Types of Consultancy Jobs
 There are many consultancy jobs in accounting, advertisement, business, real estate, and auditing. You find jobs in career counseling, telephone technology, gardening and IT.  Other common consulting works are in marketing, insurance, human resources, public relations and content writing.
For example Human resource consultants offer advice on employment while Information technology consultants are into software engineering, and computer hard ware.
Target your area of specialty and companies in your niche of expertise. Networking and referrals are the major ways consultants get business.  Offer high quality service, prompt delivery is some of the fundamentals of a good consulting service.
Consultant engagement varies according to the industry and client. Interim consultants are hired for a specific period as management executives to temporary fill a vacancy.
Other ways consultants get hired is through a consultancy firm or agency.
Working Environment
Consultants work both on the field and back office of an organization. It depends on the industry, type of skill and knowledge required by the organization. Consultants are found in factories around the world training staff and repairing complex machinery.
Qualifications
Before you launch your consultancy service make sure you have the perquisite qualifications. You need higher educational and accreditation in a recognized profession association or organization.
In some countries you have chartered institute of management consultants associated with the international council of management consultants.
There are many associations for each industry such as accounting, law and information technology. Retired top management staffs with corporate experience are good consultants.
Location
You can locate your consultancy business in an office environment or at home. The financial involvement is moderate because the major expenditure is leasing, furniture, staff and marketing.
A home-based office is cost effective, has lots of flexibility and low overhead expenses. Other advantages of locating your consulting firm at home are removal of transportation cost and low income tax.
Dedicate a space at home and build it into a workplace, add furniture, computer, printer, facsimile machine and internet connection.
Staff
The kinds of staff you need are for administrative purposes or secretarial work. Consultancy businesses generally start as sole proprietorship or partnership companies. It is not unusual to find a partnership arrangement in the consultancy world.
The reason is because two experts in closely related field offer clients better service. Once your business expands you need to lease office space for your growing enterprise. More staffs you hire are cleaners, clerical officers and accountant.

Income and Billing
You need to decide how much your service and technical skill is worth.  You need a delicate balance between too little and too much charge.
Find out what your competitors are charging to get a clearer picture. Use several quotations and charges to arrive at a competitive price.
You need to factor overheads, miscellaneous and additional expenses before setting a price. Your rates should include project fee, hourly rates and retainer-ship.
Give your client options to pay hourly rate or pay per project. Pay per project is hinged on a fixed amount for a particular period. Bill them on a monthly base or as the job progresses.
To receive monthly payments collect an upfront payment for the first month. The reason is because some companies are funny and might cheat the consultant after the work is done.
The retainer method is an agreed monthly fee based on hours. Study carefully the contractual agreement to know the frame work to operate.
Marketing
You need effective marketing for your consultancy business. You need to build a powerful portfolio of your work for clients to see. Your business needs lots of awareness to get noticed by companies.
There are a few marketing options such as organized seminars, public speaking, colorful brochures and advertisement. Many organizations hire public speaker so leverage on this market, get paid and get new clients.
Produce a comprehensive glossy newsletter full of important content and information. Study other newsletter in your field for inspiration for latest jobs and trends.
Use consultant directories to reach clients and newspaper advertisement. Lastly leverage on referral to get good business from happy clients.

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