Wednesday, October 14, 2020

8:27 AM

Many young working professionals in the United States are pursuing the idea of starting their own business venture to break free from the mundaneness of their 9-to-5 corporate jobs. You may be one of them too.

The need for more autonomy to operate, as well as to strike a balance between their professional and personal lives are common reasons why they wish to start their ventures. Amongst the many business options available these days, most of them are going for consulting businesses.

How to Start a Consulting Business

Starting a consulting business is a great idea because it gives you an opportunity to showcase your problem-solving and creative thinking skills. Be it information technology, human resource, strategy planning, or financial operations, consulting businesses deal with a host of niches. With such a business venture, you get a chance to meet new people and provide your expert advice to solve real-world business problems.

Like many other businesses, a consulting business also faces many potential risks and challenges. Since you will be dealing with third parties, you need to adhere to strict professional norms.

Any breach of duty or negligence on your part while offering consultancy services can lead to financial damages for your client(s)—something that can push them to initiate a lawsuit against you. Such a situation can drain out your financial resources, which is why you need to have a consultant insurance policy to cover all legal expenses and compensation costs.

5 Tips on How to Start a Consulting Business with No Experience

While legal risks and challenges can be avoided by staying compliant with professional codes of conduct, you should first set the foundation right for your consulting business. In this article, let’s take you through some of the steps involved in setting up a consulting business in the United States:

1. Choosing a business structure and niche

First and foremost, you need to figure out the structure of your consulting business—whether you want to run it as a sole trader, a company, or a partnership firm.

This is a big decision to make because it will affect your operations and all other aspects. Weigh the pros and cons of each business structure and select a model that suits your situation.

Meanwhile, you need to look at your expertise. What is it that you are most passionate about—IT, finance, strategy, marketing, or human resources or technology? You should specialize in a niche that you are most knowledgeable about.

2. Choose a business name

The name of your business is its identity—something that will make you known in the market. Choosing a unique business name will give you an edge in a highly competitive consulting realm. After selecting it, you need to register it with the U.S Patent and Trademark Office. Consider getting a trademark for your business name to protect it from being copied by some other player. If you are not sure about the process, you should get in touch with a Copyright and Trademark lawyer in your region of operation.

3. Know your finances and costs

Finance is the lifeblood of your consulting business. Hence, it’s imperative that you pay extra attention to this aspect. You may either decide to bootstrap your venture or approach venture capitalists for investments. In either case, you need to have a proper budget in place. Also, get yourself acquainted with different costs involved in setting up and running your consulting business. A few of these costs include registration costs, insurance, salaries, rent, infrastructure, and marketing.

4. Fix up your pricing structure

Once you have your finances and costs in place, you need to set prices for your consultancy services. Ideally, pricing follows the same logic: it should cover your costs and include a profit margin. To come up with profitable pricing, you should consider the industry standard, time and effort involved, operating expenses, and your overall expertise and experience. Your pricing structure can make or break your consulting business. So, it’s important that your consulting services add value to your client’s business and give them a good ROI. Just make sure you don’t underprice or overprice your services.

5. Create a robust marketing plan

You need to have a full-proof marketing plan in place to set your consulting business apart from your competitors. You need to conduct a thorough competitive analysis and proactively network with potential clients to see revenues flowing in. Your marketing campaigns should involve the digital element because most interactions occur in the online space these days. Be it SEO or social media marketing, you need to leverage different marketing platforms, tools, and tactics to succeed in a competitive landscape.

Starting a consulting business may seem challenging initially. But by following the steps mentioned above, you can go through the process smoothly. Just make sure you are unwaveringly committed and focused on your venture.