Are you ready to go solo and offer out your expertise as a full-time business consultant?
Making the first step to either work for yourself or start a completely new business venture can certainly be exciting but there are some things that you must consider if you’re thinking of following thousands in recent years in setting up your own consultancy business.
Identify your specialisation
Business consultants often vary in the services that they offer. Depending on the size and nature of your business, you may wish to offer a specific service or cover a whole host of different topics.
Your background and skillset will usually determine in which area you specialise. You usually don’t need any specific qualifications but a degree or a strong commercial background could put you at an advantage. You’ll often just need the knowledge that other companies can put to good use.
The services which you could offer include management or finance consultancy, HR consultancy, IT consultancy or strategic consultancy.
Goals and rates
A crucial early step is to identify your goals so that you have something towards which to work. Some of your aims may include the number of clients that you plan to retain, the amount of revenue that you earn at the end of the year or how you plan to grow your business overall.
Setting measurable business targets will help you on your way to becoming a successful management consultant – after all, why should people be listening to your advice if you don’t have your own house in order?
You must also assess from where your start-up money will come, as well as how much you plan to charge your clients. You may decide to charge an hourly rate or vary charges depending on the nature of the projects on which you’re working.
A retainer model, meanwhile, charges clients in advance, acting as a safety net for you and your business. It’s a model that is often favoured by established consultants.
There is always the possibility that something bad can occur unexpectedly. Whether you’re just starting out or you have an established agency already, it’s vital to have the right insurance for therapists in place.
Having the relevant insurance enables your business to be in a position to recover financially if necessary and can help to cover any claims and costs when you’re least expecting them.
Registering your business
You need to register your business and decide whether you are going to be a sole trader or a limited business. This will influence how you manage your finances and what tax you will need to pay.
Registering as a sole trader means that you will be solely responsible for the liabilities that come with your business. On the other hand, registering as a limited company means that your consultancy business is a separate legal entity owned by shareholders, affecting how liability is placed.