To start, make sure that your business plan covers all the bases. If you intend on doing university research, you need to ensure that you have a very thorough understanding of the discipline. Your business plan should have a section on what kind of small businesses usually are in need of consulting services. You may want to consider consulting services for medical offices, law firms, venture capitalists, technology companies, government agencies and nonprofit groups.
In order to get new clients and keep existing ones, be prepared to offer a wealth of complimentary advice. Do not try to sell consulting services right off the bat. Instead, give your potential customers an inside look as to what your company can do for them. In this section, you may want to explain what types of problems you tend to solve best, what you pride ourselves on doing the best, and what our philosophy is regarding the solutions we provide. You will be able to answer questions about the nitty-gritty of doing business when you discuss these topics in depth with potential clients.
While most consulting practices tend to focus on one or two new areas every year, it is important to stay abreast of changing industry trends. Learn how to incorporate the knowledge you already possess into marketing campaigns to reach new areas. Consider speaking to current clients to see what they think of your skills. Ask them what they wish they had known when they were facing similar issues.
There are many benefits to hiring a consulting practice to help home business owners get the advice and expertise they need. Not only do consultants have an extensive amount of experience and knowledge in a number of related areas, but they often work with a large number of other professionals who can help a client succeed where others have failed. For example, business owners may need a consultant to handle their media needs, while another might need help developing their online marketing strategy.
There is also a significant amount of leverage that consultants enjoy working within their network of peers and clients. For example, if you work with one successful freelance writer, you can find clients who are searching for a copy editor. When you work with another professional, you can get recommendations for talented proofreaders, editors and designers. Your colleagues may know other successful business owners who can provide specific consulting practices that fit your needs. This type of networking provides you with the advantage of knowing what successful professionals consider beneficial for their clients. Additionally, many other business owners will be interested in your services, and you can use this knowledge to draw possible new clients into your home office.
In addition to leveraging your expertise, a successful consulting practice can give you access to marketing materials, business plans and other forms of informational support that allow you to take your consulting practices to the next level. By providing your clients with a detailed informational package, you can help them develop a plan to achieve their goals. You can provide clients with an expert writing group or ghostwriter, business development assistance, or a range of other services. By providing such comprehensive services, you are taking your expertise to the next level.
The final benefit of a successful consulting practice is that it allows you to develop relationships and pay at the right time. Rather than working on large projects without pay, you can tailor projects to fit your clients’ budgets and pay schedules. If a client cannot pay you right away, for instance, you can still bill the client for the hours he/she spent working on the project, and you can make sure the payment is made on time. You can also gain greater access to CRM or ERP software, if you have sufficient expertise and a strong relationship with the company who provides it. All of these services, along with other forms of expertise, can help you build a strong reputation and pay rates that match the fees you are willing to pay for the services you provide.