Starting any kind of business can be very challenging. And even when you start, managing the business becomes another challenge. To manage your business the right way, you need the right information, skillsets and the funds. In this article, I am going to share my experience on how to start a consulting business in 2023.
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I started my consultancy business in 2014, then my focus was on getting funding for small businesses, but as the need from clients expanded we incorporated digital content creation, Social Media and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
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Here is what I learned from over 7 years of running a consulting business
Starting is not easy
Let me give you a brief background on my journey as a small business consultant. I attended a small business owner’s diner organized by a bank in South Africa sometimes in 2014, the focus of the dinner was to encourage and assist small business owners access loans from bank to support their business. It was during this event that I had the idea of setting up a consulting firm to source for funding for small business owners because the model that the bank was presenting was almost at 26% interest rate.
After the event, I reached out to some small business owners in my community to see if they will welcome the idea of me assisting them to get funding to expand their business, it wasn’t easy to get their commitment at first, but 5 out of over 20 small business owners, I reached out to was ready to give me the chance.
They key to success in business is finding a problem or a gap and looking for ways to solve or bridge that gap
How I started my Small Business consulting Business
After getting the nod of about 5 prospective clients, I recruited two friends to support me in reaching out to some wealthy/influential people in my community to see If I can get them to commit some money to the project. Within 2 weeks I was able to raise about $1000 in ‘commitment’ .
Our model of operation was simple:
- We help business owners review their business plan
- Present the plan to our funders
- Our funders will review and approve
- Then we will release the funds to the small business owner, follow them up, support them and monitor their repayment plan.
For the small business loan, the interest rate was 9% (6% for the funders and 3% for us)
Networking is a must
One of the skills I learned early in my consulting journey is networking. Our working routine was focus on helping small business owners to grow and expand their business. We did not stop at getting the funds for them, we monitor and assist them to follow their business plan. This inspired them to make us part of their journey.
Enough about my story, let delve into how to start a consulting business in 2022.
What is Consulting?
Consulting is the process of assisting a client or a brand to resolve their problems, challenges or supporting them to deliver on their projects. A consultant is an expert whose job is to consult within his/field of expertise or according to his/her skills/
Type of Consulting Business you can Start in 2023
There are many kind of consulting business you can start in 2023, but it depends on your skillset, expertise and interest. They Include:
- Branding Strategy consulting
- Sales/Marketing consulting
- Social media consultant
- HR/Operations consulting
- Financial consulting
- Compliance consulting
- Legal consultant
- IT/ Technology consulting
- Fitness consultant
- Career coaching consulting
- PR consultancy
- SEO consulting
- Product development/Design consultant
How to Start a Consulting Business in 2023
Here is the steps you can follow if you want to start a consulting business in 2023.
Know your Strength/Weakness
Knowing your strength is the first thing you should do if you want to succeed in a consulting business. Your strength will fuel your desire and passion to assist and proffer solutions to your clients. Once you know your strength, it will be easy to hire someone to cover your weak point.
Have the Interest
Have the interest in helping others, not for money first, but a genuine interest of supporting your prospective client/brand to solve their challenges. This is very important, because at the initial stage, if you are doing say “Social Media Consulting” you may need to do free jobs for a month or so to build your portfolio.
Invest in getting the necessary tools
In some countries, you may need to acquire a license before you can practice as a consultant; so find out the necessary things/tools you need and invest in them. If it’s certification, get it, if it’s registering your brand name and filling the necessary tax papers, do it. If it’s office equipment, etc., try and ensure that you get all the materials and stuffs that will make your job easy.
Build a Team
You can’t do it alone, you need some form of support and inspiration from the start. Try and get one or two people who believe in your brand vision and allow them to support you to make the difference in your client’s projects.
Write client proposals
Develop proposal that you can share with your prospective clients. Your proposal should include what you can do, pricing, what the client stand to gain, etc.,
Promote your Consulting Business
Ways you can promote your consulting business include:
- Reach out to your prospective clients via traditional marketing (For my Small Business Consultancy; over 60% of our clients were gotten from traditional marketing
- Run a Social media Campaign (Social Media ads, Content marketing); we got about 10% of our client from social media marketing
- Develop a referral Package (We have a referral plan for existing client with good bonus to inspire referrals)