Internet has made remote collaboration a possibility. It is possible for businesses to outsource components of their work to third party consultants. This is beneficial in two ways.
Firstly, businesses save costs due to fewer overheads in terms of office space and salary. Secondly, third party consultants specialize in certain aspects of business which makes them a lot more productive and efficient in executing tasks.
Consulting is quite often the way that professionals in 9-to-5 jobs dabble with entrepreneurship for the first time.
Setting up your consulting firm can be confusing at first. In this article, we will take a broad look at the various steps that go into launching your own consulting firm.
Validate the need
Before you launch your own consulting firm, you must validate the need for such a business. An entrepreneur launching a marketing consulting firm or setting up a legal consultancy does not need explicit validation – there are business all around the town offering the same service.
If you do not have competition yet in your line of business, it is a clever idea to reach out to prospective clients and introduce yourself and your service.
You may also set up a simple website and spend a few dollars on advertising to see if there is interest among your target customers.
If you do not find enough customers ready to pay you money for your service, then it is an indication that you may be offering something that nobody needs. It is then time to pivot and repeat the process.
Setup a sales funnel
The next step in the process is to setup a sales funnel. Simply put, a sales funnel is a lead generation process that brings in new prospective customers to your business, warms them up for your offering, pitch your product and follow up until they either drop out or convert into a customer.
Sales funnel can come in diverse ways – you could cold call prospective customers, set up appointments and follow up with them. Alternately, if the lead was acquired online, you may set up an automated email marketing process that will take the lead through various stages of the sales funnel before they convert.
Establish a legal entity
In an ideal world, this shall be the first step in any business. However, it is always recommended to be convinced about the prospects of your business before you establish a legal entity.
In certain countries, shutting your business could be a protracted process and you may not want to go through this unless you are convinced about your prospects. The process of incorporating your company differs with every jurisdiction. If you are in countries like the UK, you could use company formation services like 1st Formations to do the work for you – it costs less than ten pounds to do this.
A word of caution here – check your local laws to see if you are entitled to solicit customers as a sole proprietor in your industry. If the law does not permit an individual to solicit customers, then it is recommended to set up a legal entity before you work on your sales funnel.
The ultimate step of the process is marketing. This is a continuous process and does not ever stop no matter how much your business has grown.
As a startup consultancy, you may not have the budget to spend on advertising. You may reach out to your network for referrals and contacts that you may reach out to for business.
As you find new customers and your cash flow improves, you may also begin advertising your business.
Are you a consultant? Share your experiences with starting your business in the comments below.