Entering the consulting world can be incredibly freeing and lucrative.
Don’t let these stumbling blocks stop you from sharing your talent and finding your niche. A successful consulting business is much like a recipe. With the right ingredients, you can create a masterpiece, but with the wrong ingredients, very few people will want your services.
Anyone looking for success in the consulting business should create the perfect mix of the following ingredients:
#1. Smart Funding for Your Venture
You can’t start a business without funding, and not everyone has capital on hand. If you haven’t saved any money to start your own business, do so now. If you have savings built up, this can act as a down payment that gets you lower interest rates and smaller payments on a business loan.
When you approach the bank, ask questions to fully understand the terms of the lease. Seek the best possible interest rate with a financial institution you can trust. Ultimately, remember that the lower your interest rates and the faster you can pay off the loan, the less you’ll spend in the long run.
#2. A Niche the World Needs
When millionaire consultant Sam Ovens started his first business, it tanked. He had a great idea and was confident in his investment, but he ultimately lost everything. Ovens will tell you how important it is to choose a niche that’s needed. “The big lesson is that you have to sell something that the market actually wants,” he told The Epoch Times. “It was painful. But I am glad that it did happen because it really laid the foundation for my success today.”
After learning this crucial lesson, Ovens launched a highly successful consulting business worth more than $10 million. He continues to talk about the importance of choosing a niche that the market can sustain. If there’s no need for your services, no one will pay you for them. The best advice he offers is to find a hole that your talents can fill before forming a plan.
#3. The Right Friends
Much of your success will come through word of mouth marketing. When people know and trust you, they’re much more likely to hire you and tell their friends.
As you work on launching your business, network aggressively. Have conversations on LinkedIn and other reputable forums where you can establish yourself as an expert. Tell others what you do for a living, and offer advice when they ask questions. Dedicate a couple of hours each day to making new, personal contacts with whom you can share your business.
#4. Authority You Can Prove
There’s no point in networking if you can’t prove that you’re an expert in your field. Authority and credibility are essential for building trust and landing deals.
“People don’t hire you because you are a consultant. They hire you because you’re an expert in something,” says Michael Zipursky of Consulting Success. “Establishing expert status is therefore not only about your positioning and messaging, it’s also, and more importantly, about doing the right things to be seen as an expert and build your credibility.”
He goes on to offer several tips for establishing credibility as a consultant, including:
- Host webinars
- Write an ebook
- Draft a white paper
- Be a guest speaker
- Direct an informative video
- Do radio interviews
- Get published locally
- Guest post on blogs
- Offer freebies
- Volunteer for a non-profit
Ultimately, the more you can get your name out there and market yourself as an authority, the more new clients you’ll attract.
#5. A Financially Savvy Bookkeeper
Consultants are not always business people. It’s easy for you to focus so much on your area of expertise that you let details like finances fall by the wayside. Financial problems are all too common in consulting businesses. If you’re not much of an accountant, or you don’t have time to give it the attention it deserves, you should hire someone to do it for you.
A trustworthy bookkeeper can shave costs and give recommendations on how to allocate spending. Your finances are the grease for a well-oiled machine, and you can’t place them on the backburner while you work on other things.
#6. Charge the Right Price
According to consultant and internet marketing expert Neil Patel, one of the biggest mistakes consultants make is not charging enough. As a general rule, he advises consultants to “charge more than you think you should.” It’s a status symbol that speaks to your worth.
“Remember, the higher your rate, the better you look,” he says. “If you saw two wristwatches — one for $10 and the other for $5,000, which one would you think was superior? Obviously the more expensive watch is a better timepiece. The same goes for consultants. A consultant whose fees are $100 per hour will be valued far less than a consultant who charges $5,000 per hour.”
You might feel a little uncomfortable doing this, but remember that you can always lower your price later if it ends up hurting your business. You may lose the business of your less affluent customers, but you’ll usually see higher gains from those who can afford to pay.
#7. Marketing that sells yourself
As a consultant, you are the brand and must market yourself unashamedly. You’re basically selling yourself, as strange as that concept may be. As a result, the bulk of your marketing campaign will be about proclaiming goodwill and building a positive personal reputation.
Your marketing efforts will start with your dress and appearance, which should be clean cut and tailored. It will move on to promoting the best aspects of your personality, showing trustworthiness, illustrating clear value proposition, and proving your claims.
Being your own boss, choosing your clients and hours, and financial stability all come with the price of working hard and mixing together a recipe for success.
If you’re capable of transforming other businesses, you can build your own organization with those same skills.