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STARTING A CONSULTING FIRM

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As we know that if there is a viable business idea, the next thing will be to appraise the available financial and human resources. Upon appraisal, the next step will be to augment any observed deficit appropriately and adequately.

A very viable business idea is consultancy. Most people think they need an elaborate system and facility to start a consulting firm. Not at all. The most important thing you need is experience in the particular field you chose to consult in. Even if you have limited experience, you should preferably build a team of highly experienced individuals, who are also motivated to drive your vision. Consulting is highly synonymous to experience sharing. Lots of young risk takers do it.

A consultant is one who consults for people and other businesses. He shares his experience in that field with the clients and also advises the clients on best practices. Consulting can be done in all industries and for almost every sector and activity in the business world. Talk of corporate infrastructure, logistics, IT projects, PR projects, furniture, planning, record management, marketing and business performance. Therefore, no matter what your field or area of expertise is, you can become a consultant in that field. Your competitive edge is very outspoken. Your experience and your network. You must have built a strong network of people who need your services and who know that you are quite skillful and experienced in that particular field. Except you did not have your employment experience on earth. That is where to start.

Consulting is a business that you can always conduct at your home office. You can telecommute. Hence, start-up is always low budget for anyone that wants to do it as an additional source of income. In fact, your office can be your digital gadgets such as smart phone, laptop computer or tablets. In such instance, all you need is constant internet connection, a strong social media presence for marketing and communication purposes and a developed interpersonal communications skills which you must have developed strongly in the course of your employment. A consultant is also a person with integrity. You must be able to keep your clients information confidential and at the same time honor your agreement at all time.

Now that you know that there is an ever-growing market for consultants, you also need to know if you are cut for the job before jumping into it. Hence, you need to assess yourself in the following areas:

Expertise: You need to evaluate your expertise in the chosen sector in which you want to establish your consulting activities. You need to be clear on why your clients will hire you. It is either you are highly experienced in that field or you intend to be trained in that field. You should be able to comfortably anticipate your clients’ questions, and answer them excellently. You should have knowledge of recent trends in that field so as to be able to offer updated services in line with trending best pratices.

Skills: Knowing the skills you have that will give you an edge above other consultants is very important. Some people are not comfortable with talking for long, if you are in that category, maybe you should consider another option. Or you are highly irritable by complaints. The reason clients will approach you in the first instance is because they have some problems they need you to solve. They might present their problems as complaints or whichever way, you need to be a good communicator, as a matter of fact, an empathic communicator to succeed in consulting. Your skills should determine where your consulting will focus on. Your skills could be writing skills, organization management skills, IT skills, financial management and so on. Expertise alone is not sufficient.

Certification: Certain businesses and profession require licensing to operate while some do not. You need to be sure if you need certification or licensing to operate in that field, know what the certification is and what it entails and go for it immediately. It is always advisable to do the right thing at the right time. You may be afraid of the requirement for certification. You need not be. Usually, education and experience are the most important criteria for obtaining most certification. Being licensed means you can always operate by standard of bigger companies and charge similar rates. In fact, it is another way of boosting your firm’s image.

Personality: Finally, you need to be sure of your personality, if you are the man for the job. You may not be a successful consultant as an introvert because you will meet new people continuously. You need to be able to socialize with clients and make new friends fast so as to earn trust and build your network. You also need to be independent, objective and creative.

With all these in place. We shall be talking about how to set up your consulting business as an experienced professional.

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