How to start a consulting business in 10 steps: A complete guide. (2020)

how to start a consulting business
consulting firm

Today, we shall be discussing the important tips on how to start a consulting business with easy and this article will also expose you to all the vital aspect in this fast rising industry.


Hence, it’s no more news that the consultancy industry has grown tremendously to be one of the diverse sector within the realm of professional services industry. Thus, there are wide spectrum of different kinds of consultant in this noble industry.


Moreover, being a certified ‘consultant’ is not as protected as other professional title and as such, it’s very easy for anyone to title him or herself as a strategy consultant, business consultant, management consultant, finance, Human Relation or IT consultant.


How to form a consulting company

While they’re different types of consultation business and the major ones will be discussed below, it’s very important you know and understand that all kind of consulting company can be formed using similar process.


Although their required experiences and level of expertise differ as each and every consultants are bore out of different field and discipline.


Therefore, much on how to form a consulting company will be succinctly discussed on how to start a consulting business from the scratch heading. Do stay tuned..!


Essence, given the diverse areas in which someone can operate as a consultant including the different types of work places business or any consultant can access, it is very vital to consider the steps to be discussed below on how to start a consulting business successfully. But before then, it’s ideal we take a look at the following subheadings.

Who is a consultant?

After the influx of people into the consultancy industry, a common and simple definition of the term ‘consultant’ has become even more difficult to give. This is has a result of the large number of independent consultants that keeps rising on a daily basis.


However, a consultant is a person who is certified to provides an expert advice in a specific area or field such as education, health care, business, law, human resources, regulatory compliance, marketing, finance, engineering and any other specialised field.


A consultant is also a person who sacrifice his time and paid all the necessary dues in other to become an expert in a particular area or field.

What is consulting services business?

A consulting services/business or consultancy firm is an entity or business organization of one or more professionals that provides expert opinion or feedback to people, business owners, individual, organization etc., for an agreed fee.


Consulting business may be the same but consultancy services differs. That is to say, types of consultancy firms vary, as there are technology, law, financial and advertising firms.

Types of consultants

Without further ado, it’s very vital to briefly highlight the types of consultants in the consultancy industry and among them are:

Strategy Consultant

This type of consultant works in the highest peak of the consultancy market, he focus on strategic and exceptional topics like corporate tactics, organisational strategy, functional strategy, economic policy and government policy.


Generally, strategy consultants carry out task that are assigned by top managers, like directors, senior managers, CxOs etc. Since this type of consultant focus more on quantitative and analytics skills, their profession description then revolves around giving expert opinion and advice.

Management Consultant

The management consultants are also known as the business consultants and/or organisational advisors in real practice. This kind of consultant focus on widespread of organisational concerns ranging from strategy down to different elements within management.

Health Consultant


This kind of consultant is very popular and rampant in the health sector. They’re professionals that gives medical advises and expert opinion on human general well being. Usually, they’re qualified medical practitioners.


Operations Consultant

Another type of business consultant is the operations consultant. This class of consultants help clients to improve their operations performance. Consultancy work in this area therefore vary from advisory services and hands-on implementation support.

Financial Advisory Consultant

Majorly, the Financial Advisory Consultant operate on questions that revolves around financial capabilities and in some cases, the also deal with the analytical capabilities within a firm or business organisation.

Human Resource Consultant

The HR consultants assist their clients with answers that fall within the human capital questions in their organisations with the intention of improving the HR department performance.

IT Consultant


The Technology consultants which is also known as the IT, ICT or the digital consultants. These consultants focus mainly on helping their clients with the application and development of Information Technology (IT) inside or within the organisation.


Tax consultant


The onus amd responsibility of a tax consultant is to give professional advice to individuals and business organizations on tax related issues. This type of consulting business is very lucrative and profitable.


General Business Consultant


If you’re planning to start your own business but can’t fathom one or two things, the right consultant to visit for way forward is general business consultant. This people knows the nook and cranny of starting a d running a successful business.


Communication Consultant.


Communication consultants are the agent that are saddled with the responsibility of given expert opinion and recommendation about the media. They know we’ll when press statement should be made and released, how to draft them and more.


Be that as it may, navigating the transition that exist between a salaried man and independent individual running his own consulting business may be tricky and as such, people often ask the following questions:

How can I get prospective clients for my consulting business?

Well, getting prospective clients that will keep coming and even inviting friends and his love ones to your advantage may be tricky sometime, but with patience and persistence, yours will surely come.


However, it’s safer to conclude that you can get as many clients as you wanted to your consulting firm if you set up your consultancy business in an area where your target audience resides.


In the same vein, if your service is unique, friendly and exceptional, you’ll never wait for one client to come visit again before you see many others coming your ways.

Can I kick-start my consulting business while still working full time?


Since you’re here to read the full guide on how to start a consulting business, them it’s very incumbent on us to answer this tricky question. Obviously, full time business means working 24/7 i.e Monday to Friday and this leaves no time for the consulting services.


Well, the answer to the question above is yes, you can start a consulting business while still working full time. You just have to schedule your meeting with your prospective clients. Give them time that’ll we be convenient for you in the evening after your full-time work.


You can equally employee a partner who will be in your consulting firm every time, this will give you the opportunity of attending to just few clients while your employee would have handled many in the morning.

How do I start as a small-scale business consultant?


The journey to become your own master start with a step and you coming down here to learn more about the necessary steps on how to start a consulting business means you’ve taken a step towards becoming a small business consultant.


However, endeavor to read and peruse the steps to be explained below, you’ll understand fully on the steps you need to take to get your small consulting business up and running.

To cut the story short, since you’re fully ready to embark on the journey of how to start a successful consulting business, we’re equally ready to share every important things you need to know before getting started.

How to start a profitable consulting business from the scratch


Here’s a complete guide on how to start a consulting business (the one that pays) from the scratch. Please do treat every step with caution.

1. Choose Your Niche


There are different types of consultants and as has been said about them earlier; so if you really want your consulting business to be a success, you need to choose a specific niche you’ll be operating on.

Read also: Business ideas and opportunities for the future


Identifying and embracing a specific niche is one of the secret to starting a profitable consulting firm. If you know and understand a lot about finance or marketing for instance, which other folks don’t, then that’ll be your opportunity to grow ahead of them.


So if you specialised one a single and definite niche, it will be lot easier for you to differentiate yourself from other generalized consultants and people will be eager to recommend you on that particular niche knowing you as an expert on it.


But, if you can’t figure out what your consulting niche might be, do consider these tactics if you care to narrowing it down:

  • Look for any underserved specialties or areas in your field;
  • Identify which aspect in your field most clients do have problem with the most;
  • Check yourself if your background gives you a special area of expertise;
  • Have you ever informally helped family or friends to solve any problem in their business? Etc.


Whatever niche or area of the consultancy services you choose, don’t be covetous trying to be the perfect fit to every client that come your way. Pick your best area and market your skills and expertise to that niche prospective audience.

2. Consulting services business plan


This article on how to start a consulting business wouldn’t be a complete piece without discussing the consultancy services business plan.

Of course, a business plan is the life of every business. So is positive planning necessary for the growth and betterment of this consulting business.


Taking your time to plan how the business is to be run for years unknown really worth it. Without this blueprint, your business may be cut off in its early days.


Therefore, your consulting firm business plan must contain and answer all of the following questions:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • Where do you find them?
  • What kind of service exactly do they need?
  • Do you have the required startup capital?
  • Where do you plan to source for fund?
  • What marketing strategies will you adopt subsequently?
  • What’s your mission statement?
  • What’s your aim, objectives, goals and vision?
  • What’s your financial projection for the next 5 years?
  • How do you plan to tackle unforseen problems? Etc.

All the above questions and more are what should make up your ideal consulting business plan if you want to run a successful consulting practice.

Read more: How to write an executive summary

3. Define Your Services


After you must have chosen your most preferred niche and drew your business plan, the next line of action on how to start a consulting business from the scratch is to define your services.


“Consulting” is a wider concept as well as a potentially vague term but your clients won’t pay a dime for vague promises.


So if you are determined to succeed in the consulting business, you need to reveal the kind of stuff you’ll be offering to your clients. Thus, it starts with you explaining or defining your services plus deliverables.


You can do that by brainstorming about the general services you plan to offer. Albeit, it’s very important you nail down the core area before you even start working with any clients or audience.

However, be informed that your consulting services and deliverables as a consultant are key to your consultancy services. The moment you know and understand the nature of services you’ll be offering to your prospective audience clients, then you’re ready to proceed.

4. Build Your Brand Identity


Remember that branding is not for big corporations only, it’s very necessary for small businesses like consulting firm also.
That is to say, business branding will give a reassuring class of professionalism to your consulting business even where it operations may seem slow or struggle to establish.

So let your brand be the most essential and best attributes of your firm, and remember that it’s your business public identity.

Similarly, branding is needed for you to have visitors that’ll visit frequently for consultation even when you’re charging higher prices. Being an important mentor with credibility for clients is vital to achieving great success in the consulting industry.

5. Fill In the Legal Basics


In your sojourn to learn how to start a consulting business, this particular step is very key to establishing a hitch free business entity.


More often than not, now is the time for you to choose your ideal business structure, your pricing, business licensing and working permits etc…

First thing first, you need to choose an ideal legal structure for the proposed consulting business. There’s Sole proprietorship, there’s partnership, LLC, Corporations and many more. Meet with your attorney to discuss which is better for your business.

You may also like: How to trademark a business name

After you must have determine the business legal structure that is perfect for your consulting firm, there’s need for you to file all the necessary legal basics or paperwork that’s required before starting a business.


All in all, you’ll need to get your consulting business registered and acquire a license or working permit (although this depend on your State law) for to practice a hitch-free consultancy services.

Once you’ve get all the above mentioned covered, your mission on how to start a consulting business is coming to an end then.

6. Web Presence


Having a consulting firm without a web presence is not enough and as such, build a website for your consulting business will be your brand’s most vital ambassadors.


In this present age, it’s practically impossible to reach enormous customers and target audience without a website. Most especially for a new small business venture and startups that are struggling to compete in the competitive world.

So if you’ll be creating a website for your business, ensure that it’s beautifully design to truly depict your consulting business brand. Your target audience and visitors should be able to know what your brand and services is all about the moment they arrive.

Equally, your consulting firm website’s visual design as well as marketing copy should be able to reflect your brand’s voice plus identity.


While the website is up and running, endeavor to share case study and testimonies from your previous satisfied clients and you may want to go even further by incorporating an online store where you’ll be selling proprietary consulting tools or books too.

Read also: Internet business ideas and opportunities

7. Create an Effective Sales Plan

There’s more to building a business brand, designing a user-friendly website and getting a logo when it comes to how to start a consulting business. Your desire consultation office should not be like a field of dreams.


You will therefore need a sales plan and strategy to drag and close in clients and prosperous audience.

Take your time to craft and rehearse your business “elevator pitch” till your are confident to deliver it comfortably.


You’ll at the same time want to practice how to overcoming objections too. This is because no matter how perfect your services are, your target audience will have reservations –when their hard earned money is involved.

So, brainstorm and think of many objections as possible and then, practice how to laid all the concerns to rest.

8. Brand awareness.

There’s no point in being an awesome consultant if you are doing absolutely nothing to market yourself as one. No one will ever know that fact. So tell the world about your newly established consulting business.


To have a free flow of clients who will refer their love ones to you, you need to ensure that you put adequate marketing strategies in place.


Spread the word about your new consulting services out and let your target audience knows of your existence in the noisy market.


Attend events and network; you never can tell, you can come across your prospective clients or someone who knows someone that needs your services.


Make personal appearances, always carry business cards along with you, distribute fliers for people to learn and know more about your newly established consultation services.

There and there, there’s the instrument of the same media for you too to market and broadcast your new business.


Take the social media platforms marketing strategies full advantage and build a social and intimate rapport with your old and new customers.

With a strong Twitter handler, Facebook pages and LinkedIn presence, you stand every chances to build an army of devotees.


Make things easier for you your visitors by letting them see what your God-owns consulting services is all about. You can do this by posting meaningful tips and observations, well written and informative articles etc.

read also: How to start a successful vending machine business

9. Employee more Staff


Employing more and adequate staff to assist you in carrying out some consulting tasks plus other casual works is really the perfect help you’ll need to keep your consultancy services going.

Time will come where you’ll felt like you’re in the consulting business, but for your new business to scale through the loneliness and grow, can’t afford to ignore help.


Even if it takes only 24 hours a day, you definitely can’t work them all alone.


Eventually, if your new consultation business enterprise goes well as planned, you’ll be forced to hire employees to enable you serve your clients well.

Essentially, if you must hire staff, hire well. As a new business establishment, there’s no fixed number of employees you’re to hire, but you’ll need to cut your cloth to your size.


Only hire people to the most pressing areas. For instance, you may want to hire a firm secretary or clerk, office assistant, messenger and cleaning for a start. Remember that you’ll be paying them at the end the month.


Similarly, if you must employ staff, give the job to the best hand or else you’ll end up running same task yourself.

Conclusion


While you’ve read and digest almost everything you need on consulting business service, it’s my humble believe that you wouldn’t come this far if the piece isn’t worth it.


So for the brave and wonderful men and women who dare to start a profitable consulting business, taking your time to read this tutorial on how to start a consulting business may be your best life-changing decision.
I value you, sincerely!

About Soliu Jamiu Ishola 74 Articles
Soliu Jamiu Ishola is a Law student at Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto. He's a seasoned content writer with years of experience. His love for online entrepreneurship gave birth to Bizideas4beginners.

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