What Do You Need to Start a Consulting Business?
In terms of equipment, the only items you need to start a consulting business are a cellphone and a computer. Both of those tools help you reach new clients through cold calling, email, advertising, and a website.
Beyond the physical tools, you should provide potential clients with a compelling service that offers value. This means your consulting services should show precisely how clients benefit from your expertise. If a customer invests $10,000 for six months, you can demonstrate how that company earns a return on its investment during contract negotiations.
Make sure the services you offer are unique in comparison to other consultants in your field. Perform marketing research to see what others offer. One simple way for you to do this is by making some phone calls or through direct feedback from others in the field.
Knowing your target audience is key to attracting new clients. Are you marketing your services to large corporations, medium-sized businesses or startups? Do you favour companies that have well-established customers or ones seeking to expand their customer base? Consider your connections and the network that you’ve built over the years to see what kind of clientele you connect with. Determine what each prospective client is missing in their repertoire that you can provide. This serves as your starting point for attracting clients to your consulting business. Your target audience has a point of weakness that you can strengthen, thanks to your industry knowledge and experience.
Next, you need a repeatable way to get new clients to hire you. Consider using a combination of calls and emails, either through your network of contacts or through cold calls, to find your initial customer base. You should also take a look at your marketing budget and diversify your pushes. Think about online advertising and social media targeting your niche audience. The goal of these ads is to draw your target market to your website. Once they arrive to your website, you can monitor traffic and possibly obtain an email address or contact information when someone fills out a form to get more details about your services. Then, you can expand your reach with emails and possibly phone calls as you give respondents more information through one-on-one communication.
Here’s one scenario traced from initial marketing to landing the contract:
- Buy $250 in Facebook ads.
- These ads land 200 visitors to your website.
- 50 of the site visitors sign up to receive a 2,000-word white paper on how to take their marketing to the next level.
- Of those 50, eight want to talk to you over the phone.
- Out of those eight, one of them signs a three-month deal for $1,000 worth of your services.
Your initial investment of $250 quadrupled your revenue, with one person signing up at $1,000. Yes, you had to spend time creating your website, white paper, and email lists, but you landed a client. You have to start somewhere. When you repeat this process dozens or hundreds of times, you keep this funnel going and increase your revenue.