Every business, no matter the size, the development stage, or the field, should have a business plan, and developing a solid consulting business plan is no different.
Often, particularly when seeking finance, potential business owners engage professionals to create a business plan that financiers will view favorably. But, at the end of the day, sitting down and working on your own business plan will give you a much clearer picture of where you are, where you are going, and how you can get there!
Business plans vary in length and complexity, according to the business, but there are a few key sections that are included in every one:
You, more than anyone else, know why you want to start a consulting business, and why you believe it will be a success.
Writing down the details about your experience, expertise, and the niche you plan to market those skills to, helps define your business.
Your objectives are the issues you need to successfully address, in order to take your consulting business from idea to successful reality.
Your objectives could be things like a certain number of billable hours within a defined timeframe, or acquiring a new client each month, until you reach your desired number of clients, either for sustainability, or as an indication for expansion.
Objectives are the short, medium and long term goals you have for your consulting business.
Every business has some setup costs. They could be as simple as setting up a website, and a home office, and having some business cards printed.
Sit down and think about what you will need in terms of equipment, marketing materials, office supplies, and any other fixed or variable cost items you will need to get going.
Try to make your requirements list as comprehensive, and realistic as possible, and if your budget is small, try and come up with creative ways to cut costs.
Remember to include intangible items, like advertising, in your setting up requirements budget.
This item is for an established business. Since your business plan is not a static document, set up once and then filed for ever, but an ever evolving picture of your business, you should adjust this section at each review.
Not any progress, define new goals, and documents successes and failures. It helps to narrow your focus, and makes keeping your consulting business on track a little bit easier.
A new consulting business, just starting out, has no history to fall back on when it comes to financial matters.
Projections are a great way though, to figure out whether your venture is viable as is, or whether you need to tweak the plan a bit more!
Base your projections on the rates you plan to charge, your variable costs, otherwise known as overheads, and the number of hours you hope to bill.
This will help you to figure out what the minimum amount of work you will need to get in order to survive is, and when you will start to actually make a profit in your consulting firm.
Get Assistance Developing Your Business Plan
If you have no idea how to create your business plan, don’t panic. The internet is a great resource, and you can get free templates to help you on the way.
Most cities also have small business centers that are willing to lend a hand.
Whatever you do though, make sure you set up a good consulting business plan before hand. Think of it as a road map to success in your business, and spend some time really thinking about it and planning in out to ensure your chance at success!