When hiring a individual or firm that specializes in green consulting, companies and individuals will examine a host of factors, and making sure you meet or exceed those requirements will go a long way to ensuring the success of your business or practice.
It’s important to note that because of the technical and legal nature of the field; most green consultants are professionals – whether engineers or lawyers, they usually come from a solid background in a specialized field. Here are a few other issues you may want to address:
- As with any consulting firm, you will need a record of successful projects. Volunteering your services for smaller community based projects is a great way to build experience. Get involved in turning a polluted lot into a park, or help a clinic or church convert to alternative energy.
- If you are hiring staff, try to hire those with the necessary experience and expertise, or outsource to experts in other fields. Potential clients will usually feel much more comfortable dealing with experienced individuals. On the other hand, hiring interns who have excelled in their field at college or university may be an option, and can help keep costs down. Just remember you will need to personally oversee their efforts!
- Make sure your project managers are professional, accessible and easy to work with. If you are managing projects yourself, you will need to deal with people, so make sure your inter personal skills are well honed!
- Another key factor that many green consulting firms forget is that clients who hire such consultants generally have a significant financial interest in their projects. Understanding a little about business and financial issues is critical to make sure your priorities are aligned. If you’ve never been involved in business, public relations, or finance, try taking some short courses to brush up on the basics!
- When it comes to offices and facilities, environmental consulting is possibly one of the best consulting concerns to start from home, as most, if not all of your business is guaranteed to be on site, possibly quite far afield.
- Making sure you are constantly contactable is crucial however, so investing in communications tools, such as PDA’s, laptops and cell phones is a good idea, especially if you will be spending a lot of time on the road. Make sure you have a website, email address and contact number that clients can reach you on, and consider signing up for an answering service when you will be in remote and difficult to reach areas.
It’s clear that environmental consulting is one area of consulting where barriers to entry are higher. Not just anyone can become a green consultant, and opening your own firm if you are qualified to do so put you in a favorable position, with less competition than other fields. If you do have the skills, qualifications, expertise and means to do so, starting a green consulting firm is certainly an option well worth exploring!