You may be wondering how to best prepare yourself for finding your consulting niche and then launching your own business.
It is normal to be nervous when venturing into any field, but research can make all the difference!
Speak To Established Consultants
None of your local competitors is likely to want to share their business information and industry secrets with you! However, it is possible to speak to consultants who work in a slightly different field, or in a different town, city or country, and find out more about their business.
Information such as how they got started, what obstacles they faced, how long they’ve been consulting, and how long it took them to become successful are all extremely useful when formulating your own business plan.
Likewise, asking them how they chose their niche, why they chose to consult, and how their business works helps to identify and solve similar issues within your own planned business.
If these consultants are sure that you will not be competing with them, they may also share information such as where they find clients, what their fee structure is like, and how they go about marketing their services. While you probably will not want to copy their methods exactly, that does provide an excellent basis to work from!
Finding out about their typical day, and how a typical project would be handled, will also provide insight once you get going, into how many hours you will need to put in, and what challenges you may face.
Check Out The Competition
It is very unlikely that you will have no competition whatsoever when starting out, and knowing more about competitors can give you a distinct edge!
A good way to do this is to contact them anonymously, or have a friend do so, to enquire about specific information you would like to know.
Calling, as a client, can yield information on processes and procedures, and even fees or rates, which can help you to formulate your own plan.
If your competitors are bigger companies, they may also have a website, that could provide important information, or maybe they have made news recently? You could also attempt to contact their previous clients, to find out more.
Start Building Your Business Before You Go Full Time
If you have done your homework, and decided that consulting is for you, try getting started in parallel with your day job.
In this electronic age, it is easier than ever to start a business part time while remaining employed, and this can prove invaluable financially, and in terms of building your reputation and credibility before you take the plunge.
It is going to be hard work to maintain this double life for a while – no one is arguing with that! Nevertheless, it will almost certainly provide you with a solid foundation for a successful consulting business!
Why Preparation Is So Important
Starting any business is daunting, and transitioning from employee to independent consultant is no different.
By equipping yourself with facts, knowing industry norms, analyzing your competition, and performing other key research before launching can help prevent some of the more common mistakes.
While it will not provide you with complete protection from mistakes, it will provide you with tools to deal with mistakes, and lessen the number of missteps you make along the way!
As they say, forewarned is forearmed, and knowing the business of consulting before you blindly leap into it is certainly a critical success factor!