Beginning your consultancy business is a challenge, big or small doesn’t matter. Through this blog piece, we intend to give all the insights that will make the journey of running and maintaining your business more productive and less cumbersome. Through this 15 step check list, you can go step by step in going about opening your business and always avoid the minor hiccups that all businesses encounter beginning their practice.
Through years of their individual and collective experience in the consulting business, the consultants we have on board and those serving as advisors to us have come together to help in the making of this 18 step guide which help you give shape to your dream of becoming a business consultant, whether you want to call yourself a consultant, coach, advisor or mentor, these steps will help you develop skill sets and also gather all resources that will help you initiate and expand your business.
The Conceptual Difference Between A Consultant and Coach
A small business consultant comes on board in exchange for a fee and works with the management of the company primarily on identifying, diagnosing and solving the problem, whose solution might be outside of the existing talent and knowledge of the employees of the company. A small business consultant helps the consultant plan and implement the project and he advises and brainstorms with the client for the same, to increase productivity, solve problems and deliver upon other variables that might have been promised.
A small business coach is different from a business consultant in the form that he helps the client move further on their path of success in a different way, which is imperative and obvious to the profession and profile of a coach who can also be vaguely be called a counselor. The coach doesn’t deliver success in any quantifiable measure but his impact nevertheless remains very significant which explains why so there is such a surge in demand for counselors, coaches, and motivators to speak at corporate retreats. The clients job is to create success by fostering personal development among employees, small habits which go a long way in increasing productivity and mainly a positive change in outlook after which the employees start beginning to see themselves as a significant part of the workplace and not just a desk employee who does a 9-5 day job and draws a salary at the end of the month for the same.
The thing to take note of when you begin your career as a coach is that you don’t need to advise the client that’s what a business consultant does, you need to share wisdom with the client and invoke upon the client to use the shared wisdom to find the answers from within themselves.
While whether to call yourself a business consultant or coach depends solely on your prerogative, it would serve you well to know the tricks of both the trades. In order to provide true value, you need to have both consulting and coaching skills, and a little bit of motivational wisdom for others and yourself too because this consulting business ain't gonna be easy.
15 Step Guide to Becoming A Small Business Consultant
Well then, now before any further ado, we present to you an 15 step list, which you can follow, use and take inspiration from while starting or grow your small business consulting practice:
1. Invest in Yourself, Improve your skill set You as aspiring small business consultants need to work on your skill set in order to bring real value to the client who is going to use your insights to improve his business and also retain you if you prove to be worth the task. It involves immense effort on your part to learn, keep learning and keep developing new skills that will keep you relevant in an exponentially changing market to know the pulse of the market dynamics and the industry trends. Always remember you have been called by the business for you to solve the problems whose solution might be outside the existing knowledge and expertize of the business, so you will need to bring in the skillset which needs to be relevant and up to date.
2. Estimate how experienced you Experience counts, no two ways about it. You as an aspiring small business consultant needs to have a considerable amount of experience in a certain filed before you can be called upon by consultants to give your insights for the same in exchange for a fee. You need to have experience as someone who had a business of the same nature or in the same field with significant quantifiable returns or someone with at least a decade of experience as a professional in the same industry working for a reputable name in the same.
3. Figure out your USP Figure out your USP, find it quick and keep developing it and making it prevalent on your insignia. Consultants are dime a dozen who keep surfacing on the scene with alarming alacrity on the great entrepreneurial scene and you need to separate yourself from the masses, where everyone is a Mr-know-it-all or at least thinks himself to be. Marketing is the key and you as an aspiring small business consultant need to have the ability to sell your profile to be picked up by the client, from among the hoard of other consultants in the same industry and experience as you. You need to work on your USP to such an extent that it eventually becomes synonymous with your name at least within some reputable name of the specific target audience in your mind.
4. Define ‘success’ individually for yourself You need to take the opportunity within the lifetime of the opportunity, and since you will have been at least in your early thirties beginning your consulting business so you as an aspiring small business consultant need to clearly write down your goals, both short term and long terms and how to plan to go about it.
5. Write your business plan for yourself Go through all the steps and normal procedure you will use while transacting business with a prospective economic buyer who might later come on board as the client. You need to clearly define your mission and vision statements so that there is no confusion of what you are and what the services you offer are. It is imperative that you write it down for yourself so that there won’t be the slightest doubt in the mind of the client who is pursuing to come on board. You as an aspiring small business consultant need to clearly write about your goals and how you to plan to pursue your goals with the resources with your disposal like finances, time, knowledge, equipment, and infrastructure and people resources.
6. Draft your marketing plan An extension of point 4, but you it needs reiterating upon. There are consultants by the dozen and there is no end to them, they just keep surfacing on the scene. Apart from you doing all you can do to get better than them, you also need to market yourself better than them, so that you get more visibility than them.You as an aspiring small business consultant needs to have robust social media presence along with making the right contacts in the industry who are going to ensure you never run of opportunities to network and get more leads for prospective economic buyers who can become clients in most cases.
7. Learn coaching skills Like we have already said before, right at the beginning of this blog spot, consulting is all about communication and intrapersonal skills, well if not all about it, then a significant part of it, without a doubt. You as an aspiring small business consultant will need to work with clients who might be on the same level of thought with you and you will need to get the best out of your involvement with them and hence you will need to give emphasis to their strengths and weaknesses. Deep listening skills and the ability to ask meaningful questions to get the best out of your clients is of the utmost importance.
8. Decide if you are going to advise them, or do the work for them. You as an aspiring small business consultant need to decide if you are going to be an outside hand advising or working for a certain amount of time for the consultant. Consultants can either work with the business to do planning and strategy work to provide specific services for a short time to supplement the client's staff.
9. Learn the problems that most small business owners have . You as an aspiring small business consultant need to learn from the mistakes of businesses and draw out your strategies as to how you will help the business considering a random hypothetical problem. Research case studies, study from them and then formulate a strategy to define and solve those problems.
10. Systemize so Start now and systemize. Systemize till you have maximum efficiency and use templates, automation and sales scripts. All these steps are to increase productivity at your work space and save yourself time and avoid minor hiccups which prop during the course of you running and maintain your business.
11. Outsource what you can’t do, even though you might be a jack of all trades and master of none and one very good at that, outsource what you can’t do, these maybe tasks, that might out of your expertise, or time which might take up a lot of your time. Time is a luxury you can’t afford.
12. Adopt marketing techniques. Track your marketing religiously. If it is not delivering results, improvise, discard, begin again, and improvise, relentlessly. You as an aspiring small business consultant need to choose marketing techniques which are helping your business get traction online and helping you build a more robust social media presence.
13. Learn from the masters. Learn from the masters, in every field, activity, vocation, industry there are pioneers to learn from how to succeed from and failures how not to fail from. Learn from the masters, network with them, get insights from them and try to follow their footsteps.
14. Determine your niche. You as an aspiring small business consultant needs to have a niche which will separate you from the sea of the consultants who keep coming on the surface every other day, you need to nit pick your niche and be very clear to your client and your specific target audience so that you only attract prospective economic buyers which can easily turn into clients.
15. Deeply understand the business model. There are 7 angels to a business model that you as an aspiring small business consultant need to understand and learn well so that you are in a very good place to help your clients in the areas which are stopping their productivity and give them tips how to increase productivity.