How to Start an Online Consulting Business in 2021?

Posted by B. Johnson
How to Start a Consulting Business in 2021?
A consultant is a professional services provider who helps their clients reach specific business goals. They primarily work with people in the professional or technical industries.

There are various kinds of consultants, each with their own area of expertise. Some consultants specialise in human resources, while others specialise in management consulting.

No consultant, however, is an expert in all fields. That means that before you start your consulting business, you'll need to define your niche and gauge your strengths.

The world of consultancy has now become increasingly competitive owing to the sheer number of people branching into consulting jobs. That means that if you want to run a successful consulting business, you'll need to stand out from the crowd.

This is easier said than done unless you know exactly what you're doing. And that's where this handy guide comes in. Here are six strategies you can use to start a consulting business that sustains over the long term.

1. Define Your Strengths

What kind of consultant are you? This is a crucial question you'll need to answer, as many niches within the consulting world can overlap.

Two kinds of consultants that often overlap but have slightly separate job roles to perform are strategy and management consultants.

The main difference between them is that strategy consultants typically operate in an advisory capacity, while management consultants work more closely with their clients on implementing their solutions.

To understand where you fit into the consulting world, you'll need to understand your strengths. Ask yourself these questions:
  • What is your area of expertise?
  • How comfortable are you in dealing with hands-on work?
  • What areas within your niche are you most comfortable working in?

Once you understand what your specific area of expertise is, it's time to figure out how you can further refine it to become an authority within your niche.

Conduct competition analysis within your niche to see what others are doing. You can try to locate if there are any subjects that don't have or have a lower number of subject matter experts.

Establishing yourself as an authority within this niche can help you stand out as a reputable consultant within that niche. Don't select a niche that doesn't have any value in the market - such as a field most businesses don't require experts from.

Instead, look for subjects within popular niches that can be further explored and turned into your domain of expertise.

2. Understand Your Business Model

Your consulting business can operate in a variety of ways:
  • You can be the sole proprietor.
  • You can run it as a small business together with someone else.
  • You can run it as a small business alone.

At the same time, consider choosing between an office or a strictly online based consultancy service. Even if you choose to operate through an office, you'll still need to market your consultancy business online.

After deciding upon the kind of business you want to run, you'll need to get the relevant licenses from your state. You'll also have to choose a name for your consultancy business. Opting for a name that has an available domain name online will help you set up your website more easily later on.

3. Who Are Your Clients?

Before you can go out there to find your clients, you'll need to gauge who they are. Chances are you already have a decent idea of who your clients are.

But now it's time to isolate their pain points. Understand what your clients might want from you, and how best you can deliver ideal solutions.

You can also consider creating client personas as a way of isolating the different kinds of clients you could potentially meet in your career.

4. Set Your Rates

Finding the ideal price point for your services is crucial to creating a long-lasting business of any kind.

Doing market research to see what rates other consulting businesses are offering will give you an idea regarding what kind of rates your clients might be expecting as well.

Remember that clients typically approach a few consulting businesses to find the right fit.

Setting your prices in a way where your price point isn't much lower or higher than that of your competition can help you. At the same time, you shouldn't undervalue or overvalue your business either.

5. Website, Social Media, and Marketing

Now, you'll need to reach out to potential clients by marketing your consulting business to them. You'll need a website dedicated to your business. Your website should also be SEO optimised so that it ranks high on search engine ranking pages and gives you visibility.

Starting a blog where you offer general advice about your niche can help you gain clients and build a reputation online.

You should also select social media platforms that let you reach your target audience. For consultancy businesses, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are important platforms to promote your business on.

Share quality content, as well as your blog articles on these platforms, and link them back to your website to generate more traffic.

Referrals are a major way you can get clients as well. Ask clients who have had a positive experience with your business to write a testimonial for you. Upload the testimonial to your website to put prospective clients at ease.

Finally, as a consulting firm that's just starting out, you'll also need to rely on cold calls. Most businesses don't like cold callers, and you shouldn't call random numbers either.

Select clients who you think have a problem you have a solution for. Then write a pitch and cold call them with an actionable solution to their problem.

As a consulting business owner, you can also consider getting business insurance, like Professional Indemnity insurance. These provide a layer of protection for your business.

To learn more about Professional Indemnity insurance, click here.

Conclusion

These five strategies will help you set up your new consulting business, and then establish it in a way where it scales and grows.

*As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording. The information contained on this web page is general only and should not be relied upon as advice.

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*Photo by Anthony Shkraba from Pexels
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