When I started my own business-planning consulting firm a few years ago, I didn't "need" a business plan as much as most companies do: I didn't need investors, I had no employees, and I had a good idea of what I was doing.
But I did develop a business plan before I started, and I worked with that plan, revising and updating it, afterwards. If you're in the similar situation of taking your expertise and applying it to your own consulting firm, you should know why I needed that plan, what was in it, and how having one can keep you on track.
Value Proposition Answer this question: What is your specific value proposition?
"Thousands of ex-IT programmers are now 'Social Media Consultants,' " says Hermens.
If you've found yourself holding a pink slip from your corporate employer or perhaps are just tired of the old 9 to 5 grind, one of the best ways to get back on your feet might be turning your experience and skills into a consulting gig since just about anyone who possesses specialized skills can hang out a shingle of their own.
But before you do, you might want to consider taking the time to create a business plan for your new venture, which will not only help you map out the opportunities before you, but also the threats.The answer, then, is to be creative in finding ways to promote your offering.One way to do that could be through landing public speaking engagements, which can be very effective at promoting your knowledge and point of view on your industry's challenges, says Hermens.By working with similar clients in a specific industry, your company creates a level of expertise that makes it easier to perform well and get new clients because you understand their unique challenges and how to overcome them." 3.Marketing Answer these questions: How do you market your consulting business?"Rather than the desperate approach of taking any client that comes along, be selective and create a clear road map of where you want to go," she says."Several years from now, your client roster should be fairly close to the plan that you make now."The goal here is to align revenue with employees compensation in the beginning as your consultancy grows," says Hermens."Once your business becomes large enough, put key people on a salary, with performance bonuses.Leverage allows your consultancy to flourish as your company takes on more projects." The key, then, is to think about how you align revenue arrangements with employee compensation and how to pay employees to ensure they are available when you need them by asking yourself questions like: Do you pay a salary and risk a lull in projects?Or, perhaps you pay employees on a project basis, only when they work, risking their availability when you get a new contract?