Running your own consulting business can be a very rewarding venture. It can also be a very challenging one. There is nothing easy about it, but the really good things rarely are.
Here are some tips to help you get started and stay profitable in your consulting business.
Consulting Tips for Your Consulting Business
Your Product Is Knowledge
There is only one thing you can bring to the table that will make your clients lay down their money – knowledge. Your knowledge is worth every dime they pay you, but you have to let them know it. Be assertive in that fact.
But don’t halfway do it. You are charging a premium price, so be sure to deliver a premium service. You’ll want to give the facts and be concise but thorough.
Even more importantly, be straight with them. Even if costs you a client. Being straight with a client is one of our most critical consulting tips.
A good client relationship must be built on facts. Everyone wants to hear good things when they hire a consultant, but they are paying you for your knowledge. And if part of that application results in bad news, they need to own it.
You Can’t Please Everyone
A good client will appreciate the relationship that you are building with them, especially after they see where you are trying to take them. And if they don’t, which will happen, it’s best to know up front. After all, you are a professional.
It doesn’t mean that you have to be abrasive. Consulting is a face-to-face business. You will need to spend time meeting with people, shake hands, step into corporate offices, and generally do a lot of talking to people.
Not everyone is going to go out of their way to be nice. Nor do they have to, since it is your job to provide a consultant service to help their business, not make friends. Some people are just difficult, that’s the fact that you will have to face in running a consulting company.
Some business relationships you have to endure for as long as it is mutually beneficial. After all, you are working for your clients.
You Work for Your Clients
Let me say this up front – when you run your own consulting business, you are not your own boss. You have exactly as many bosses as you do clients. If you need a better definition of defining who your boss is, do the litmus test: If they pay you money, they are your boss. Treat them like it.
There are advantages to having your own business, of course. You always have the opportunity to say no to a new client. At first, you may not be quite so discriminating, but as your client list grows so will your filter.
You also have the chance to improve yourself and your consulting business as only an independent business owner can. The discipline to get smarter and work harder is something that you can build on, and it can take your business to new heights. But you will still have bosses, even those that disappoint you.
It Can Be Disappointing
Running a business is not always going to be rainbows and unicorns. There will be times when it will disappoint you. The disappointment won’t be limited to just your business life since you pour so much of yourself into your consulting business.
The disappointments will impact your personal life as well. Understanding that there will be disappointments is one of the best consulting tips to remember.
You need to prepare for the occasional disappointment. Chances are, if you never hit frustration, you aren’t trying hard enough. Learn to champion your disappointments as they come along. It means you are getting outside your comfort zone, which is the path to rewards.
It Can Be Very Rewarding
So far, it seems like I have been discussing only the negatives of owning a consulting business. I did that intentionally since it can be a challenging business. But there are many rewards as well. The critical distinction between working for someone and having your own business is that you can grow a business as much as you want or need.
This article should be considered a good starting point on how to operate your consulting business. You should also become a student of running a consulting company, and research it as much as you can.
There are many types of consulting careers, and you should make yourself familiar with each one. Consider yourself your first client, and make sure you have the right knowledge to proceed. After all, you do want the best for your clients.