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How to Start a Consulting Business
Consulting, at its basic definition, is offering advice. Whether it is to private individuals or businesses, the services consultants offer range from simply offering advice to creating detailed and well-analyzed plans along with their recommendations to actually implementing the work they recommend.
A consulting business systematizes these types of services and creates a company brand around the unique value proposition of the consultant’s work. These steps are important for entrepreneurs launching a consulting business of any kind.
Determining Capital Requirements
One of the first steps when launching a consulting business is to determine the need for cash to get the business of the ground. Because of the nature of consulting, a number of the capital needs associated with many other small businesses are not necessarily required. For example, if your work will be primarily at client homes, offices, or other facilities, there may be little need to spend money on the build-out and renting of an office or headquarters. Instead, money can be saved by using a home office to operate the business (and receiving a tax deduction for a portion of your home rent that applies). Furthermore, as most of the resources required for consulting are generally the knowledge of the consultant, equipment requirements should be low or non-existent, beyond access to a computer, printer, and phone.
Developing the Business Plan
However, some capital may be required to start the kind of business you envision. There may be a need for subscriptions to databases, magazines, and journals related to the field or industry you serve. There will be some initial expenditure on marketing in order to find clients even before you start bringing in sales. To fund these initial expenses, you will either need your own cash reserves or a business plan to be able to seek investment or loans from outside sources like angel investors or banks. Remember that even if you receive outside funding, funders want to see you tied to the business in a significant way, which usually means putting in your own cash as well.
Want more tips? Here's a related article: Consulting Firm Business Plan
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