If you want to start a new consulting business from scratch then this guide was written especially for you. Contrary to what you might read elsewhere, it is definitely possible to launch a new consulting company without any prior experience and without first working at a different firm.
We see people do this all the time, and we’ve done it ourselves too. If you apply a specific proven system developed by Sam Ovens, which we’ll summarize in this post, then you’ll be following in the footsteps of thousands of other business owners who have launched their companies from nothing, sometimes seeing success in just a couple of months.
Step #1: Choose A Niche To Focus Your New Consulting Business On
Every business needs to focus on serving a specific market. There are very few successful companies in the world who can say that their customer is ‘everyone’. Outside Amazon, Apple, and other similar brands, every business has a well defined market they exist to serve. The same is true when starting a consulting business – you need a clear idea of who your market is so you’re able to perfectly tailor your products and services to their needs and desires. We call this clearly defined market our niche. A niche is actually a little more focused than a marketing in general. A niche is a group of people inside a market who have some things in common and are either facing a particular program, or trying to satisfy a specific desire. These problems and desires are going to be the focus of the consulting business you start.
Here are some examples of consulting niches, which represent groups of people in a market and problems they’re trying to solve:
- Women who want to lose weight
- Men who want to find a fulfilling relationship
- Online business owners who need need more leads
- Plumbing companies who need more local customers
- Real estate agents who need more high value listings
- People who want to lose fat with the Paleo diet
- Personal trainers who want more high value clients
- Financial advisors who want more high net worth clients
Those are just a few examples from an endless range of possibilities. If you can find a group of people, with a common problem they’re looking to solve, then you could have the foundation of a consulting business. As long as your niche are willing to pay a certain amount of money to solve the problem or satisfy their desires that is.
So how do you choose your niche when starting a new consulting business? Well there are a few factors to consider here but you mainly want to focus on your current areas of expertise, and your interests. Sam Ovens of Consulting.com as created an excellent explanation of how to decide which market or niche to go into. The video is called ‘Why You Can’t Do The Work’ and you can watch it here:
Step #2: Test A Product Or Service To Solve The Problems In Your Niche
Once you’ve identified your niche and the common problems they’re facing, it is time to start thinking about solutions. All businesses are built on the foundation of solving problems and providing solutions for a particular market – and your new consulting business is no different. So step 2 in starting a consulting business is figuring out what you can offer your market to give them the result they’re looking for.
It is important to understand that this is a process. You will probably not come up with the ideal solution to your market’s problems straight away on your first attempt. This can happen of course, but it is not the norm. By interacting with your market, offering different solutions to them and collecting feedback you’ll slowly work towards a workable solution which meets the needs of your niche. Now you are ready to try selling it!
Here are some of the ways your solution could potentially be delivered to your niche in order to give them the result they want – that they’re happy to pay for:
- A done-for-you service
- 1-on-1 coaching or consulting
- Group coaching programs
- Digital training programs which don’t require your presence
Those are the four most effective consulting business models in our experience, and the ones generally recommended by Sam Ovens and his team at Consulting.com
The examples above are listed in order of ease to deliver as a new consulting business owner. Done-for-you services and one-on-one are the best way to get started because they are easiest for the client to understand, and require the least effort and input from their side – most of the effort is on your side as the consulting business owner. This makes the service comparatively easy to sell. One the other end of the spectrum you have digital training programs. These are the hardest to sell because the client is just purchasing access to an online course or program which they must consume, understand, then implement themselves. Almost all of the effort is on them to do the actual work, they are just paying you for your advice, expertise and experience delivered digitally.
If you’re still in the early stages of researching how to start a consulting business and what to offer in the beginning, stick with the done-for-you services. Here are a couple of examples to help you better understand what we mean by that.
- Marketing and advertising services such as SEO, Facebook Ads, Google Ads, etc
- One-on-one coaching in weight loss, sales, finance, mindset, etc.
Starting a done-for-you or one-on-one consulting business should be your first step if you want the fastest route to success, and those all important case studies and testimonials from your clients.
Step #3: Get Leads For Your New Consulting Business
Once you’ve defined your niche, decided how you’re going to solve their problems by delivering a product or service, it is time to put your consulting business in front of qualified prospects who could potentially be interested in what you offer. This is the easiest part, and the fun part! Why? Because you’re marketing yourself and your solutions which you know provide real value for your ideal customers.
Depending on the market you choose to serve there are a lot of different ways you could approach lead generation. Once you’ve built a simple website explaining what you offer, to whom, and the specific problems you’re solving as a consultant, it is time to think about how you’ll get qualified prospects to your website where they’ll be able to contact you.
Some of the most effective methods of lead generation include SEO, Facebook Advertising, posting in Facebook groups and forums, LinkedIn messaging, cold email, direct mail, and more. The important think to focus on in terms of lead generation when starting a consulting business is this: just master ONE methodology. You do not want to try 10 different lead generation strategies at once. You’ll be spread too thin and see no real success with any of them. Pick one or two, learn them in depth and get really good at your particular strategy. Many successful startup consulting businesses rely on just a single strategy for all the leads they could ever need.
So that’s it! Those are our 3 important steps that anyone wanting to know how to start a consulting company should follow. Obviously there is a lot more to it, and there are trainings you can take for more step-by-step advice to further speed up your learning curve – we discuss those elsewhere on this site. But the strategies covered in this article are a great starting point, and most importantly they’re proven to work.
We hope you enjoyed this. Best of luck in your new consulting business.