Everybody is an expert in something. When the itch to own a business and be the boss is too much to bear, it may be time to start and maintain a consulting agency.
Millions of people think about becoming their own boss every day. Many of them only think of being able to work when they want while others think of the financial benefits of it. Most people don’t start their company because they don’t know what they are good at. Others don’t because they don’t have the tools they need to work in the same industry they dream of. While that may be true for many, there are millions of people with the expertise necessary to start their own consulting agency and achieve financial and professional success.
When people think of a consulting agency, they often think of people in dark colored clothing and briefcases pouring over the books of a company. While some may operate like that, they don’t have to. When it comes to starting and maintaining a consulting agency, there are few rules in the book to remember. Anyone that follows these rules are actually good at working with others, success will come in larger waves than they can expect.
Ride the Wave to Consulting Success
Most people don’t realize they are an expert in different things. As people think of a consulting agency, they often think of someone that has been formally educated in their field of expertise and have years of working in their industry. Many people don’t think of their natural talents or what they know is wrong in their current industry. With those thoughts, there would be very few experts available to help those that need to be helped.
Becoming an expert in anything doesn’t always mean becoming formally educated and having a lot of letters behind a name. Becoming an expert may come with experience and natural talent. There are hundreds of people stuck in their job because they are too talented to move into another area and their supervisors know it. It’s more profitable for those business owners to keep those that are talented in a pigeon hole than to empower them and allow them to make a bigger difference. Those that want to make a difference and are truly good at what they do, starting a consulting agency is the best business to start!
Rule Number One: Be an Informed Expert
This is the biggest rule that anyone can ever follow. It’s wonderful to be an expert through experience. That is always appealing to clients that need help. What can ruin it is being an uninformed expert. An uninformed expert is one that has not stayed on top of industry trends and knowledge. It sounds silly but it’s true; some experts have become so much of an expert they stopped following the trends and continued trying to use outdated tactics in a constantly changing market. Being uninformed is the fastest way to ruin the image of a consulting agency.
Instead of being uninformed, follow the trends. Don’t be afraid to get into the industry and work in the current landscape as necessary. Experts in any field will admit they spend a few hours each week reading and studying the changing landscape of their industry.
Rule Number Two: Honesty is Always Best
When working with a client, it’s always best to be professionally honest. Clients do waste their time or money hiring a consulting agency to be lied to or kissed up to. These companies want honest feedback and advice. While these meetings and conversations can be awkward, they need to happen and happen regularly.
It is very important that every meeting is held with professionalism. It is very easy to create great friendships by working with people but that does NOT mean work has to be done without professional courtesy and respect. Having a successful consulting agency is about results and image!
Rule Number Three: Do Good Business
It is hard for any business owner to hire a consulting agency for help. Clients can be the actual owners of the company or managers for a nationally known company. No matter who asked for help, the fact is that they asked for help! A consultant should never make their clients regret asking for help in any way. To do good business, consultants must:
- Maintain their professionalism at all times
- Create proposals that are clear and align with the goals of the clients
- Create action plans that can be executed and results measured
- Offer support and encouragement
- NOT offer false promises or mislead the clients in anyway
There will be times a free proposal may be offered because a client is nervous and doesn’t know if a consulting agency is best for them. There will be other times hard conversations have to be had. No matter what, it is the job of the consultant to do good business and help their clients achieve their goals.
Rule Number Four: Be a Salesman and Marketer
Anyone that owns a consulting agency has something others need. A consulting agency that doesn’t put that information out there will never have a client to work with and will not have the revenue to keep the doors open. Starting an agency isn’t just about opening the doors to a fancy office or showing up somewhere with a great pair of shoes. Owning a wonderful consulting agency is about living up to the standards you are an expert in as well as selling the services of the agency! To help establish a consulting agency as experts, owners may want to:
- Write eBooks and white papers
- Become a guest speaker at industry conferences
- Publish results and get testimonials
- Donate some services
It may seem silly but it is what has helped many small consulting agencies become nationally recognized names!
Everyone is an expert at something. Many of these skills are what other business owners want and need to succeed. Instead of allowing those skills be taken advantage of, those that want to work for themselves should start a consulting agency and make their dreams come true.