Starting a Boutique Consulting Firm
Do you have an extensive experience as a troubleshooter for a specific industry? Do you realize you can start a consultancy firm and gain freedom and flexibility that employment could not give you?
You can start a boutique consulting firm helping other business solve industry-specific problems. Here is a basic resource to help you.
Consultancy emerged after World War II when organizations are trying to expand across continents. Now, many groups – businesses, non-profit organizations and government units -- are now seeking for consultants to help them in the many phases of their developments. There are many ways they can use of a consulting firm -- from Wed designing to devising ways to increase profits or efficiency. If you have considerable track record in doing high-level problem solving tasks as a career, this is a business that is ideal for you to start.
If you are daunted because traditionally, consultancy firms are the large ones that offer a wide selection of services, require a large set of staff and capital to put up, as well as sizable overhead to maintain, don’t stop. There are also smaller ones, called boutique consultancy firms that specialized on troubleshooting problems of a certain industry. You can follow that career path for a change if you think you are now ready to be independent. Here are things that you should be prepared to deal with:
- Long hours of work. You’d need to spend a lot of time not only doing consulting jobs but in marketing your business from the start. As in any small startup, your first clients will typically be your friends. This is good only to jumpstart your business. Eventually, in order for the firm to be sustainable, it should have a steady stream of clients coming from everywhere. Attend expos and business conferences in order to get a chance to meet potential clients.
- Operational expenses. Business consultants usually recommend startups to prepare 3 to 6 months in operating capital to sustain the business while it is still establishing itself. Determine if you need just that or more before real cash starts coming in. It is always recommended for people planning to be independent not to quit their job yet until the business is really up and running.
- Explaining your professional fees. This will depend on your expertise. By setting your hourly rate, for example, you’d be able to estimate how much you will be earning in the year.
- Billing clients. This is always a sticky item for many people working on their own. For one, tracking working hours rendered is challenging enough. Getting them to pay is even more so. Not that people would deliberately dupe you. But be prepared for hard to collect accounts and late payments. Devise a billing strategy that conveys professionalism on your part. Doing it on a regular basis at a fixed period of the month, is one.
- Customary licenses, insurance, permits and registrations. Hiring an employee or a staff.
- Buying equipment and setting up an office. You’d need at least landline phone number, a mobile phone, printer, and furniture.
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