How to Start a Consulting Business
Prospects and Significance of Consulting Business
A consulting business is a boon in these times of economic slowdown and global downsizing. The age old idea of entrepreneurship is suddenly back in fashion, as people are not able to rely upon the large corporations for their sustenance because of the inability of these companies to retain them. It is very difficult for every individual to know everything about a particular business, especially when we have very little time at our disposal. Even if we know a few things about a specific trade, we wouldn’t be able to perform all the operations ourselves. Here comes the need of the business consultants. Business consultants share their expertise and save our time in executing our routine business plan.
Requirements to Become a Business Consultant
So, who are these consultants? Are they professionally qualified in a specific trade or do they have a vast experience in that field? While both the facts may not be true, a business consultant is someone who has a passion for a particular trade and has some practical experience besides having a good business insight. And that's the reason he is able to impart good business consulting services to you.
Necessity of Consulting Services
Business consulting is in fashion, because we don't have the time and inclination to go through all the databases of information related to know how and professional expertise required in executing business processes. A single business might need many consulting agencies. For example, you may need to hire a business consulting firm specializing in accounts services to carry out your accounting tasks, whereas a firm with an expertise in advertising or marketing may provide you with the tips and tricks on how to advertise and market your products and services. In the meantime, you can focus upon your core business.
If you want to open your own consulting business, it's suggested to have some hands on experience in the specific trade or service you are going to offer, though it's not mandatory. All you need to have are passion, some flair, some sort of certification and a lot of practical and theoretical knowledge, which you can acquire through many channels. A certification or some training in your chosen field will give you an advantage and equip you with industry specific knowledge, besides increasing your credibility and level of trust.
How to begin a consulting business with little money?
To reduce operational costs, you may start your consulting business from home and focus on finding the clients. You can also pick a cheap rented space or even a garage for your primary office. The first and foremost thing after setting up your SOHO (small office home office) is to set up a website of yours. The website should be the marketing launch pad of your business. It should provide proper information about your business including your credentials, past projects, testimonies, services offered, and contact details. Once you get a professional website made, you need to market your URL everywhere. You should get it printed on your business cards, car stickers, hoardings, banners and newspaper ads. You can also perform localized digital marketing to reach potential clients.
Important Documents Needed
First of all, you should get your company registered and have its name approved by the ROC (Registrar of Companies) in the respective state/union territory. Apart from it, you may require DIN (Director Identification Number), acquire digital signature certificate, Certificate of Incorporation from Ministry of Corporate Affairs (Registrar of Companies), PAN (Permanent Account Number), and TAN (Tax Account Number) for income tax purposes from Income Tax Department’s assessing office.
You also may have to register your company with Establishment Act (State/Municipal), Shops, and Office of Inspector. Don’t forget to register for VAT (Value-Added Tax) at Commercial Tax Office with important documents such as the company’s Memorandum or Articles of Association and proof of location.
The next step is to visit all the networking events, meet ups, conferences and industry specific places of congregation, where you can increase your public relations. Remember, the more people know you, the better it is! You can also ask for referrals from your existing clients. Initially, you can perform some free service for a friend, acquaintance or neighbor to add to your portfolio including the projects handled by you, as nobody prefers a novice to serve them.
You can also do cold calling, advertising and direct mailing to find the clients. These traditional methods of marketing always work. You should also not forget to register your business as proprietorship, LLP or the private corporation as the case may be, and set your accounting in place to avoid legal and tax hassles.
Business consulting services are in huge demand as almost all the businesses need professional expertise and ways to maximize their profits. Secondly, in this age of information, you can replace years of experience with some intensive training, education and common sense.
Last Updated on 30 August 2012