Many people can start a consulting business, but few are successful. There are certain things that must be in place in order to build a solid, money making consulting business. It requires a willingness on your part to learn, along with practice. When you examine other consultants who do well in their respective industries, they have 4 things in common:
1. Consistent and Persistent Marketing
The people who own a successful consulting business are consistent and persistent marketers. They never stop marketing, no matter how many clients they have. You have to develop a marketing plan, and follow it for the long haul. You have to be patient to see results, and only make changes to your plan based on accurate data. If you're constantly changing your marketing strategies to follow new and hip marketing trends that aren't proven, you won't go far. You cannot approach marketing in a "hit or miss" fashion either. Marketing should be a top priority in your business, and you should do it everyday or hire someone to market your consulting business for you.
2. Competitive Pricing
Prospective clients have the impression that consultants are a dime a dozen, and that if a consultant charges high fees, they can move on to the next one who offers better prices. When you're starting out, you don't have a lot of time to convince people to change their longstanding beliefs. Successful consultants get their foot in the door with competitive prices and prove to each and every client that the value they offer cannot be beat. As your consultant business grows and you establish relationships with clients, those clients may be willing to pay more. Research your competition to see what rates they charge, and learn as much about what client are willing to pay consultants in your industry. Keep your prices competitive.
3. Top Time Management Skills
You have your hands full with family and work, and if you don't have excellent time management skills, you won't be successful. Knowing what to do is not enough. Success will only come when you are diligent about applying what you know about managing your time effectively. Figure out what methods work best for you, whether it's a day planner, Microsoft Outlook or some other time management software. Ask your spouse or another family member to hold you accountable for planning your time and following your plan. You have to stay tough on yourself until it becomes a habit.
4. Excellent Personal and Business Financial Planning
Although you keep your personal and business money separate, they do interrelate when you're working at home. The key to growing a successful consulting business is to have a great handle on both finances, and not just one. Plan all of your personal and business finances monthly, quarterly and yearly. Keep track of them both meticulously, generate reports and study those reports in depth. You'll have the information to make wise decisions for your consulting business, and you'll avoid costly mistakes that can lead to business failure.
The truth is, you won't have a successful consulting business without all of these keys in place. They lay the foundation for growth and an ever growing client base.