So Ya Wanna Become a Consultant? Here’s What Ya Gotta Do

What’s a consultant? You ought to know at least that much before you become one, right? As the story goes – actually, there are several stories – being more than 50 miles from home has been said to qualify someone as a consultant. For others it’s merely that they’re “between jobs.” But what’s actually required for you to become a consultant in the true sense of that word is having a particular expertise that others are willing to pay for. I did not say that no one else would possess that same expertise because as a consultant you will almost always have competition from other individuals and from consulting firms.
Your first step is to determine what you’re best at. What can you contribute to some company’s success that few others can? What resources can you offer – knowledge, skills and experience, a track record of successes, contacts with specific suppliers? Maybe you’re a packaging pro, or you can set up an HR department in the blink of an eye, perhaps you’ve got specific programming skills. Decide what you’re good at.
Step 2 is picking a name for your Small Business Consulting Fees company – “consultancy” is the fancier name for it, but to me that sounds stuffy and presumptuous. What you want in a name is something that represents you, that also indicates size and strength. If you’ve got a reputation in your industry, by all means include your name in the name of your consulting firm. Hancock Consulting, for example. But you’re not done yet. To make that name appear to be more than just a one-man band, consider ‘Hancock & Associates.’
However, that name alone doesn’t tell anyone what Hancock & Associates can do for them, so consider adding what’s called a ‘tagline,’ typically three to five carefully selected words that add clarity or meaning to your company name. How’s this one grab you: “Specialists in Harnessing Fusion”? Not fission. Fusion! That’s the grabber in this tagline. Your tagline should have strong appeal in the target market you hope to serve.
Step 3: Package it! Create your a press kit – or have one professionally produced – complete with your biography, a capabilities list, head shots, several varied press releases, sell sheets on any books you’ve authored, and, if possible, samples of your most successful work. Oh, and start working on a professionally created website, complete with a blog, newsletter or both. Effective websites are typically not do-it-yourself projects, even for those of us who mistakenly believe we can create our own.
Step 4: Tell the world you’re ready, willing and able to take it on, to solve whatever insurmountable problems it may appear to have in your particular specialty. Some call Consult Definition that process “networking,” while others have called it “blowing your own horn.” Whatever you call it, it’s got to be done – by you! There should be no holding back.
As with every start-up, it’s always wise to develop a team of professionals you can rely on for advice and counsel during each phase of your written business plan. Who to include? A Banker, an Accountant, an Independent insurance broker and a Lawyer (together they spell BAIL). You’ll likely bring on temporary team members – computer experts, marketing pros and the like – on an as-needed basis, but your ‘BAIL crew’ should be the permanent members of your start-up team.

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