How to Choose a Consulting Practice

For most, the next logical step following an examination is jumping on your own: setting up your own consulting practice and selling your expertise. Indeed, it s a natural progression from a university graduate to selling your experience and knowledge you’ve built up by assisting businesses resolve their pressing issues. It is a highly rewarding career track, but there are several things you have to know to make sure your consulting practice works. Like all businesses, consulting requires building long term client relationships. Following are 4 keys to help you succeed with your new consulting business.

Hire a seasoned consultant to manage your transition into a consulting practice, especially if you have little experience in this field. A seasoned expert would be an asset to your newly formed firm as they would be able to guide you through the initial part of your venture. Also, due diligence would be a must-do for any consultants you might hire so you can be certain that they are qualified for the position.

Conduct thorough and up-to-date Experian (formerly TRW) reports. While it’s unlikely you would need an outside consultancy firm for your first client, experience is important. It helps when your new business consultants have some hands on experience working with actual clients to gauge their performance. When consulting firms first start out, many have a tough time securing projects with suitable clients, which is why the importance of having a decent client list is so significant. The more clients you have under your belt, the more likely clients are to hire you for further projects in the future.

Make use of strategic consulting. Strategic consulting involves hiring other professionals such as business consultants, accountants, or even CPAs, to help you with your goals. While it’s not common for consultants to hire other specialists like these in their initial months of operation, it is one of the best ways to expand your reach. For example, in the past only banks and law firms could afford to hire strategy consultants because of the high level of expertise required. Today however, more consulting firms have become aware of the potential of expanding their reach and are doing so to meet the demands of their growing clients.

Bring in the “I.T. geek”. If you’ve been involved in the consulting world for a while, chances are you have at least one tech-savvy consultant on your payroll. These consultants bring both technological expertise and business knowledge to your consulting practice and can be an invaluable asset if you plan to grow your firm into a larger company.

Work with industry experts. Be sure to work with business consultants who have a solid background in the industry that your consulting practice will be operating in. It would be extremely unwise to hire a tech-savvy consultant who is only familiar with online shopping if your entire focus is on brick and mortar sales. If you plan to expand your services, it would be wise to have a wide range of industry consultants on hand so that you can tap into the skills and experience of different professionals in different areas. This would not only prove to be a smart business move, it would also help to ensure that your due diligence has been done correctly.

Partner with a corporate training provider. A good strategy consulting practice often partners with a variety of educational and business specialists so that they can expand their reach. If you are planning to hire additional consultants, it would be doubly smart to partner with a provider that can provide you with training tailored specifically to the area in which you plan to operate. You wouldn’t want your efforts to be squandered by learning about marketing tactics from amateurs who aren’t experienced in running a bricks-and-mortar operation.

Look for firms that offer comprehensive training packages. Some consulting firms only specialize in technical skills and do not offer training that takes into account the different areas in which your business will operate. For example, some firms may only specialize in finance while others focus on retailing or customer service. It would be a better choice to find firms that offer training that addresses the broad range of skills that will be needed in your company than it would be to hire consultants who only possess one or two technical skills that are necessary for the work at hand.