Starting a consulting business is hard work. Many experts advise that you take at least one year to plan the structure of your business, build relationships and develop good contacts. However, if you are entrepreneurial-minded, you might jump into consulting without not much lead time. This approach can work as well. Whether you dive into your new business without much prep or you choose to plan ahead of time, there are important steps to take in order to increase your chances of success.

Social Media Networking

Use social media to connect with people in your industry. While paid advertising, such as Facebook ads are imperative, it is just as essential to build your brand. As you figure out your voice, take the time to chat with people online. By connecting with different people in your industry, you will better understand where the current service gaps are and how your consulting business could address these shortcomings in the market.

Define Your Niche

After doing your research, you should hone in on your business’s mission. What kind of consulting are you interested in doing? It is not enough to start a general consulting business in a specific industry. Instead, you should get very detailed, targeting a specific customer. For example, if you would like to start a writing consulting business, you should decide whether you are providing grant writing, fiction writing, copywriting, etc. and then choose a genre or topic within that niche. Being clear about your services will enable you to attract customers who are interested in that specialty.

Get Reacquainted with Former Colleagues

With the rise of LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, etc., people have become truly accessible over the internet. If you lose your former colleague’s email address, you could easily find them online. As you start your business, you should get reacquainted with old colleagues and friends because you never know who could offer you a great referral, serve as a good reference or provide insight into the industry that you are interested in entering.

Pricing Structure

Even if you are just starting out, it is necessary to know your pricing structure and business model. Will you charge a percentage upon signing a client or charge upon finished service? Will you be commission-based? How much will you put back into your business? How much will you pocket as your salary? Without a pricing structure and a business model set in place, you might end up losing money because of lack of organization. Instead, map out your expectations and plans and adjust them after you see the results.