Starting Your Consulting Business – Some Tips

Starting anything on your own can be a daunting task. There are no schools for enterpreneurs, no night classes you can take. The so called “Experts” are not very helpful since they don’t know you as an individual and are likely to put you into a slot, depending upon demographics of that slot.
So what do you do?
Here are a few tips.
Absolutely the first thing needed to start your own business, including consulting, is a commitment to give it all you have got. Many people take the attitude that they will do it “between searching for jobs”. You have to decide at some point, whether you are employed or not, that you will not entertain opportunities to go work for someone, but will devote all your resources, time, network and energy in starting your own business.
Use your network in the right fashion. While you are in a “dual” mode, i.e. looking for a job as well as trying to initiate your own business, separate the network you have. Do not ask the same person for help with a job and help with starting your own business. You will be frustrated, since that person is confused and may not use all of his resources in helping you do either.
You will need to figure out revenues expected and expenses. Be conservative, and consult with your friends and professionals. Most start ups lose money for 6 to 12 months. You may not be able to take a salary, and in fact may need to fund such expenses as advertising, entertainment etc.
Many of us who start new businesses with high hopes soon get discouraged. The world is competitive and competition can sometimes be vicious. Remember if you are committed and go about it the right way, you have a much better chance of success. Most businesses start out with a struggle, unless you have inherited the business.
Do not be afraid to reach out to referrals, friends, contacts and even strangers. In advising many new entrepreneurs, I am constantly amazed at their stories about help coming from a totally unexpected source. In fact, they had a common theme–so many of their “trusted” sources let them down. So be bold and ask for help. Most of us feel good about helping someone. Take advantage of that emotion.
What does that mean? Simply that you need to keep up with trends and events in your business and in all businesses that impact your business. A good example: let us say you are starting a tax business. Know what is going on in FASB’s that will impact your taxes, pending bills in Congress etc. Even if they do not impact you immediately, they become good talking points and you score points when you bring them up with your prospects.
Good luck.