Situation 1: You just had another conversation in a series of incredibly frustrating conversations with a peer manager from another department. The week has been a tough one. It’s Friday and you have to work this weekend, so you are going to miss your son’s baseball tournament on Saturday. On your drive home, you make a major decision – you are done! So many colleagues have been telling you to take your knowledge and start a consulting business and just do it on your own.
Situation 2: You know the company is not in great financial strength, your department as well as others are working on several initiatives that could get this company back on a growth curve, you know there have been talks of additional layoffs, and you know you have to be careful. However, you are not worried. Then your boss walks in your office and her looks says it all …
So, that is it! In both scenarios each individual is done with a traditional corporate role. Each individual brings a wealth of experience and the ability to help solve problems. They are both excited about creating a consulting practice allowing them to control their destiny, their time, and their financial worth. They know they can do the work, but they are very concerned about the marketing side of consulting and generating clients.
Almost every professional we help build a consulting practice, with rare exception, will tell us, “I am great with a client when I am in. I am just not sure how to get in the door.” This is code for: I am great at servicing the client, but I am not confident in how to get clients.
The marketing side of consulting is not as difficult as many professionals think. However, it is easier if you have a partner with experience in marketing and client generation to help you avoid the speed bumps and help accelerate your success.
What does our experience tell us you need?
A defined market niche:
- Who do you want your client to be?
- Do you want work in a particular industry?
- Do you want be to geographically local or would you like the opportunity to travel to service client needs?
- What size of an organization do you feel you could provide value?
- Is there a certain level within the organization where you are passionate about helping?
These are just some of the questions our team asks our consultants in order to create a defined market niche customized to each consultant.
A marketing plan: A defined and detailed marketing plan is the next critical piece of the puzzle. The marketing plan will help the consultant know exactly how and where he/she is spending his/her marketing time especially during the first year. Creating a springboard for success in that first year plays a large role in the longevity of the consulting business. Most consultants are sole practioners, so it’s important to invest marketing time wisely.
A branding strategy: Not everyone you are going to meet in your short-term marketing efforts is going to think they need or want your services tomorrow. However, it doesn’t mean they won’t need or want your services 3 months from now. Having a robust branding strategy that includes an in-depth website and a social media presence with a professional look and feel is critical.
Everyone searches everything on the web today. Having a web site that makes your firm look and feel like it was a 20 person-consulting firm goes a long way to your credibility. Having that web site updated constantly, so it doesn’t become static and remains SEO optimized is always to your advantage. Having someone behind the scenes to teach you how to do certain updates to your website to keep cost down and your site professional is an advantage to your business.
As you look back on most corporate success you have achieved, you would probably say you didn’t do it alone. You had great mentors, bosses, coaches, partners, etc. that helped you achieve your goals and objectives.
Why would you not look for the same partner advantages for your consulting practice?