How to be a small business consultant
What is a Business Consultant and what do they do?
A Business Consultant works with clients to analyze different parts of the business, identify strategies which are and are not in place, project plans to implement and problem-solving practices which could improve business processes and efficiencies.
A Business Consultant helps clients increase business knowledge and polish their business skills.
The overall work of a Business Consultant has different aspects starting from designing a working business model or planning a project to market and advertise the business, to identifying marketing techniques the business may be underutilizing. A Business Consultant then works with the business to identify how each area can be used and altered for better outputs.
As a Business Consultant, it is more likely that you will be assisting clients to plan the projects or campaigns and help to implement them according to the plan. You may need to teach clients business skills, give them good advice and objectively analyze ideas with them in order to simulate a real-life problem and generate accurate results which are practical.
Many Business Consultants help clients with strategic thinking. Many small business owners understand their business down to the minute detail, however, they struggle to scale the business in a strategic manner. Working with your clients to stretch their business can be one of the most rewarding aspects of being a Business Consultant.
How to start your career as a Business Consultant.
- Identify an area of interest that you are good at.
- Develop your skills then refine them further. In order to be a good Business Consultant, you should come across to the clients as confident and polished, not scrambling or be researching for basic answers on your given topic.
- Practice being a Business Consultant.
- Invest in your skills by keeping your experience level in check. You need to invest in yourself before other business owners, big or small are going to invest in you.
- Write up a business plan. Identifying insurance, business models, profits required and expenses to consider are just a fraction of what needs to be covered in a business plan. Business Mentoring Australia can help you with this. Simply head to our Business Planning Package to get in touch with a mentor.
- Come up with a marketing plan. Usually the first clients are difficult to come by, however, once you attract a few, word of mouth is usually your best marketing technique.
It is important to remember, Business Consultants only see a business or organization for a small amount of time compared to business owners and other senior staff. It is important to be sensitive to organizational needs, values, culture, and people's level of comfort with change.
The worst thing you can do as a Business Consultant is "fix" a business without adequate experience. Not only will you increase the burden and even drop business owners profit if the changes de-stabilize the business, but also create a bad name for yourself which could put you out of business altogether.
It is suggested Business Consultant experts have approximately 10,000 hours of experience up their belt, so if you have less than this, you need to keep your ego in check, and consider yourself still practicing!
How can you practice your skills as a Business Consultant?
You can practice your business design models and follow the same workflows, templates, and plans as you would with your clients on your own business first.
Work on hypothetical business models based on different frameworks and understand different legal situations your businesses may be at risk for breaching.
The easiest way to practice (and even get your first client) is to start reviewing local businesses. Next time you are in local cafes or restaurants, observe their business practices, note down any value-add the business could use, then provide the feedback to the business owner in a constructive way.
How to gain clients as a Business Consultant
When you are just starting out, you will need to identify the marketing techniques you are comfortable with. Understanding your audience will be key to developing your marketing plan. Some Business Consultants don't have a website at all, some rely on it 100% to attract their leads. Some use social media, some use cold calling techniques.
Once you attract your leads, use the samples you have created for your own practice to showcase your work. Providing samples as an example to your prospective clients not only shows clients what to expect, but it also helps them trust that you have the skill and knowledge to do the work in a real-life scenario.
There are numerous Business Consultants around so you may have some competition depending on your industry. Some Business Consultants will be emerging like you, while others are experts and are well known. Networking can often be a great way to get some new tips, or even generate new leads.
Marketing yourself as a Business Consultant needs to be carefully considered. You don't want to come across as stock standard. You need to stand out. The wider your positive reviews spread, more business owners will be interested in your work and will want to get work done by you.
Would you like to speak to a Business Mentor to start your own business as a Business Consultant? Simply book your free mentoring session by clicking here