Updated: Feb 10
It seems like startups are popping up all over the place nowadays in the business world. Keeping that in mind, there are lots of opportunities for a consultant willing to help guide these young and inexperienced companies. How does one go about becoming a business startup consultant?
Becoming a business startup consultant is a combination of personal will and a good knowledge of the process. You must not only have the sincere wish to do it, but also be aware of how to go about things such as getting certified, employing good marketing techniques, and building a network of clients. It is difficult to navigate the process without some help.
In this post, you will read all about the process of becoming a startup consultant (right after we clarify what that is, exactly). We will go over the steps in some detail and towards the end will feature a section where we, the PGN, introduce ourselves and tell you all the ways in how we can help an aspiring consultant.
Without further ado, let us get started.
What is a Startup Consultant?
According to godaddy.com, a small business consultant is a person who uses their knowledge and expertise to help a said business maximize their efficiency and performance. They do this by providing resources, advice, and helping them with planning. A business startup does all of these things but provides services to startups specifically.
Consultants may work to help out a company as a whole or specialize in certain topics like accounting, marketing, or human resources for example. They fill a void in a company by providing knowledge, skills, and experience that business owners (especially those of startups) simply do not possess yet.
How to become a business startup consultant
In a previous post, we talked about consultants from the standpoint of businesses thinking about hiring one. Here, however, we will lay out the steps to take if you are someone who thinks they can use their knowledge and expertise as a consultant to help an inexperienced business owner.
1. Think about it some more
It is important that you think every big decision through, and this one is no exception. Although you certainly may have the goodwill to try and become a consultant, you must also think about whether or not you have what it takes to go completely freelance and abandon any sort of stable income.
Even if you have an adequate amount of experience you will still sometimes need certifications to prove that you are not only willing but also able. On top of this, you will need good work habits and ironclad discipline to make this work. Think about whether or not you possess all of these qualities or, if you do not, if it is possible to cultivate them.
2. Identify the problems you can solve
In the business world, value is key. See what value you can offer to the table by investigating the current landscape of business startups and see if you can identify problems you can help with. From this, work backward to create a list of services you can offer to your potential clients.
3. Decide on your consulting style
Different consultants have different styles. It is up to you whether you will focus on teaching startups to do things on their own, make a plan for them to follow with some guidance from you, or if you will simply do the things they need to be done for them. The important thing is to figure out what works best for you and follow that.
4. Get certified
Depending on what kind of services you wish to provide, it might be necessary for you to get certified before you are allowed to do so. Check out the Association of Accredited Small Business Consultants and Institute of Certified Business Consultants for more details about this.
5. Decide how you will charge for services
There are several methods you can employ when it comes to charging clients for your services. These range from having an hourly fee to charging them per project. You can also charge a set amount of guaranteed hours per work per a defined time frame or charge for specific results you can provide for your clients. All of these have their pros and cons and you should weigh them carefully to determine the best one for you.
6. Define your target audience
Once you have decided which problems you will focus on, what kind of services you will be offering, and how much you will charge for your services, you should start thinking about your target customers. Think about the qualities, characteristics, habits, and demographics of a company or person who will be looking for the services you provide and thus be likely to hire you.
7. Create a business plan
A good plan is a foundation for any successful business. Think strategically about your funding, goals, and competitors to come up with a quality business plan to serve as a springboard for everything else you will do.
8. Set up operations and systems
Before you start working with clients you should set yourself up to handle the work that is going to be coming in.
The first thing you should do regarding this is to set up a legal entity for your business so that you are not personally liable for it. Many consultants opt for an LLC (Limited Liability Company) business structure, which is essentially a hybrid of the other types of legal entities (sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation).
The next thing is to create a consulting contract. Working with an attorney early on to create legal contracts that you can issue to clients will protect you. Consulting contracts include things like the names of both parties, fee calculations, and limitations of liability.
The other things you should make sure to do is create an invoicing plan, open a business banking account, plan for your taxes, and create a process for project management.
9. Start marketing
Once you have set up the foundations for your consulting business, you will have to start marketing your services if you want to attract clients.
Write a marketing plan and register a domain so that your business's digital identity has a core, making sure that you choose a good name. Get a professional email address so that your credibility will be established from the outset. A logo will likewise go a long way to represent you, and the same goes for a well-designed website.
Finally, make sure that you maintain good social media presence on websites such as Facebook or Instagram. Claim your social handles early too to make sure nobody else claims your name.
10. Utilize your network
You most likely have an existing network of contacts from your past that you can reach out to. Let them know that you are launching a career as a business consultant so that they can send you referrals.
This is accomplished in several ways. For example, you can build an email list of contacts that you think will be interested in your new business, send out an announcement about your new business to your mailing list, and share your new Facebook business page or advertise your business on Instagram. You can find lots of tools online that will help you do this.
11. Do not go about it alone (bonus)
After reading our guide, you might be tempted to just jump right in and create a consulting business. You need to be careful though, as even with all this advice, most people will hit a roadblock at one of the steps we have described here. Usually, some extra hands-on help is required from people who know what they are doing.
How we can help
We, the Produs™ Global Growth Network (PGN Global) focus on connecting innovative technology with potential business buyers. We are always in need of quality consultants who are eager to monetize their rich network of contacts. Not only that, but we can also provide training to aspiring consultants to truly make them the tool every business needs.
Therefore, if you are an experienced consultant or perhaps a beginner thinking of how to get into the game, getting in touch with us is a great opportunity to kickstart your career.
Startups are seemingly more popular today than ever before. Because of this, it seems that a great career option is becoming a business startup consultant. Becoming a consultant is a complicated process and anyone who wants to do so will have to know the exact steps they need to take. However, although following the steps is an important foundation, it is often not enough.
If you want to solidify your chances of being a quality business consultant who has a steady stream of clients then you need to get some help from experts. We at the PGN can provide such help, and highly advise you to get in touch with us rather than leave the future of your career to blind chance.