The consulting industry has seen considerable growth in the past decade. According to this article in The Wall Street Journal, “U.S. companies increased spending on consulting by 7.1% in 2016,” with the amount of money paid to consultants reaching $58.7 billion.
With sufficient expertise in a given area, you can easily start a consulting business of your own. If you have mastered a skill such as business management, digital marketing, or fundraising, you can build a multimillion-dollar business around this knowledge. But because there are so many consulting practices out there, you’ll likely have to do some work to grow your company. To do so, consider the following approaches:
1. Network both locally and nationally—and even globally.
Not only should you attend the relevant professional conferences and connect with others in your field, discussing how you can support each other’s businesses; you should also network locally, within your community. Contact small businesses in your area to see what services they might be needing—if you can’t help them in their area of need, perhaps you can connect them with someone who can. You could also join a mastermind group that meets virtually and network with other consultants and entrepreneurs around the world. For more on the value of mastermind groups, read Napoleon Hill’s 1937 classic, Think and Grow Rich.
2. Provide referral discounts and rewards.
Give your clients business cards with a first-time client discount code to share with their contacts. Once a contact solicits your consulting services, provide the client who referred him or her with a credit or discount for future services. This is an incredibly easy way to turn happy customers into loyal clients and to reach a larger audience.
3. Get tips from professionals.
It’s always helpful to refine your methods and expand your knowledge base by receiving help from experts in your area. One way to do this is to take an online course, such as Sound Wisdom Learning Academy’s WOW! Business Advisory Course. Created for small business owners, entrepreneurs, managers, and business consultants, this course educates users in the Five P System of Professional Management—a methodology for streamlining business practices to promote business growth, increase cash flow, ensure happier and more committed employees, and give managers and owners more freedom to spend time on things that matter to them. Licensed by Sandler Training, the world’s largest management and sales training company, the online course contains workbooks, slides, and other materials generated specifically for business management consultants to use with their clients. Check out the WOW! Business Advisory today and see how it might revolutionize the work you do with your clients and help you build a larger client base.
Another way to receive professional advice is by hiring a coach. Coaches provide invaluable one-on-one support that can help you grow your business by identifying your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats and by connecting you with the resources you need to succeed. According to author, coach, and certified professional speaker Shawn Doyle, CSP (http://shawndoylemotivates.com/), “If you want to get from where you are to where you want to be, then hire a coach who has already been there. The huge advantage of hiring a coach is getting tools tips and techniques to accelerate your progress and growth. If all world-class athletes have coaches, then you should have a coach if you want to be a world-class business person.”
4. Get published.
Another way to boost your company’s exposure is by publishing material on your area of expertise. These publications might take the form of articles in business magazines and trade publications or even a book. Sharing your knowledge and experience in this way will increase the visibility of your company and greatly enhance your credibility. Interested in submitting a manuscript to Sound Wisdom? Learn more here.
There are many other approaches to growing your consulting business, but these four tactics are a great start to expanding your client base, building your company’s reputation, and enhancing your support system. There are myriad opportunities out there for consultants—make sure that you are taking advantage of all the ones available to you!