Has anyone here thought about starting a consultancy? I'd like to get some feedback from everyone who can talk about this.
I recently graduated from Texas A&M University with my MBA (last December) and actually do have six years of a diverse range of experiences in different roles and industries. The only thing is that I haven't been employed as a 'consultant' in my title before even though I've preformed (more than likely) all the functions a consultant does. I think I need some credibility before starting my own consultancy and getting the MBA was #1 on my do-list. I've thought about this quite a bit and what I'm arriving to is that I might need to work in a consultancy for quite some time before I branch out and start my own. Does anyone know how I can truly accelerate this instead going the long way as I'm thinking? I'd love to work for myself right now and have my own consultancy (of course I would have to find partners and/or employees) but I want to do it right, even if it might take a little longer.
A consultancy needs clients. You may need a usp to help you find them, but if you can find them, you have a consultancy! Starting out keep costs to a minimum so don't take on staff until you have to. When you need to, outsourcing can be a better option even if it appears to cost more per hour.
I was just thinking about this the other day. My friends are all consultants - IBM, Accenture, PWC, KPMG... They all make a ton of money telling their clients what they think they should do implementing business concepts or marketing strategies. What I think is funny is the fact that none of them have ever worked in a company as a head of Business Development of director of Marketing. They don't know the ins and outs of executing the actual strategies. They don't know how to monitor the effects of the changes they are making. That being said they are all successful.
I think the main thing that bugs me is the issue you are running into: nobody will take you seriously until you have the "consultant" title under your belt. I would say just start picking up the phone and networking as if you have all that experience and the title already. Be truthful but I think some clients could care less about your title and more about what value you bring to the table.
Show them what is in it for them and they should be open to hearing more about hiring your new consultancy.
Best of luck.
YES. This is just me, but I do not advise going straight to a consultancy for experience. Think about joining a company that you believe is poised for huge growth and be part of that process. That's what I did for many many years before thinking about consulting--something I think makes more sense later in one's career or certainly after a person gains experience growing a company or two. I have helped companies get acquired and IPO. You need that kind of experience if you want to make the big bucks as a consultant.
I recommend that you read "The McKinsey Way" written by Ethan M. Rasiel. It outlines in excellent detail the methodology of consulting. It may not answer all of your questions but it will certainly provide you with good insight.
Have you considered joining a network of independent consultants accredited by a parent organisation. This would help you start your consultancy within 2-3 months.
Start with a client! Probably somebody you've already worked with in the past. Don't even officially start your business till you get at least one paying client. Maybe two or three, if a few will hire you based on their personal experience of the value you bring.
My slogan is: "Spend no overhead before its time." No office, no employees, no fancy brochures. Maybe business cards. When you get your first decent check, then you've got a real business! Then get your DBA, set up your business checking account, get a business phone line, do a simple Wordpress website.
Tout your experience once you have some!
I have also used two other approaches to start consultancies:
1. Partnered with two other guys to do this project for a large government agency where they had an in. After the first project, both of them went on to other things, leaving me as sole owner of the firm
2. Bought a small training firm from a colleague who wanted to go on to something else. That is my current business--still doing it after 20 years.
My self Rajessh Thakkar from Mumbai city / India need any partner for consultancy
you can call me or send me mail to my mail id : - firstname.lastname@example.org
skype id : rajja2500cr
I recently started my own consultancy..I agree with Philip Gale and Mike Van Horn, once you get a client, it's easier.. :). I spend a lot of time hunting for new clients, however that's also expected if you are new in the field. If you have partners who have different clients, that also helps to reduce the volatility of your income.
Also like @abbe Patterson says, one of your projects could lead to new and very fruitful opportunities such as joining a growing company, depending on what kind of consultancy you do...
Good luck, and if this is what you want to do, jump in and do out :)
Anand, do you really think there is such a thing as a fast track to accelerating experience and gaining expertise ? What foundation does that create upon which you would offer what kind of consultation? How would you justify offering consolidated advice when you seek your own short cut? Apprenticeship is a pre-requisite to excellence. Just because one might wish to do it right, does not imply it is done well enough and mostly well enough doesn't come close to the uncompromising bar excellence demands of itself and anyone committed to it. Perhaps your first consideration should be to reconsider your entire premise.
I see that you posted this question 7 months ago, not sure if it still relevant. I think you can start your consultancy company right now. It simply depends on what you want to consult people on.
The best thing to do is to consult people who want to do something you have done yourself.
One of my businesses is a business performance coaching company for service businesses. It's based on my own entrepreneurial experience (I have 6 service businesses) and I have never found that credibility is an issue even though I am 25 years old and I finished my last degree (only Master of Science, not MBA) at the age of 24. So there wasn't much time between graduation and opening the the coaching business but it doesn't matter to my clients because I went through want they are going through.
Anyway, I am available if you have questions!
Wishing you success, money, and happiness,
Business Performance Coach & Entrepreneur