How do I start an online business around business consulting?
I have over 15 years of experience in framing, developing and retaining businesses. I want to leverage this expertise to start an online business in sales and business consulting to help others transform their businesses. What's the best way to get started?
Starting an online consulting business is relatively easy now given the relatively low-cost cloud-based tools available to run such a business. With the barrier to entry being quite low and the fact that you will be competing globally, defining your market and defining your services are paramount to success.
Once you have defined your market(s) and your service(s), then you need to find the channels through which you can sell, market, and provide your services. There are numerous sites where you can bid on potential jobs (Elance, oDesk, Freelancer, etc.). Forums such as MosaicHub and groups on LinkedIn are good to get your name out and to share some of your knowledge.
Here are my suggestions to get started (they are many other activities, but these steps will help lay the foundation to start):
1. Define your market(s) - by size of business (startup, small, medium, large, etc.)
2. Define your industry and sectors to target (if you particular experience in a specific industry then focus on that one)
3. Define your services - what solutions are you providing, be specific
4. Establish the business structure (LLC, Sole Proprietorship, etc.)
5. Set up website
6. Determine your channels to sell and market your services
First: (Re)write 25 short articles about building a successfull Company. You have the knowledge yourself but if not there are thousands of free ebooks with Reseller rights to download and to rewrite. Your goal must be helping thousands of people to grow their business? Practice your presentation skills and Create your own program for customers.
Create a beautifull, and i mean an outstanding, website with a blog function. Share your articles on the same times and let people sign in for your online newsletters. Important is that you give this people free consult within their mailbox.
In the newsletters you Will give them the best tips and things They recognize As a Personal problem. So write in problems not in solutions. Sent them emails to join your seminar to teach It all. Let them invest a small ammount Like 250 dollar and give a 2 Days seminar with Great food and networking. Better pick an high end location but stay affordable. You have to give an (online) seminar for those 100 people.
At the seminar you can give them almost all the knowledge They need and teach IT all. Give them what They expect and payed for. You can also promote your Other programs. At your seminar you invité 100 people to join your 3 months program for Like 1000 per person. If your seminar was good, there are people who Like to invest more in themselff. Remember; a bigger price is a bigger risk They take and you Will have the best customers:).
This is a world famous marketing idea.
Interesting question. Can I assume that this will complement your offline consulting services.
I'll echo a lot of what has been said so far, but because its online doesn't mean you should avoid the usual business planning simply because it helps tease out the questions in a more logical fashion.
What's your USP, what's your niche, what are you offering. Is the online model part of the offline model, a marketing tool, a complementary service or purely online. Who is buying (target market) and how they buying, how do you know they will buy from you online. How are they paying (online or offline). By stealth its still planning the business, so get a plan.
Hope that helps
Everyone who loses their job becomes an instant consultant. Many have asked me - "how do you do it"? It's hard to sell consulting services. I have never tried. My success has been based entirely on referrals, free advice that I have given, and a proven track record of successful assignments. As with any business it starts with a clear definition of your unique selling proposition reinforced with a well thought through business plan. The viability of the strategies in your plan will be the essence of your success. You have to demonstrate why you can solve a CEO's problem better than the thousands of other "consultants" who look just like you do. What's faster, better, or cheaper than theirs?
What specifically makes this an online business? Typically consulting services are provided offline (in person or by phone)
The first thing you have to do is to define the size of business you want to work on, and also to define what areas you want to help in. Is it marketing, sales, operations, finance, etc. Once you do that then you can start filter the types of business that could benefit from your expertise. Also, make sure your target companies know you're in there to help.
I have gone through similar process as business consultant and trainer for over 20 years. Since 2010 I tried to built online business going through (and paying for) several online courses about IM and doing business in the net online. Last year I was suggested to contact an Australian guy called Tom Miller, who has changed the way doing online business.
I have now reached my first goal to gain 25 % of my income through my online businesses and I know that until summer my turnover from the "new" services will excel my traditional training and consulting income.
Naturally it is a payable system, but you can get in almost free and get weekly training and continuous support in very practical manner enabling you to get your online business up and running! If you are open minded, you will most probably start several online businesses in next six moths!
The link to find out more is this:
Every student/ member is also an affiliate so that will be the first online opportunity for you....
wishing you good luck!
Samit, I would recommend reading some books on consulting by Alan Weiss. He's got some excellent material and I know it has helped me with my business. But … it is not internet technology oriented but should give you a good perspective on the consulting aspect. Hope this helps. All the best.
The steps I recommend to my clients is:
1- Develop your message- What problem do you solve and What are the specific results you will deliver.
2- Create a system or framework.
3 - Create a 10 videos on your system to answer the most asked questions and upload them to your YouTube channel
4 - Write a book
5 - Speak at organizations
6 - Send a copy of your book to your best prospects.
There are many more things to do and there is a lot of good advice here. Add these and it will have huge impacts and separate you from your competitors.
A business plan is a good start. Working out your goals and purposes and a plan of action. Doing a survey should also be done to find out what potential clients need and, importantly, want.
Setting up a good domain name and website. Does not have to be big and complex. Take Google, one of the simplest websites around and one of the most successful.
I am sure many eminently qualified people will respond with sound advice also.
One of the greatest issues around taking any business online is creating a business that first has creating viability offline. Then, it's there are certainly tools to automate your marketing and sales efforts. But, if you have not done the work to define your target market, niche, marketing funnel and sales processes... it's going to be difficult to transition this to an online platform.
Technology is merely a tool to facilitate processes and systems. It's a framework for business creation. For example, a CRM is only as useful as the data you put into it! Most businesses overlook the business fundamentals that need to be developed before moving to the technology, then struggle.
There are a number of useful sites that can help raise your presence online, and I thinks some of the answers given here are useful in that you will need to do all these things eventually, but if you've got 15 years of experience in this process apply what you know to your business then transition to promoting this online.
I promise it will be a lot easier... Hope this helps!
I think Josie has some great suggestions; especially concentrate on #3 & #5. My only addition is prepare to spend some decent money to make a fantastic website. Concentrate on SEO, your experience, and create the right copy to convince clients you're methods are going to help them. You might want to also offer free 30 minute sessions until you build a nice group of referrals.
Besides getting yourself set up with a slick "client benefit" laden website with lots of verifiable testimonials and references...
Get hooked up with some local business forums (some cost $ like the Chambers of Commerce) and visit any local governmental business development agencies (good to do pro bono with them.) I'd also consider getting in with local Community Colleges or, even better, universities and see if you can give courses or guest presentation for your type consulting.
If you have specific expertise, be sure to put that foot forward where ever you can. Generalists are a dime a dozen (I know, cliche.) Find forums on your expertise and answer questions there - sorta like this!
Don't forget to create your LinkedIn profile and get 500+ connections (update affiliations based on the contacts above.) Join LinkedIn groups in your target market - not your competition and start answering questions! You could also start your own group - again, specialized if possible and geo-located if you have that kind of market.
Samit, A great question. I Am sure there are many with a similar question.
To take your You business online and to succeed there You need a few things.
1. Knowledge: that on line You create social equity by sharing some of what You know. People who are interested in your knowledge and your services follow You.
2. This is important because in the midst of those who follow You are those who are so impressed by your knowledge- they have tried your suggestions and it works- that they become your clients and your fans
3. Raving fans become affiliate members for your products/ services; they give you endorsements and referrals on LinkedIn and on Yelp. These 3rd party references are important because people read them and think if it was good for John Brown it will also be good for me. Also remember to join groups on LinkedIn etc. where your interests are.
Now here is what You need to do to accomplish some of this:
1. Be where your tribe/ target market/ peeps are.
2. To find them You have to be using the target words- or key words that they will use when they enter searches on LinkedIn, Google, Facebook, Youtube , Twitter & Blog directories. So have profiles on those social networking places and have a blog too. Remember to also use those same keyword in critical places in the profiles You set -up. Remember also to have one standard profile across the board. This is important for branding etc.
3. Business consulting is wide so get niche specific. That should be the area in your business that You love, You know everything about it and You can do in your sleep.
4. Decide on your brand. So decide on your voice, tone, and how You will show up. Will yours be an inspirational tone, wise, hilarious, nonplussed. Whichever make certain that its true to You.
5. Show-up. Be regular . Better to have one or two well-populated social media places than to have one dozen and each barely attended.
6. Look into mailing list and immediately create one and promote it everywhere. Later on when You launch your product those in the list will be the ones who are most interested in what You have to sell.
7. On line selling is selling without selling; marketing is selling without marketing and so on,. The thing is to do all of these without aggressively pushing your product. Its first building brand equity through relationship building.
Hope this helps You.
I Am Wishing You Well!
Peace +Much Love
First, you need to do a feasibility assessment. Then research your market area and identify a target market and ideal client. Then do a business plan to get your ideas on paper.
Once you have that done have a professional review it along with your idea and your research.