Consulting is a great field to get into for professionals who aren’t keen on conforming to someone else’s work ethic or schedule. Starting a consulting firm is the epitome of that idea, but not all who want to consult are necessarily cut out for it. Aside from the given barriers of obtaining a business license and marketing services, there are a few questions a professional should ask himself before opening a consulting firm.
Consulting is one of the most popular services for U.S. businesses. More companies are beginning to look to consulting firms for resources such as HR department training, creating healthy office environments, technology and design. The opportunities for a consulting firm to specialize are almost endless.
However, a consultant’s main function is to consult. Consequently, the first question a professional must ask is whether or not he is truly qualified to consult for others. Is the professional certified? What certifications does he need to consult legally? If a professional wants to become a technology consultant, for example, is he knowledgeable about upcoming technologies and how to use them? If the answer to that is no, he may not be cut out to start his own tech consulting firm.
If the professional decides he is qualified, the next thing to consider is specialty. One of the most profitable consulting practices in the United States is accounting because every business must have some knowledge in financial needs and requirements. A professional also may want to look into consulting in the advertising, business writing, career counseling, or computer and technology fields. With businesses moving into a virtual space, the opportunities for tech consulting practices are only going to grow.
The final issue a potential consultant must consider is legal and financial responsibilities. Meeting with an attorney and an accountant can greatly benefit professionals who want to start their own businesses, regardless of practice or area of expertise. An attorney can give advice on how to protect a new firm or consultant from legal liability and how to draw up a contract with a business. An accountant can assist the professional in dealing with tight budgets as the firm looks for customers and receives its first payments. It also may benefit the professional to meet with an insurance agent to get advice on liability insurance for a consulting firm.
Though starting a consulting firm may seem like an unreachable dream, there are three essential questions to consider before moving forward: is the professional qualified or certified to consult, in what area should he specialize, and for what legal or financial responsibilities or risks should he be prepared? Once the answers to these questions are clear, starting a consulting firm becomes much easier.
Image courtesy Peter Hayes at Flickr.com
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