#Entrepreneurship #Guides | 26 min read | Updated: 1/31/2023

How to Start a Consulting Business in 2023

Updated: 1/31/2023
, Founder of Sloboda Studio

The consulting industry faces age-old and brand-new challenges today.

Nevertheless, any unpredictability opens a whole new landscape before consultants, ready and willing to adapt to the uncertainty.

As we see, simply offering consulting services is no longer the case for advising agencies. The shift from offline to online is now crucial. Otherwise, small- and mid-sized companies wouldn’t be able to stay the course.

But how to start a consulting business in new environments, and, most importantly, what steps to take to succeed? Let’s find out below.

How to Start a Consulting Business in 11 Steps

Starting a business where you will help others improve and grow is challenging. Below, we’ll focus on key steps to fast-track your business growth.

Steps to Start a Consulting Business: make a business plan, marketing strategies, the need for staff

1. Figure Out What Market and Your Target Audience Needs

The first step is understanding clients’ problems, questions, and pain points. Then, it’s time to identify how your expertise and insight gained from personal experiences can help others solve their issues and achieve the desired goal.

To gather information on target customers, it is vital to:

  • Explore forums and comment sections to see what topics provoke heated debates and create marketing content.
  • Look through blogs and leadership articles in your niche. It allows to determine points that can confuse or influence and cause much discussion or disagreement.
  • Tap your network to find pain points in the market. Ask them about challenges they face while setting short and long-term goals.

Based on this research, you can make a practical implementation with specific examples and individual cases that show how your company can help and build your marketing around it.

2. Define your Niches

To gain a competitive advantage, companies should deliver the best quality work and become more attractive to clients than others. However, it doesn’t mean having expertise in multiple industries is required.

In fact, it is necessary to focus on a field with consistent demand. Having access to special resources that others do not or cannot use efficiently is vital as well.

Additionally, it is recommended to determine an emerging area of business and become an expert in that industry.

For example, more and more companies commit to going green and lowering carbon emissions to protect the environment. This is a relatively new field for consultants without a lot of competition.

A sustainable lifestyle consultant can help both small and larger businesses:

  • develop more green-friendly office spaces;
  • organize processes;
  • support digital transformation with the right tools and solutions.

3. Prepare a Business Plan

Next is to make a business plan detailing:

  • the business’s goals;
  • ways to deliver both offline and digital work assistance;
  • strict timelines. 

Also, this document should outline financial projections and show how your counseling business will generate revenue.

Small businesses will not make progress and achieve growth without marketing. A consultant should make sure there is well-developed marketing strategy that allows to focus on what you are best at.

Lastly, the business plan should offer an executive summary to share with potential investors or partners.

4. Register Your Consulting Business

Another essential part is to choose a legal form a counseling business will work under. These forms can be as follows:

  • Sole proprietors are solely responsible for the liabilities of a business. 
  • A limited company, or limited liability company (LLC) in the USA, is owned by one or more individuals. They agree to run the business as partners or co-founders. It is suitable for those who plan to set up a team or have personal assets needed to protect.
  • Corporations have shareholders and generally keep more formal records and reporting in accordance with legal requirements. These businesses open separate bank accounts and have contracts with details on deliverables, rates, payment times, and timelines.

5. Decide on Monetization and Pricing

After choosing a legal form, the next step for a consultant is to decide how to generate revenue and bill clients. The common billing methods are as follows:

  • Hourly rates: charging for the number of hours worked.
  • Project fees: charging a fixed rate for a project.
  • Retainer model: charging in advance when a business provides ongoing support to a client.

When figuring out how much to charge, it is important to determine the right amount. A starting consultant rate is usually based on the average industry ones.

6. Build Your Consulting Website

76% of people search for a company’s online presence before visiting an office. Another 45% of respondents are more likely to visit a company in person after finding it through a search.

In the ever-competitive environment, consultant businesses must optimize their online presence and build a website to promote their work and showcase work experience, achievements, certifications, etc. 

What’s more, digital advances provide much more opportunities than just having a website. The options and forms for consulting have exploded exponentially because of emerging technologies. 

For example, a business owner or startup has experience with promising technology that captures the interest of other industries. In this case, creating a consulting marketplace can be a lucrative option for establishing a thriving business. Consultants can host meetings and share their knowledge with clients via video and audio tools.

7. Position Your Business as an Authoritative and Reliable Service

Besides developing your online presence, becoming a thought leader and visible expert in the industry is also necessary.

Establishing thought leadership in your counseling field requires much more than just having a blog and managing social posts. Insider tips and tricks, speaking engagements, or conducting an educational training session help lead to thought leadership status and enhance your credibility.

Here are other ways to become a trusted thought leader:

  • Produce video podcasts and professional live streams.
  • Create effective webinars.
  • Prepare and distribute in-depth eBooks, checklists, reports, whitepapers, etc.

8. Hire an Experienced Staff with Certifications

You might have built your business on a personal brand. However, it is impossible to handle every task on your own.

As the company grows, entrepreneurs need a strong team to scale up and reach more customers. The best team should be flexible, willing to learn new skills, and ready to grow with the company. 

As a business owner, you want to trust in your staff to delegate important tasks. It is clear that new employees need to have the necessary skills. Experience should be proved by professional certificates like the Certified Management Consultant certificate.

Professional certification validates the employees’ high level of expertise. It also leads to added prestige for the company. Also, it gives customers greater confidence in your advising business. 

9. Market Your Consulting Business

Marketing is an essential part of the sales plan. It is about finding techniques that work to attract clients. It starts with understanding the market. And marketing involves developing pricing to balance the amount you want to charge and how much money potential clients are willing to pay.

Many consulting businesses still underestimate the role of automation and technology in marketing and sales.

In the meantime, consulting businesses that managed to automate their core processes or initiatives stand out and have a competitive advantage over other firms. More than 44% of small companies show higher growth than those unlikely to use automation.

How to Start a Consulting Business: Consulting Firms with high level of marketing

Hinge Research Institute

As a great starting point, it is advisable to make a sales plan. Consulting small businesses may implement the following:

  • 30-60-90-Day Sales Plan

This 3-month strategy plan outlines the three goals based on the time frame:

  1. First 30 days 

At this learning stage, the company investigates the geographic location, its demographics by gender, age, income, target market, and ideal customers.

2. Next 60 days

A small business implements collected data and begins to test the market. Also, this phase involves finding leads, building relationships, tracking performance results, and other marketing activities.

3. 90 days

It’s time to analyze outcomes, identify failures and wins, and set future marketing goals.

  • Marketing-Alignment and Small Business Development Strategic Sales Plan

The plan focuses on:

  • aligning marketing’s messaging with the sales’ product pitch;
  • establishing client profiles;
  • networking with other companies;
  • doing outreach to attract customers.

10. Find New Partners or Investors

Many small businesses choose to finance their initial operations by taking up a loan. However, banks typically limit the amount of money they lend to avoid risks. 

In case your consultant firm has enough potential, you can find investors. They know the potential risks and may invest more money into the small business.

Investors have a well-developed business network and can connect to influential people and organizations.

You can partner with either government agencies like Small Business Administration or find private investors.

11. Continue to Grow by Taking New Niches

After identifying the niche, it becomes easier to personalize the company’s messages. The consultant can address clients and their needs directly, and connect with them emotionally.

When choosing your niche, some practical questions can help:

  • Are there any gaps in the established consulting market?
  • What expertise, skill, or value can you offer your clients?
  • What’s the client’s most significant need or challenge?
  • What issues have your existing customers shared with you?

As new technologies and innovations arise, consultant companies must keep up with the change and focus on trendy niches.

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Best Ways to Start an Online Consulting Business

There are a few ways to create an online consultant business. 

The most basic way to make money online is pretty apparent. Conducting assistance online using video conferencing tools such as Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangouts might work best for small companies. 

The second option involves:

  • changing the entire business model;
  • starting an online consultant business using ready-made solutions or custom development. 
How to Start an Online Consulting Business

How to Start a Consulting Business: Custom Development

Custom development means creating online consulting software from scratch. For building an online consultant website, you can either hire an in-house or outsource a team of developers. 

Pros of Custom Development

  1. Customization 

Custom development of business consulting software gives the right to decide what functionality a website should have and what it will look like. It is all up to you and your development team.

  1. Scalability

With time, your online consulting business is likely to grow. So, website custom development will help it cope with numerous customer requests on the website. 

  1. Compatibility

In terms of integration abilities, custom development is excellent. Whether you need to integrate a payment solution or cloud storage – it’s all at your disposal.

Cons of Custom Development

  1. Cost

Obviously, starting an online consulting business from scratch is costly. It does require bigger investments. If you choose custom development, then starting with building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) would be the best idea.

  1. Time

With digital transformation, time can be a significant factor when deciding what method of digitalization to choose. Custom development takes time. Usually, it takes more than a month to build an MVP.

How to Start a Consulting Business: Zoom

The easiest and fastest way to provide online counselling is to use Zoom. It is a video telephony, and online chat service provided through a cloud-based peer-to-peer software platform.

There could be 2 ways to use Zoom:

  1. Use Zoom for video conferencing with the clients.
  2. Integrate Zoom to the website. 

Nevertheless, there have been lately problems with Zoom’s security. In 2019, Zoom had a webcam hacking scandal and a bug that allowed nosy users to potentially connect to video meetings they hadn’t been invited to.

Also, Zoom added features such as:

Given this context, Zoom is not safe to use for business calls. Spending extra bucks and using your own video consulting software is the best choice. This way, you’ll have the trust of your clients. And your expertise will speak for itself.     

How to Start a Consulting Business: SaaS 

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a software distribution model in which a third-party provider hosts applications. Companies that offer SaaS solutions use a subscription-based monetization system. 

How does SaaS Work?

This type of consulting software solution is great for entrepreneurs who don’t have technical experience and want a quick and easy solution.

With SaaS, a consulting platform has a domain that is hosted on the company’s server. So, as long as you pay, you will have access to your online marketplace.

Pros and Cons of SaaS

The major pro of SaaS is that you don’t need to be technically equipped to make a consulting website.

The biggest con is that, if SaaS doesn’t offer you the features you want, you will need to pay a developer to build them. Or you wouldn’t even be able to make them since the service wouldn’t allow it. 

Furthermore, SaaS has another huge disadvantage: low flexibility in terms of functionality and UI.

You will have different features depending on the type of SaaS you’ll use to get a turnkey solution for your online consulting business. 

Yondo is one of the best SaaS solutions for consulting firms. Its features are:

  • video solution;
  • payment solution;
  • calendar integration;
  • booking;
  • website templates in case you don’t have one.

How to Start a Consulting Business: White-Label Solution

A white-label solution is a product or service you can rebrand and resell as your own. 

Consulting companies do not obtain their own license on this product. This solution comes at a much lower cost than custom development. While technically, there may be no difference in functionality.

When starting an online consulting business from scratch, a white-label solution is a great way to save time and money. At the same time, you will get the core functionality and the ability to add more features.

Sloboda Studio has developed a consulting web solution that allows offline businesses to launch their web app 5X faster while lowering development costs.

Our white-label web application has all the essential features, including:

  • Registration and authentication;
  • Profile creation;
  • Zoom integration and video upload;
  • Search and navigation;
  • Stripe Connect integration;
  • User subscription;
  • Listing and consultants’ pages;
  • Admin panel.

How to Start a Consulting Business: Market Statistics

The consulting industry is dynamic and constantly changing. A great way to stay ahead of the curve is to keep an eye on the latest statistics and trends. Here is a bit of a deeper dive into it.

Consulting Market Share

The global management consulting market grew to $891.88 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach over $1320 billion in 2026.

Deloitte is the major player in the management consulting market with a 3.68% share and record revenue of over $59 billion as of FY (fiscal year) 2022. According to Gartner Vendor Rating, the company is ranked as a provider with an overall strong rating, the highest possible.

Deloitte primarily provides audit advising, marketing, financial, risk, tax advisory, etc. Recently, the company has increased the implementation of innovations, digital-enabling technologies in the cloud, and cybersecurity.

North America and Western Europe are the two leading consulting market regions.

Consulting Market Share by Region
How to Start a Consulting Business: Consulting Market Share by Region

Consultancy.uk

The US is the world’s largest revenue-generating consulting service market. It is also home to top global consultancy companies.

Looking at the European market, it was worth $45 billion in the previous year. The UK consultant industry dominates the sector hitting more than £14 billion in 2021.

Consulting Market Size by Country
How to Start a Consulting Business: Consulting Market Size by Country

Consultancy.uk

Current Trends in the Consulting Market

In the post-pandemic time, potential clients seek new ways to adapt their schedules to the hybrid work demands.

In this respect, technology will be a major catalyst for change worldwide, forming the way companies do business. Innovations and digital advances allow the consultant to increase productivity, invent and redesign offerings, improve marketing strategy, and contribute to staff well-being.

Besides emerging technology, solving sustainability challenges will be among the top priorities. 56% of consulting experts are sure that sustainability demand will only grow.

To sum it up, we compiled a list of the key trends that are expected to be game-changers in the industry:

  • Digitization and application of technology. A consultant should use the latest developments in AI and machine learning and implement tech solutions to improve data processing. Also, digital transformation and innovation make the research and insight-generation processes quicker and more accurate. At the same time, the consultant can get more and better work done in less time. Small business owners usually need a digital marketing consultant who can make a marketing plan and advise on how to best promote your products and generate leads.
  • Recruiting global and senior-level consultants. In today’s environment, there are no “generic” projects. Customers are not willing to spend time and money on a junior consultant. They expect to get demonstrable value instead of having analysis or strategy from mid-level specialists. Thus, businesses search for high-level expertise and agile knowledge sharing across global markets and regional specificities to successfully execute their projects.
  • Sustainability and reducing carbon footprint. The 2021 COP26 conference involved professional advising businesses and governments to develop new strategies and examine their own internal practices. Well-known companies like Deloitte, PwC, EY, Capgemini, and LEK Consulting already take part in implementing carbon neutrality practices, including adopting renewable energy for buildings and reducing travel emissions. Following the conference, new laws and regulations for businesses will be introduced to reduce their carbon footprint with the help of tech advancements. In addition, there will be more training for consultants on new environmental rules, laws, and regulations in the changing environmental regulatory landscape.
  • Hybridized work with increased cloud adoption. For 67% of consultants, flexible and remote work is the most significant issue. Nevertheless, advising companies actively hire specialists in this field. They make their own cloud offerings to meet the rising demand for innovation. For example, Deloitte has recently launched an AI-enabled managed analytics solution to help their clients gain confidence with cloud adoption and AI technologies.

The future looks optimistic for the industry, offering many prospective business and marketing opportunities. It can also make sense to explore forecasts to identify a broader list of possibilities.

Forecasts for the Consulting Market 

According to Benchmark International research, the demand for consultant’s assistance has already reached a post-pandemic peak.

The Consultancy.uk update 2021 shows that the consulting industry has 18% positive growth thanks to the consultant’s role in supporting their clients in post-pandemic times. In 2021, the UK industry’s revenues increased to over £14 billion.

The need for consultant’s assistance will only grow, especially in digital technologies, sustainability, risk management, etc.

How to Start a Consulting Business: Statistics & marketing plans

Management Consultancies Association

Based on Consultancy.uk data, customer expectations significantly raised in the field of the B2B market. On-the-go and on-demand information, along with client autonomy, are the new standards for today.

To address these expectations, firms need to update their old ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and PSA (Professional Service Automation) systems with more integrated solutions. This is required to achieve a connected view of all ongoing projects and operations, project progress, and future planning.

Business Models of Online Consulting Business

In addition to creating corporate websites of consulting firms, video integration, and automation within a single advising company, there are a number of types of so-called expert networks. 

An expert network is a type of consulting business that connects the client with experts, specialists, and consultants. 

Within expert networks, consultants are usually hired for a one-time consultancy that usually lasts about an hour. Companies that use this model have extensive databases with experts to contact when a client will need a consultation.

Even though expert networks were popular some years ago, new online business expert models emerged. Let’s look closer at the core types of online consulting business models.

types of online consultant business models

Marketplace Consulting Business Model

An online consulting marketplace is an advising platform that connects consultants with a client. A consultant can either be hired in which case the marketplace would be called managed, or a marketplace can be only a facilitator between a freelance consultant and a client.

Usually, when an advising firm decides to transform its business digitally, it goes for a marketplace-like model.

There are 2 kinds of online consulting marketplaces:

  1. General consulting marketplaces
  2. Niche advising marketplaces 
types of online consulting marketplaces

General Consulting Marketplaces

  • Clarity.fm

The most famous freelance consulting marketplace is probably Clarity.fm. 

the best freelance consulting marketplace Clarity.fm

Clarity.fm Home Page

It is a consulting marketplace that was founded in San-Francisco in 2012. Clarity.fm connects consultants with customers via a video call.

Initially, Clarity.fm fundraised $1.6M the same year it was founded. After the marketplace got enough traction, it raised money again. 

No doubt, Clarity.fm is the most technically advanced consulting marketplace. It has many features that are core to any consulting marketplace. When planning to build a consultant platform, you should definitely check out our step-by-step guide to creating a Clarity-like marketplace.

Another consulting marketplace founded in 2013 is Expert360.

How to Start a Consulting Business: consulting marketplace Expert360

Expert360 Home Page

A Sydney-based freelance consulting marketplace, Expert360, raised $24.9M. One of Expert360’s clients was Uber.

It is not a niche marketplace. It has many categories and subcategories to choose from. Their consultants work both on short- and long-term projects. 

Niche Consulting Marketplaces

  • UpCounsel

A San Francisco-based online consulting marketplace, UpCounsel, is a niche platform for finding legal help.

UpCounsel, the best online consulting marketplace

UpCounsel Home Page

It is also a local marketplace, acting only in the USA. UpCounsel was founded in 2012 and raised $26M in funds overall. One of their famous clients was Airbnb.

  • Paro

Another niche marketplace, Paro is an online consulting marketplace for finding on-demand financial professionals. Founded in 2015, in just 6 years, Paro has already raised $16.5M in funds.

CleverX an online consulting marketplace

Paro Home Page

The marketplace does not disclose its consultants directly on the platform. It uses a questionnaire to find out what clients need by asking them to fill out the form. All consultations happen 100% remotely. 

Machine-Driven Expert Networks

An online consultant business model, machine-driven expert networks, uses machine learning for matching experts with a client.

The pros of this model:

  • Reduces time for searching;
  • Identifies more relevant consultant; 
  • Finds more consultants in general.

Obviously, this model doesn’t solely work with the help of machine learning. After the most suitable consultants are picked, the company’s employees go through that list to pick the best candidate for the job. 

  • Techspert

An AI-driven expert platform, Techspert, was founded in 2016 in Cambridge, UK. 

CleverX, an online marketing tech consulting marketplace

Techspert Home Page

In total, Techspert has raised £5M. The company uses AI abilities to search their own expert databases and the whole Internet to find the best consultant in the fastest way possible.

  • CleverX

An online consulting marketplace, CleverX, facilitates expert-customer one-on-one video calls by means of an AI searching system. 

CleverX, an online consulting & marketing marketplace

CleverX Home Page

This company is a typical example of a technically upgraded online consulting marketplace. CleverX uses a pay-per-minute business model where the client is charged after the call is finished. However, customers need to provide card details beforehand. 

Crowd-Funded Expert Calls

Another consulting business model, crowd-funded expert calls, offers shared expert experience. Companies that use this model can be both online and offline.

This model isn’t suitable for every consultant. It only works with clients and advisors who are comfortable sharing their insights and information with others. This means that a client shares an expert call with other clients. 

Usually, this model is used as a secondary source of income. The earned revenue can be not too low to recover the business costs. Nevertheless, there is an example that operates solely with this model.

  • Slingshot Insights

An online consulting platform, Slingshot Insights, provides investors with expert calls and data. It was founded in 2013 in New York. 

Slingshot Insights an online consulting & marketing platform

Slingshot Home Page

The platform uses a subscription-based revenue model. The users can:

  • get access to the relevant data;
  • view transcripts of the previous calls;
  • give an expert a call.

Trendy Consulting Niches to Consider

Working in small consulting niches is a rewarding choice. It can offer a higher investment return than general consulting practices. Below is a selection of trendy niches with lower competition.

How to Start a Consulting Business: need for Trendy Consulting Niches

  

Information Technology

Almost all businesses today rely on innovations and digital tools. However,  76% to 91% of small companies think they are not ready for technological shifts depending on the industry.

How to Start a Consulting Business: McKincey&Company

McKincey&Company

In this respect, an IT consultant can help them meet their innovation goals and offer IT solutions if there are technical issues.

Cybersecurity

Based on the cybersecurity statistics, the average number of cyberattacks and data breaches increased by over 15% from 2020 to 2021.

Despite the desire to combat those threats, 40% of CSO (chief security officers) feel unprepared for a rapidly changing threat environment.

Cybersecurity analysts and consultants can work on:

  • developing strategies for information security governance;
  • implementing secure information technology systems and networks.

Also, a consultant can help these companies identify, assess, manage, and prevent cyber risks to improve their capability of protecting companies’ data from cyber threats.

Sustainability

Deloitte research showed that 40% of consumers choose brands that have environmentally sustainable and ethical practices and values.

Meanwhile, 48% admit that they don’t have enough information on the topic and need greater access to it. 

Sustainability consultants see new opportunities for themselves, providing their customers with more eco-friendly and sustainable ways of co-existing with nature.

With the knowledge of the latest “green” trends and marketing strategies, the consultant can help clients rearrange work spaces into greener places and move paper-based processes to automated ones to reduce waste.

Governments often offer tax cuts for going green, like switching to solar power. A public policy and government consultant can help apply these government incentives.

Business Intelligence and Analytics

Statista.com predicts significant growth in the business intelligence and analytics market. The global big data and business analytics market grew to over $215 billion in 2021.

How to Start a Consulting Business: Statista.com about the need for the business intelligence and analytics

Statista.com

There is a high demand for digital transformation and data visualization dashboards, as well as increased adoption of cloud technologies.  

Businesses want to extract value from the data and generate business insights. In this respect, business analysts are strategic thinkers who use data to create recommendations for improving a company’s performance.

Business analytics consultants use statistical software to identify patterns and trends. Then, they provide these critical data to help make important business decisions based on quantitative analysis.

Why Consulting Industry is Going Digital

Mintel, a global market research company, determined that 33% of American consumers prefer interacting with people online rather than face to face.

Moreover, Forrester found that 63% of customers are satisfied when they get online help from a chatbot.

Successful digital transformation in consulting isn’t only about solving the issue of communicating with clients and providing online counselling. In a broad sense, a business has to change its business model and marketing while digitalizing. 

Benefits of Starting an Online Consulting Business

Benefits of Starting an Online Consultant Business

Competitive Edge

Since the consulting industry is one of the last ones to go digital, you may still have a chance to outrun your competitors. When most of your competitors are just considering transforming their consulting business, you can actually be the pioneer in your niche. Surely that could provide a huge competitive advantage.

Security and Convenience

Security is what builds trust between a consultant and clients. However, when consulting firms save and keep all sensitive data in spreadsheets or hard drives, this trust is called into question. This old way of storing private and valuable information is totally unsafe – not only for the consulting firm but also for the client. 

To provide a safe customer environment, a company should have a secure place to keep all the sensitive data. Typically, it’s the database that is connected to the consulting website. 

Such a database will reassure the clients and make it handy to use all the saved information further.

Benefits of Starting an Online Consulting Business

Speed 

With the evolution of cutting-edge solutions, clients expect far greater speed from a consultant. With the current level of competition, the client doesn’t want to pay a lot of money to a consultant only to spend countless weeks waiting to be advised anymore.

Nowadays, clients expect to get value right away. With an online consulting platform, you can connect consultants with customers quickly. Moreover, you’ll be reachable at any time.

Cutting Costs 

In-person consultations come with unreasonable costs, such as the office, equipment, etc. By digitalizing their business, consulting companies are available worldwide. They won’t need to waste chunks of money on unnecessary things. 

New Sales Channels  

Moving online provides companies with more marketing channels for finding clients. Geographical limitations are no longer an issue. Moreover, by starting an online consulting business, you’ll have a new kind of client who prefers getting their help online. And it’s worth noting that the number of such clients is increasing yearly.

Customer Value 

Beroe’s market study indicates that customers expect to get an even higher value despite no increase in billing. Firms that go digital bring additional value to their clients. They give them a more convenient way of tapping into their consultant’s advice. And, in these changing times, customers appreciate businesses that move online more than ever before.

How to Start a Consultant Business: benefits of digital transformation

Research by 9Lenses

Why Consulting Firms Do Not Digitize

There are also some reasons why businesses delay or postpone digitation. They are as follows:

Human Touch

Since a massive amount of the traditional consulting and marketing models counts on the relationships, expertise, and human thinking a consultant brings to a client, advising firms are often hesitant about embracing technologies. They assume it will shift that focus. 

Consulting Business Stagnancy

The consulting industry hasn’t changed a lot in the last century. That is why it is natural for the consultant market to be indifferent and immune to the digital disruption of other industries.

Too Comfortable with Offline 

Many consultant firms have become comfortable working with spreadsheets and storing client data on hard drives. With the fast Internet pace, these work methods seem to be from a different era. Nonetheless, many still use them.

Getting stuck in one’s comfort zone and being unwilling to accept changes is a common problem. However, those who adopt technologies will have a better chance of being in demand longer. 

Consulting Services are Still in Demand

Let’s face it. There is no need to adjust a business if the market is doing well.

Before the coronavirus outbreak, counselling were always in demand. So companies had no reason to change their ways. As long as clients were willing to pay for an offline service, there would always be such companies. 

But, as COVID-19 hit, the demand for online advisors has increased and decreased for offline ones. That is why the situation is changing. More and more small and big companies view digital transformation as an opportunity to grow and have more demand. 

9Lenses research respondents pointed out that the biggest challenges to digitally transforming their consultant business are a lack of IT systems and quality data.

challenges of consultant going digital

Research by 9Lenses

Final Thoughts

The consulting industry is one of the last few to embrace digital transformation. Even though digital disruption in consulting has been going on for some time, 2023 is definitely going to be the year when it shines the brightest, given the current demand for counselling.

There are a lot of benefits to starting an online consulting business. However, there are a few understandable reasons why advising firms don’t want to move online.

Overall, the idea of transforming your counselling business isn’t a newsflash. Many try to embrace a marketplace-like model for their consulting business. Whatever your goal is, Sloboda Studio can help at every stage of product development or offer a white-label solution for a consulting business with opportunities for further customization. Contact us to know more.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much money do you need to start a consulting business?

The amount of money you’ll need to start a new business varies depending on many factors, including costs associated with:

– Forming your business entity, like setting up an LLC;

– Small Business insurance;

– License commissions;

– Lawyer fees, etc.

Investments in basic equipment and office supplies may also be required. Add here advertising or marketing materials to promote your consulting services. Investing in training or certification courses may be needed as well.

As online presence is critical now. Digitizing the offline business and developing a platform or consulting app should be added to the growth plan.

The easiest and most affordable way to achieve it is to purchase Sloboda Studio white-label solution. It is a product packed with a full set of features for a consulting web app. Businesses just buy the solution and rebrand it as their own.

Is starting a consulting business profitable?

Yes. The profitability of a consulting business depends on:

– location;

– the specific niche;

– the types of consulting companies.

 

The most profitable ones are IT consulting, management consulting, and marketing consulting.

 

As consulting businesses make a profit mainly by charging clients a commission for their assistance, the total amount varies based on the type of offered service, the business model, the consultants’ experience and qualifications, and the customers’ needs.

 

As a rule, consultants charge either hourly or flat project rates.

How do I get clients for my consulting business?

To get started, you should identify your ideal client. Then, it’s time to develop your consulting business’s unique value proposition.

To attract the right clients, it is critical to:

– create an online presence;

– invest in paid advertising;

– start blogging on the expert subject;

– share content related to your niche.

 

Also, asking for referrals, attending meetups and events related to the industry, and partnering with other consultants or firms can be helpful.

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