What should I consider when starting a consulting biz?
How much will it cost? Will I need a website? What type of office equipment will I need? Should I incorporate first or open a bank account first?
(FSB Online) -- Dear FSB: I want to start a consulting business, targeting companies that have $1 million to $6 million in sales. My services will include cash management audits, operational audits, loan application preparations, financial trend analysis, and business loans. What is the minimum amount of capital that I will need? Initially, I will work from home.
How important is a website? How much can I expect to pay for the establishment and the maintenance of the website? What type of office equipment will I need? Should I incorporate, then get a bank account or should I open the bank account first? Are there other services that I should consider?
-James Evans, President, Evans Business Advisory Service, Sugar Land, Texas
Dear James: Consulting does not require very much of an investment to get started. For what you are describing, you will probably only need a notebook computer and an Internet connection.
The best way to get started is to keep your regular job while you start to support a few clients. This will allow you to determine if you have a viable business. Once you have confidence that this is a model that you can develop, then focus on the areas that have brought you success so far. That is how you will best define what services you should promote, or lead with, when talking to potential clients.
A website may be helpful in spreading the word about your business but it is not what is going to sell your service. In your field, word-of-mouth referrals are key. Yes, you will need to open a bank account, as soon as you anticipate getting your first client. If you anticipate earning profits of more than $20,000, incorporation may be worthwhile. It can help you protect your assets and give you a corporate name that will enhance your firm's image.