Now that you’re a master of the small business art, you likely want to nudge your career a bit further. Choosing to serve as a consultant to other small businesses can be a rewarding option, but it can be challenging at first. You might have conquered every level of your chosen industry and niche, but it’s possible you haven’t experienced a position such as a consultant’s.
There are five steps here to help you climb the consultant mountain. So long as you have a solid foundation and you’ve learned the practices, you can be on your way to consulting other small business entrepreneurs for a career.
Figure Out Your Niche
As a consultant, it’s imperative that you find your niche. While you dip your toes in the waters of your career in the consultancy field, take the time to isolate what your specialty is. Ask questions such as where did you shine in your small business? What can you offer entrepreneurs that other consultants can’t?
Once you’ve determined what your niche is and what type of problems you’re able to solve, you can begin forming ideas for a business. Also, your preparation makes it easier to formulate services that can assist clients in your specialty area.
Know Where You Fit
Some may believe that a job consultant position is black and white, but it isn’t. In addition to finding your niche, you also need to determine what type of services you can offer to clients. The majority of consultants fit into one of three categories:
- Teacher: A teaching consultant can show clients how to do something. The client is then able to take those skills and apply it to their business to build it up.
- Guidance Counselor: The counseling consultant for small companies is similar to the position of a guidance counselor at school. School counselors listen to student’s visions and assist with mapping out a path to their future. As a counseling consultant, you can help your clients conjure business plans, as well as outline all steps and requirements that they need to meet their goal.
- Do-er: There are plenty of consultants who do the work that the small business owner has contracted them to do. It is possible to step in and complete the tasks that you’ve mastered during your own ventures.
The above ideas are merely a starting off point, and there is a chance you find a different role that fits you, your niche, and your skills perfectly.
Develop Consultancy Skills
It’s already clear that you know how to start and operate a successful business. However, there are more steps that you need to understand when becoming a consultant. It’s recommended that you spend some time shadowing other consultants so you can make notes and see the way they interact with clients.
There are also a wide variety of books available that provide you with the information you need to better understand how being a consultant works. You can even find audiobooks that you can listen to while you’re driving. Additionally, business classes are available for those of you who wish to take a more serious approach to learn how to master the art of consultancy. Once you feel like you have a broad understanding of the role, you can offer to consult with a company for free, so you can practice your skills.
Get All Qualifications
Depending on your niche and the field you wish to consult for, there’s a good chance that credentials are going to be required. You already have the business know-how, which is an excellent starting off point. Though, if you wish to obtain certification, you can look into the Association of Accredited Small Business Consultants and the Institute of Certified Business Consultants.
Reach Out and Network
As a new consultant, it’s likely that clients aren’t going to fall into your lap. Use your business know-how and reach out to past colleagues, previous clients for your business, and your network of friends to see if anyone is in need of a business consultant. At the very least, you should be able to get some decent marketing out of your networking. Unless you ask, you won’t know what your contacts need for their business, and they could also know someone who requires the help of a consultant.
These practical steps should help you get started on the next chapter of your career. The only thing you have left to do is get started and see where it’s going to take you. There are a lot of benefits that come with being a consultant, and it leaves you with the ability to learn so much more about different types of businesses. You’ve taken the necessary time to build up your business skills, and taken the time required to learn how to become a consultant. Go on and get started, you never know just how successful you’re going to be.