Opinions expressed by Contractor the contributors are theirs.
I wrote several business plans while getting my MBA from the University of Buffalo. But, for some reason, I totally skipped that part when it was time to start my consulting business. My only real plan was to generate income, which often involved saying “yes!” At any opportunity that presented itself to me, and not charging enough for the services. And, when my daughter was born, I was too preoccupied with the future to be fully present. I was there, but I was more concerned with how I was going to provide for her than with enjoying and enjoying the experience.
Fortunately, that all changed once I decided to create a real plan aligned with the vision I had for my business and my family. That was six years ago and I have now pitched it as the one page business plan for consultants. I share the framework with you so that you can avoid my mistakes and reduce the time it takes for you to thrive. This is by no means a hack – you’ll get to work – but this guide will reduce the confusion and frustration that can come with starting a new business.
I should also note that you cannot complete it in one sitting. By design, it will challenge you and expose blind spots that you might not be aware of. This is a good thing! Solving these critical issues now will save you months, if not years, of doubt and loss of income.
And, if you currently offer professional services, but are wondering why you haven’t yet managed to ‘figure it out’, this plan could be the key to unlocking your earning potential.
Everything centers around answering three critical questions, which I have highlighted below.
Related: Learn How To Package, Price, And Promote Your Consulting Services
What are you doing, who are you doing it for and why?
Clarity is the precursor to trust. Once you have established clarity on your services, your audience, and your motivation; you will be able to move forward with confidence with the next steps. I explain how to clarify your services in the article How to Start a Consulting Business: 3 Steps to Finding Your Idea, so I suggest checking this in addition to the advice provided in the business plan.
Make sure you don’t ignore defining your “why” – the purpose, cause, or belief that drives you – it will become a valuable differentiator as you grow your business. And, if you need help creating your own, Simon Sinek literally wrote the book on it, but you can also check out his brief YouTube video which provides some great advice.
How to attract clients and opportunities by expressing your expertise and your personality? (Marketing)
When I first started offering digital marketing services, I visited a local business in Brooklyn so that I could present them in person. I knew that starting a business would require stepping out of my comfort zone and saw this as the perfect opportunity to do so. Amazingly, they said “yes” but I never did door-to-door sales again. Why? Because I hated it, and I knew there had to be a better way.
Your goal should be to attract customers based on how comfortable you present yourself and the value you provide. Not by spending 20 minutes showing off while listening to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” on repeat before finally having the courage to ask for their case. Everyone might be telling you to join Clubhouse, but answering questions about Quora might be more of your personality.
Attracting the right prospects is also crucial. I used to be contacted by people asking me how much I was charging before asking how I could help. Over time, you will learn to eliminate these people so that you can focus on prospects who understand the value you offer and are willing to pay you what you are worth.
Beyond that, your marketing tactics must be measurable and repeatable. Otherwise, you won’t know how to avoid making the same mistakes or doubling down on what works for you.
Related: How to Grow Your Mailing List and Sales Pipeline by Creating Your Own Free Mini Course
How do you provide your services and increase your income? (Delivery)
Burnout – emotional, physical and mental burnout caused by excessive and prolonged stress – is far too common among entrepreneurs. One way to avoid it: develop a process for delivering your services that is aligned with efficiency and impact.
While custom projects can be lucrative, they also require a lot more coordination and development. Defining the delivery – and pricing – of your services in advance allows you to create a business model aligned with your desired income and lifestyle goals.
You can see the options for delivering your services below.
By documenting this process, you will also be able to better project and increase your income, which reduces uncertainty and gives you the freedom to take time off without worrying about where your next paycheck is coming from.
Related: How to Start a Consulting Business: Determine Your Rates
Download the one-page business plan and set aside three hours to work on it. I suggest working out for 50 minutes, taking a 10 minute break, and repeating this cycle three times. And, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me on LinkedIn or participate in a live question-and-answer session.
Ready to start your consulting business? Check out our Business Accelerator Consulting and let’s go today! You will have access to training videos, hands-on activities and participate in weekly live question-and-answer calls.