What does it take to start a business, get finance, and have a successful career as an Independent Consultant? Throughout this essay will be the answers in How to Start an Independent Consulting Practice.
An independent consultant is a person who consults with mainly immense companies to give them the product that the company needs and is only a contract worker. There are different ways to become an Independent Consultant. Depending on you goals, and the type of work you want to have as your business.
Being an Independent Contractor isn’t easy but you do have some good advantages that most people don’t have when working for someone else. Be your own boss; you can have control over your work life and how many hours you work. You get to choose what type of work you want to perform. There’s more money in it for you rather than working for someone else. You can get paid over time because you’re the boss, and the longer you work the more money your business will receive. More advantages are working when you want to work, if you want to go on a three-day vacation then who is there to say you can’t? And last you can have people listen to you, hire employees and make your own rules.
Don’t forget that there are downsides in becoming an independent consultant especially in the beginning of starting a business. Since you are your own boss you pick up all of the responsibilities. There is more stress on you because this is your business. In the beginning you have to commit to your company because if you don’t right in the beginning that can be the end of an unsuccessful business. The more time you put in to your company, the better it is for you in the long run. It’s up to you to have a successful business so that you can manage your own benefits and later on your own retirement. You are also in charge of all of the tax and legal paperwork. You want to have all of this in order to be straight with the government. So by going ahead and getting W-2 forms for the employees you hire that will save you time so that when tax season comes up you don’t have too much of a problem with getting all the paperwork filed.
First off before anything you want to get a business loan. One of the best places to do that would be your local bank. One of the most popular banks in our country is Bank Of America. They give you plenty of opportunity to get your business started.
To become an Independent Consultant and the business you want to perform is working with many companies to design and develop custom software for that business and offer your customers technical help for their company. You want to have somewhere where you can perform your business so that customers can come to you and so that you look professional. Renting or leasing a business office is not a bad decision. In fact that is one of the best decisions you can make. By getting a Small Business Loan you can get a place to start your business. In order to get everything you need in your office like desks, computers, copy machines, phones, fax, etc. you want to go ahead and get a business credit card.
After getting your office space in order you want to find employers to hire you and you want to hire at least a receptionist in the beginning to take incoming calls that you receive while your out trying to get business. Before going out into this big world of business make sure you look at you competitors. Make sure that the prices that you charge your clients are negotiable. Make sure you know typical rates that your competitors charge and know your clients target rate.
Many companies think that getting a broker is a great idea because it’s less work for them to do. So if you do get a broker make sure you look up on how much brokers can hurt you in the long run. Brokers are there to help make the spread from what clients pay and what you will accept. Most brokers receive between ten to sixty percent. Most of the time they get around thirty-three percent. Brokers do there job and they deserve to get paid for it, but sometimes their pay can be extreme. Some brokers go out of their way to enhance your resume and show your resume to clients without your knowledge. They can also try to control you and how your business works.
Now in this business life you don’t only have to deal with huge corporations in order to succeed in this business. There are many small and mid size companies that would love to have their own custom software made to fit their own system.
In order to find those huge, mid size, or small companies to work with you, go ahead and get a couple of marketers (also known as telemarketers) that can call up the companies and offer your business to them.
While the marketers are setting appointments for you, having your receptionist fax, mail, and post flyers about your services is a great way to get many consumers calling to see how much you charge and when you will be available do business with them.
Now you can get direct marketing information to see which companies would want to get their own custom software for their company by browsing around local business directories, obtaining a software vendors list, and going to the company’s web sites.
After hiring all your employees, (receptionist, marketers, tech help, Software Designers/developers) have a good amount of clients and pay back you loan, you want to be able to know how much your company is making. Money is going to be a very important part in keeping your business successful. Not only will you need money for supplies, but you will also need money for your employees benefits such as; retirement, (SEP-IRA/ 401k) health insurance, disability insurance, employee health club, dental etc. You also wan to know how much money your company is making for tax prep, general liability insurance, and unemployment comp.
After your business is a success you want to be able to keep long-term clients. The best way to do that is to always be the best, don’t let other companies run you out of business or scare you away, work for as many companies as you can, if you get too many clients hire more employees, make no enemies, don’t put down your competitors because your client doesn’t want to hear that, make a great appearances, the more professional you look the better it is for your business, and manage your emotions, if a client upsets you do not get upset with the client, you can loose a lot of business not just from that company, but once word gets out you can loose over half of your clients. They don’t want to hear that you treated one of your clients like crap.
Remember that communication is a two-way interaction. Some people believe that communication is a one-way street but that doesn’t work for long. Remember that you have to give in order to receive.
Starting a Practice is not easy, but by following the rules and making sure that you don’t take any short cuts that will harm you or your client in the long run will make you more successful then you know it.