According to small business consultant Elynn Fish (and almost every business owner out there), “slugging it out” as a small firm in a new market isn’t easy. Some of the most important things in building a consulting firm include getting and keeping clients, creating cash flow, and convincing your prospects that they need your services.
Last Thursday in the grand return of #scoopitchat, I teamed up with Elynn to discuss some best practices for developing a small consulting business in a digital world.
Some key takeaways include:
- Have passion for what you do, and be willing to take action on that passion.
- Don’t only work hard; work smart as well.
- Pace your growth. Fall in love with your idea, not with the hope of success.
- Have proof of skills, build credibility, engage targeted areas. Make sure you are consistent and have a solid presence on key sites.
- Use curation to build your credibility. Share what you’re reading along with your insights to demonstrate your engagement.
- Establish yourself as an expert, build an online community, and volunteer to speak for free.
- Ask for referrals.
- Research your niche, identify those that would best benefit from your services and reach out to them.
- A good on-topic content strategy will naturally bring prospects and leads to your site. Be clear on what you are about.
- Help them identify the gap – where are they now vs. where they could be with your services.
- Share case studies and previous clients’ outcomes.
- Offer products and/or services that can be billed monthly.
- Take action and hit the ground running locally.
- Define your slow season and focus on developing new relationships during that time.
- Be careful with your expenses. Define what’s truly of value to you.
- Don’t try to be perfect. Once it’s 70% – 80% ready, take action on it; you’ll figure it out!
- Ask questions and listen to your clients. Define what exactly they want and how you can provide it.
- Plan on one year of working crazy; constant marketing; find allies; start with one or two clients.