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You have years of business experience and you know what can go wrong and how to make it right. When you take those skills and start your own consulting business, getting your business off the ground can be tough. There are a lot of opportunities, but you're competing against major consulting groups and established businesses. If you are wondering how you can quickly build your consulting business, read on.
Consultants like Michael Canzian, who specializes in private equity, have learned the value of focus. It used to be that consultants were generalists but that's no longer what corporations are looking for. Instead, treat your business plan like any other business and very specifically identify your ideal client, including the business sector in which they work.
Specialization allows you to build a reputation in your chosen sector. Corporations can give concrete examples of how you helped their business so others can see the value you add. Businesses are looking to build longer relationships with consultants who know their business from the inside out, who don't just come in and make recommendations, but help implement them and get the business back on course when it begins to stray.
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When you share important insights through Twitter or LinkedIn, you're giving yourself free advertising. Content marketing shows off your skills, provides value to potential clients and gives them someplace to find you. Try a monthly email newsletter that includes tips. All of this content should encourage clients to find out more from you, whether by hiring you or by attending pay events you host.
This content builds trust before you even meet your clients, establishes you as a consulting authority and boosts sales conversions. While you can always buy advertising, content marketing is inexpensive, costing you nothing but time and maybe a social media business app.
Finally, never underestimate the value of good old leg work. Ask friends and past coworkers for referrals. Follow up with leads from your past career. Attend business events in your area. When you have done work, ask for feedback, online reviews and leads for new clients. Keep in touch with executives who regularly move between corporations and can bring you in over and over.
One of the nice things about specialization and longer relationships is that you won't always be churning through clients. Take the time to find the clients you want, be choosy, and you'll have those same clients for years to come.
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