Presentation on theme: "FUNDAMENTALS OF ESTABLISHING A CONSULTANCY by Emma O. Omuoijine B.sc MBA LL.B LL.M BL FNIVS."— Presentation transcript:
FUNDAMENTALS OF ESTABLISHING A CONSULTANCY by Emma O. Omuoijine B.sc MBA LL.B LL.M BL FNIVS
Emma O Omuojine Fellow, Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors & Valuers Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria Principal Partner, Omuojine & Associates National Secretary,NIESV, Registrar,ESVARBON, Member of National Council, Member ESVARBON
FUNDAMENTALS OF ESTABLISHING A CONSULTANCY INTRODUCTION Consultancy is the art of giving advice and solving problems in a professional respect by a Consultant. In simple language a Consultant is one who gives professional advice or services. You work in a particular field and offer your expertise to help others with their problems in the field that you know best. You simply share the tips, tricks and techniques that you have acquired over the years. Anyone can be a consultant as long as you have the knowledge, skill and experience in your chosen occupation or profession. You do not need to be the ultimate best in your field to become a Consultant. The first step is to take an honest look at your own training and experience in your chosen occupation or profession. You may have worked all your life in a particular field and received special training and education along the same lines. You may also qualify as a consultant if you have taken any advanced academic degrees, certification or special studies in your area of expertise. The key is to choose an area in which you have garnered some experience and one that you enjoy doing.
FUNDAMENTALS OF CONSULTANCY EXPERIENCE The sine-qua-non to being the master of your trade or profession is experience. It is given that when you have done a particular job over and over again you become an expert in that particular job, trade or profession. Experience allows you to acquire the necessary tools for tackling professional problems from different angles and perspectives given different variables and situations. It is experience that qualifies you to the toga of consultancy while your basic training entitles you to becoming a professional in the first instance. To succeed in the consultancy business you must be ardent at recognizing problems and shaping solutions to those problems; and the tool to just doing that is experience.
Why do you want to become a consultant? As a professional with years of experience you are dissatisfied with the corporate environment and finding consulting to be a rewarding alternative. As a parent you do not want to work full time, choosing to work from home while taking care of a child or parent. Finding yourself unemployed and realising you have a life time opportunity to finally start the business of your dreams. Being offered consulting work and realising that you would like to do more of It. Wanting to supplement your existing job by moonlighting. Retiring but wanting to keep busy. Being downsized and discovering that other companies need someone with your skills, but not on full time basis. Realising you want more control over your life. Facing medical issues that prevent you from working full-time. Fulfilling a life long dream of running a corporate professional business empire.
BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT Once you have decided to set up your business as a consultant you will want to consider your business environment against political, social, cultural, economic, regulatory and competitive considerations. LEGAL REQUIREMENT It is best to formalise your business structure right from the start. A business can take any form depending on its size and nature. The Common forms of business are sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporations or limited liability companies. You have to make a decision whether you are going into a one-man business in which case you will register a Sole Proprietorship Company with the Corporate Affairs Commission or a partnership with a colleague or a group of colleagues in which case you will register a partnership. By virtue of Section 19 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 1990, the membership of a partnership must not be more than twenty (20) unless it is a legal practice of legal practitioners or accounting firm of chartered accountants or a corporative society registered under the provisions of any enactment in Nigeria. As a condition precedent to running a professionally recognised consulting business in Nigeria, a number of regulatory bodies require special licensing or registration with such regulatory bodies. For an estate surveying and valuation practice, you are required to register your firm with the Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria (CAP 111 LFN 1990).
CAPACITY AND CAPABILITY Being self employed and starting off a consultancy could be a beautiful idea and a risk worth taking but a journey into the unknown is not without its doubts and contemplations. This is where a thorough self-assessment becomes germaine. What is the level of your training and experience? Can you cope with independent work? Are you confident and organized? Are you competitive? What level of risk can you take? How good is your health and without a benefit plan? Do you have skills, knowledge and experience that private individuals, agencies and companies will pay for? Will your family support your decision? Do you have a fall back position or a safety-net? Can you recover, survive if you do not make it? Can you sleep at night not knowing when the make or mar fee-cheque will come in? Are you an extrovert with good public relations and interpersonal skills, or an introvert? Do you have good communication skill and manner of speech? Do you have good negotiating skills? What is your self perception? Are you an achiever, a goal getter a professional’s professional? Your honest answers to the above questions will determine whether you are a Finder, Minder or Grinder ( Harry Brelsford, 1998) and what manner and type of consultancy business you may wish to set up.
FINDER PERSONALITY The finder quality in you as a consultant has to do with your public relations ability and how you are able to relate and sell your person and trade to would be clients and stakeholders in your line of business. It is the art of marketing and striking new business deals. It may involve cold calls, socialising with stakeholders, being a participating member of social, philanthropic and recreational clubs, attending business meetings, giving speeches and networking. Surprisingly and strongly enough most professionals do not enjoy the finder role as it runs counter to the more introverted personalities of most professionals. MINDER QUALITY What type of minder personality will you be? You have gotten a business brief through your initial contracts. How do you manage it? What is your delivery time? any follow up by way of a thank you card to the client and follow up of clients as to referrals. A good wine needs no bush. A good job will definitely sell itself but you need your existing clients to publish your work and worth to attract additional clients and improve on your clientele base. How good are you at keeping records and maintaining a standard accounting Practice? A GRINDER PEROFESSIONAL This is the art of performing work. Rare is the professional who does not like to grind or do the work. In fact the super grinders more often forget, neglect or refuse to attend seminars, conferences, CPD’s etc., thereby jeopardising their professional competence vis-a-vis modern trends and techniques in their chosen professional field.
Capacity and capability Having considered the fundamentals, how do you go forward running a consultancy business? Suffice to say that consulting involves great work, high risk but the reward could be tremendous. But you have to be realistic. You evaluate yourself against the finder, minder and grinder model. Experience has shown that you can get two out of three in a given person (Harry Brelsford, 1998). How you manage the third requirement will foretell how well you will succeed in your enterprise. The shortfall can however be remedied through a complementary employment profile or by entering into a partnership.
BUSINESS PLAN Like any well thought out business it is essential that you prepare your own business plan. How and where to commence operation; From home, a one or two room office or a corporate office? Your business organization, marketing strategy and funding will be issues to be addressed under the plan. MARKETING Once you have set up your consulting business the next step is to let people know that you are now on your own and that you are available for work. Your first step is to start with people you already know, your friends, associates, colleagues, bosses and existing industry contacts. Your marketing through brochures and capacity documentation should focus on packaging you as a consultant and an expert in your field of practice and highlighting the value-added that you could bring to your prospective clients; that you have the required expertise to help solve their problems. Some of the ways of growing your clientele and increasing awareness about your consulting business include the following; (a) Networking, (b) Referrals, (c) Cold Calling, (d) Public Speaking, (e) Books, Articles and Newsletters, and (f) Advertising.
CONCLUSION Starting a consulting business takes more than expertise in your chosen field. It takes a lot of business sense, confidence, loads of financial smarts, good public relations, personal communication skills, marketing know-how,negotiating prowess, gusto, resilience, good people, good will, wisdom and above all the special Grace of God to succeed. Thereafter you will find consulting to be very rewarding and personally fulfilling. Thank you for listening.