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Strategic Startup: Founding a Consulting Practice Best Practices in Running Your Communications Consulting Business Fairleigh Dickinson University – Madison,

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Presentation on theme: "Strategic Startup: Founding a Consulting Practice Best Practices in Running Your Communications Consulting Business Fairleigh Dickinson University – Madison,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Strategic Startup: Founding a Consulting Practice Best Practices in Running Your Communications Consulting Business Fairleigh Dickinson University – Madison, N.J., July 22, 2014 Barbara Zelasko Commmunications Management

2 Personal Assessment Do you really want to be a consultant? ◦Are you just between paid positions? ◦Are you truly entrepreneurial? ◦Can you self-promote with confidence? What do you have to offer? ◦Your core capabilities ◦What do you really want to do? What are your values? ◦Define your personal and business principles ◦How do you see your own worth? ◦How do you view your clients? Barbara Zelasko Communications Management 2

3 Situation Assessment Times have changed—Employers may see consultants as freelance or in transition ◦Are you willing to take a contract position through a recruiter—this is a temporary job, not true consulting ◦Do you have the constitution to assert yourself as an authority? ◦Are you in it for the long term? Examine your commitment ◦Are you willing to manage employees and vendors? ◦Manage client expectations? Choose your clients ◦Is the working relationship tenable? ◦Does your client have your back? ◦Will they pay you? Barbara Zelasko Communications Management 3

4 Strategic Business Planning Define scope of services ◦Articulate your concentration ◦What is your point of difference? Determine your target market ◦Not just industry ◦Dollar range ◦Terms – markups? ◦Geography Create your business strategy and marketing plan—on paper ◦Do you require a complete business plan? ◦Are you going to be a 1099 worker, corporation, LLC ◦Expanding Services? ◦Build in flexibility Barbara Zelasko Communications Management 4

5 Earning Clients Network ◦Trade association participation bears fruit Deploy your marketing plan ◦Online presence—keep it professional ◦Print? Speaking engagements? ◦Create your image ◦Reflect your truth - Let go of ego ◦Accept your value - Overcome insecurity Image Materials ◦Portfolio – Online, Take along, Leave-behind ◦War stories ◦Business cards Barbara Zelasko Communications Management 5

6 Retaining Clients The reputation you create for your clients is your reputation Focus on client needs ◦The money will follow Be honest and fair Maintain consistently high standards ◦Language, style, and professional communications guidelines ◦Performance Treat employees and suppliers well BARBARA ZELASKO COMMUNICATIONS MANAGEMENT 6

7 Operations Set borders ◦Hours of operation ◦Timing, condition, and format of materials from clients ◦Be cautious about pro bono work—volunteer judiciously Keep your discipline ◦You are at work at home or in your own office Make sensible business decisions ◦Plan for expenses—you have to pay taxes and expenses ◦Hire a CPA ◦Reinvest in your business—updated technology ◦Save—your accounts could disappear overnight Be ready to consider unforeseen opportunities Barbara Zelasko Communications Management 7

8 Reconsider the Big Step What kind of bird are you? ◦Do you want to put a toe in the water or take flight? Think before you leap Barbara Zelasko Communications Management 8


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