According to a survey by RetiredBrains, “more than 86% of business professionals plan to continue working once they are eligible to retire” — and many will start their own business enterprise as consultants. If you decide to work for yourself, depending on your profession, you are likely to need certain certifications as well as credentials for credibility and marketing.
For example, process consultants should have Lean or Six Sigma certifications or rankings. Project managers should have a Project Management Professional certification; Facilities managers should have a Facility Management degree. Other industry specific credentials or certifications are desirable and sometimes a requirement.
Before you start your practice you need to have your ducks in order including all necessary certifications and qualifications as well as a plan to market your services to perspective clients. Certainly the network you have established over the years must be maintained and expanded. Unfortunately many who are nearing retirement stop networking and this is a huge mistake if you plan to go into business for yourself
When you work for an employer you have all kinds of support but once you start your own business, you will need to provide this support yourself or via contacts you have established. If you do not have the organizational skills and ability to manage the projects you will be taking on, do not plan to start your own practice. Check this short list below before going forward.
> Business to business selling/marketing ability.
> Enough money saved to carry you over until your business is profitable.
> A network of prospects along with contact information.
> A home office or an outside location where you can conduct your business.
You should also set both long-term and short-term goals. If your goals do not match up with the time and energy it will take you to open and successfully build a consulting practice then reconsider your plans.
Below are some of the most common consulting businesses:
- Career counseling
- Executive search/HR consulting
- Grant writing
- Project management
- Public relations
- Sales management
- Tax consulting
- Writing/editorial consulting
Here is a list of some of the things you will need depending on the kind of consulting practice you plan to open and the type of company or corporate entity:
- An attorney
- An accountant
- A Federal tax ID number
- A State business license
- A corporate entity
- An office (home or outside location. A shared office space is usually best to start as most offer many of the support services you will need)
- Marketing/advertising materials (including a Website)
- A list of fees or price list for your services and expenses
Click here for a list of items to purchase for your start-up office.
One of the best advantages of consulting is that you can pretty much plan your work. You decide how much you want to work and what kinds of assignments you wish to accept.
Prior to leaving your current job, if you are still working and if you are thinking of starting a consulting practice you should:
- Google “consulting practice” and “starting a consulting practice” where you will find many resources including books on how to build a successful consulting practice, such as “10 ways to start a consulting practice,” etc.
- Maintain your contacts and continue to network.
- Decide what area(s) of consulting you plan to establish and make a special effort to network with the people and companies that could use your services.
- Develop any skills and acquire the credentials you will need.
- Do some analysis to see if the area in which you plan to consult is truly viable.