Questions

As an accounting graduate with no money and no connections, how do I start my own consulting firm? And how do I get clIents?

18answers

STOP. DO NOT DO THIS....

I would never want help from someone like you. Don't get me wrong -- you aren't evil (that I know about) but you don't seem have any value that I could pay for.

What would you be "consulting" a CEO like me about? How do you expect to make my business better when you don't have a clue about your own business?

THAT'S THE TRUTH...

Fuck the truth. If you want to get clients then you hustle -- every waking moment. You try an angle and fail and then try a different angle. You can't outsmart your way to bigger results. 2 plus 2 does not equal 4 -- it equals you going bankrupt.

If you want to be successful then you need to exert massive amounts of effort to get off the ground. So get your ass out there and start asking everyone you meet: "What is that one big accounting question that's been bothering you for some time now? If I can't help you i'll buy you a cup of coffee"

Then just go be a badass...


Answered 5 years ago

Your question (the wording) suggests you are stuck - and it's likely due to HOW you are perceiving your situation versus WHAT your actual situation is and resources are.

Before you jump into starting a business I'd suggest you consider the following:

1. Invest some time in figuring out what resources you DO have. Everyone has resources available to them at all times. The trick is to SEE them and creatively use them to your advantage. If you master this ability (to see resources and apply them profitably) you have a good chance making it as an entrepreneur. If you don't (or won't) then your chances of success are slim at best.
(For creative ideas on resourcefulness watch a couple of episodes of Macgyver on Youtube or check out this Macgyver wiki http://is.gd/macgsolutions. And yes, this is a bit on the goofy side but it might do you some good to get a new definition of resourcefulness. And if a sappy '80s tv show helps you do that then that's a "win" in my book)

2. Study marketing. A lot. The best entrepreneurs I know are masters of marketing. If you have to ask "How do I get clients?" then you really have no business starting a business. That may sound harsh - but in my experience it's absolutely true.

3. Learn to ask better questions. In point of fact - I seriously considered not responding to your question at all. It actually irritated me the first time I read it. But on second thought I decided to respond with the hope that you and others in your position would read my response and consider this point:

If you want better answers - ask better questions.

This is true not only of the questions you ask OTHERS but of the questions you ask YOURSELF.

TIP: If you want a ton of great answers from experts who can really help you - ask them questions that excite and inspire them to respond.

If you'd like direction on how to get unstuck and move in the direction of building a successful business - give me a call.

In any case I sincerely wish you the best of luck!


Answered 5 years ago

I'm going to go against the grain of the other answers and tell you to hold back on launching a consulting firm just now. You cannot consult effectively unless you have experience. You have no experience, therefore your consulting services will not be high value, and people won't pay you.

Go get a job with an entrepreneurial firm and watch/learn how they run their organisation. That will get you answers and build your contacts. Be clinical, appraise everything they do and see if you can work out the underlying process or system they are using.

I recommend you try to get hired to be the executive assistant to the entrepreneurial founder of the firm. This won't be an advertised position. So you'll need to be resourceful. But you get to open the mail, write letters, accompany the boss to meetings and so will get a true frontline view of entrepreneurship and consulting in action.

What can you do to persuade an entrepreneur that you are the perfect right hand man/woman to support his business?

That'll get you quickly into a position where you learn fast and then can set up on your own.


Answered 5 years ago

Hello,

Making the Decision to own a business of any kind is about deciding to create a network (or as Seth Godin called it in his book by the same name - your 'Tribe'). It can be as simple as starting a list of contacts that are family friends, folks from the summer job from college - but you do in fact have a Tribe. My strong belief is that "Your Network is your Net Worth" - and there are always ways to build on to it. The simple way to do this is to be generous and give what you have to this network. This could be some pro bono work, connecting the dots for others, or building a blog about your specific ideas about accounting and share it with people.
You do have assets, and resources, even if you don't think you do. My last reading example for you is the book 'E-myth Revisited'. This book really helps you think about the true commitment and hats that one has to be willing to take on to own a business. It is probably only about 1/3 about doing great accounting work (or being the 'technician' in their terms). You will be selling, marketing, advocating for this entity 24x7 (at least in the beginning). I have worked as a marketing/brand strategy consultant for all kinds of small businesses over the past 10 years (including a few accountants) - and I have yet to see anyone succeed past 'start up mode' without this 24x7 mentality.

There are so many resources out there for free via the web, apps, schools, etc… - I find that what people want in general is a curator - someone who knows them, who has a point of view - who will sift through all the ideas and content - and package it for them. In other words - go out and build the most specific story you can about your brand and your company - that is authentic to your studies, your interest and experience. Maybe you really want to focus on doing business with restaurants, other small businesses, or tech firms. The more specific you can be - the easier it is to accumulate content, build a point of view - and attract people to your tribe. And finally - acknowledge the power of great design. Whether building your identity for business cards, your website, or the shingle you hang out for your firm. There are many many ways to get inexpensive, yet clean, powerful design. It matters … more than you know.

Stay focused, and build a story that can attract clients, partners, employees.
Starting a firm is the ride of your life!

Good Luck !


Answered 5 years ago

As a consultant, people often come to me because they need resources and connections to help fill in the blanks to complete a project. Sometimes people don't need advice, they need someone to help put things together.So...given that you're indicating you don't know how to do that, if you start your own consulting firm, when someone asks you to do that, what will your answer be? Or, when a potential client is choosing between several consultants and wants to know about your connections and experience, how will you answer? My suggestion: learn on another firm's dime, not your own. Get some experience first before going out on your own. But if you insist, those two questions will need a very good answer.


Answered 5 years ago

It's going to be really tough to go from Newbie to Trusted Advisor in one go. You might be able to hustle yourself into something but I'd focus on developing yourself. Why not go to work for an established consulting firm if that's truly where you want to apply yourself? You start to see inside companies and build more skills. You also build your credentials which will help in the future.

If none of that appeals, maybe a role at a not-for-profit, who typically would give you more leeway in your role and maybe speed things up in terms of development.

But - not the answer you want to hear, I bet - consultants get asked to help teams and companies because they are experts at what they do, typically having developed those skills with a lot of training and time.

If you don't want to do the work to develop yourself into that type of Trusted Advisor, I'd ask you to ask yourself why you're going down this path?


Answered 5 years ago

The word consultant can mean several things: trusted advisor or a "pair of hands." If your desire is to be a trusted advisor, then follow Stuart's excellent advice: develop yourself. If you have little experience or track record, then you should position yourself more along the lines of a temp: a pair of hands that has some training in performing a set of tasks.


Answered 5 years ago

The simple answer is you don't. You take a job, get some experience and when you have built a network and have proven your skills then you can think about starting a business.


Answered 5 years ago

To become a first rate consultantt, become a first rate pro, before anything else.

If you are bright enough, get a position in a premier accounting firm. Get 10 year experience, a sound one. In the meantime, develop an effective network and prospect clients.

Then and only then, start your own consultancy. Good luck!


Answered 5 years ago

In the world of consulting, connections win the day. Coarsely stated, numbskulls with good networking skills will out earn the smartest poorly-connected consultant in the game. No connections = no gigs.
     On the other hand, businesses will hire complete strangers, sight unseen, for bookkeeping services. Hire a bookkeeper (or do a little yourself, if you're up to it) and promote your businesses as bookkeeping, then offer your consulting services to your bookkeeping clients.      When newbies try to start a consulting company, they starve. When my clients start a bookkeeping business they are fully booked in three months.
     Points to ponder...


Answered 5 years ago

First of all, you can do it. Follow my instructions on pre-launch and launching below.

Always specialize and find a niche. But do not find a ditch instead of a niche. Let me explain.

You can actually find several or even 100's of niches and specialize in each. Note that this very different from trying to appeal to everybody with the same product. However, nobody on here will be able to tell you the gaps in the software development market. But, I can tell you how to find the answer to your question. You can do this through testing, pre-launching, and launching. Your potential customers will give you the answers if you follow the techniques below.

Test, test, test. You should run several split tests using different videos within the campaign and drive customers to take some concrete, measurable actions. This action can be signing up for a newsletter, buying a product, signing up for a White Paper, signing up for a free bonus, etc. But you have to key each of these along with the video to make sure that the actual video is driving the actual action.
I am sharing other information from my other posts below in hopes that this also helps you.
Boot Strapping or Million Dollar Marketing. Here is the formula.
I am adding information below that I have shared with others.
If you were looking for a doctor, you would go to a hospital. If you were fishing you might use worms even if worms disgusted you. You would not use ice cream to catch a fish even if you yourself love ice cream for obvious reasons. The fish nor the customers don’t care what you like or what you want. They only care about what they want. Customers instinctively think “What’s in it for me?” Understanding this is the key to marketing. And understanding marketing is the key to get whatever you want in life or business.
For investors, try contacting owners of existing similar companies. They have more money and experience than you. Have them sign an NDA when possible before discussing your business proposition.
So, here are several of my marketing solutions:
Bonus:
Here is $10,000 worth of information for free and in a nutshell. (each of these proven concepts could actually be worth millions of dollars in the right hands).
I like your idea. As a matter of fact, I will go so far as say, it is a great idea. So...don't give up. But don't keep beating your head against the wall either. You have to get over the wall.
You have to quit focusing on marketing and sales tactics and focus on a strategy. How do you to this? You have to come up with a really solid USP. Why would a customer choose you over others similar companies? Find the answer to this before you continue with your marketing strategy.
Secondly, you need an irresistible offer.
Thirdly, you need to offer an unbelievable guarantee. By doing this and following the directions below on pre-launch and launch you should be a lot closer to getting real solid customers.
I didn't actually invent the pre-launch or the launch. Concert goers are very familiar with winning concert tickets by calling into radio stations or winning VIP treatment, or back stage passes, lunch with a star, the list goes on.
Likewise, if you look at "professional wrestling" or boxing, or MMA, the whole fighting before the fight is just a pre-launch. Unfortunately, even heroin dealers use a pre-launch technique better than most business people. PT Barnum was doing this for circus goers over 100 years earlier. And I can only imagine the pre-launch of the Romans for the Gladiator Fights.
In more recent history, every type of business from Retail Stores to Real Estate companies have used multiple pre-launch techniques. Believe me; tourists are bombarded with Condo deals when they visit Disney Land.
This is similar, but different from lead generation, another power marketing concept along with backend sales techniques (I don't have the enough space to discuss these and other powerful techniques here). But I use these techniques in my own businesses including offering free information packed newsletters and encouraging my clients to move up my sales ladder because it is best for them. Most do move up the sales ladder as their ambition and drive increases. Some move all the way up from the very beginning. Both benefit from this, one just takes longer to receive the benefits. Others will never take a chance on becoming successful.
Okay, to pre-launch campaigns for SaaS platforms, a startup, or any product or service. Simply, come up with a taste of what you have, ask a serious question and answer it. At the end of the end of the first "answer and solution" set the potential client up with another problem that is very familiar to them. Convince them that you have the answer. Follow this technique several times. Most do this repetition 2 or 3 times, but a famous golfer has sent me literally dozens of how to videos in order for me to take the bait.
You might think that giving the answer to a solution makes your product less valuable and your opinion less valuable. If you think that…then you would be wrong. Heck, look at what I have given out in this answer alone. But, this is just the microscopic tip of my business and marketing knowledge. My experience is if you give you will receive. That is…if you know what to give, how much to give, and how to receive.
I am not trying to convince you to call me. Frankly, most people cannot afford to call me and I am very selective about who I accept as my clients. Besides, I am pretty busy with my own businesses and consulting with some very high paying customers. However, I would need more info from you before I could have a greater impact in helping you.
Most solutions involved this: Ask, Ask, Ask, then Ask again.
Concentrate on the 3 M's of Marketing. I have come up with 7 M’s of Marketing, but 3 will do for now. These are Market, Message, and Media. They come in that order.
Who is your target market (customer, clients, buyers, users, etc.)?
Tailor your laser focused message for this target market.
What is the best media mix to get your message to that market?
Here's what you do...first, take steps to make sure that you are actually selling something that a hungry crowd wants like a baby wants milk, then…make an offer that is so incredible that they cannot resist. Secondly, do all the work for them. Make it so easy to make the purchase now that they can do it virtually without effort. Thirdly, give them an incentive to act right now. Fourthly, offer an almost unbelievable guarantee. Fifth, offer a bonus for acting now. There are many other incredible steps in my playbook, but these steps should help the novice to the professional sell anything.
Whether you are selling B2B or B2C, you have to focus on selling to only one person. You can actually sell to one person at a time while selling to millions at a time. These are one and the same. Don't get off track. What we call digital marketing selling is just selling in print. And that has not changed since in the last couple of thousand years.
The secret to success: I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with some of the biggest names in business, celebrities, actors, entrepreneurs, business people, and companies from startup to billion dollar operations. The number one reason for their success is doing what they know and love while doing it in new, creative, and innovative ways.
Ask, Ask, Ask. Have thick skin and learn from each "mistake." In a short while, the market will tell you what you need to do and who and what you need to ask. But get started now, even if that just means asking a contact on LinkedIn.
While you are thinking, you might as well think really big and think of something at least 1% better, newer, or different. And being cheaper is not a winning strategy.
Make decisions quickly and change decisions slowly…unless you are actually going off a cliff.
Remember these two 11 letter words...persistence and consistency. They are two of the most important tools ever invented.
Even better yet, remember my 411 Rule of Achievement – It consists of (4) eleven letter words for super achievement (also an 11 letter word). Here it is, my 411 Rule of Super Achievement:
Persistence and
Consistency can change even the smallest
Possibility into a big time
Probability
Persistence + Consistency =
Possibility  Probability
By the way, I get a lot of people asking me if I can take phone calls for free (a free sample). Sorry, I can’t. I respect Clarity.fm and what they are trying to accomplish. And I wouldn’t if I could. The information that I offer is just too valuable to give away for free. I used to give information away for free and nobody used it. I found that when I charge $3,000/hour people paid attention and actually used my unique techniques, strategies, and tactics. Without taking action on this incredible information or paying someone to take action, you will not succeed no matter how “lucky” you may be.
Treat everybody you talk to and everybody you meet (including yourself) like each is your number one million dollar customer.
Remember this for most people who really want to achieve a dream:
First: Your dreams are important and those who don’t support and believe in your dreams either don’t understand your desire and ambition or they have some other reason (many times reasons they themselves don’t understand) for not wanting you to spend the time and effort necessary to achieve your dreams.
Secondly: If you haven’t achieved your dreams and goals so far, it is not your fault. I know that this goes against what you usually hear, but it is true. Stop blaming yourself. You have a whole world of obstacles that are truly to blame. You only need to figure out how to go over, go under, go through, go around, or go with these obstacles in the direction of your dreams.
Thirdly: Fear is normal, but don’t give into it. Use it to motivate you and guide you.
Fourth: You are right; there are probably some people who don’t want you to succeed.
Fifth: Keep this in mind, there are people competing to get there first, do more, have more, invent what you are considering inventing, or simply trying to win. Believing in yourself and what you are doing is part of a powerfull strategy for winning over your competition.
I also always suggest that everybody at every stage work with a coach, mentor, or consultant. Heck, it works for Tiger Woods, every team in the NFL, the NBA, and etc. We all need guidance and support.
Best of luck,
Take massive action and never give up.
Michael
Michael Irvin, MBA, RN
www.michaelvonirvin.com
PS – Many people have “Upvoted” my answers. Thanks to those who do this. I really appreciated.
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Answered 3 years ago

You could try all the things mentioned here. Hustle, Learn Marketing. Be a Pro. Etc, etc, etc..

But what you should really be doing is working a 9 to 5 first. Get real world experience working for another company or within someone else's consulting firm first, to learn the ropes. Also, the connections and network you'll build up will be invaluable down the road. This is honestly the best way to go, as a first step. Plot, the whole time, to eventually start your own firm. And when the time is right, you'll know it.


Answered 5 years ago

if you are talented with no money you can sell your brain and if you have money and idea but no skill set you can buy best brains to work for you. Capital is blood of any business but one can start business without money also but one of the essential element is must - talent or money . if you are talented and have experience you can find investors . you can invest your talent and your partner can invest money. when I was young I used think how to start a business with zero investment and trust me I cracked the idea and experimented that idea successfully also.

But I see you are just graduate without experience. I agree with Rebecca Caroe . you should gain experience first . while working you will not only gain experience but also learn trade secret. you will get opportunity to make connections and meet many people with similar dream. after 2-3 years if you save some money and find good partner you can start consulting firm. prove yourself people will invest in you.


Answered 5 years ago

As others have said, you don't. With no money, no connections, no experience, no reputation, and no credibility, you cannot start your own consulting firm and expect positive results.

You should instead go work as an accountant and get some experience, contacts, etc. Also, learn more about business, entrepreneurship, and law during your spare time.

Patience is important. I suggest you wait a few years and first become prepared to start your own firm and then start your own firm.


Answered 4 years ago

Hello,

I have been a freelance consultant for years and the fact that you stated that you have no money and no connections throws up huge red flags. First I recommend that you get some experience under your belt and the way to do that is by putting your ideas in focus, work, learn constantly, network and execute. Just because you have no money and no connections does not mean you need to stay that way meet people get out there and hustle. If you want more insight feel free to reach out.


Answered 4 years ago

You need to get yourself notices and build your credibility and network. Work for some time in a consulting agency to get experience and contacts.

You can contact companies, ask them what their biggest problems are and give them idea how you would solve it. It's not easy to get clients so prepare to tell in less than a minute why you're better than the one they use at the moment.


Answered 2 years ago

For someone starting out like yourself you are going to have to drill down at the local market. I suggest finding some great business owners and contact info thru https://www.LocalLeadFinder.net

It will help you hyper target a few types of businesses that can use your services and then warm they up digitally and then even pound the pavement once you have your proverbial “foot in the door”!


Answered 5 months ago

These are some wonderful answers here.
0. I would advise you to find mentors in the field you are working at. This is not obligative, but very helpful.
1. As any business searching for clients first objectify who are your ideal clients, what are their problems, what is your main focus that you are tatally great at and passionate to keep improving.
2. Linkedin, emails, yellowpages, directories, friends, recommendations of your surroundings. Everything works to find your first clients. As well as here you might start almost with lower prices to build up your portfolio and recommendations list.
3. Make sure your social profiles represent you as the professional, build your personal brand online. Great sources for that: facebook, personal blog, linkedin, youtube, anything that can be a social proof of who you are. People are buying from people.
4. Make sure all of your paperworks are proper for your country and your state, be open and clear with your business to build trust through your actions.

I will be glad to shortly speak to you and probably be helpful for your start. Please ping me, pretty sure we can exchange some experience:)
Good luck on your path!


Answered 5 months ago

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