Before starting V-Squared Creative I was an independent marketing consultant for around 10 years. Before that I had started a separate marketing company right out of college that grew to over 100 employees. That was fine, but I really missed working with small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Eventually I was able to turn the day-to-day operations of that company over to a CEO/Operations Manager and decided to get back to what I enjoyed most: consulting.
Along the way I picked up a few tips on creating a thriving consulting firm. Here are 5 things I thought I would pass on to you…let me know if you have had a similar experience growing your own consulting practice:
1. Become an Authority in Your Area
There is nothing that will propel you to success faster than becoming a recognized authority in your marketplace. The three best ways to do that are…
1) Speaking engagements. Getting out in front of your target audience on a regular basis increases your exposure and immediately brands you as an expert in your field. Start small if you have to at local networking meetings or sales meetings.
2) Write a book. How many people do you know that have written a book? Probably not many, and of those that you do know, you most likely think of them as an established authority on the topic.
3) Hosting workshops and events. For several years I would conduct a monthly marketing meeting for small business owners. We’d meet once a month for a couple hours and I would bring in guest speakers and other experts on various marketing strategies. Not only did this establish me as an authority, but it also served as a great lead generation tool.
2. Establish Credibility
While becoming an authority in your area will go a long way to helping you establish credibility, the only real way to establish credibility with your prospects and clients is to get results. Period.
After that, you can use testimonials, case studies, publicity, and more to build on your success. There is something very powerful about having other people rave about you. I remember that feeling of pride when I would meet someone new and they would say, “Oh yeah, I know you. So-and-so told me you did a great job for them recently.” That person was 95% sold already.
That’s the power of credibility.
When Proactive shows pimply-faced teens getting rid of their acne they sell a certain quantity of their face goop.
When they show Taylor Swift’s face magically clearing up, their sales increase drastically.
The only difference – and this is key – is that one is a celebrity and therefore believed by the public to be more credible. That’s it.
You don’t have to be so famous that you are mobbed at the airport by adoring fans. But, you can be famous in your niche or with your target market. That level of celebrity is going to help you get more clients and close more deals.
Being seen and heard is the quickest way to do that. Try to get interviewed on your local radio and TV stations (it isn’t nearly as hard as you might think). Implement a PR campaign. Guest blog for influencers in your area. The list goes on and on.
4. Community Involvement
Small businesses are the main drivers of local communities. They provide jobs, generate tax revenue, and are a boon to society. Your job as an independent marketing consultant is to help them succeed. In my mind, this is a great calling.
By getting involved in your community you show these entrepreneurs that you care about them and what they are doing. Whether you sit on a local non-profit’s board, participate in local events, or start your own initiatives you will win over the hearts and minds of your potential client base.
5. Ample Resources
As an independent marketing consultant you are most likely a one man or woman show. Your most valuable asset – time – should be spent on engaging with clients, closing deals, and developing strategy.
The tactical work – building websites, creating social media content, video production, etc – should be left to others. Whether that is an assistant, a collection of freelancers, or someone like us (who specializes in executing on those tactical pieces) someone should be responsible for client deliverables.
Further, nothing will build your confidence more when going into a client pitch meeting than knowing you have the resources behind you to do a bang up job for your client. Having a great team in your hip pocket will make closing sales a piece of cake.
I hope you found these tips useful. Please let us know if there is anything else you have found helpful in your own consulting business. Leave it in the comments below.
And remember, if you are looking for a reliable, dependable, and reasonably priced vendor partner for executing your clients’ strategies, please drop us a line at hello(at) vsquaredcreative.com or visit www.vsquaredcreative.com.