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SBX8103

Course
SBX8103
Course Title
Start Your Own Consulting Practice

Description

Explore the complete process of starting and operating a consulting practice. You’ll begin with surveys and assessments designed to pinpoint the best services to offer, then move into the start-up process, including licensing and legalities. Next, you’ll do a business plan that details finances, pricing policies, contracting and marketing. Other topics include record-keeping and taxes. An online discussion area lets you exchange ideas and resources.

Objectives

  • Explore the entrepreneurial characteristics of consulting.
  • Learn about the small business of independent consulting and explore many consulting opportunities.
  • Work toward defining your consultant's area of expertise.
  • Begin the preliminary planning steps for your proposed consulting business.
  • Learn how to research your market and develop a concept for your consulting practice.
  • Learn about the eight steps to starting up your business.
  • Examine issues of pricing, billing, and forecasting finances for your business.
  • Learn how to identify a target customer base for your firm.
  • Learn about the various forms of advertising to reach your market.
  • Become familiar with the basics of setting up a small business record keeping system.
  • Learn the basics of business taxes and tax deductions.
  • In this lesson, you will be introduced to various sources of small business assistance.

Content

Week One

Wednesday - Lesson 01

In our first lesson, you'll learn about all of the characteristics of running your own consulting business. In the process, you'll have the opportunity to take an entrepreneurial career test that will help you determine if owning a consulting company is a good decision for you. As you study independent consulting, you'll also learn about alternatives that will allow you to offer your consulting services without the issues associated with self-employment. Finally, I'll show you how to lay the foundation for success as a consultant.

Friday - Lesson 02

Today, we'll turn our attention to the profession of consulting. In this lesson, you'll learn to recognize the prospects of independent consulting and explore 20 of the most common consulting fields. Your goal is to identify the kind of consulting practice you may want to run. Finally, you'll meet some successful consultants in various industries so you can see how they started and grew their businesses.

Week Two

Wednesday - Lesson 03

In this lesson, you'll work through a series of exercises designed to help you pinpoint your area of expertise. You'll use a tool that will help you interpret your skill set and help you choose the type of consulting practice to run. After you go through the exercises, you'll read two case studies about consultants who, after thoroughly assessing their skills and backgrounds, started practices quite different from what they originally envisioned—both financially and personally.

Friday - Lesson 04

Today, you'll begin taking steps toward actually create your consulting firm. You'll learn how to set concrete goals, both short-term and long-term. Once you know how to set goals, you'll learn how to use them in your strategies for attracting clients to your new business. We'll apply a simple goal-based analogy of seed planting to get you well on your way to understanding what it takes to get customers.

Week Three

Wednesday - Lesson 05

In today's lesson, you'll take the first steps toward opening your doors. First, you'll learn how to craft a fundamental business plan, then I'll show you how to use a basic planning template to develop the business plan for your individual company. We'll begin by creating the conceptual basis and mission of your consulting practice. Then you'll learn how to research the marketplace to both uncover your clients' needs and discern how other consulting practices operate. Finally, you'll work on establishing your pricing structure and determining what specific services you'll offer.

Friday - Lesson 06

You're just about ready for your grand opening! In this lesson, you'll learn about the eight physical steps you'll need to follow to start off right. Each of these steps, completed in sequence, will move you toward opening day. Among these eight steps, you'll examine issues related to licensing, legal construction, naming your business, and even choosing a business card style that will get you noticed.

Week Four

Wednesday - Lesson 07

Today, we'll explore the financial aspects of your company. You'll begin by developing a series of budgets for various stages of your company's growth. You'll create a complete start-up budget, and then forecast your ongoing expenses for one year. Next, you'll estimate your gross income and use the income and expense figures to estimate your potential profit. After developing those financial sheets, you'll learn why you'll need to use contracts and letters of agreement. Finally, you'll learn all about billing, including several options that can help your cash flow.

Friday - Lesson 08

Now it's time to go after your first client! This is the first part of a two-part lesson in which you'll learn how to obtain customers. In this lesson, find out how to correctly identify the kinds of customers who want or need your services. You'll learn how to recognize them using two market analysis tools: demographics and psychographics. You'll also learn why you should target your customer base first, and then create advertisements aimed toward those customers.

Week Five

Wednesday - Lesson 09

In this second marketing installment, you'll learn how to select advertising forms that will best reach your customers. We'll explore the four major categories of advertising as well as their subcategories. You'll use a marketing plan worksheet to detail which forms of advertising you'll use to reach each type of client. Then you'll learn about the major difference in strategy between marketing to a consumer clientele and marketing to a commercial clientele. Finally, I'll explain the concepts of frequency and response rates and how each will increase your chances of success in securing paying clients.

Friday - Lesson 10

Now it's time to learn about the administration of your business, namely record keeping. In this lesson, you'll learn about the seven basic components that comprise your record keeping system. We'll discuss which kinds of records you should keep for management and tax purposes. After you learn which items to record and track, you'll learn about the calculations you'll need to perform and how to read the financial condition of your company. Finally, you'll practice these computations using real-world scenarios.

Week Six

Wednesday - Lesson 11

Today, you'll learn the basics of business tax deductions and how to estimate your business taxes. You'll find out how to identify tax deductions for your business, as well as how to unearth potential tax deductions from your personal affairs that could be related to the business. You'll also learn how to work with your accountant to properly plan for tax time and help minimize your tax obligations. We'll conclude with two case studies that will help you practice estimating taxes owed.

Friday - Lesson 12

In this final lesson, you'll learn about dozens of resources that can provide you with assistance as you build your business. You'll get information about government agencies at the federal, state, and local levels, as well as local organizations that exist to serve

Method of Instruction

Online

Evaluation

Class participation