Did you know the management consulting industry in the United States is forecast to generate $256 billion of revenue in 2019? What’s more, the industry has been recording an impressive 3.2 percent annual growth since 2014.
If you’re looking to grab a share of this market, you can start a project management consulting business. Thousands of for-profit and non-profit organizations are always running various projects, so the demand for project management consultants is strong.
But what does it take to get your firm up and running?
In this article, we’re sharing expert tips on how to set up a successful project management consulting business.
Start By Becoming a Project Manager
In any industry, a consultant is a professional with advanced knowledge and several years of experience. It’s from this base that they can authoritatively advise and guide clients on various issues.
As such, the first step to starting a project management consultancy is to become a project manager. Although you can join this career by earning a bachelor’s degree in project management, it’s best to pursue a program that focuses on the industry you want to work in.
For example, if you want to work in the construction industry, you should earn a bachelor’s in construction management. If you want to work in the IT field, pursue a program in IT project management.
After earning a bachelor’s degree, go ahead and find employment in a management role. Bear in mind experience is key, so you want to remain in this position for a good number of years.
While at it, consider advancing your education. Most clients will hire a project management consultant with at least a master’s degree, so head to graduate school and pursue the relevant project management course.
There are also industry-specific certifications you can earn to boost your competence. An example is the Project Management Professional certification, which is awarded by the Project Management Institute.
Draw a Business Plan
After gaining vast experience as a project manager, you can dive into self-employment and start your own consulting firm.
Here’s where a business plan comes in.
As a project manager, you’re probably familiar with project plans. These are documents that outline the goals of a project, timeframes, owners, implementers, and other crucial details. Without a plan, there’s no way the project can move forward, right?
A business plan is a similar document, but it fleshes out vital details of your upcoming venture. These details include:
- Executive summary – includes, company name, owners, mission and vision
- Company description – product and service offerings
- Market analysis
- Organization and management
- Capital requirements
- Financial projections
- Marketing and sales strategy
A solid business plan doesn’t just serve as a blueprint to your company’s success. It also makes some tasks – such as pitching the idea to potential investors – easier. Without a detailed plan, no one will be willing to pump their money into your company.
Secure the Required Capital
From your business plan, you’ll be able to identify the amount of money you need to start up the business.
The question is: where will you get funding?
If you’re like the 21.9 percent of entrepreneurs who use personal savings to build their own business, thumbs up! Self-funding is an ideal way to finance a business because it gives you 100 percent control.
But if you don’t have adequate savings, don’t fret. You can turn to external funding options, such as borrowing from family and friends, running a crowdfunding campaign, seeking grants, taking out a bank loan, or selling the idea to equity and angel investor.
Each of these funding methods has its own pros and cons, so be sure to do your research and identify your risk exposure. If you’re taking out a bank loan, for example, your risk spiraling into debt if the business doesn’t succeed.
Establish Your Project Management Consulting Services
Although project management consulting is a niche in management consulting, the former also has sub-niches.
Examples of services you can offer include project review and recovery, demand management, vendor management, resource management, and project portfolio management. Be sure to find out more about these services before proceeding.
That being said, these services fall under project management consulting and, in most cases, they all work together to ensure project success. As such, it’s not advisable to narrow down your consultancy to one or two services. The vast majority of clients want to hire a single project management consultant who can provide all the required services.
Set Up an Office in a Suitable Location
With your range of services scoped out, it’s time to fold your sleeves and do some physical work. Identifying a suitable location means you’ll have to do rounds in various cities or towns.
Besides settling on an ideal building to house your office, it’s important to consider competition and access to the market. If you establish an office in a location with a high presence of project management consulting firms, for instance, it could be difficult for you to shake off their competition.
Once that’s done, purchase the necessary office furniture, set up an office phone line, and hire an office manager or assistant.
Market Your Business
As a new business without any client portfolio, getting your first client will be one of the most challenging tasks. With a solid marketing strategy, however, it shouldn’t take long for your first client to come calling.
Start by building a professional business website and create a blog where you can publish your insights. Also, create social media pages for your business and share informative content.
This sound like a lot of work, right?
If you don’t have the time or expertise to design and implement a marketing strategy, outsource the functions to an experienced digital marketing agency. These pros will build your business’ web presence and put it in front of prospective clients.
You Can Run a Successful Project Management Consulting Firm
Project management is a vital cog in the operations of many organizations. You’ve no doubt made a savvy decision to start a project management consulting firm.
However, starting a firm that will be successful is easier said than done. With this guide, though, you have the information you need to set up a successful consultancy.
Good luck and continue reading our blog for more business tips.