If the answers to these questions and many more like them are not crystal clear to you, be prepared to become another statistic; and depending on which statistics you read small business failure rates are anywhere between 30% and 90% within the first 3-5 years.

SO DID YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A STATISTIC?

Well if you haven’t addressed some simple foundations for establishing and running your own sales consultancy you have already unwittingly taken that decision.

So here are 10 things you must know BEFORE you open for business.

1. Know why you are setting up your own consultancy

What are the reasons you have decided to set up your own consultancy? Is it to improve the sales processes of blue chip companies? Is it to make a million by the time you are 40? Is it to have 100% control of your life? Know your REAL reasons, as these will be your foundation for how you set up and manage your business.

2. Know how your business and your life interconnect

You are one person. That may seem obvious. Yet many people act as though they have a work life and a personal life and never the twain shall meet. I don’t know anyone who sets up their own business with the intention of working harder, spending more hours away from their family, friends and hobbies and being more stressed and pressured.

So before day one of your new business, plan exactly how you want your work and non-work time to integrate. There may be compromises along they way yet again, this up front thinking will act as a good foundation for making decisions when times are fraught.

3. Know what part you want to play in your business

When you worked for someone else, you were the Sales Manager or the HR Director and that was it. You had one set of accountabilities with one set of targets/objectives and were compensated accordingly.

When you run your own business, there are many roles that need to be fulfilled and you can do all of them or some of them. However, you are accountable for all of them; finance, admin, sales, marketing, operations, service delivery and more.
Just “doing the consultancy” is the delivery of your business. You need to consider and plan the whole structure of your business, so you plan to work on your business and in your business. For further reading on this subject I recommend The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

4. Know why you have a consultancy that is different

Be clear what specific results you deliver for your clients and how that’s different from other consultants in your field. Phrases like “We believe in working with our clients to deliver to their specific needs” and “we offer excellent service to grow your business” are too generic. As a client I would expect both those things, as standard and the phrases don’t tell me what you can actually do for me.

Differentiation is key; be it what and/or how you deliver. The more focused you are in what you do, the more likely it is that

You become a specialist in achieving consistent results in your chosen specialist areas
You become known for what you do
You know what to say yes to and what to say no to in terms of new business and activity

5. Know what you and your business stand for

What is the purpose of your business? What are the guiding principles by which you will manage your business? What are the core values by which you will do business? What is it about what you want to achieve that makes you stand apart from your competitors?
What is the boldest, outrageous and provocative statement you can make in your field/sector/target market?

Know what you stand for and when you develop your marketing plan, you will already have some clear thinking to construct powerful messages.

6. Know what the profile is of your ideal client

“I do anything for anyone”, simply puts you in the “same as/so what” pot with every other consultancy.

If you have a generic broad offering to a broad audience