If you are looking to transition into entrepreneurship as a consultant, an essential step before you think about logos, websites, names for your company, and a marketing strategy would be developing your service offerings. At this point in time, the branding and marketing aspects of being a consultant may appear to be more attractive and exciting. However, these steps should come later in your strategic thinking process around how you would like to develop your consulting brand and business. The following are steps to help you think through the strategic process behind developing your service offerings:
1.) WHAT DO YOU LIKE? This process could be as simple as creating a list of all of the technical, organizational, leadership, and transferable communication skills you possess most. Next, create a list of tasks, engagements, and skills you enjoy executing the least. It is essential to understand what you enjoy doing and what you may want to outsource so that you best maximize your efforts for results. Being aware of your strengths and what you enjoy will help you have a more optimistic outlook on what you would prefer to offer to your target audience. Entrepreneurship should be rewarding, and it should align with your dreams and goals.
2.) HOW MUCH WOULD YOU LIKE TO MAKE?: Identify how much money you would like to make to maintain the lifestyle you desire while being an entrepreneur. Most entrepreneurs are not an overnight success. Therefore, if you are making a six-figure salary and want to jump right into consulting at the same rate, you will need to be strategic about your offerings, your audience, and the price positioning of your offerings to maintain your financial goals. Evaluate how much money you have saved and how much money you need to hire supportive services. Research the supportive service providers you will need, such as business coaches, financial advisors, accountants, the cost of materials, the cost of space rental or purchase, etc. Work with an expert to develop your business plan so that your service offerings align with your financial projections.
3.) IDENTIFY YOUR TARGET MARKET & PERSONAS Being realistic and clear on who would benefit from your services will help you know where to pursue business development. Demographic and psychographic data isn’t always enough. Taking the time to bring your personas to life will support understanding of how to relate to their needs and where to find them. Start visiting events and online platforms where your audience personas can be found so that you can learn more about their needs to best structure your service offerings.
4.) SOLVE A PROBLEM: Also, think through the delivery of how you will solve the problem. For example, how will your consulting services be delivered? Consider in-person, webinars, phone calls, events, and other mediums for hosting sessions with your clients.
5.) PACKAGE YOUR SERVICES: You may want to look into how you may productize your services. For example, the first offering may be an introductory strategy session inclusive of an overview of multiple types of strategy support you can offer. That session may be a half-day and set a price point reflective of your hourly rate. The next option may be a series of strategy sessions that address multiple needs identified during the half-day session. The third product may be the revamping of a monthly retainer into a subscription model. For example, package your consulting packages by the number of hours, communication mediums such as texts and email, and add-on deliverables into price points that align with the needs of your audience personas. This article by Proposify outlines the concept of productization of services very well. When packaging for corporate clients instead of individuals, think through how you will present access to your service offerings and add-on deliverables in the form of packages for the organization.
6.) DESIGN A REPEATABLE PROCESS: After consulting for some time, you may start to move away from the model of servicing individuals. Offering a repeatable process could look like a multiple week group coaching program that offers online learning content, a supportive online group through Facebook or an app, and or group calls.
In conclusion, develop your service offerings during the beginning stages of your business so that you can hit the ground running once you start your consulting firm. Gain a clear understanding of your audience, their problem, and how your services will solve their problem to improve results.