Start Your Own Consulting Practice
Do you have training or knowledge that could be useful to others? Have you ever considered providing consulting services based upon your background? This course is designed to help those who wish to set up a consulting practice get started. You will learn the complete process of starting and operating a consulting practice. The course will begin with surveys and assessments designed to help you pinpoint the best consulting services to offer. The course then progresses into the business start-up process, including issues such as licensing and legalities. You will then develop a complete business plan for their consulting firm that details finances, pricing policies, contracting, and marketing. The course concludes with a discussion of record-keeping and tax concerns. There will also be an online discussion area where you can exchange valuable business ideas and resources with other students and the instructor. The instructor will keep you updated by citing resources such as books, periodicals, and organizations designed to help small businesses.
To Enroll in this course, click the Enroll Now button below:
Internet Access, e-mail, and a and the Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox Web browser.
All courses run for six weeks, with a two-week grace period at the end. Two
lessons are released each week for the six-week duration of the course. You do
not have to be present when the lesson is released, but you must complete each
lesson within two weeks of its release.
A new section of each course starts on the second or third Wednesday of each month. If enrolling in a series of two or more courses, please be sure to space the start date for each course at least two months apart.
|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, I'll help you recognize the prospects of
independent consulting and will introduce you to 20 of the most common
consulting fields. My goal is to help you identify the kind of
consulting practice you may want to run. Finally, I'll introduce you to
some successful consultants in various industries so you can see how
they started and grew their businesses.
|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
work with a tool that will help you interpret your skill set and help
you choose the type of consulting practice to run. After you work
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
|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
|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. First, you'll create a complete
start-up budget. Second, you'll forecast your ongoing expenses for one
year. Third, 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 reduce collection problems and
significantly 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.
|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, I'll
explain the calculations you'll need to perform and how to read the
financial condition of your company. Finally, I'll give you several
scenarios to help you practice those computations.
|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 by reading two case studies that will help
you practice estimating taxes owed.
|Friday - Lesson 12|
|In this final lesson, I'll introduce you to dozens of
resources that can provide you with assistance as you build your
business. You'll learn about government agencies at the federal, state,
and local levels, as well as local organizations that exist to serve
entrepreneurs like you.
To enroll in this course, click the Enroll Now button below:
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