Great consultants are constant self developers

Just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you can stop learning – you need to keep ahead, not just up to date.

Broadening your skills is essential for continued success. Snippets of learning give you the ability to connect with many different people on different levels. Both are key for networking and finding new business.

These free resources here are a taster of some of the areas we cover in Consulting in Practice.

We hope you enjoy using them… and please let us know what you think.

Anne and Trevor


Advice and guidance

Is consultancy practice right for me?

 

10 Questions to ask yourself before you leave your job to become your own boss

 

Giving up the security of a full-time job to start your own business is a risky, often stressful move. How do you know when the time is right to make the leap? Here are 10 questions to ask before you quit your job.

1.    Are you just miserable in your current job?
Some people who think they want to run their own business are just unhappy in their current role. Take stock of your current job and ask yourself what you want to be different.

2.    Have you done the groundwork?

It takes time to get a business off the ground. Do your business planning and networking while still employed, as these are zero income activities. Be clear on what you can offer and clarify what support and resources you’ll need. Start getting your website together.

3.    Do you have enough self motivation and discipline?
Instant freedom can be dangerous – and time on non productive tasks such as day time TV can take over if you don’t have a clear idea of what your business routine should be. Most people at this stage need a daily schedule to follow, just as in your 9-to-5 job.

4.    How will you raise money to get the business going? 
Lack of capital is one of the main hurdles to moving into being your own boss. Don’t wait until you’re sitting in front of an empty desk, it's best to come up with realistic projections as part of your business plan before deciding whether you can afford to leave your job. Typically businesses do not become profitable for at least a year, so work how you'll support yourself financially.

5.    Are you willing to take on multiple roles?
Starting a business means you'll be wearing many hats; aside from whatever you make, sell or provide, most likely you’ll be your own IT support, marketing director, financial controller, secretary… the list goes on. You can ‘outsource’ some of these over time, but that needs factoring into your cost model.

6.    What are your strengths and weaknesses?
As you consider the multiple roles, be honest with yourself about what you're best at and where you need to improve. Consider undertaking training on various skills before you leave your job, or look for partners to compliment your skill set. If you’re not comfortable learning and being adaptable, maybe better to look for another permanent position.

7.    Do you know who are your future customers - and competitors?

While you may not be able to thoroughly test the market potential for your business concept, you should at least understand who your likely customers are and what kind of competition you would face. Do some research, and maybe think about pursuing your idea part-time. Try mystery shopping for what you are proposing to sell.

8.    Is your support network in place?
Starting out in a new business venture can be lonely, and so you should seek a business mentor, formal or informal, to help you think through the countless decisions. It can also be tough mentally, and you’ll need the full support of your family. Put a support network in place, and let family and friends know how it may affect them too.

9.    Do you have a backup option?
Developing a plan B before going off on your own will help you avoid getting caught out. Is there something you can do part-time if you need to temporarily bring in money, or will you need to seek new full-time employment and put your plans on hold? To keep your options open, stay in contact with recruiters, previous employers and other networking contacts.

10.   How will you avoid burning bridges? 
If you decide to quit, remember that your employer could be helpful to you as you launch your new venture. Many people start out, especially in consultancy, by relying on their last employer for initial custom. Rather than resign abruptly, figure out a way to leave in good standing. Give plenty of notice to help your employer handle the transition and look for opportunities to come back as a consultant.