Launching a Consulting Business – Define Your Market

Now that you have defined your value proposition (what others can expect to achieve by engaging you) it is time to define your target market.

This involves answering several key questions to align your value proposition to those who are most likely to engage you and where you are most likely to succeed:

  1. Is my offering applicable to businesses or individuals (consumers)?
    • For the following reasons I’m going to assume we are targeting businesses (vs. consumers):
      • Personal experience (i.e., my own consulting practice targets businesses).
      • Businesses have much deeper pockets to afford the kind of consulting fees we wish to earn :-). This does not mean we can’t earn a living providing consulting services to individuals. I just don’t have the experience of doing so.
  2. Are there particular industries that my offering most applies?
    • It can be most effective to start with the industry or industries that you have direct experience. Over time you may find yourself expanding to others due to ease (your name is out there as a highly skilled resource) and/or necessity.
  3. Which company lifecycle stage and/or stages do my offerings and capabilities most apply?
    • Startup
    • Hyper-growth
    • Maturity
    • Decline
  4. What is the target company size?
    • Large / multi-national enterprises
    • Medium-sized / domestic organizations
    • Small / local firms
  5. Who is my target prospect (company contact)?
    • Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or VP of Finance
    • Chief Information Officer (CIO) or VP of MIS
    • VP of Sales and/or Marketing
    • Etc.
    • Note: I have found that the higher up the food chain my target prospect is, the easier it is to close deals (consulting engagements). For example, if/when speaking to a CFO they can typically say, with authority, “Can you get started immediately?” On the other hand, if the prospect is a supervisor or manager they very likely do NOT have the budgetary authority to “pull the trigger” on engaging a consultant.
  6. Is there a particular geographic location I wish to focus on (limit my travels to):
    • Region (i.e., New England, East Coast)
    • Country (USA)
    • Earth (I’ll go anywhere!)

To be clear, defining the above doesn’t suggest that you must be unwilling to deviate from the established targets. This exercise is meant to narrow the field to where you believe the highest probability of success is to close consulting deals and effectively delivering your services. In addition, it helps you prioritize where to spend your precious time and resources.

In closing, I hope you (those considering launching a consulting business) are finding this to be a helpful exercise. Many have successfully launched and grown a consulting practice (or other business for that matter). You can too. All you need to do is simply follow the steps others have taken to do so. And, be sure to incorporate your own personal “spin” to make it yours!

Above all – Enjoy the process!

Click here to review the next article in this series.

3 thoughts on “Launching a Consulting Business – Define Your Market

  1. […] Potential revenue we expect to receive. This step is based upon what we defined as our target market, which was covered in a prior post. […]

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