Guide: How to Start Your Consulting Business

January 21, 2022 · Consulting, Entrepreneurship

Written by: Sofie Murphy

The consulting industry is hotter than ever and more people are choosing to start their own consulting businesses. Going freelance and/or starting your own business can be equally exciting and terrifying. It is a journey that requires courage and careful preparation. there are many important things to keep in mind when trying to navigate through the process. Here is a guide on how to get started.

Once you have established your business plan, vision, and offer, the administrative pieces also need to fall into place. This involves, for example, registering the company at Skatteverket and the Swedish Companies Registration Office, accounting, taxes, and VAT.

Step 1 is to check off the following:

  • Register the business with the Swedish Companies Registration Office
  • Apply for approval for F and FA tax
  • Report VAT.
  • Register your business at Skatteverket.
  • Provide information for preliminary tax calculations.

Also, if you are a group of people starting a company, then it is important that you sign an ownership agreement.

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Choose your business structure

First and foremost, you need to decide which form of business is right for you. You can read about the different company forms below. 

Sole proprietorship (Enskild firma)

In a sole proprietorship, you as a private individual are the sole owner of the company. The trader cannot be a legal person, which means that you are personally responsible for, for example, debts and concluded agreements. If the company’s resources are not enough, you may be forced to pay these out of your own pocket. As the owner of a consulting business, this means that renting any premises, owning a mobile subscription and a party to a possible court process takes place in your capacity as a private person.

Limited company (Aktiebolag/AB)

A limited company can be owned by one or more shareholders, who can be both natural or legal persons. The initial capital of SEK 25,000 is required (for public companies, the sum is SEK 500,000). The advantage of a limited company is that the owners have no personal responsibility and the owner only risks the invested capital. A limited company has a board and in some cases also a managing director. The Board is appointed at an Annual General Meeting. It is a requirement that an authorized or approved auditor take care of the company’s audit.

Trading partnership (Handelsbolag)

There is no capital requirement for trading partnerships. However, there must be at least two partners and both are personally responsible for the business. Even in this case, the owners are personally responsible for the company’s debts. Before you start a trading company, you as a partner must enter into an agreement on joint future business in the form of a company. The Swedish Companies Registration Office recommends that such an agreement be made in writing, however, this agreement is not something you need to send in connection with registration.

Limited partnership (Kommanditbolag)

A limited partnership is a variant of a trading company where the so-called limited partners have a liability that is limited to the capital invested in the company. The company consists of two or more limited partners and an owner with unlimited liability called a complementary.

Package your offer

Once the administrative work is done, it is time to review your offer and package it into a competitive service. Does your company consist of different parts, such as consulting, workshops, courses, and lectures? Or do you run a niche business? Remember to formulate your offer clearly, then it will be easier for customers to take a position on it.

Marketing & Networking

How do you want to market your business? Today there are many different ways to go and the most important thing is be the right forums, rather than all forums. Tailor your communication to your target audience. In the consulting industry, the key is building relationships.

If you do not know enough of (or the right people)e in your area of expertise, it may be worthwhile to spend time and resources on networking events and similar activities.

Building your own brand as an expert can be beneficial to get more assignments. You do this, for example, by blogging, podcasting, writing newsletters, or lecturing. If you are considered an expert in a certain area, you will also be able to get paid much better.

Using social media, especially Linkedin, is becoming increasingly important. Here you can establish your personal brand and market yourself. But above all, you build a network of contacts that can both help you with assignments and other parts that benefit your business.

How to get assignments/projects

As a consultant, there are many different paths to take. What is right for you depends largely on the industry in which you operate and the skills you possess.

Targeting customers

New customer processing means that you identify new potential customers who eventually become loyal customers. This can be both challenging and time-consuming, but with the right strategies and with detailed market research as a basis, you have good chances of success. Get to know your primary target group. What are their needs and driving forces that make them act in different ways? You can collect data about your target group through, for example, digital campaigns, Google Analytics, customer surveys, and interviews.

Via other consulting firms or via a consultant broker

If you are on your own, it can often be more efficient to go through a partner to get assignments. In addition, customers often do not want too many consulting partners to keep track of.

Going through a consulting broker or other consulting company can be more effective. Most consulting companies often use sub-consultants to meet their clients’ needs. However, expect the intermediary to take between 10 and 20 percent of the revenue.

In Cinode Network you can find, network, and partner with consulting companies/brokers who have customers in your special niche. Here you can present your consulting company and what skills you work with, regardless of whether you are a one-man consultant or a larger consulting company. In addition, you can find new partners and connect with them to build relationships and above all to receive assignment requests.

Digital forums

There are various digital portals that list assignments that come out. Many brokers and consulting companies also have their own portals that register assignments.

An example is Cinode Market, where public assignments from consulting companies and brokers are sent out. However, only a fraction of the assignments is published externally. Some assignments are only visible when you are logged, therefore, it is important that you register and start connecting with the right company to get even more inquiries.

More assignments mean more money

There are various digital forums that list available assignments. Many brokers and consulting companies also have their own portals that register assignments.

To win an assignment, you usually need to send in a consultant profile/consultant CV. The customer then selects the most suitable for an interview.

In other words, the consultant profile is decisive for whether you will succeed in winning the assignment. It should be professionally designed in both writing and layout. Unfortunately, many consultants spend far too little time on their packaging, despite the fact that a full-time assignment is worth between SEK 100,000 and 200,000 per month. The consultant profile also differs from a CV in a number of points. We have put together a guide to help you create winning consultant profiles.

With Cinode Skills (from SEK 99 a month), you quickly create customized digital CVs. In addition, you get access to ready-made templates that you can easily adapt based on your colors and shapes. Register now and start your free trial. Or book a demo.

Delivery capacity 

Once you have started with your consulting company and the inquiries start to roll in, it is common that you soon have too many inquiries in relation to the company’s delivery capacity. In order not to lose assignments and money, it is, therefore, a good idea to work with sub-consultants / partners who deliver the assignments. This is an important factor in growing the company forward and having a high level of profitability.

With Cinode Partner, you can easily build your ecosystem of sub-consultants and partner companies. You send out assignments to either selected partners / sub-consultants or at the push of a button announce directly to all thousands of consultants in the Cinode Network.

Good luck with your consulting business!

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Global Communication & Marketing

Global Communication & Marketing

Sofie joined the Cinode team in the spring of 2021 and works with corporate communication and marketing. She has previous experience in prop-tech and startups, and is passionate about business development.

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