Here's the great thing about being an expert on anything: You can build an empire around it.
People who have honed their skills, their craft, more than their counterparts have a great chance of developing a multi-million dollar business. For many successful entrepreneurs, the business that can deliver such lucrative rewards is a consulting practice.
Consulting businesses are built on the experience and expertise of the CEO.
It could be about anything: business management, social media marketing, information technology, security, personal image and credibility, and so on. Because consulting has become a lucrative business, the industry is growing faster with lots of competition from big businesses and emerging firms -- so you're going to need quite an arsenal to gain an edge.
Here are four essential tips on how to grow your consulting business:
1. Be distinct -- and address unmet needs in the market or learn to resolve them differently.
You can reduce the competition you'll be coming up against in the consulting industry by being different. Consider what you are good at and how you can make your approach different than the other consultants'. For example, if most consulting businesses in the market are already focused on leadership, your consulting business could concentrate on branding or operational excellence.
2. Be the authority in your field.
People tend to gravitate toward consultants who have established a certain level of authority.
You could do this by coming up with a book or white paper. Promote the book through events or drum up exposure for your white paper by getting on the most popular (and relevant) podcasts.
Authorities in their field get more press than consultants that have not been very successful at establishing their credibility. We even did a podcast on how to get press that will position you as an authority.
3. Network -- build relationships or partnerships in your local community.
You would be surprised just how fast your consulting business could grow when you network in your local community. Find out how you can help other organizations and small businesses.
Maybe the community soccer team needs a sponsor, maybe a small company is looking for expert trainers and you happen to know someone -- whatever it is, find a way to help out and you will get more exposure for your consulting business.
4. Market yourself and get on those speaking engagements.
Speaking engagements allow you to expand your audience, and consequently, your clientele. You could get invited to speak at certain seminars or you could organize your own seminar, which could be based on your book, your methodologies as a consultant, and your overall unique point of view.
Your ability to get to a podium and speak to large crowds will determine your profitability and your success as a consultant in your field.