A friend of mine wants to get into an education consulting business. He has the tools and the content but has struggles to actually market himself and get the business. From my point of view, Sales are the blood of business, so I had put together for him a very simple guide on how an individual can self-promote and self-brand a consulting business.
In the interest of confidentially I have abstracted the details of the plan, but the general steps I think are valid. This approach is a ‘manage yourself’ approach. Ie. you control your plan yourself but you outsource the work to others. This is contrast to hiring an agent that would do all the work for you and you would just do the consulting.
Since in my opinion, sales, marketing, value delivery are all tied together, looking at things holistically and doing all of it yourself is not a bad way to start.
The below stuff I love to do – coaching and helping and guiding. I guess as per my previous posts this is my ‘journey’ and this is my self-fulfillment. Can you say fun and satisfying. I can and I do!
Here is my simple guide that I emailed to my friend:
I have been thinking about how to market you:
This first raised some questions:
1. Do you want to be a one man show with a consulting business or
2. Do you want to take this big, and have staff, franchise it out, etc
So basically this is the goal question?
Regardless of the answer actually, my suggestion would be to start small (ie with one man show) and then grow bigger if that is so desired. But still important to know how you see this going, because it given on the overall vision, we could do some different things earlier to support later vision.
So, for a one man show I would suggest the following:
1. Limited product line with few choices – but product line that is well defined
2. You – need to build up your presence on the web site, testimonials, published book, articles. Become an ‘xxxx Expert’ in something
3. Web presence
4. Marketing to the target market
5. Collateral Material – letter head, brochure, folder, package
6. With the product above – would need to have an overview of each product or service
7. Pricing would need to be established
8. Stage 2: video intro, publications, free info, collection of emails, daily messages, etc.
1. Course outlines you would develop (or you may already have) – need to be pretty
2. Web Site:
a. First, we mock up a site and layout what we think is needed – I have the tools to do that very quickly – and we can work on that together
b. We turn over the website to a designer and she gets us a design ($500USD give or take)
c. Photos of you for the site (I have a photographer in house – so free)
d. Staging of the website – we farm it out via elance – approx. $500 USD
e. This gives us web presence
a. Once the site is done, we go for collateral:
i. Folder, letter head, envelope, glossy print – content would need to be focused by use – designer would help to put it all together and make it look nice – I have a girl that can do that – about $500 to 600USD
a. I would price things pretty low at the beginning, just to get in and get testimonials and references. Even free for a while. References will be key.
a. Go to local publications – try to barter your services for add space
ii. The ads should run for at least 6 to 8 months.
iii. Target would be to get at least 200 inquires – given than volume we can 100% count on at least 1 engagement.
b. Market via Chambers
i. Join the socials and network at American Chamber of Commerce – doesn’t need to be fancy – but just hand out the cards – don’t sell, but become known. Rebrand yourself as an “xxxx Expert”
ii. Same for Canadian Chamber of commerce
iii. Would also go for British Chambers
c. There is other marketing angles – HR departments of various western companies, YPO group (maybe a free learning session to get the name out to the big CEO’s in Beijing).
Given above, I think the total cost to launch and have a sellable platform would be a few grand. Would bet that given above 100% sure at least 1 significant engagement in less than 6 months. Could be MUCH more.
Basically, lots of own elbow grease, a bit of money and a bit of know how.
By going for the web site – you don’t have to ‘market’ as such, since the site will market for you – so you would just go in for discussion with clients (not selling). I think in that way, the things you don’t like (marketing, self promotion, etc.) gets moved out into the site and adds, and then you just focus on what you like (helping people) and have the website do the work for you.