Setting up a small consultancy
+ Reply to Thread
Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 1 2 3 LastLast
Posts 11 to 20 of 22
  1. #11

    Old Greg is my bitch's bitch

    northernladyuk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Working the streets of your imagination
    Posts
    7,131
    Thanks (Given)
    956
    Thanks (Received)
    478
    Likes (Given)
    338
    Likes (Received)
    1975

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by edison View Post
    It's very tough to pull off successfully from what I've seen with friends and colleagues who tried to do the same after working as employed consultants and myself at a small consultancy. This was in IT and non-IT sectors.

    As hinted above, there'a big leap from being a one man band to a fully fledged 'consultancy'. Your competition changes, you may be competing against other small to mid-size consultancies, sometimes even against one of the big boys.

    Do you have a market proposition? Have you looked at the potential competition and understand the market? What will your USP or competitive advantage be?

    There's also the factor of scalability- I reckon you need at least six people to be seen as a consultancy in a potential client's eyes. How do you demonstrate credibility working at a larger scale?

    It's easy to fall into a trap of becoming heavily reliant on one main client with dribs and drabs from a variety of other clients. This poses a large business risk if you lose the main client. I've seen small consultancies go bankrupt or only just avoid going out of business by making half their staff redundant when they lost their main client.

    You also have to maintain a tricky balance between sales pipeline development activity and delivery of current work - again, it's not an easy thing to do if you're not used to it.

    Good luck!
    It's going to be tough OK. There is something of a vacuum here so I am up against the big boys, who lack expertise and cost too much, and also UK based smaller firms, who have expertise but lack local credibility. It's a difficult tightrope to walk, but I'm bored with what I'm doing. Have no intention of taking on employed staff until I know I can pay them long-term!
    Where there's muck there's brass.

  2. #12

    Should post faster


    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    113
    Thanks (Given)
    5
    Thanks (Received)
    0
    Likes (Given)
    19
    Likes (Received)
    5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MrMarkyMark View Post
    I was going to set mine up as a managed service, with the big agency taking 5% to factor my invoices.

    There was going to be an opt out after a number of years where everything could become my responsibility.
    i.e. they would no longer be involved.
    Are you guys talking about a special factoring agency?

    NLUK what did you mean by this "They also have the size to contract with public sector through a tender" I'm struggling to see why a factoring agency would contract with public sector to provide your companies services - makes me think you are talking about a different type of agency.

  3. #13

    My post count is Majestic

    northernladuk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    33,194
    Thanks (Given)
    135
    Thanks (Received)
    1348
    Likes (Given)
    1721
    Likes (Received)
    5808

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by breaktwister View Post
    NLUK what did you mean by this "They also have the size to contract with public sector through a tender" I'm struggling to see why a factoring agency would contract with public sector to provide your companies services - makes me think you are talking about a different type of agency.
    I understand and applaud your correct etiquette of directing your question to the master of the household but in this instance I shall allow NLyUK to respond to your question.
    'CUK forum personality of 2011' - Winner - Yes really!!!!

  4. #14

    Old Greg is my bitch's bitch

    northernladyuk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Working the streets of your imagination
    Posts
    7,131
    Thanks (Given)
    956
    Thanks (Received)
    478
    Likes (Given)
    338
    Likes (Received)
    1975

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by breaktwister View Post
    Are you guys talking about a special factoring agency?

    NLUK what did you mean by this "They also have the size to contract with public sector through a tender" I'm struggling to see why a factoring agency would contract with public sector to provide your companies services - makes me think you are talking about a different type of agency.
    I don't quite mean factoring. I'm looking at a consortium model where the agency is the prime contractor (and will meet criteria for financial stability - turnover and balance sheet), and also they will ensure we get paid promptly, mitigating against the cash flow risk of late payment.
    Where there's muck there's brass.

  5. #15

    Should post faster


    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    113
    Thanks (Given)
    5
    Thanks (Received)
    0
    Likes (Given)
    19
    Likes (Received)
    5

    Default

    What do you mean when you are talking about "the agency". Is this some type of arrangement with a recruitment agency, an umbrella company, one of the big resource providers (e.g. Capita)?

  6. #16

    Old Greg is my bitch's bitch

    northernladyuk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Working the streets of your imagination
    Posts
    7,131
    Thanks (Given)
    956
    Thanks (Received)
    478
    Likes (Given)
    338
    Likes (Received)
    1975

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by breaktwister View Post
    What do you mean when you are talking about "the agency". Is this some type of arrangement with a recruitment agency, an umbrella company, one of the big resource providers (e.g. Capita)?
    Recrutiment agency type company. Find an entrepreneurial company to work with.
    Where there's muck there's brass.

  7. #17

    Nervous Newbie


    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Posts
    17
    Thanks (Given)
    0
    Thanks (Received)
    0
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    1

    Default

    As general strategy I would use the kitty from margin on employees to fund getting/setting up a second client/site once you have big enough reserves before I start eating the profits. It's a huge business risk otherwise.

    I've also seen a consultancy with a recruitment agency. Client-co comes along and says I need X contractors and you have X staff on bench...win.

  8. #18

    Contractor Among Contractors

    ladymuck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    London
    Posts
    1,588
    Thanks (Given)
    141
    Thanks (Received)
    98
    Likes (Given)
    674
    Likes (Received)
    320

    Default

    An alternative route is to join www.goprojectpool.com and advertise the roles on there. You get 50% of the commission and have the financials/contracts taken care of. Happy to put you in touch with one of the chaps running it if you want to know more without committing yourself.

    EDIT: joining in no way commits you to anything, FTAOD
    I reject your reality and substitute my own - Adam Savage
    Me on LinkedIn | 15% off your first year's IPSE membership

  9. #19

    Should post faster


    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Posts
    162
    Thanks (Given)
    4
    Thanks (Received)
    9
    Likes (Given)
    21
    Likes (Received)
    25

    Default

    NLyUK - I worked as a consultant at a reseller for 4 years. From a business perspective, here are my observations:

    1) Do you have a network of professionals you can call in to assist you with projects? Or contractors willing to do extra evening and weekend work? You will need them, and that may be more financially viable than taking on permies initially.

    2) Do you have any BDM or marketing experience? Sales whilst irritating are what will keep you afloat. You need a person dedicating to selling your products and services - even if that person is you for a couple of days a week.

    3) As already mentioned, never place all your eggs in one client basket. It will go wrong.

    4) Know your value and stick to it. I'm sure you've already learnt this well enough as a contractor, but if you have a price in mind for a project, don't move on it or start discounting. It's a slippy slope and a bad way (IMO) to win business.

    5) Have you made a business plan? This can really help you identify what you want to do, where you want to be and sometimes laying it all out on paper helps focus the mind.

    6) Cash flow is king. Our company has massive issues procuring an order for a customer because the same customer hadn't paid an overdue 6 figure invoice; Dell then wouldn't extend our credit limit even on a temporary basis to service the new order and it put sales in a tight spot. Fortunately client paid that week, but you get my drift; people will always take the mickey with invoicing. I know you've mentioned invoice factoring, but that eats into your bottom line. Best thing to do is maintain excellent relationships with all the bean counters, if you can.

    That's just my 2 cents, hope you find some of it useful. Good luck and congrats.

  10. #20

    Old Greg is my bitch's bitch

    northernladyuk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Working the streets of your imagination
    Posts
    7,131
    Thanks (Given)
    956
    Thanks (Received)
    478
    Likes (Given)
    338
    Likes (Received)
    1975

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mattfx View Post
    NLyUK - I worked as a consultant at a reseller for 4 years. From a business perspective, here are my observations:

    1) Do you have a network of professionals you can call in to assist you with projects? Or contractors willing to do extra evening and weekend work? You will need them, and that may be more financially viable than taking on permies initially.

    2) Do you have any BDM or marketing experience? Sales whilst irritating are what will keep you afloat. You need a person dedicating to selling your products and services - even if that person is you for a couple of days a week.

    3) As already mentioned, never place all your eggs in one client basket. It will go wrong.

    4) Know your value and stick to it. I'm sure you've already learnt this well enough as a contractor, but if you have a price in mind for a project, don't move on it or start discounting. It's a slippy slope and a bad way (IMO) to win business.

    5) Have you made a business plan? This can really help you identify what you want to do, where you want to be and sometimes laying it all out on paper helps focus the mind.

    6) Cash flow is king. Our company has massive issues procuring an order for a customer because the same customer hadn't paid an overdue 6 figure invoice; Dell then wouldn't extend our credit limit even on a temporary basis to service the new order and it put sales in a tight spot. Fortunately client paid that week, but you get my drift; people will always take the mickey with invoicing. I know you've mentioned invoice factoring, but that eats into your bottom line. Best thing to do is maintain excellent relationships with all the bean counters, if you can.

    That's just my 2 cents, hope you find some of it useful. Good luck and congrats.
    Thanks very much for taking the time to post such thoughtful commentary. Congrats are premature...

    Quote Originally Posted by mattfx View Post
    1) Do you have a network of professionals you can call in to assist you with projects? Or contractors willing to do extra evening and weekend work? You will need them, and that may be more financially viable than taking on permies initially.
    Am a long way from taking on permies, but have a good network of people to do work on a daily rate.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattfx View Post
    2) Do you have any BDM or marketing experience? Sales whilst irritating are what will keep you afloat. You need a person dedicating to selling your products and services - even if that person is you for a couple of days a week.
    I didn't have the experience but am learning fast. I seem to be reasonably good at it. The area I'm in won't work with a sales person, I think - not at this stage. The pipelines are very long along a consultative sales model. Have two opportunities that I'm hoping to close a least one of soon. What I do need to do is not sell my own services out five days per week.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattfx View Post
    3) As already mentioned, never place all your eggs in one client basket. It will go wrong.
    This is a worry of course. First thing is to find first client. Then need to find second...

    Quote Originally Posted by mattfx View Post
    4) Know your value and stick to it. I'm sure you've already learnt this well enough as a contractor, but if you have a price in mind for a project, don't move on it or start discounting. It's a slippy slope and a bad way (IMO) to win business.
    I need to print that out and put it on the wall. I know I am just about the only person in these parts with the skills and experience I have and that these are in demand. I also know that clients will see me as untried in the market. Will stay strong!

    Quote Originally Posted by mattfx View Post
    5) Have you made a business plan? This can really help you identify what you want to do, where you want to be and sometimes laying it all out on paper helps focus the mind.
    Will think about this. Am spending most of my non-billable contractor time chasing opportunities so need to think about when to do this. Maybe after have landed first 'proper' gig.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattfx View Post
    6) Cash flow is king. Our company has massive issues procuring an order for a customer because the same customer hadn't paid an overdue 6 figure invoice; Dell then wouldn't extend our credit limit even on a temporary basis to service the new order and it put sales in a tight spot. Fortunately client paid that week, but you get my drift; people will always take the mickey with invoicing. I know you've mentioned invoice factoring, but that eats into your bottom line. Best thing to do is maintain excellent relationships with all the bean counters, if you can.
    Yes, I've seen this with a previous small client. They had three clients, all of whom missed a payment deadline, and then all missed the next payment run. Gulp... we have a couple of options for managing this risk, and will also memorise the advice around relationships with bean counters.

    Thanks again.
    Where there's muck there's brass.

+ Reply to Thread
Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 1 2 3 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0 ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.