Are you thinking about going the consultant route? Or maybe you don’t really have a choice, in these troubled times? There’s a good article about this in The New York Times from late last week called Risk Yes, Structure No, and I’m doing a series of posts on it on my Up and Running blog, with Part 1 to that showing up today.
The New York Times treatment is a bit too rosy for my taste, suggesting that you have lots of cash put aside, as if that were an easy choice on your part. These days we’re all more likely to be defending ourselves against uncertainty as best we can, and settling for what’s possible instead of what’s ideal.
It does however add in at one point that having a business plan is a really good idea. I second that. And I mean seriously, whether you have to show that plan to somebody else or not, at least have the planning going for your own benefit. Here are some key elements:
- You really need a realistic sales forecast. Be very conservative. If at all possible, look for the anchors of your consulting sales. Most successful one-person consultants have a main client that keeps them safe. If you’re losing your present job, can you convert it to an anchor consulting relationship?
- You also really need a focus. Narrow your focus as much as possible. Differentiate your expertise. How would you describe to a potential client what you do in a way that would make you different from anybody else?