The 30 Second Elevator Speech
Recently, we have had a few ‘accounting’ people ask us for advice regarding starting an ‘accounting services practice’. What did they need to do? Where did they start? Was it worth it?
Would they like it? How long is a piece of string? (That was a joke)
Where to start? Well, I suppose anyone can hang out a consulting shingle (or any shingle, as far as that goes) and hope for the best. Hope clients COME TO THEM and offer them lots of money for their services. But, just in case that doesn’t happen, here are a few of the tips that we have given in the past (from our own tried and true experience):
- Do your research. How many consultants are already doing what you plan on doing in the vicinity of where you plan on setting up shop?
- Speaking of setting up shop; are you setting up shop (actual bricks and mortar office) or are you planning on working from home?
- If you are working from home and have family, are they good with this? (Are you going to have to move the litter box to the basement to make room for a desk? If you meet with clients in your home are the kids going to be okay with keeping the noise to a dull roar? Is your partner good with sharing home office space with you?)
- If you are going bricks and mortar, have you 'sleuthed' out the neighbourhood (neighbouring businesses, parking, ALL costs, space to grow?)
- So, now you know WHERE you want to work; what are you going to offer? What is your niche? Do you want to do it ALL (and hopefully be really good at it) OR, do you want to specialize in one thing and know that you WILL do that stupendously?
- Do it all or not, what about costs? How many computers will you need? Software? Other office ‘stuff’? Phones, tablets, laptops, oh my…
- Are you going solo, with a partner, employees or contract workers?
- If you are currently employed, will you quit, cold turkey and take the plunge or, will you keep working and try your hand on the side to see how the world responds to you as a consultant?
- If you quit cold turkey, do you have the financial resources to not only build the business but to function for perhaps a year or more, with little or no income? (yes, I said, little or no income)
- Speaking of income, have you decided on what your services will sell for? (You are amazing, but, believe me, people are funny about parting with their cash for ‘time’. They can’t eat time, wear it or drive it so, they really have a hard time paying a nice chunk of change for it)
- If you are going solo, are you ready to wear MANY hats, all at the same time, 24/7? Wait, did you say 24/7? Yes, I did. Well, it may not quite be 24/7, but, we do recommend keeping a pad of paper and a pen by the bed for those 3 A.M. inspirations!
- Hats? What hats? Party hats? Not quite. You may be amazing at accounting, but, you had best be equally amazing at admin stuff (yes, admin stuff), marketing (do you have your 30 second elevator speech ready to go?) and, if you plan on having staff, how about those interview skills?
- And, last, but not least, we say (and we mean): HAVE FUN. If you are not loving what you do, it will show. People are not going to buy into you if you are not sold on yourself. Sure, it’s work, but when you LOVE what you do it sure won’t feel like it!
These tips are an overview of some of the things you need to ask yourself. Dig deep and ask yourself a lot of questions and be sure to answer honestly. Once you are sure and the research is done and you still find that the answer is YES; well, sleep on it a bit and then, when you are ready, make the decision!