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    6 Replies Latest reply on Feb 19, 2008 12:22 PM by caseydawes

    Consulting Firm

    NOBLEED Wayfarer
      Last year I decided that I wanted to leave my job and start my own consulting firm. The concept is based on Educational-Training where the organization will provide services to Independent Schools, Charter Schools and other Ed. Organization on grant writing and development. Colloborate with start up schools on IDEA and their special education programs and colloborate with start up schools from ground zero on how to design small learning communities. problem is how do I market myself in order to compete with larger Ed. Consulting Firms. And where do I start? Should I design a business plan or a marketing plan? Colleagues and friends are encouraging me to launch this business but besides reading existing organization's missions I have no clue where to start. I am still employed but with the NCLB act forcing districts to have alternative program designs, I need to be in on the ground floor first hand. I have two parties of interest as (tentative:because I have not seen any funding) partners who will also serve as trainers. I am attending a SCORE'S session in Chicago in March so that I gain a prospectus on am I going in the right direction and how do I acquire funding to start? I have been reading everything I can get my hands on...but I am curious as to what is the start cost for such a business? How do I market the company? Is their profit in my passion? Additionally, because of my extensive background in educational administration I also have batted around the idea of starting a daycare/learning center and I am also excited about this....,I have looked at franchising own idea. Franchising start up cost 200K. My assets on paper 300K (note on paper). This was going to be second venture after launching venture #1. Please provide advice or network consultants that I can connect with especially those who have launched a similar business. Thank you, for your support in advance.
        • Re: Consulting Firm
          LUCKIEST Guide
          Consulting Firm, Last year you decided that you wanted to leave your job and start your
          • own consulting firm. O K. So far you are employed. Right??*
          You also went to SCORE. Have you developed a Business and Marketing Plan??
          Have you gone back to SCORE. SCORE is FREE and they will help you SUCCEED..
          It sounds like you are having trouble taking the first step.
          What can I do to help you.
            • Re: Consulting Firm
              NOBLEED Wayfarer
              First and foremost thank you, for the advice Luckiest. I thought that one of my properties would sell so that my cash flow would be ample and I did not have to work so that I could dedicate the majority of my time to the business. Well the current market killed that so I stayed in my current positon. I have sketched out a business plan but some advisers suggested that I do a marketing plan. I have downloaded so many varied plans as references but the key is finding time and actually doing it. I am very savvy but I just need the appopriate guidance. I am attending the SCORES conference in Chicago on March seek additional advice as well. I agree that the first step is killing me even though, I have the vision. Can I send a copy of my plan to you for review and feedback? Your expertise would help me greatly. I would like to go to Chicago with more background knowledge. Thanks.
                • Re: Consulting Firm
                  altoids Newbie
                  ...the key is finding time and actually doing it.

                  Bottom line: Part time effort yields part time results.

                  I suggest you try writing a full page executive summary on your business concept without consulting any third party references. As a proof of concept you can circulate it for review and comment, but you'll need to be able to grin and bear it because the feeding frenzy may be intense. Whatever survives criticism can form the basis for your second draft. As far as cost for start up, I would focus on how much cash you'll need personally to survive for a year without any income. Good luck, and persevere!
                    • Re: Consulting Firm
                      NOBLEED Wayfarer
                      Thanks for your response Altoid.....your noted statemnet is true about part time results....however, how does one gain experience if they do not consult others in business who have had success and failure pitfalls with launching an incentive. I will continue to seek advice...and your advice inspires me just like the other advice which will yield pros and cons as well. As noted in my prior correspondence I do have a formulation of what one may consider an executive summary in the beginning structures of a BP ...I am simply seeking advice on having another professional look at it. Again, many thanks.
                • Re: Consulting Firm
                  grantsforce Adventurer
                  Nobleed, I have been through the phase that you are going through. I have a consulting company and several of my clients are Universities and schools. If you need to talk feel free to send me an e-mail. I'd be glad to share experiences and put you in touch with others in the business. (There is no cost and I do not have a vested interest). Good luck.
                    • Re: Consulting Firm
                      caseydawes Newbie
                      Hi Nobleed,
                      It's great that you are getting advice and I hope you contact grantsforce as he appears to have a similar business and he will have solid advice in the field.

                      I also encourage you to take time to sit down and write a first draft of a business plan. It doesn't need to be perfect, but it does force you to examine your assumptions about what you will need to do to create a business. Startup businesses are very time, money and energy consuming. If you are going to keep a job at the same time, it's going to be very time consuming. I understand the need for security. At some point it will be impossible to keep your job going, but it might be good right now.

                      For your business plan, make sure that you have a vision of the direction you want your company to go. Be bold and attach numbers to the vision. How much gross profit? What about expenses? How much will you need to put into the company to start? (Your estimated expenses will tell you that.) Include more than you think for marketing and professional development.

                      Really focus on the marketing portion of your business plan, or create a separate marketing plan. Your marketing plan tells you how you will spend time and money to get the word out about your business. Will you use advertising? the Interenet? Networking? Speaking? Cold calls? Referrals?

                      Sitting down to write these two documents will show your commitment to your business and to actually getting started.

                      In spirit,