How to Start a Consultancy Business in Nigeria or Africa

How to Start a Consultancy Business in Nigeria | Image Source: Pixabay

Many businesses in Nigeria start out well only to experience a form of failure years down the line. Their misfortunes mostly stemmed from a lack of knowledge, expertise, and objectivity that was required to create sound solutions.

Consequently, these enterprises (start-ups and established ventures) either packed up or constantly struggled to carry the weight of stagnant or declining product or service offerings.

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However, such situations are now getting less common with startups or large organisations who are not just aware but also take advantage of consultancy firms in Nigeria.

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What Is The Consultancy Business About?

A consulting business caters to every company and individual that requires strategic planning, expert knowledge, and management skills to fix failing aspects of their businesses or lifestyle. They also provide these services to budding entrepreneurs seeking guidance on how to efficiently start, run, and grow successful businesses.

Currently, the consultancy business is in high demand in various industries and experts in varying fields are taking steps to start-up their own consulting firms. But most times, people who claim to be professional consultants are at best, mediocre. They fail to deliver and are eventually forced back into the labour market with little to show for their efforts.

Success in the consultancy business is a product of hard and excellent smart work. It is passion, motivation, discipline and the ability to never stop acquiring knowledge and skills. These qualities separate the money-making, brand-building consultants from the middling, unsuccessful ones.

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Business Opportunities In Consultancy Around The World

There are numerous opportunities for success in the business consulting world, but what really matters is the area of specialization that doesn’t just focus on your skill set, but that also comes naturally to you. With significant experience, research-based knowledge, and the ability to develop great strategies, you can decide to become a consultant and be well-paid for your services.

Almost every career, lifestyle and business brings with it a business opportunity for consultants. For instance, someone well-versed in the security and safety business could be hired as a security or safety consultant. In some cases, an experienced accountant could be called in to implement better accounting practices or identify and then fix discrepancies. By accepting such offers, they turn their experience and expertise into an avenue for profits.

Some types of business opportunities in this industry are:

1). I.T Consultancy Business:

The rapid growth of the Information and Technology sector can be attributed to its constant and progressive development. These factors are the reasons the services of info-tech consultancies are highly sought after.

An I.T business consultant offers information and technology related solutions to firms or individuals within the industry.

Experts are demanded in areas like software programming, system analysis, networking, and computer research, etcetera.

2). Educational Consultancy Business:

For as long as people desire to acquire knowledge, skills, or continue to hone their talents, learning institutions will always need educational consultants. This group offers effective methods on ways to improve learning and teaching experiences.

Furthermore, schools hire consultants to give advice on areas like curriculums, educational plans, and activities that would maximize the learning potential of its students.

3). Business Plan Consultancy:

Currently, business plan consultants are the most demanded around the globe. The higher the demand, the more lucrative the business gets.

Creating business plans for new projects can be quite challenging for companies; so a professional business plan expert is hired to make it easier. Consultants in this category create the layout for a particular business scheme and develop clear strategies to actualize it.

4). Marketing Consultancy Business:

There are very few types of businesses that can grow without some form of marketing. This is the aspect of a business that brings the products and services of a company or organization to the right consumers. Good marketing raises awareness thereby attracting potential customers. Sadly, many businesses struggle in this regard.

What a marketing consultant does is to provide effective marketing strategies that would improve sales and increase profits. It also creates plans to fix existing marketing challenges in an organization.

5). Quality Management Consultancy (QMC):

Duties of a QMC business consultant are;

  • Influence clients positively so that the quality of their products and services remain in line with the requirements of consumers.
  • Ensure set standards of companies or organisations are either maintained or improved upon.
  • Concentrate on the laid-down rules and procedures that guide the plans and operation of a client’s business.

6). Business Management Consultancy:

When a business faces managerial problems, the next thing to do is consult fixers. Business management consultants get paid to fix challenges that stem from inefficient organizational structures. Armed with expert management skills, they offer immediate and permanent solutions to pertinent administrative issues.

7). Agricultural Consultancy:

An agricultural business consultant has access to small and large-scale farmers, agricultural ministries and commissions, and other agricultural enterprises. The agricultural sector requires business consultants that possess solution-oriented information at all times.

8). Human Resources Consultancy:

Consultants within this field work with the human resources departments of various companies. HR consultants aim to improve an organization’s method of operation and correct the issues caused by poor management of its workforce.

They also address concerns with retirement policies and deal with changes that affect personnel. The expertise of HR consultants comes to play in mergers, labour, and industrial projects.

As a consultant in this industry, you could also be hired to manage problems involving an organisation’s training process, terms of employment and possibly handle talent management.

9). Financial Consultancy:

Financial consultancy attracts all kinds of clients; individuals, groups, companies, and institutions. Anyone seeking advice on how to manage their financial resources goes to this group of advisers.

Some services offered by this business are:

  • Solving income and corporate tax problems.
  • Creating financial plans; savings, insurance, and investment for companies or individuals.
  • Offering and managing great investment opportunities.

10). Legal Consultancy:

Legal consultants are called in to identify, prevent, and solve legal issues connected with either individuals or industries.

They also offer suggestions on how to fix challenges involving employment, banking, real estate, trust or tax.

11). Strategy Consultancy:

With the aid of experience and an in-depth knowledge of business management, strategy consultants objectively advise organizations on their most important decisions.

Strategy consultants look into an organization’s system of operation and pinpoint its flaws. In addition, they are involved in the implementation of schemes that will improve the company’s overall management.

Other types of business consultancy opportunities are:

  • Medical consultancy.
  • SEO consultancy
  • Public relations consultancy
  • Health and safety consultancy
  • Fitness consultants
  • Interior design consultancy
  • Editorial services consultancy
  • Advertising consultancy
  • Risk management consultancy
  • Social media consultancy
  • Event planning consultancy
  • Security consultancy
  • Accounting services consultancy
  • Fashion consultancy
  • Retail consultancy

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Facts And Benefits Of The Consultancy Business

  • Consultants are hired to fix the issues affecting failing areas of a company.
  • Companies engage the services of consultancy businesses for the creation of new management systems.
  • A good consultant has the ability to pinpoint and expose flaws and weaknesses in an organization.
  • Starting a consulting business guarantees job security.
  • As an established consultant, you are free to select the sort of clients you want to work with.
  • Mental fatigue and boredom are results of monotonous routines. A self-owned consulting business comes with diverse activities and stimulating challenges leaving no room for staleness.
  • A consultant must be an expert in his/her niche.
  • Wide range knowledge, experience, networking and good organizational skills are must-haves in the consulting business.
  • Half of a consultant’s business comes from start-ups looking for techniques and working stratagems.
  • Consultation businesses don’t just fix problems; they train or teach staff and entrepreneurs how to successfully manage their responsibilities and ventures.
  • Sometimes the problems of a company cannot be identified by those close to it. It takes the objectiveness of a consultant to take structures apart and find the missing piece.
  • Owning a consultancy business places you in charge of your schedule. The problem of over-working with no personal time goes away.
  • Creating a unique brand and vast network is way easier and enjoyable with your own consulting business.

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How To Start A Consulting Business: A Step by Step Guide

1). Pick a Niche:

A niche is the area of specialization or industry where you have the most experience, skill, basic network, and knowledge. It’s important that you have the passion to see businesses within that sector grow as it would increase your thirst for acquiring more knowledge and skills.

Pick a business consultancy niche that you have a high expertise in and build a business around that.

2). Registration:

Make sure all Ts are crossed and Is are dotted on all the documents required to start your firm. Register your consultancy business with all the appropriate authorities like the Corporate Affairs Commission of Nigeria and the Institute of Management Consultants in Nigeria.

3). Create A Website:

Lots of people are on the internet every day looking for solutions that business consultants can offer. A good website offers prospective clients’ current and complete information about the company’s consultancy services.

4). Get An Office:

With adequate capital, you can lease an office in a strategic, yet accessible area. It could be somewhere close to where most businesses in your niche are or just a popular part of town. If you desire to start small, you could also work from home whilst going for meetings at the clients’ offices.

5). Employ Assistants:

Hiring assistants or co-consultants is important because it would reduce the amount of work you have to do. For instance, an assistant or two can handle the responsibilities of answering phones, replying to emails, taking notes, binding or typing documents, scheduling meetings, and keeping clients’ records.

6). Consultancy Fees:

Service fees should not be too high or too low. It should be competitive and worth the services rendered. To fix a good price, find out what other consultants in your field are charging. A little bit of research and calculation go a long way in ensuring that set fees don’t exceed the price limit or lead to loss of profits.

7). Marketing:

Develop a good marketing plan that would attract and pull in the right clients for the firm. Look into all available platforms; social media, blogs, newspapers, magazines and journals and make use of them. Two other ways to garner potential clients are through regular public speaking or referrals.

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Challenges Of The Consulting Business

  • The slow-paced progress which is caused by difficulty in getting clients at the initial stage of starting your consultancy business.
  • Finding the middle ground for the right service fee can prove to be challenging. It gets confusing at times to set a price that’s neither below nor above the normal price range while trying to balance expenses.
  • Stabilising the firm’s revenue is an important and tough process. Nevertheless, a new consultancy business has to ensure that the budget is stretched wide enough to cover all operations.
  • Trying to figure out how to create a brand that’s unique and distinguished from all other consultancies in the same niche is an exhausting process.
  • New consultancies might find that it takes time to build up a strong and steady client base due to an already established competition. Consistency and patience will keep the firm going until it becomes a success

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Anyone with considerable experience, knowledge and excellent management skills in a particular industry has the potential to be a consultant. Although these are the basic attributes of all consultants, it does not guarantee success. Success results from constant improvement of those skills in order to provide highly effective solutions for clients.

Nigerians have become increasingly aware of the advantages of soliciting the help of consultants for their businesses and personal lives. Thus, the business opportunities for consultants are numerous and profitable. To succeed and reap the benefits of this business, it’s important to have patience, motivation and a desire to help businesses grow.

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