Do you have training or knowledge that could be useful to others? Have you ever considered providing consulting services based upon your background? This course is designed to help you set up a consulting practice. You will learn the complete process of starting and operating a consulting practice. The course will begin with surveys and assessments designed to help you pinpoint the best consulting services to offer.
The course then progresses into the business start-up process, including issues such as licensing and legalities. You will then develop a complete business plan for their consulting firm that details finances, pricing policies, contracting, and marketing. The course concludes with a discussion of record-keeping and tax concerns. There will also be an online discussion area where you can exchange valuable business ideas and resources with other students and the instructor. The instructor will keep you updated by citing resources such as books, periodicals, and organizations designed to help small businesses.
In your first lesson, you will learn about all of the characteristics of running your own consulting business. You will have the opportunity to take an entrepreneurial career test that will help you determine if owing a consulting company is a good decision for you. You will also discover alternatives that will allow you to offer your consulting services without the issues associated with self-employment. You will discover how to lay the foundation for success as a consultant. Then you will learn to recognize the prospects of independent consulting and explore 20 of the most common fields. You will meet some successful consultants in various industries to discover how they started and grew their businesses.
In this lesson, you will work through a series of exercises designed to help you pinpoint your area of expertise. You will read two case studies about consultants who, after assessing their skills and backgrounds, started practices quit different from what they originally envisioned. Then you will begin taking steps toward actually creating your consulting firm. You will learn to set concrete goals and how to use them in your strategies for attracting clients.
In this lesson, you will learn how to craft a fundamental business plan, and learn how to use a basic planning template to develop the business plan for your individual company. You will learn how to research the marketplace to uncover clients’ needs and discern how other consulting practices operate. You will also work on establishing your pricing structure and determine what specific services you will offer. Then you will learn about the eight physical steps you will need to follow to start off right. You will examine issues related to licensing, legal construction, naming your business, and choosing a business-card style that will get you noticed.
In this lesson, you will explore the financial aspects of your company. You will begin by developing a series of budgets for various stages of your company’s growth. You will create a complete start-up budget, and then forecast your ongoing expenses for one year. You will then estimate your gross income and use the income and expense figures to estimate your potential profit. You will learn about billing and several options that can help you cash flow. Then you will discover how to correctly identify the kinds of customers who want or need your services. You will learn to use two market analysis tools: demographics and psychographics.
In this lesson, you will learn how to select advertising forms that will best reach your customers. You will use a marketing plan worksheet to detail which forms of advertising you will use to reach each type of client. You will learn about the major difference in strategy between marketing to a consumer clientele and a commercial clientele. Then you will learn about the seven basic components that comprise your record keeping system. You will discover which kinds of records you should keep for management and tax purposes. You will learn about the calculations you will need to perform and how to read the financial condition of your company. Then you will practice these computations using real-world scenarios.
In this final lesson, you will learn the basics of business tax deductions and how to estimate your business taxes. You will discover how to work with your accountant to properly plan for tax time and help minimize your tax obligations. Then you will learn about dozens of resources that can provide you with assistance as you build your business. You will discover information about government agencies at the federal, state, and local levels, as well as local organizations that exist to serve entrepreneurs like you.
Prerequisites / Requirements
There are no prerequisites to take this course.
- This course can be taken on either a PC or Mac device.
- PC: Windows XP or later.
- Mac: OS X Snow Leopard 10.6 or later.
- Browser: The latest version of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, or Safari (We recommend Firefox or Chrome).
- Adobe Flash Player. Click here to download the Flash Player.
- Adobe Acrobat Reader. Click here to download the Acrobat Reader.
- Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.
- Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.
WHEN CAN I GET STARTED?
A new session of each course opens each month, allowing you to enroll whenever your busy schedule permits!
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Once a session starts, two lessons will be released each week, for the six-week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO COMPLETE EACH LESSON?
The interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes 2 weeks after each lesson is released, so you’re encouraged to complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.
WHAT IF I NEED AN EXTENSION?
The Final Exam will be released on the same day as the last lesson. Once the Final Exam has been released, you will have 2 weeks plus 10 days to complete the Final and finish any remaining lessons in your course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.