Does it ever feel like you’re treading water trying to get your consulting business where you want it? You know, with a roster of great clients, meaningful work, and steady cash flow?
If so, you’re not alone.
When it comes to running your own consulting business, the statistics can be daunting. Around 20 percent of consulting businesses don’t make it past their first year!
But luckily there are research-backed strategies to increase your chance of success.
Research-Backed Strategies to Boost Your Consulting Business
Build networks – “For 78% of startups, networking is vital to entrepreneurial success” (Forbes). So, whether you’re launching or building your consulting business, it’s time to grow that network. And even if you’re not a fan of networking, extensive research shows that professional networks create business opportunities, improve capacity, and facilitate innovation.
Join business communities – Even though building networks is essential for your consulting business, it’s easier said than done—especially if you’re working in a niche market like nonprofit consulting. In one major study, more than half of entrepreneurs reported struggling to find or create business networks. Recent research shows that online communities and networks can successfully fill this gap, leading to improved “business performance and growth.”
Sharpen your skills – Surveys of entrepreneurs show that skills-building is essential for success—and yes, networking is a skill. In one survey of first-time business owners, 33% cited a need to increase their networking skills. But as a consultant, you can’t rely on employer-sponsored professional development programs. Instead, it’s up to you to get out there and build the right skills at the right times.
Top Resources for Nonprofit Consultants
So, if you’re just getting started as a nonprofit consultant or at a turning point in your business, where can you find these kinds of powerful resources?
Leverage LinkedIn – Connect with nonprofit consultants you admire through LinkedIn. It can be as simple as doing a quick search to find others who are doing similar or aligned work. Follow and engage with their posts, and before you know it you might be having an inspiring conversation or developing collaborative projects.
Reach out to new contacts – Getting the most out of your networks and business communities requires engagement. If you attend an event, like our Nonprofit Consulting Conference, reach out to other attendees during and after. Yes, it takes time and can feel daunting. But a quick note on email or LinkedIn can lead to all kinds of connections and collaborations!
Invest in trainings – Funding for Good and our partners offer a whole suite of paid and free webinars and replays for nonprofits and nonprofit consultants. Other great resources for nonprofit consultants include trainings from Foundant, Bloomerang, and Grant Writing and Funding.
Join an all-in-one business community like The Hive – We designed The Hive as a one-stop-shop for networking, community-building, and skills-building for nonprofit consultants. Instead of struggling to build community, get expert and trusted advice, hone your skills, and create referral networks, The Hive pulls it all together for you. Think of The Hive as the research-backed key to business success in your back pocket.
Being a nonprofit consultant can be one of the most rewarding careers. And the research shows that we can drive our own success—especially if we have a community of peers and experts in our corner.