CONSULTING BUSINESS | HOW TO BECOME AN INDEPENDENT CONSULTANT IN NIGERIA

Consulting
business in Nigeria
is still a green field with the capacity
of accommodating more promising and bright youths in Nigeria. Nigeria as a
country needs more consultants to help fight the inefficiencies and wastages
that have become the order of the day. Businesses and corporate bodies that
really wish to stand out in from the competition crowd rely on independent
consultants for professional tips and suggestions. Like every other business,
you need to learn how to start the
business
then launch your business from there.

WHAT
IS CONSULTING?

Consulting is a knowledge
based business that involves the selling of expertise, experience and
professionalism. Consultants are outsiders that know the house more than the
owners of the house. This might sound strange but that is the fact. How else do
you explain what happens in consulting?

STEPS
TO BECOMING AN INDEPENDENT CONSULTANT

The steps discussed in
this section of this article is a generic steps that may need little tweaking
in order to fit into the legal requirements of your jurisdiction.

HAVE A CLEAR VISION

The first thing that you
need to figure out as an aspiring consultant is to decide which aspect of
consulting you want to venture into. You might for example be looking at financial management services
consulting or systems integration consulting- depending on what your background
is.

ASSESSMENT AND ANALYSIS OF
THE COMPLETION

You will probably not make
much if you venture into the arm of consulting that has peaked. There are
aspects of consulting that you as a starter might not want to venture into if
you don’t want to get your desire and motivation to become an independent
consultant burnt. Start with the less crowded area of your niche and then progress
into the more crowded parts as you develop courage and muscles needed for
beating the competition.

ASK YOURSELF IMPORTANT
QUESTIONS

You need to ask yourself
some probing questions to help figure out if consulting as a career is actually
meant for you. Are you the type that so much value regular and constant pay
cheque? If yes is you answer to this question, you may then think of changing
your mind as independent consultants are people that are willing to adjust
their financial needs and requirements to suit the prevailing circumstance. Other
question that require sincere answers from you before throwing your weight
behind your pursuit for a slot in the highly competitive consulting world are

  • Am I a goal getter?
  • Do I need to be reminded of what to do?
  • Am I willing to work extra hours without
    the guarantee of pay?
  • Are you willing to perform menial jobs
    like; dusting your work area, photocopying, typing, etc?
  • Can you withstand criticism?

REGISTER YOUR BUSINESS
NAME AND GET A LICENCE

Regardless of what you
intend to do as a consultant, you need an identity. This identity is in the
form of a business name. You may also need to be certified depending on what
you want to do- for those in accounting and finance definitely need
certification and licence to go into consulting.

GET THE BASIC EQUIPMENT

There are basic equipment
that you need as a consultant irrespective of where you operate from (hope or
office). At the minimum, you need a printer, a dedicated phone line, a
computer, a scanner, letter headed paper, and seal or stamp. You may think of
getting a website if you want to add some flavour to what you are doing, not
something you cannot do without, but very necessary!

MARKET YOUR EXPERTISE

This is probably the
hardest part of the journey to joining the prestigious club of independent
consultants. You leverage on both online and offline marketing to sell your
services to the right consumers. Marketing of consulting services is the
subject of another article as this is already long.

QUALITIES
OF A CONSULTANT

CONSULTANTS ARE FULL OF
BUSINESS IDEAS

Remember that what you
sell is ideas that are marketable. You need to be full of business ideas to be
able to see light where others are seeing darkness.

CONSULTANTS ARE NOT
BAFFLED BY CHALLENGES

Consulting is a
challenging game that needs people that are immune to challenges. If you are the
type of person that is easily baffled by upsets, your chances of surviving the
downtime of challenges are low.

CONSULTANTS ARE GREAT
MARKETING STRATEGISTS

For you to be a
consultant, you really need to be a great marketing strategist in order to sell
what you have to the public out there.

CONSULTANTS ARE GOOD
MANAGERS OF PEOPLE AND OTHER RESOURCES

You need to be a good
manager of people and resources to be a competent consultant. After all, you
will be dealing with people all through your career as a custodian of
knowledge.

CONSULTANTS ARE HONEST
PEOPLE

Honesty and transparency
are the building block of consulting business. Though this is hard to establish
but people somehow gets to know when a consultant is shady and avoid the
consultant like a plague.

CONSULTANTS POSSES
REASONABLE PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS

If you don’t have a problem
solving skill, what then do you have to offer as clients only seek the service
of a consultant when they have a problem that is outside their expertise?

CONSULTANTS ARE SMART
PEOPLE

Smartness is what consulting
is all about. You have to be smart in everything that you do if you are really
serious about consulting as a career option. Your dressing, the way you speak,
in fact everything you do must portray you as a smart person.

CONSULTANTS ARE DETERMINED
AND FOCUSED PEOPLE

There are many trivial
things that distract you from concentrating on the main objective of what you
are doing. Getting focused and remaining focused is a quality and virtue that
makes great and highly sought after consultants.

CONSULTANTS ARE ORGANISED
PEOPLE

You need to be organised
at all time as a consultant. People can tell if you organised or not. Nobody in
his or her right senses would want to entrust his or her business operations to
someone who is not organised.

INDEPENDENT CONSULTANTS
HAVE THE ABILITY OF NOT PANICKING WHEN THINGS SEEMS TO GOING WRONG

Consulting is not a plain
sailing. There are times when it will seem as if the whole world is against
you, it is your ability to remain calm and not panicking under this pressure that
will make your business stand out.

CONSULTANTS NEVER RELENT

Independent consultants
understand the implication of feeling complacent in business. You will quickly
lose your competitive advantage in business the moment you allow complacency to
set in.

You may have to reconsider
your stance if you are struggling with any of the qualities mentioned above. Hey!
Come on! There is a good news for you are found wanting in the above qualities.
They are all learnable; nobody is born with any of those traits and characters.
We all learn them so you too can.

CHALLENGES OF CONSULTING
BUSINESS

Before enticing you with
the benefits of going into consulting business in Nigeria, let me first of all
draw your attention to the obstacles and challenges that you need to overcome
on your way to the promise and veritable land of independent consultant.

  • Getting your first client
  • Getting a base to operate from
  • Overcoming the high cost of doing business
    in Nigeria
  • Beating the challenges posed by the big
    consulting firms i.e. competition
  • Acclimatising with the consulting culture
  • Retaining your clients
  • Managing your time

BENEFITS OF BECOMING A
CONSULTANT

Consulting is one of the
few services provision businesses that magnify your greatest leverage – time. The
benefits of becoming a consultant are listed below

  • Financial freedom
  • Time freedom
  • Feeling accomplished
  • Giving back to the society
  • Commanding respect

Now that you have known
how to start a consulting business and what it entails, it is now time for you
to turn that your business idea into
concrete money making venture. To your success as an independent consultant!!

Comments

  1. Thanks for this post. I am going into strategy and operations consulting for smes in nigeria and. I have heard that i‘d need either a master‘s degree or professional qualification recognised by nigerian law. I have certification in hse. Would this suffice? And if i have proprietors for my company who have master‘s degree, would it suffice with the cac? I have even contacted the cac but i did not get any relply. If you do know what i need pls reply asap. Thanks.

  2. I love this post, its filled with truth. Thanks alot