No matter how much time has passed by, we all still remember what it was like to go from offline to online. It was a scary move, but it was also exciting. It allowed us to connect with people on a global scale and change the way we do business forever.
The consulting industry is changing, and so are the ways clients can work with consultants. The old way of meeting face-to-face is no longer relevant when you can connect with top specialists from around the world using the Internet.
As a result, more and more companies are starting their own online platforms where they can offer their services directly to clients. The same strategy has proven useful for freelancers as well, who are now able to develop an independent career without any limitations on location or time zone boundaries.
Have you ever wondered how to move your consulting business online? Do you want to know what steps need to be taken for further development? In this article we'll show you how to turn your consulting business into an online one that gets results for your clients and for you.
Table of content:
Online Business Consulting Statistics
The management consulting services market is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. This is because companies are constantly looking for ways to improve their operations and expand their businesses, and consultants are there to help them do it.
The growth of this market is mainly due to companies rearranging their operations and recovering from the Covid-19 impact which had earlier led to restrictive containment measures involving social distancing, remote working and the closure of commercial activities that resulted in operational challenges. The management consulting services market share is expected to reach $1,320 billion by 2026 at a CAGR of 7%.
North America and Western Europe are the two leading consulting market regions because they are the most developed regions in the world with high levels of population wealth and technological development. They also have a large number of established businesses which need help from consultants to grow further.
Consulting is a booming industry in the United States, and it's no wonder why!
In fact, consulting alone will generate more than $350 billion by 2025. It's also home to some of the largest consultancy companies in the world—like Accenture, McKinsey & Company, and Deloitte—all of which are headquartered in the United States.
Meanwhile, Europe is seeing a rise in consulting as well. Consulting has been valued at $45 billion and is expected to grow to $55 billion by 2022, which makes this segment an attractive one for investors.
Online Business Consulting Trends
Last years have been quite challenging for many businesses, as it was hit by COVID19. However, the ones that managed to quickly accept the new rules and rebuild their business without significant losses are the lucky ones. It was technology that allowed people to stay connected and continue to do business in remote locations. The development of innovations opens up new opportunities for doing business, which is why it is worth using and trusting them.
Another important trend is concern about environmental problems of the world that drive us towards sustainable business.
Sustainable business means that you can have a profitable operation without harming your environment, or even helping to improve it.
It's not just about using less water or energy, but also about being conscious of what you do with your products once they're done being used.
Being more sustainable doesn't mean you have to sacrifice profit—it just means taking a different approach to getting there.
We've collected all the trends in this list:
The post-pandemic demand for consultant’s assistance has already reached its peak. According to the Consultancy.uk update 2021, the consulting industry has 18% positive growth thanks to the consultant’s role in supporting their clients during this difficult period. In 2021, the UK industry’s revenues increased to over £14 billion. The need for consultant’s assistance will only grow, especially in digital technologies and sustainability.
Customer expectations significantly raised in the field of B2B market. On-the-go and on-demand information, along with client autonomy, are the new standards for today. To address these expectations, firms need to update their old ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and PSA (Professional Service Automation) systems with more integrated solutions. This is required to achieve a connected view of all ongoing projects and operations, project progress, and future planning.
5 Steps to Consider while Starting your Online Consulting Business
If you want to be an expert in your field, the best way is to focus on a specific industry and become an expert in it. And what's better than being one of the first experts in a new field?
For example, if you were interested in becoming a sustainable lifestyle consultant, you could help organizations develop greener office spaces, organize their processes, and support digital transformation with the right tools and solutions.
This emerging area of business will allow you to gain a competitive advantage over others because there are few companies who are committed to going green and lowering carbon emissions to protect the environment.
When you're writing marketing content for your business, the first step is understanding your customers' problems, questions, and pain points. It's time to identify how your expertise and insight gained from personal experiences can help others solve their issues and achieve their goals.
The next step is gathering information on target customers. You need to explore forums and comment sections to see what topics provoke heated debates and create marketing content. You also need to look through blogs and leadership articles in your niche—this will allow you to determine points that can confuse or influence people and cause much discussion or disagreement.
Finally, tap into your network to find pain points in the market. Ask them about challenges they face while setting short-term goals as well as long-term ones. Based on this research, you can work more confident.
The most common billing methods are:
Hourly rates: charging the client by the number of hours worked. This is a good option for consultants who need to be available at all times, or who want to work with multiple clients at once.
Project fees: charging a fixed rate for a project. This is most suitable for consultants who are working on a specific project and will not have other assignments during that time.
Retainer model: charging in advance when a business provides ongoing support to a client. This method works best for consultants who only need one or two clients at any given time.
When figuring out how much to charge, it is important to determine the right amount. A starting consultant rate is usually based on the average industry ones.
If you're looking to grow your business using a marketplace model, we recommend that you check out this article. It has a ton of helpful advice on how to make money with marketplaces.
Hiring new employees is a great way to grow your business. The more competent people you have on your team, the more projects you'll be able to handle, and the faster you'll be able to grow.
There are lots of certifications out there that show how qualified an employee is, and it's important to look at this kind of information when hiring. It's also important for your employees' resumes so that in the future, you can refer them for jobs based on their past merits. Customers are more likely to pick a person with multiple certifications than a completely empty one.
Having an online presence for your consulting business will not only give a boost to your existing business but also allow you to build an online presence for your brand and earn the credibility that you need to attract more customers.
But most entrepreneurs find themselves clueless when planning and launching their online consulting business because they don't know where to start from or whom they should hire for this kind of task. And at this point, all you have to do is choose the right development method that will cater to your needs at it best. Your platform should be built as per the requirements of your niche and specific industry or business so that all necessary features are.
Marketing is one of the most vital parts of any business plan, and it can be a tricky thing to get right.
To start with, it's important to understand your market. You need to know what kind of clients you want to attract and how they use technology—and then figure out how you can connect with them on a personal level. This will help you develop pricing that works for both your customers and your business.
Many consultants still underestimate the role of automation in marketing and sales. If you're not already using automation, it's worth exploring what kind of tools might work best for your business model so that you can stay ahead of the curve when it comes time for new hires or changes in leadership.
The Strategic Sales Plan is focused on aligning marketing's messaging with the product pitch, establishing client profiles, networking with other companies, and doing outreach to attract customers.
Research shows that companies who have aligned their marketing efforts with their product pitches are able to increase their client retention rates by 20% over those who do not. This aligning of messaging is essential for a successful business as it helps create trust between the customer and company.
What you can use in your strategy?
Establish Client Profiles: When we know who our clients are and what they want from us we can better serve them. This will allow us to be more efficient in identifying new opportunities for growth within our existing client base as well as attract new clients based on their needs and interests.
Networking with Other Companies: Networking allows us to gain access to new leads from other businesses in our industry or other industries that may benefit from our services. In addition, networking can help establish relationships that may lead to future business opportunities such as joint ventures or referrals from other professionals within your network who may have clients looking for similar products
Why Consulting Industry is going Digital?
According to Mintel, a global market research company, 33% of American consumers prefer interacting with people online rather than face to face. And according to Forrester, 63% of customers are satisfied when they get online help from a chatbot.
This isn’t surprising: according to another study by Cisco, by 2020 there will be 50 billion devices connected to the internet. That’s more than double the number of people on earth! These days, we have access to almost all information and services at our fingertips—including customer support.
The thing is, successful digital transformation in consulting isn’t only about solving the issue of communicating with clients and providing online counselling. In a broad sense, a business has to change its business model and marketing while digitalizing. This means understanding what kind of experience you want your customers to have—and then implementing it!
Online consulting platforms can cut costs for both you and your clients by eliminating unnecessary expenses like office space and equipment. They also allow you to reach out to clients anywhere in the world at any time.
With the evolution of cutting-edge solutions, clients expect far greater speed from a consultant. With the current level of competition, the client doesn’t want to pay a lot of money to a consultant only to spend countless weeks waiting to be advised anymore.
Nowadays, clients expect to get value right away. With an online consulting platform, you can connect consultants with customers quickly. Moreover, you’ll be reachable at any time.
You won’t need to waste your time on pointless meetings or filling out forms—you can simply use our platform to select the best consultant for your needs and start working immediately!
First, you don’t have to worry about geographical limitations. This means that you can reach clients all across the globe without having to move.
Second, working online gives you more marketing channels for finding clients. You don’t have to rely on referrals and word-of-mouth anymore because now you can reach out directly to potential clients via social media or even online ads.
Thirdly, by starting an online consulting business, you’ll have a new kind of client who prefers getting their help online. And it’s worth noting that the number of such clients is increasing yearly!
Marketplace Consulting Business Model
As the digital transformation continues to change the way businesses operate, more and more companies are turning to online consulting marketplaces. As a result, these platforms have become increasingly popular in recent years.
Consulting marketplaces are online platforms that connect consultants and clients. They can either be managed by the marketplace, or they can facilitate a freelance relationship between a client and an advisor.
When you're creating your online consulting marketplace, it's important to know the difference between a general consulting marketplace and a niche advising marketplace.
General consulting marketplaces offer independent consultants with a platform where they can connect with clients who need their help. These marketplaces usually have pre-established rates that are set by the company, but they may also offer a bidding system or escrow services.
Niche advising marketplaces are designed for a specific type of consulting work, like legal advice or financial advice. These marketplaces usually have an application process that requires applicants to meet certain criteria before they can post their profile and start getting clients through the platform. They looks like vertical and horizontal types.
You can download our Ultimate Guide How to Build a Marketplace just in 10 weeks to know more about marketplace model.
How to Start an Online Consulting business:
You have a few options when it comes to developing your online consulting business. Let's break them down and look at the pros and cons of each one.
Custom development means creating online consulting software from scratch. For building an online consultant website, you can either hire an in-house or outsource a team of developers.
If you want to hire an in-house developer, you will need to hire a programmer who can work full time on your project. You will also need to invest in the company’s infrastructure, including the technology stack, hosting, and office space. The advantage of this is that it allows you to build exactly what you want without having to compromise on features or functionality. However, it comes at a high cost and requires more time than outsourcing does.
Outsourcing is often more cost effective than hiring an in-house developer because it allows you to leverage existing infrastructure and avoid investing in new technology stacks or facilities. It also reduces the amount of time required for development by having multiple teams working simultaneously on different parts of the project. However, this method requires more coordination than an in-house team does because there are multiple teams involved in development instead of just one team member working directly with you through the entire process.
Pros of custom development:
Cons of custom development:
How to start a consulting business: SaaS
SaaS is a software distribution model in which a third-party provider hosts applications. Companies that offer SaaS solutions use a subscription-based monetization system.
The main benefit of using this type of software solution is that it provides entrepreneurs with many features they need to run their business efficiently. For example, SaaS can help you track sales growth and find new customers. It also allows you to set up your own online marketplace where customers can purchase products directly from you.
With SaaS, it’s easy to start selling online without having any technical experience or coding skills. All you have to do is sign up for an account with one of these providers and pay for access to their domain on their server. Then all of your data will be stored there instead of on your computer or phone like with other types of apps like Facebook Messenger or Instagram Stories where all content is stored locally on devices rather than through remote servers where data centers are located around the world depending on which company offers them along with other benefits such as being able to use multiple devices at once without any issues while completing tasks.
The pros of SaaS:
The cons of SaaS:
How to start a consulting business: Marketplace Builder
Marketplace Builder is based on our years of experience developing marketplaces. We've seen what features each project needs and how they fit together, so when you use Marketplace Builder, you'll save time and money without sacrificing quality.
Our solution that helps you get started with your own marketplace in just 10 weeks. And it's not just any old marketplace—it's the best of both worlds: highly customizable and affordable.
This solution was created on the basis of CSM Umbraco as a template with all the ready-made features:
The pros of Marketplace Builder:
The cons of Marketplace Builder:
The consulting business is booming.
The latest statistics show that the market for consulting services is growing by 15% each year, and the rate of growth is accelerating. It's a good time to get into consulting, but it's also a great time to think about how to make sure your business is prepared for success.
And that's where we come in! We've made it our mission to help businesses like yours succeed, and we're committed to doing that with passion, expertise, and integrity.
We know you want more: more clients, more revenue, more flexibility—and more time for what really matters in life. But the reality is that most businesses don't have the resources or skills to take advantage of this opportunity. We do! We've been working with small and mid businesses since 2006, helping them grow and based on it we've created perfect solution for building business - Marketplace Builder.
To learn more about how we can help create your business consulting marketplace, contact us today.
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