Professional Practice For Consultants

Course CodeBBS301
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment
  

Want To Start a Consultancy Business?

A consultant is someone with expertise in a particular area who offers advice to others. A consultant may be regarded as having expert knowledge because what they specialise in is beyond the scope of most people's awareness. Usually, a consultant is employed on a temporary basis until a particular task has been completed. Consultants can represent a broad range of professions and industries.Examples include:

  • Engineering
  • Management
  • Human resources
  • Marketing
  • Information technology
  • Strategic planning
  • Real estate/estate agency
  • Architecture
  • Corporate finance
  • Financial advice
  • Politics
  • Public sector
  • Legal
  • Business start up
  • Education
  • Media
  • Public relations
  • Employment
  • Environmental issues
  • Psychology
  • Social work
  • Building
  • Planning
  • Health
  • Medical

From this list you can see that there are potential consultancy roles in just about every employment sector. If you think of a job, you can probably think of a possible consultancy role for someone with specialist knowledge within that area of work.


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Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Determining If a Consultancy Practice is for You
    • Nature and Scope
    • Pros and Cons of Being a Consultant
    • What is Needed to be a Consultant
    • Codes of Contact
    • Are You Ready
    • Getting Started
  2. Planning a Consultancy Practice: Part 1
    • Methods of Entering Business
    • Deciding Where to Work
    • Equipment
    • Start Up Finance
    • Business Structures
    • Insurance
    • Set Up Costs
    • Having Assistance Available
  3. Planning a Consultancy Practice: Part 2
    • Preparing a Business Plan for a Consultancy
    • Business Plan Pro Forma
  4. Knowing What to Charge
    • Determining Costs
    • Available Work Time
    • Convincing Clients of Value in Your Fees
  5. Setting Up Your Consulting Practice
    • Finding Clients
    • Marketing a Consultancy Practice
    • Establishing a Press Kit
    • Using the Internet
    • Stationary
    • Networking
    • Communications
  6. Keeping Accounts and Records
    • Keeping Records
    • Source Documents
    • Handling Invoices
    • Time sheets
    • Being Organised
  7. How to Generate Business & Keep It
    • Using Agents or Brokers
    • Sub Contracting other Consultants and Support Services
    • Propagating Referrals
    • References from Clients
    • Tenders
    • Writing Articles
    • Successful Client Relations
    • Closing a Deal
    • Keeping Clients
    • Dealing with Clients who Say No
    • Principles of Getting Business
  8. Maintaining Your Consultancy Practice
    • Hiring Staff, Expanding Business
    • Creating Passive Income
    • Working in a Changing World

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Analyse current industry requirements and your individual needs to determine if opening a consultancy is appropriate.
  • Determine the business structure appropriate for your consultancy practice.
  • Produce a business plan and implementation schedule
  • Determine costs involved in setting up a practice and how to set fees.
  • Describe different communication and marketing techniques.
  • Describe different administrative procedures including invoicing and maintaining records and accounts.
  • Determine industry best practice for obtaining and keeping your customers
  • Recognise responsibility towards yourself and employees in maintaining and expanding your practice, and to develop strategies to cater for increased demand.

How Well Do You Present Yourself?

It has already been suggested that a consultant needs to present themselves in a favourable way.  A simple strengths and weaknesses analysis can be used to identify an individual's strong points which can then be emphasised. It can also be used to reveal weaknesses and thereby identify specific areas in which a person needs to improve, such as communication, time management, and so on.

Personal skills are something which should be taken into consideration. Look at what you are good at. For instance, are you good at listening, communicating, or diplomacy? Are you enthusiastic and charismatic or do you have a more serious outlook and intense attention to detail? You will know what is required for your area of expertise for consultancy. Through evaluating the areas where you are strong as well as the areas where you are weak you can better understand yourself.  If you are not so good at communicating via email, you may need to work on your written language skills. If you are not so good on the telephone, work on this. You can enrol in workshops to address particular weaknesses you may, take training courses, or practice skills. It is important to present the right persona and types of skills if you are going to convince clients that you are the consultant that they need.

It is imperative that a consultant presents themselves in a professional and efficient way. A client is employing a consultant for advice and help - and that is exactly what the consultant needs to give, in a way that is suitable for the client.  If a consultant is a high flying expert in their field with a great deal of knowledge but poor communication skills, they may not be able to present the information in a way that is suitable for the client. Information given to the client must be coherent and useful.

The consultant should also take care of their appearance and behaviour. They should try to look professional and knowledgeable. A business consultant should dress in business attire and be well-groomed. Whilst it may seem 'cool' to dress in smart casual clothing you need to mirror the dress code of your target audience. Smart casual might be perfectly acceptable in other circumstances, for instance if you are working as a garden consultant.

A consultant should always turn up on time. You are better to allow yourself extra time to get to appointments to limit the possibility of being delayed. If you are delayed for whatever reason, then phone, text or email ahead to inform the client. You should also always be well prepared for the work which needs to be completed. A client may be paying a lot of money to a consultant for their services, so will want to be impressed with the services offered as well as the consultant themselves. If you are well prepared and have familiarised yourself with the material ahead of time, you are more likely to be perceived as competent and professional.

Consider:

  • What is appropriate dress for the profession? A financial consultant may need to wear a suit, but that might not be the same for a consultant who is inspecting the structure of a building.
  • Converse with clients. Do not lecture or interrogate them. Conversation involves speaking, listening, and body language and you need to be balanced in your use of all three.
  • Build trust in the client before you fully trust what they tell you. When a client is comfortable with you, their answers will be more truthful. Until they trust you, they may give incomplete, inaccurate or exaggerated feedback.

Presentation matters -but so do a lot of other things as well!

 
Being a successful consultant starts with having a service to sell.
 
This course helps you to sell and deliver that service; and in doing so, improve your chances of building a profitable and sustainable business.
 
 

WHY DO THIS COURSE?

This course is a valuable guide to setting up and operating a consulting business in any profession. Experts are always in demand by business, government bodies, public organisations and private individuals.

Everyone needs help from time to time from someone who has greater expertise than themself. If you have training, and/or significant experience in just about anything;  you may have the potential to become a consultant in your field of expertise.

This course has been developed to complement studies in the various disciplines taught by ACS, including Psychology, Horticulture, Agriculture, Leisure Studies, Businesss Management and Environmental Management.

 

 

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Credentials

ACS is an Organisational Member of the British Institute for Learning and Development
ACS is an Organisational Member of the British Institute for Learning and Development

Member of Study Gold Coast, Education Network
Member of Study Gold Coast, Education Network

ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

ACS is recognised by the International Accreditation and Recognition Council
ACS is recognised by the International Accreditation and Recognition Council



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  John Mason

Writer, Manager, Teacher and Businessman with over 40 years interenational experience covering Education, Publishing, Leisure Management, Education, and Horticulture. He has extensive experience both as a public servant, and as a small business owner. John is a well respected member of many professional associations, and author of over seventy books and of over two thousand magazine articles.
  Dr. Lynette Morgan

Broad expertise in horticulture and crop production. She travels widely as a partner in Suntec Horticultural Consultants, and has clients in central America, the USA, Caribbean, South East Asia, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.
  Tracey Jones

Widely published author, Psychologist, Manager and Lecturer. Over 10 years working with ACS and 25 years of industry experience. Qualifications include: B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), Dip. SW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies).
  Bob James

Horticulturalist, Agriculturalist, Environmental consultant, Businessman and Professional Writer. Over 40 years in industry, Bob has held a wide variety of senior positions in both government and private enterprise. Bob has a Dip. Animal Husb, B.App.Sc., Grad.Dip.Mgt, PDC
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