NCBiotech Jobs Network: Creating Your Own Consulting Business
This month’s NC Biotech Jobs Network featured a panel of three consulting experts who discussed their experiences in starting their own consulting businesses. Panelists included James Iademarco, Principal, Strategic Avalanche LLC; Nannette (Net) Stangle-Castor, Ph.D., President and Founder, InnoVector Tech Inc.; and Scott Rockafellow, President, Granite Beach Management. Each panelist gave a short slide presentation and provided complementary lessons on what is required to become a consultant. The slide presentations from the panelists are available by clicking on the following links:
James Iademarco, Strategic Avalanche LLC
Nannette (Net) Stangle-Castor, InnoVector Tech Inc.
Scott Rockafellow, Granite Beach Management
According to the consultants it can take from 3 months up to a year to get off the ground with your own consulting business. Some of the planning steps include developing a website, printing business cards, marketing and finding clients, setting up accounting and billing, etc. Scott mentioned the NC Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) www.sbtdc.org as a great resource for free information. For a modest fee, SBTDC also offers in-depth classes on running a business.
One message echoed by each of the panelists is that you are worth more than you think and you should not under value your time. According to James, you are the expert and you may not realize that “you don’t know what you know until you see what others don’t know.” Companies are willing to pay for what they need.
Net emphasized the importance of loving what you do. She also suggested volunteering at organizations to apply your skill set to new areas.
Some additional points that I thought were valuable lessons include:
- Engage a lawyer and an accountant up front
- Don’t try to do everything for everybody – stay in your core sector of expertise
- Don’t be afraid to barter your expertise for services you need when starting out
- Start with a good web site – and hire someone if you are not expert in web design
- Be prepared to spend at least 25% of your time on business development
- Join organizations that provide business support and training
- Under promise and over deliver to build a good reputation
- Have good listening skills
And finally, Network, Network, Network!
The presentations were followed by a great Q&A session, and then open networking. There wasn’t time to get to all the questions, so let’s continue the conversation on the NCBiotech Jobs Network LinkedIn page!