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Professional Practice For Consultants

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

Are you an Expert at something?

Use your expertise to make a living by running your own consultancy business!

Consultancy is one of the most rapidly expanding areas in business today. Tom Lambert in High Income Consulting, states that the consulting industry world wide is growing by 20% each year, and will continue to do so for some years.

A high percentage of graduates are now looking at earning their living by independent means rather than being employed by an organisation. These include graduates from areas such as psychology, law, IT, accountancy, business, the different areas of medicine, engineering, physiotherapy etc. It does not matter what field you are in, there will always be organisations or individuals who will be in need of your expertise.

Because of downsizing, companies are increasingly out-sourcing for services and expertise that is not available from their own staff. Consultants bring their time and expertise to help fill in the gaps. They are needed because they have skills, experience, or knowledge not perceived to be available in-house. 



    Lesson Structure

    There are 8 lessons in this course:

    1. Determining if a Consultancy
      • Practice is for You
      • Attributes of successful consultants
      • Advantages & disadvantages
      • Codes of Conduct
      • Are you ready?
    2. Planning a Consultancy Practice: Part 1
      • Methods of getting into
      • consultancy
      • Business structure & name
      • Working from home or an office
      • Insurance
      • Financing
      • Equipment
      • Set up costs
      • Surviving start up
      • Getting assistance
    3. Planning a Consultancy Practice: Part 2
      • A comprehensive Business Plan
      • Business Plan Implementation
    4. Knowing What to Charge
      • Your costs
      • Available Working Time
      • Different ways to charge
      • Value based fees & justifying your fees
    5. Setting Up Your Consulting Practice
      • Letting clients find out about you/Advertising/Marketing
      • Creating a press kit
      • Internet
      • Image
      • Networking
    6. Keeping Accounts and Records
      • Keeping Records
      • Source documents
      • The invoice
      • Timesheets
      • Being organized
    7. How to Generate Business & Keep It
      • Using agents/brokers
      • Using other consultants
      • Asking advice from clients & potential clients
      • Asking for a reference
      • Tenders
      • Writing articles
      • Successful client relations
      • Keeping clients
      • What to do if a potential client says ‘no’
      • Principles of acquiring business
    8. Maintaining Your Consultancy Practice
      • Professional development
      • Hiring staff to expand your business
      • Creating passive income
      • Pitfalls to avoid

    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.


    • 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.


    The course helps you to understand:
    • Attributes of successful consultants
    • Advantages & disadvantages of working as a consultant
    • Codes of Conduct for consulting practice
    • Whether this suits you, and if you are ready

    You will explore Methods of Getting into Consultancy

    • Business structure & name
    • Working from home or an office
    • Insurance
    • Financing
    • Equipment
    • Set up costs
    • Surviving start up
    • Getting assistance

    You will learn to develop a comprehensive Business and Implementation Plan


    Getting Started

    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. They are needed because there is no-one within a company or institution with the type of knowledge which is sought. In business, a consultant may be hired to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of a business.

    Once you have decided upon your consultation services, you need to consider how you are going to present your services and yourself well. Presenting your services in the right way is important because you want people to have a clear understanding of what it is you have to offer. You do not want to be consulted for services which are outside your realm of expertise.  

    Presenting Your Services

    Some consultants may gain most of their customers through word of mouth, and build a business organically. They may become quite successful in their chosen field and develop a good reputation and so people will tell others about how good or competent they are until eventually they are able to find clients through word of mouth and reputation alone.

    Some consultants may be fortunate enough that their name becomes well known in a certain job so that when they start consultancy work they are already known within their particular industry.  This is something many would-be consultants might hope for, but not too many consultants will find work in this way to begin with. For most they will have to build their reputation with hard work and dedication. Some may never achieve a sufficient client base from word of mouth and will need to work harder to present their services.  There are many different ways to do this.

    Other consultants need to promote their business to get started or to give it the growth momentum they desire.

    What Fees Should You Charge?

    There are different ways a consultant may decide what to charge. Firstly, they should consider to what extent their services are in demand. If they are the only specialist consultant in their country, they are probably in great demand and can charge higher rates because of this. If there are a lot of similar consultants in the area who offer similar services, then a competitive rate would need to be charged.

    Consultants may charge by time by setting an hourly rate, or perhaps even quarter-hourly or half hourly rate. A consultant working in a health profession may decide to work on a sliding scale, charging those who can afford it the full fee and those less privileged a lower amount.

    They may set an initial consultation fee and then charge by an hourly rate after a certain time period. Alternatively, they may charge an overall fee for the consultation or project they are to complete. Some consultants may charge different fee levels for different types of work. This may be more applicable to consultancy practices or agencies offering different types of consultative work.

    Some consultants will ask for an upfront part payment, then a further payment upon completion of the project. For those with longer term contracts, they may ask for weekly, monthly or fortnightly payments.

    What they charge and how they charge will be determined by how the consultant works and the services they offer. In setting fees a consultant should be aware of what other consultants providing similar services are charging. You also need to review your fees regularly. You may find that you are charging too much to remain competitive, or that you are not charging enough to cover your overheads and make a profit. Every time you undertake training to improve your skill set, or expand your repertoire to cater for another market sector, you should review your fees to see whether they need to be amended.

    With any consultancy work, it is therefore important to decide what services you wish to offer, how you are going to present the services and yourself. There is no easy answer to any of this. This is something that the consultant as an individual will have to decide after conducting market research and applying their knowledge of their own personality and skills.

    Learn how to manage any type of project in any type of industry!



    Meet some of our academics

    Denise Hodges Promotions Manager for ABC retail, Fitness Programmer/Instructor, Small Business Owner, Marketing Coordinator (Laserpoint). Over 20 years varied experienced in business and marketing. More recently Denise studied naturopathy to share her passion for health and wellness. Denise has an Adv.Dip.Bus., Dip. Clothing Design, Adv.Dip.Naturopathy (completing).
    Martin Powdrill25 years working in Telecommunications, IT, Organisational Development, and Energy Conservation & Efficiency, prior to setting up his own Permaculture consulting business. Martin has a Bsc (Hons) Applied Science (Resources Option), MSc Computer Studies, Permaculture Design Certificate. Martin volunteers with many local environmental and community groups, and facilitates discussions on climate change, peak oil, and transition towns. Martin has an allotment, and is currently enrolled in the Scottish Mountain Bike Leader Award programme. Martin’s goal as a catalyst for sustainable change brings together his strengths and experience in his environmental, project management, and business backgrounds.
    Kate GibsonKate has 12 years experience as a marketing advisor and experience as a project manager. Kate has traveled and worked in a variety of locations including London, New Zealand and Australia. Kate has a B.Soc.Sc, Post-Grad. Dip. Org Behaviour (HR).

    Check out our eBooks

    Business OperationsExplore how to improve the management and profitability of an existing business. Businesses do not run themselves - goals need to be set and decisions need to be made in order to achieve business goals. This book talks you through all of the different aspects involved in running a business from finance and forecasting to staffing changes and legal issues. Six chapters cover the daily challenges of running a business, people, the law, finance, product management, and risk management. 73 pages
    Professional Practice for ConsultantsExplore becoming a consultant. This ebook contains chapters on how to be a consultant, packaging your services, delivering the services, building your resources, finding the work and getting the job, planning and ethics.
    Professional WritingHow many people dream about becoming a professional writer? Professional writing is any writing that you are being paid for. It can include fiction writing, a best-selling book, articles in a magazine, articles in a newspaper, blogs for companies, technical manuals, copy for catalogues, newsletters, text books, other academic material and so on. However, many people just write for sheer pleasure. A must read for anyone wanting to make money from writing. 63 pages
    Project ManagementLearn to manage any type of project, in any industry. Six chapters cover the nature and scope of project management, risk and uncertainty, maintaining control, interpersonal relationships, the end game, and golden rules. This is a very concise text - easy to follow, with much of the information presented in bulleted lists. 72 pages