How To Start Your Own HR Consulting Business

How To Start Your Own HR Consulting Business

Starting your own HR consulting business is an exciting endeavour that takes hard work, experience and a lot of industry knowledge. It’s likely you’ve worked for a while in either a consultancy firm or a HR department to build up your portfolio of expertise, and are now looking to take the steps to become your own boss, and start your own business.

Within a sector as complicated as HR consultancy, it can be difficult to know where to start. Luckily, there are some tips we can share on the best way to go about setting up your own company, so you are geared towards success. Read on to find out just how it can be done.

Insure yourself from potential claims

What could be worse than trying to get your feet off the ground, only for some particularly bitter client to make a legal claim that you failed to deliver your promises in the given time frame? Unfortunately, some people are just not so sympathetic, so the best thing you can do to protect yourself from their attempts at scuppering your new business is secure insurance for professional indemnity cover, should these unpleasant incidents pop up.

For any company providing a specialised service, which in your case is consultancy, errors, negligence and omission can have costly and legal consequences. Professional indemnity insurance is designed to cover the legal costs of most of these sorts of claims, alongside providing cover for other elements of responding to a claim made against your business (i.e. covering financial costs of securing PR services to restore your brand’s reputation). Simply put, you should consider this invaluable insurance as an important component of your company’s risk management strategy.

After all, however specialised, advice is advice, and results are never guaranteed - so it’s worth protecting that fact from expensive lawsuits that try to claim the opposite.

Specialise your services to start with


HR is a large department that spans nearly every sector in every industry. So whilst it may be tempting, and seem like the right idea to increase your business by advertising yourself as a catch-all HR consultant, this method will actually have the opposite effect. Define your niche, and work your way out from there. This way, new customers will feel reassured that they are in capable hands if you list your accolades and expertise in their chosen sector or industry.

That means really narrowing your services down to what you feel most confident you can offer. If you want to specialise in the legal sector, pick one or two aspects within that such as corporate or intellectual property law to draw your base of clients from. When you’ve proven your abilities, you can start to zoom out and look at expanding your business. 

Set your sights on achievable goals, and focus on what is in front of you rather than grandiose dreams at the end of the tunnel. If you take it one step at a time, you’ll get there before you know it. 

Get your professional networking hat on

HR is all about working with people, and the more people you know, the more leads you’ll get for locating potential clients. Not only that, but when setting up a business, it’s vital to spread your company along the grapevine so that news of it can reach the right ears and you can soak up more juicy leads.

Hop on social media platforms, attend industry events, and maintain contacts with old friends in your workspace, and trusted clients. If you can build up a base and even better, get your clients to vouch for you in online reviews and testimonials, not only will you look more reputable and increase client retention, but you may also find people recommending your services, and some of the marketing for your company will be done for you.

Develop a business strategy

Not specific to HR consultancy, but just as important for any entrepreneur looking to build up their own business, you need to have a plan. Outline your business goals, target market, specific services, and pricing structure. Are you going to offer discounts for firms you have positive relationships with? Or those who come back to receive your services again? Do you plan to hire employees, and will you scale up to working out of a physical office? 

Every 3 - 4 months, measure your progress, identify areas that may have caused particular difficulty, and think of ways to tackle them. Starting a business requires a lot of financial and industry knowledge, but it also takes courage and creativity. You must be prepared to be flexible within your plans. Factors will pop up along the way that could change the course of where your business is heading - be they propositions from investors, employees who bring new skills to the company, or collaborators you can work with. 

So set your goals, but be prepared to move the goalposts according to how the situation unfolds.

Marketing is your best friend

You could have the best HR consulting firm out there, but if no one knows about it, you’re not going to generate much revenue. Spread the word, and be aware that when it comes to marketing, there is no one-fits-all solution. Different marketing strategies will work for different potential customers, so it’s best to employ a few in order to get the greatest reach.

You can DIY your marketing approach with social media posts, cold-emails, or directly pitching to industry contacts. You could also invest in the professional services of a marketing agency who can focus on SEO and web page optimization, to ensure your potential customers are having the best experience when they browse your website - and that they find it in the first place! There are so many different types of digital marketing channels, so have a think about which would be most suited to your business, and try out a few.

With careful planning and execution, your HR consultancy business is set to prosper. Follow these expert tips for the best chance at success in setting up your own company. Now is as good a time as any to start, so grab a notebook and write down those initial goals, and the first steps you’re going to take to achieve them.

Editorial Team
This article was written by Editorial a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd

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