Why this is the Best Time to Start an HR Consultancy
The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the business world irreversibly, forcing companies to adapt and evolve at speed in order to survive.
Business matters such as employee relations, recruitment, redundancy, talent management, development and succession planning have forced organisations to make difficult decisions regarding staff and their future. At the same time, the shift to hybrid working, staff retention and a renewed focus on employee wellbeing have brought with them a suite of new challenges and considerations.
In spite of the many challenges posed by the pandemic, the SME market has been experiencing significant growth, accounting for 99.9% of the business population in 2021 and three fifths of all employment in the UK.
With all this change, uncertainty and growth, HR has an increasingly critical role to play in helping UK businesses navigate our post-Covid world. The market conditions are therefore prime for any HR professional looking to make the next move and start their own consultancy.
Where to start
Start by dusting off those key business development skills. Previously you might have had a big team around you, or worked in an in-house department and had one client, but you are now your own team and will be building everything from the ground up – from your customer base to your personal brand.
During these first few key months, you should be focusing on gaining knowledge of your local area and local businesses, finding out what their unique needs and challenges are and how you can best serve them.
Social networks like LinkedIn are a great way to introduce yourself and your brand to businesses in the area and start building relationships with the local community. You will also be looking at who your local competitors are – if any, as the competitiveness of HR will vary region by region – and working to develop a point of difference.
If the foundations of your business are built on local knowledge and meaningful connections, then you are much more likely to engender a loyal customer base in the long-term.
Starting your own HR consultancy is a fantastic opportunity for any HR professional who feels like they have reached the top of their game at their organisation and who is looking for more fulfilment, autonomy and flexibility in their career.
When you start your own consultancy, you are responsible for the whole lifecycle of the business ownership – from the actual HR delivery to business development and marketing, accounting and invoicing. Whether you already have all of those skills or are learning new skills as you, relying on your own expertise is incredibly rewarding and builds business confidence.
Having full-business control means you can choose who you want to work with too. While some professionals might see this as an opportunity to work with a variety of businesses in various sectors, so they can grow their knowledge across different disciplines and industries, others might decide to focus on a specific sector and become more of a specialist.
There is no bureaucracy either, which means you can make changes and decisions quickly without any laborious administrative processes. If you want to change your marketing strategy, you can change it. If you want to broaden your client base, you can take the necessary steps to do that. You are your own boss and those decisions are yours to make.
Overcoming potential challenges
Starting a new business is a big move and, naturally, there will likely be some challenges along the way. When these hurdles pop up, remind yourself that they are a normal part of the process and don’t lose sight of the long-term goal.
Before you make your first call or send your first email, accept that establishing connections takes time and calls and emails will be ignored. It is unlikely you will experience any organic customer growth in the first six to 12 months, but that will change once you have firmly established your personal and company brand. Referrals and recommendations will soon replace calls and emails.
Getting the work-life balance can be tricky in any job. It is especially tricky when you are your own boss and starting your own business and so it is important to make a conscious effort to organise yourself, manage your time efficiently and remember to switch off.
With only yourself to hold to account in the early days – until you start to bring people on board – it can be easy to be hard on yourself if something doesn’t go to plan. In those instances, ask why something didn’t work and learn from your mistakes. Stick to your KPIs and they will be a great indicator as to whether something is working or not.
Are you ready?
During times of change and uncertainty, HR has an even greater role to play in ensuring businesses are managing their employees in a way that is conducive to growth, productivity and positive wellbeing. The past two years have certainly been full of change and uncertainty and this will continue as we move through the tailend of the pandemic and beyond.
Contact HR Dept Franchising to discuss how we can help you take the next step in your career and reap the rewards from starting your own HR Consultancy.
About the author:
Kim Hunter is franchisee for Highlands, Scotland. She joined The HR Dept family in Feb 2021 so has just celebrated her 1st anniversary running her HR business.