B2B companies touch just about every part of your day to day life, even though you don’t interact with them directly. They are plugging away behind the scenes.
The idea we have for you to begin right now is a B2B consulting business. Let’s discuss this more and we’ll explain.
What is a B2B company? B2B stands for ‘business to business’. In the simplest terms, that means that they don’t work for the end user, they deal with the providers of goods or services. Need an easy way to fulfill a payroll? That’s a B2B company. Need a specific part for the machine you’ve been manufacturing? B2B company. Need extra hands making your website function a specific way? Also a B2B company.
AJ Wilcox is the founder of B2Linked. B2Linked specifically focuses on advertising for LinkedIn, a networking and job search tool for professionals. They help companies that are looking to grow and expand through LinkedIn ads. The company consults on areas a company could improve their outreach, and either trains its employees or takes over the accounts and audits them themselves to maximize performance.
They are wildly successful sharing Wilcox’s keys to success with their clients. And, Wilcox loves his job so much that he said if LinkedIn were to disappear, he would just continue doing the same thing on other networking or social media sites.
Here are some of the things he shared with us about starting a successful B2B consulting company like his. One of the best aspects about this type of business is that the initial investment is very low. We all have time and our own time is free. No need to dive deep into your pockets to get this gig going. Your costs and revenues (and hopefully profits) both grow directly with your clientele making it pretty low risk.
What else do you need to get this agency rolling besides time? Wilcox says you need a deep expertise in something. Wilcox has a deep expertise in understanding the functions of LinkedIn and knows it on a profound level. But he says that at the end of the day its marketing and that with some tweaks to his current system, could function on any forum.
What are the Pros and Cons of a B2B consulting Company?
If you have extra time then it’s basically free to put towards your business
The initial investment is very low, people are paying for your expertise and brain power
There is a huge potential for upside if you are successful
You can decide your schedule, how much you take on, and who you accept as a client
Job security is not a guarantee
Your income could be more volatile
You may want to use that business time on other things, there is an opportunity cost.
You have to deal with clients and legal contracts
But what if you don’t have expertise in a desired field? How do you find it? Wilcox suggests the following;
-Research similar fields
-Work for the man
-Researching similar fields is one of the first steps. You need to find companies already successful in your desired area in order to learn from them. Find what you are interested in and then find companies that deal with similar interests.
-Work for The Man. First of all, Wilcox says its not a shame as an entrepreneur to go and work for “the man”. Obtaining work at another successful B2B company will not only pay you to learn, but the effects of your mistakes won’t be as costly to you. A company that is already established can afford more mistakes than a company that has just started.
-Aggressively learn all that you can. Follow companies, subscribe to podcasts, read all the books. Take the time to learn all that you can and gain a skill set that will benefit your company. Wilcox suggests if you work hard you may be ready to separate and start your own company in 6-12 months.
Once you have gained an adequate knowledge and skill level the real fun begins.
Wilcox recommends in person networking as your next step. One of his favorite ways to do this is to attend local facilitated networking events. Some are free and others are paid. You can go into either one and come out benefited with the right mindset.
In a facilitated networking event specifically you are assigned to a table with a handful of other hopeful networkers. Each member of the table introduces themselves and what they do. Then you have the opportunity to learn from others. You also get to increase awareness about what you have to offer. This is a benefit to everyone at the table and creates connections to further your entrepreneurial skills.
Contracts can be a tricky thing. Contracts can preserve you from creating an unwanted misunderstanding that can cost you a relationship. Contracts keep both parties on the same page with written terms for both parties to refer to at various times. It also helps to avoid expensive legal costs if things were to go awry.
However; the wording is quite technical and the best way to develop a quality contract for your clients is by hiring a lawyer familiar with the terms. This can be quite costly.
To avoid this, Wilcox suggests a plan. Be careful to decide if this is the right path for you or not.
The plan Wilcox suggests is to forego an official paper contract with your first client, if not the first several. He recommends an agreement by handshake. Then he advises you work with your client or clients very closely. This will be an easy assignment as he is your first and possibly only client for now.
Furthermore, Wilcox suggests when you give your clients a high level of service you are less likely to have disgruntled clients. Listen to what they want and deliver. Focus on a smaller group of clientele to ensure you have the resources necessary to perform as promised.
Basically the legal costs of hiring a lawyer who can deliver the level of contract needed might be too expensive for you when you don’t have a clientele base big enough to support it. Waiting until you have a larger pool of funds and more clients might be the best option for some.
You could agree on payment one of two ways:
The first option would be an hourly rate. Wilcox recommends that this level of business lends itself to a starting salary of $150 per hour. He himself after years of experience is working at a $400 an hour rate.
The second option would be a performance based rate. Business owners usually like this profit sharing concept because you don’t make money until they make money. There is hopefully an equal motivation for both parties. A word of caution is to find a way to ensure that you are being dealt with honestly and fairly as sometimes you don’t have access to their account numbers.
So do you have a deep level of expertise? Is your expertise something that could be shared with other businesses? Maybe focusing on your skill sets might be the lead to your next great business idea!