Starting a consulting business in Atlanta is a dream for many industry experts and entrepreneurs who want to earn by monetizing their knowledge or expertise in a particular domain. It’s indeed quite common for people with vast knowledge of a domain to launch their business as a consultant.
Being a consultant pays well and is considered a prestigious job in most states of the US. This article will focus on the steps you need to take to start a consulting business in Atlanta.
Table of ContentsToggle
Why Atlanta is the Perfect Hub for Consultants
Atlanta is the largest business hub in the Southeastern US and can rightly be regarded as the business capital of Georgia and several other southeastern states. It hosts the global headquarters of several Fortune 500 companies, including Coca-Cola, AT&T Mobility, Delta Airlines, and The Home Depot.
Atlanta’s location and the presence of large businesses provide enough opportunities for consultants who can easily land high-paying clients such as large national and multinational corporations.
Understanding the Atlanta Consulting Market
Atlanta City and the wider Atlanta Metropolitan Area are home to several multibillion-dollar corporations, mid and small businesses, and entrepreneurs always looking to optimize their business processes. This combination of businesses of all sizes makes Atlanta a vibrant economy that needs a steady supply of all sorts of experts and consultants.
Business consultants, management consultants, marketing consultants, digital marketing consultants, and digital transformation consultants are among the few consultant roles in demand in Atlanta.
No matter your niche, if you have a business skill that can be monetized as a consultant, there’s a pretty good chance that you can find well-paying customers for your consulting services in Atlanta.
Crafting Your Consulting Business Plan
Before starting a consulting business in Atlanta, you need to get your basics covered. You must have a clear idea of what kind of consulting services you want to offer, your target industry, target audience, etc. A well-crafted consulting business plan will help you identify all the important parts that one has to deal with when starting a consulting business in Atlanta.
If prepared correctly, your consulting business plan can help you avoid any pitfalls commonly associated with starting a new business.
Legal and Financial Considerations for Consultants
Consultants must also be aware of several legal and financial issues they’ll face once they launch their business. The first thing that one needs to consider is the legal structure that will be used. One can start working as a consultant in Atlanta as a Sole Proprietor, Limited Partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), or Corporation.
Your choice of business structure will dictate several things down the road, as it will lead to different tax rates and liability and may affect your ability to work as an independent contractor later.
There are clear IRS rules about that you need to comply with while working as a consultant. While most solo consultants start as sole proprietors, as it’s the easiest way to start a business, it also means that there is no separation of personal and business finance, and you are liable for all the debt and liabilities of your business.
Suppose you want to keep your personal and business finances separate. In that case, it’s better to go with an LLC or Corporation as these business structures allow for complete separation of finances and offer the protection of limited liability.
Limited liability is a legal concept which, in simple English, means that you as an individual are not liable for the debts or liabilities of your business. This protects your personal assets as they can’t be claimed in a court of law for settling the debts and liabilities of your consulting business.
The next thing that you need to be mindful of is taxes, as personal income and business income are taxed separately, and the final tax rate you’ll pay may also be influenced by the type of business structure you choose for your business.
There are different tax laws on the income earned by independent contractors and employees. Suppose your consulting business means that you qualify as an independent contractor. In that case, you’ll need to file a Form 1099 with IRS at the end of the year that will include your billings, but if you happen to work as an employee for another organization, then you’ll need to file a Form W-2.
If you work with multiple clients as a consultant, you’ll need to file separate form 1099s for each transaction. If you billed a client multiple times during a financial year, then the payer may give you a combined form 1099 that lists all the transactions during the year.
You also need to know whether sales tax needs to be added to your fees. In Georgia, professional services are not subject to sales tax. This is not a blanket ban, as certain services are liable to be taxed in Georgia. In addition to state sales tax, most counties in Georgia also levy sales tax, and whether the services you provide are subject to the sales tax will also depend on the county where your business is based.
If your consulting business deals in any way with services where intellectual property is being created, then you also need to be aware of the laws related to the ownership of such intellectual property. In some cases, your work might be entitled to copyright protection, and you need to discuss this with your client beforehand to avoid any issues down the road.
Building Your Consulting Team in Atlanta
As you may already know, a consulting business may need more than one consultant. While you might be an expert in your industry, your chances of long-term will largely depend on the type of team you can assemble.
This means that you’ll need to look out for and hire other experts who can support you in your journey as a consultant. Atlanta is home to several large, medium, and small businesses, meaning there is no talent shortage. You can easily recruit new employees and consultants for your newly minted consulting business in Atlanta.
Atlanta is also known for hosting more than 15 colleges and universities and is home to the famed Georgia Tech or Georgia Institute of Technology. Georgia Tech is a recognized leader in stem disciplines such as engineering, architecture, business, design, and industrial management. It also hosts the campuses of Georgia State University and Emory University, both of which are among some of the best universities in the US.
This extensive collection of highly-ranked educational institutions will ensure that you’ll always have a steady supply of fresh talent and never face any problems hiring new consultants or employees.
Effective Marketing Strategies for Consultants
Marketing a consulting business is no mean feat, as one can choose from almost endless methods, channels, and marketing strategies. Consultants generally get most of their business by word of mouth, events, networking, paid ad campaigns, email newsletters, or cold calling. You can employ one or more of these strategies to promote your consulting business.
Delivering High-Impact Consulting Services
Delivering high-impact consulting services requires you to identify problems and come up with solutions to these problems that your clients might be facing. There are whole books on consulting out there that are full of advice on how a consultant can deliver high-impact services, and one needs to spend a reasonable amount of time in the trenches before one can design services that can be classified as having a high-impact on their clients.
Nurturing Client Relationships for Long-Term Success
Consulting is about building and nurturing client relationships, as your long-term success is directly correlated to your relationships with your existing and prospective clients.
Harnessing Technology to Enhance Consulting Efficiency
Modern-day consultants are expected and often required to be tech-savvy as the business world has become dependent on technology over the last few decades. Knowing your way around a PowerPoint presentation is simply not enough for a consultant today. As a consultant, be ready for lifelong learning as you’ll need to learn new tools and technologies and come up with new ways to harness technology almost daily.
Modern-day businesses generate an enormous amount of data about their operations, clients, products, services, workplace environment, and organizational culture that can be used for various types of business decisions. Consultants today are expected to know their way around data tools and analytics; they must be able to make sense of the data and use it to chart a way forward.
Growing and Scaling Your Atlanta Consulting Venture
Once you’ve established the foundation of your Atlanta consulting business, you can think about growing and scaling your consulting business. This often means hiring new consultants, employees, investing in new technologies, and building new relationships.
Start Your Business with Manay CPA
Hopefully, you are now aware of the basics of starting and growing a consulting business in Atlanta. Perhaps, you’re feeling overwhelmed by the number of things one must consider before starting a consulting business in Atlanta.
Don’t worry, as Manay CPA is here to simplify the process of starting your consulting business. Our accomplished team of experts has helped entrepreneurs across diverse industries to effortlessly establish their consulting business right here in the heart of Atlanta. Let us take the lead in transforming your aspirations into a thriving reality. Just give us a call at 404-900-1040 or fill out the form below for further assistance.