A friend of mine was asking for advice about starting up a consulting company, and I realized I’ve got a lot of good links piled away. Here’s some of my favorites:
Designing the Business
So You Want to Be a Consultant – explains the different kinds of consultants, how they manage money, how to build customer relationships, and more.
Your Crappy Little Services Business – there’s nothing wrong with building a consulting company instead of an aggressively growth-focused dot-com startup.
The Hacking Business Model – we wanted to run a really different consulting company, and we wrote up a whole manifesto that wasn’t too far off from this one.
Failure Is Not The Worst Outcome, Mediocrity Is – we didn’t want to build just another consulting company.
Ten Rules for Web Startups – these are relevant for blogs and service businesses, too.
If I Launched a Startup by The Startup Lawyer – quick bullet list of really important issues I never would have thought about. My favorite: when you start a company, you gradually get 25% of your stock each year.
What Startups Should Know About Hiring a Lawyer – we interviewed several law firms before we found the right fit for our business goals and our personalities. Totally worth the initial up-front time.
Finance and Accounting
Freelance Hourly Rate Calculator – it’s intimidating. It’s long. It’s probably incorrect. But it’s a start.
Questions VCs Will Ask You – venture capitalists want to know that you understand the risks in your market. You shouldn’t take investments as a consulting startup – but you should think like a company that desperately needs a cash infusion from an experienced VC.
The Unfortunate Math Behind Consulting Companies – the profit margin is a lot thinner than it looks at first. The author recommends techniques that we chose not to implement (like using subcontractors instead of employees) but it opens your eyes to the costs.
Living Self-Employed: The Manual They Forgot to Give You – whether you start a company or just go freelance, the money lessons in here are so important.
How to Be a Startup CEO – splitting equity, keeping costs low, what you have to do in the first year, building an advisory board, and more.
12 Things to Tell Your Spouse – starting up a company is going to suck really bad if you don’t lay out ground rules and work on your work/life balance.
Top 20 Reasons Startups Fail – gleaned from case studies and post-mortems. #1: being inflexible and not actively seeking or using customer feedback.
Most Important Business Lessons – my favorite: after the first year or two, your success is determined by the people you hire, not by you.
Three Roads to the Top of the Mountain – he defines success, 3 ways to get there, and talks about the road he chose.
If You Build It, They Won’t Come – customer acquisition is harder than it looks.
How Not to Go Broke On Your Idea – can you explain your idea to someone using a single sheet of paper and a crayon? Do you know your 6 best potential customeres twice as well as they know themselves?
How to Build Your Business Before You Quit – you already need a product, customers, and money in the bank.