by Gerald Michaluk
Administration is another headache
for the sole trader: financial management and billing, as
well as keeping an eye on the accounts takes your time
away from consulting.
Mead recommends writing out a business plan to deal
with VAT issues, information technology support, and, most
importantly, ensuring that sole traders upgrade their training.
"You have to be very
self-disciplined, and you need to sell hard and be very
self-confident and positive," says Mead. "It
takes a long time to develop all that."
Time is certainly an
issue, but Gerald Michaluk, managing director of
Marketing Management Services, and formerly a lecturer at
Strathclyde University, thinks that he has found an
answer. In November this year, he plans to launch Going
Solo, an Internet franchise call centre operation where
sole trader consultants can get administration and
"If they use our
franchise they will spend less time on administration,
credit control, and research, and will actually spend
more time with clients and therefore earn more
money." says Michaluk.
The cost of the 24-hour
franchise service is £25,000 which includes a training
certificate from the University of Strathclyde on
management consultancy, based on BSENISO9001 and manuals
on how to run a consultancy business and balance the
books. The firm also supplies consultants with a video
phone, ISDN, computers and laptop access to the call
centre in Dunbartonshire via a docking station. After
that consultants are only required to pay a royalty fee
on all their projects, they get the research and
administration support at cost.
Consultants would have to
operate under the Going Solo brand, but for that they
also get access to customer lists and tenders for
projects, says Michaluk. The main benefit is individual
franchise group consultancy support and the help of
mentor, whose aim is to make the business grow.
"A lot of people who
go out on their own underestimate the difficulties,"
says Michaluk. "They are Mr Smith Consulting and not
Price Waterhouse, and companies tend to buy brand names
for the security because they can sue or pass on the
blame. In the research that we conducted, the consultants
leaving Coopers & Lybrand are billed out at £1,500
per day. But the longer the consultant is away from the
Big Six the less they get paid. I can pick up an ex-Price
Waterhouse consultant for £250. What we are offering
with our franchise scheme is a way out of that.
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