Consulting is one of the most popular and fastest growing home-based enterprises and for good reason. Like most home businesses, home-based consultants enjoy…
- Flexible working hours often working when and where they want
- Typically low startup costs since most have a home office
- Time lost commuting to and from the office is eliminated
- No risk of job loss. They are their own boss
- Unlimited income potential. No salary caps
- Increased productivity opportunities
To be a successful home-based consultant requires an impressive list of skills, however, and few that enter the industry are masters of those skills on day one. For ultimate success, many will need to be developed as you grow your business. Below are 10 essential skills all factoring brokers and business finance consultants should develop.
Like all consultants, factoring brokers need to be excellent communicators. A significant part of your industry success will hinge on your ability to speak informatively with prospects so they fully understand just how your services can assist them in solving their problems of cash flow. Factoring is not a difficult subject but few business owners are knowledgeable regarding it’s powerful capabilities.
When first entering the industry, brokers will likely need to deal with above average levels of stress. Developing industry knowledge, new marketing skills, attending networking events, and learning how to manage and utilize productivity tools can be overwhelming in the first several months. Learning to manage such stresses means you will significantly cut the time necessary to become productive and land your first deals as a freelance industry broker.
Starting a home-based consulting business will require that you learn many new skills and many regarding business development. For factoring brokers, not only will you need to learn how to develop business and new clients, but you will also need to spend many hours learning about a product (factoring) you likely know little about and are not familiar with.
Sales Pipeline Tools & Development
One of the most important (and difficult) skills for new consultants to master is how to effectively setup a sales pipeline and develop a system for managing it. Fortunately, much of this work is now accomplished through the use of a CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) but choosing a manager and learning to use it properly will take some time and effort.
Writing and Authoring
The world of business development is changing rapidly and more and more quality leads for clients are being sourced through the internet, social media, and content marketing. If you are lacking good writing and authoring skills, this is an area you will want to nurture and develop quickly. Virtually all successful business websites now utilize a blog and the posting of informative articles to develop leads. For consultants of all types, good writing skills are becoming more and more important daily.
You will need to develop self-promoting skills and the ability to market yourself when participating in face-to-face networking opportunities, on social networks, and on other professional channels to be able to attract both clients and to build relationships with referrers.
Staying Abreast of the Industry and Business News
Professional factoring consultants will always be in “learning mode” and seeking opportunities to generate leads. Often, such opportunities present themselves when there is a change in the general business climate or trends such as increases in interest rates at the Federal Reserve, tax increases or cuts that will affect small business owners, etc. Exceptional brokers keep there hands on the pulse of the industry.
Developing List Building Skills
One of the keys to marketing and lead generation is list building and list management. As a broker, you will be constantly building lists of “suspects” to market to and the better your list building skills, the more suspects can be turned into prospects and ultimately clients. List building and good list management using a CRM is critical to your success.
Networking and Relationship Building Expertise
In the factoring industry, roughly 50% of all new factoring clients are generated as the result of referral and this is typically from other lenders such as banks or from professionals such as accountants and CPA’s. As a factoring broker, building expansive networks which include other business professionals is critical to your success and make no mistake, successful networking and then building relationships with those you meet is an acquired talent.
Managing Your Opportunities Calendar
One absolutely essential trait of good freelancers is their ability to “ferret” out unique networking and marketing opportunities and to never let them fall through the cracks. For example, when an opportunity to network with S.C.O.R.E or SBDC advisers presents itself, that should be a very high priority on your events calendar. Schedule other marketing campaigns around these as they are infrequent and represent potent networking opportunities you should never miss out on.