83% of employers cite attracting and retaining talent as one of the biggest challenges they face. And that’s not surprising.
The expertise of the people that work in a company plays a vital role in its success, which is why HR consulting companies are becoming more in-demand each year.
But while it’s a great time to start an online HR business, you still need a well thought out plan if you want to achieve long-term success.
So, let’s look at some of the most critical steps that go into setting up an online HR business in 2021.
Determine Your Ideal Customer
In a lot of ways, an HR consulting business is no different from any other. You provide valuable services to clients and get compensated for your effort and results.
Because of that, the initial step in the process is similar as well. Before you can start attracting clients, you will need to understand who you’re trying to reach.
Even small businesses need some sort of HR presence or at least a way to manage current employees and attract new talent. Not to mention medium-sized or enterprise companies that have hundreds or even thousands of employees.
And for different sized companies, HR needs and goals can be different as well. The types of services can also differ significantly based on the industry that you want to focus on.
Think about the types of challenges you want to help solve, the environments that best suit your skills and preferences, and the types of markets that appeal to you the most.
By figuring these things out upfront, you’ll have a much easier time narrowing down your business focus and putting together an ideal customer profile on which you can focus your efforts.
This choice will dictate the channels you market through, the type of connections you seek out, and even the brand image you want to create. So take time to think through this decision and consider the implications it will have on the lifestyle and monetary goals you seek to achieve.
Build a Brand
Building a B2B brand is not an easy process. But it’s essential if you want to attract the right customers that will trust you and allow you to reach your business goals.
But to establish a strong brand presence for your HR consulting business, you’ll need to take a slightly different approach than if you were a typical B2C company.
For one thing, it’s much more important to be a vocal thought leader in your field if you want to be noticed. B2B audiences, especially those seeking high-level professionals such as HR, need to see that you know your field and have innovative ideas for solving common HR challenges.
But there are also similarities that go in any branding effort online. For instance, you will need to create a memorable website that will stand out and instill confidence.
Start by figuring out your company name and finding cheap website hosting and a domain name. The good news is that if you go with a reputable provider, you can get both the domain and the hosting simultaneously and avoid complicated setup processes.
Once you have a website that will serve as your online hub, you should also figure out what social media or other channels you want to have. For B2B audiences, LinkedIn is a great place to be, but you might also want to establish a presence on sites like Facebook or even Medium.
Finally, make sure you develop a strong, unique proposition that will be the defining feature of your brand. That will be the basis of your authority-building efforts and guide you in how you can separate from others.
It will also be the defining feature that will get businesses to notice your HR consulting company and persuade them to seek you out.
Focus on Networking
85% of positions are filled through networking. And as an HR consulting firm, you will have to rely on networking as well if you want to never run out of high-value clients to work with.
Sure, building authority and a public image is a great way to establish your presence and become more trustworthy.
But you will also need to form long-lasting personal connections that will help you get noticed by the more prominent companies in your market who need help with HR.
After all, no matter what you can tell and prove about your services, it will never be as persuasive as someone recommending you to their colleague or peer.
Once you start expanding your network of colleagues and clients, you will notice that jobs start coming your way more naturally, and you can become pickier about which HR consulting jobs you want to take.
But to make this happen, you need to take a proactive approach to networking.
It’s not enough to just make a connection and leave it; you have to work to get the value that the networking opportunity can offer.
For instance, when you finish a successful project with a client, you should always try to accomplish three things:
- Get them to write or record a testimonial you can use on your site.
- Get them to agree to a case study that showcases your results.
- Get them to recommend you to their peers who might need similar services.
If you can make a habit of doing these three things, you will soon start to dominate your market and become the go-to HR consulting business that can charge premium rates.
Use a Variety of Marketing Methods
In the previous section, we discussed the importance of networking and how it can become the most powerful way to attract a stable stream of new HR clients.
But at the same time, you must not become solely reliant on word-of-mouth, as that can result in big fluctuations when you’re overbooked one month and then underbooked the next.
To supplement this, you should take a proactive approach and use multiple marketing channels to keep bringing in prospective leads.
Using paid ads on LinkedIn or Facebook, appearing in highly-targeted publications, or even partnering up with other B2B services providers to offer joint services can all be good ways to expand your reach and ensure that you have a diverse lead generation strategy.
We already discussed why you should build your authority, and using outbound marketing strategies in combination with inbound marketing is usually the best path to success.
Now is a great time to start an online HR business. But if you want to attract clients consistently, you should still take a structured approach and build your business from the ground up.
With the tips listed above, you will be well on your way to becoming an in-demand HR consultant who will have the luxury of only working with the most exciting and lucrative clients.