Inc. reader Ken Fredeen shared his thoughts on what to consider when starting a consulting business in the Sound Off! area of the April 2004 article, "Brains For Hire." From his experience as the principal/owner of NeuTech Consulting, a strategy consulting practice based in Monroe, Conn., Fredeen offers four areas that prospective new consultants should have covered before hanging out the "open-for-business" sign.

  1. You have one or two immediate clients.
  2. You have a well-respected reputation in your industry.
  3. You have strong self-promotion and selling skills.
  4. There is an eaily identifiable, pent-up demand for your service, and you are uniquely qualified to deliver it. (You must be absolutely realistic about this, not just hope that the demand is there.)

If you're strong in only some of these areas, you have a pretty good chance of success, according to Fredeen, but if none of these bases are covered, then you should reconsider going into business for yourself.