What Do I Need to Know to Open a Business Consulting Service?

What Do I Need to Know to Open a Business Consulting Service?


I would like to know what are the requirements to open a business consulting company. To elaborate I want my company to be based on administration services such as registering new businesses on cipc and any administration of businesses on cipc. Do I need to be an accountant to provide such services because I am not an accountant.

One of the most important aspects to consider when starting a Business Consultancy, and in particular a Consultancy that specialises in offering Company Registration and Related Administrative Services to clients is to appreciate the fact that the South African industry is very competitive.

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Identifying the gap

Most of the competitors offer a turnkey solution to their clients, i.e. they do all the administrative and paper work on behalf of clients for a fee.

Apart from these competitors, some of the Commercial Banks such as Nedbank and FNB also offer Company Registration Services to clients that open a Bank Account with them. These are indirect competitors you need to take cognisance of.

With this information in hand, you will be able to firstly identify whether a ‘gap’ exist for you to effectively compete against these and other firms. You need to determine what can you offer different or in addition to these firms.

Moreover, you need to determine whether you will be competing on Price (Cheaper); Delivery (Quicker Turnaround Times); Geography (Focus on a Specific Location/Niche Market), etc.

Following is a list of some of the leading competitors in the industry; my advice would be to critically analyse their service offering, costs, scope of the work they do on behalf of clients.

A virtual assistant service

On the administrative side of becoming a business consultant, you may wish to explore the opportunity of offering a ‘virtual assistant’ service, where you are effectively an ‘extension’ of a client’s administration department. You can offer any administrative services, e.g. typing letters, doing presentations, booking appointments, etc.

You only need to be a qualified accountant if you wish to offer accounting services to your clients. Basic administrative duties do not require a qualification.

Get registered

Whether you’re running a sole proprietorship, a partnership or a private company, you have to be registered with the South African Revenue Services (SARS).

If you’ve registered a company with CIPC, you’ll automatically be registered as a tax payer with SARS. Sole proprietors or partners need to register as provisional tax payers directly, and this can be done at any SARS office or online.

For further information and to download the relevant forms, visit the SARS website, where you find exact information aimed at Small Businesses and Private Individuals.

Retainer or per project

Many business consultants work on a retainer system. It is just like having a monthly salary.

With a retainer, you agree with your client to be on call for a specified number of hours, days, weeks or even the whole month, for an agreed-upon monthly fee.

Alternatively, you can bill your client per project, per service, per hour, dependent on the requirements and needs of your client.

Get the skills

In South Africa there are many businesses, especially SMME’s that don’t have all the skills internally and would require the assistance of a Business Consultant. Start your research by compiling a market analysis.

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This is a regional/area study of economic, demographic and other factors made to determine supply and demand, market trends, and other factors which may be important to your new business.

Make your study as complete as possible. Use the internet to conduct research. You can also approach Chambers of Commerce, universities, press releases, business directories, academic studies, etc. To help you to narrow down your target by interest, demographic, and common trends.

These are the kind of questions you need to ask:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • Where is your target audience located?
  • How will you attract them to your consulting services?
  • Who else is competing for their loyalty and devotion?
  • Are you targeting business or consumer sectors?
  • What extra value can you offer?
  • Are your rates competitive in comparison to your competitors?

With all the above being said, it would be advisable, if you are currently employed, to start your business consulting service on a part-time basis.

This will not only reduce your risk of no/limited income but it will provide you with an invaluable opportunity to ‘test’ your market and assumptions and determine whether in fact, there are ‘room’ for you to enter the market effectively.

Dr. Thommie Burger
Founder of JTB Consulting, a leading Business Plan Consultancy that provides practical, unique and affordable Business Consulting and Business Plan Solutions to entrepreneurs, start-up businesses and existing companies. Founder of Animazing, a Marketing Agency that designs unique animated videos; a communication and marketing medium clients use to deliver their messages in an effective, engaging and memorable way. Thommie is a Summa Cum Laude MBA Graduate and holds a PhD in Entrepreneurship and Business Management.