While some companies opt for a personalised in-house Human Resources Management team, there are some who prefer to outsource because it is effective and efficient to do so. This is where Human Resources (HR) Consultancy comes in. HR Consultancy is a growing field in Zimbabwe. The spectrum of HR services that can be offered is wide. These include recruitment and selection, organisational development, training and development, performance management, succession planning, industrial relations and many more. With the right experience and expertise, you can open and run a profitable HR Consultancy firm. Below, we look at what it takes to do so successfully.

Company registration

First and foremost, you need to register your company. This will help you operate legally and also for tax purposes. Company registration can be cumbersome and frustrating if you are not well versed in the process. As such, it may be advisable to hire experts to do that for you for a fee.

Capital

With a conservative start-up capital of between $5000 and $10000 you can venture into this business. Most of the capital will be used for finding suitable premises, procurement of furniture, computers, software as well as for marketing your business.

Premises

In this line of business, you need to find the right premises. The location of your business should be central as this will give you a good chance of getting walk-in clients. The buildings themselves should be neat and your furniture top notch. First impressions last so you need to make a powerful first impression. Remember that HR Consultancy work will keep you in the office about 70% of the time. This means your offices should be appealing. HR work also demands a high level of confidentiality so you must make sure that your offices allow for this. If you and your team work in a pool office set aside one private room for meetings with clients.

Research

A lot of research is needed before you open your doors to the public. Look at companies around you and see what their HR needs may be. These are likely to be your first customers. Since HR Consulting entails many services, it is better to choose a few which you are good at and which are in demand in the area where you operate. This niche will become your cash cow. You cannot be a jack of all trades so the best you can do is accept that and focus on what you can do best. It is also important to research what your competition is doing and work to better that. You will soon realise that their customers will come flocking to you.

Staff

If you are a qualified HR person, this will make things easier for you. You can add two or three people to assist you in your business. Depending on what services you decide to specialise in, you may want to employ people with certain expertise which support your plan. For example, you may employ a recruitment expert and an industrial relation expert if those are your core offerings. You also need to keep in mind that if you are going to offer services like psychometric testing, you will need to be properly registered to be able to administer these. Skills like communication and report writing are always key for all employees of an HR Consultancy company. This is over and above a tertiary qualification like a Bachelors or Master’s Degree as well as professional courses like those offered by the Institute of People Management of Zimbabwe (IPMZ).

Market

Those companies who do not employ their own HR people are your first port of call when you are marketing your services. Some of them may not even be aware that they need your services. As such, it is your duty to make them understand that they need you. The big cities like Harare and Bulawayo have many HR Consultancies so you may struggle to gain market share. If possible, focus on the smaller towns where you can make a quick name for yourself and grow from there.

Since you are new, you need to advertise extensively. From social media pages to flyers, the works. A neat and exciting website will also do the trick. Also, if your competitors are offering similar services, design yours in a way that sets you apart. That is your value proposition. Always dare to be different, better than what is on the market.

Technology

In this day and age, technology plays a key role in how we offer services. The HR field is no different. There is different software for payroll management, recruitment and so forth. Invest in the best at all times.

Continuous professional development

HR, like any other profession, keeps evolving. As a result, you need to ensure that you and your team follow any developments closely. As new methodologies come in, be the first to adapt to them. Do not be left behind because if you do, you will soon lose relevance. So, continuous professional development for you and your team is essential.

Other tips

There is a lot of presentation and report writing that goes on in HR Consultancy. Make sure you are always ahead of the game. Your team’s skills should always be sharp and fresh in this regard. In addition, be time conscious at all times. If you promise a report on a certain date, do not miss the deadline. Stick to your promises at all costs.

Another important thing is to join professional associations like IPMZ. These will offer you the right contacts who are likely to help you as you go along. Attending industry seminars and discussing with counterparts will help you in many ways. You can also get referrals from these contacts.

Like any other business, HR Consultancy requires high levels of focus, commitment and quality. Its success will largely depend on you. Your prices will also matter as well but if the product is good, you will find customers who are willing to pay well for it. If done right, this business can bring in good returns on investment.