10 Tips to Start your Own Environmental Consulting Firm

At some point of you life, you may have come with the idea of starting your own environmental consulting firm. This article can help you to make your project real or, if it is not, you will know it in a short time.

To be successful on your project, we give you the following tips:

1.  Present an original project

In other words, present a firm with strengths and capacities that make it different from the rest. This advantage can be because of the use of software, methods or even the personal considered to make the evaluations.

2. Do not steal clients

If you want to preserve the environment, you have to be ethical. A lot of people suppose that the clients you worked with at your former company will "move" to your new consulting firm because they know you. This usually happens, however, it is not recommendable because, in the future, the story will be repeated between you and your workers. This is why it is important to...

3. Be known for your capacities

You can say a million of things to your clients. You can tell them about your super team of professionals, the experience you have, your good relation with other clients, but you have to show your real capacities. The client is selective and will choose you again depending on how well you develop projects. Many times you do not have second chances.

4. Get a good accountant

The correct management of taxes is crucial for the future of a company. You know you have a good accountant when you never receive notifications related to payment of bills and taxes.

5. In a group or alone... it does not matter

Maybe you told your aunt about the idea and she said "I think it would be better if you associate with... ". Maybe she gave you this advice because she loves you a lot, but it is not objective. A project with many heads needs consensus and every change needs to come from a mutual agreement.  Solitary projects are more flexible, while group projects promote team work.

6. Reduce your expenses

If you were expecting your company to have from the first day an office, a receptionist, a website, a coffee machine and be preset in all the related events and fairs, you will run out of money quickly; and, if your sales are low, you will have one of those companies that only last 3 months. At the beginning, it its adequate to use your living room as an office, your home phone as the office phone and your kitchen as the cafeteria.

7. Learn from the client

The client wants solutions. The passion for what you do is a passion to understand people and satisfy their needs. If you do this, you generate a good perception, clients will notice you and you will stand from the rest.

8. The truth will set you free

If you evaluated an impact, you have to show the impact. If the client does not like the impact, then you can discuss about it, but do not hide or change anything.  The future of evaluations implies the use of more advanced methods and, at the same time, trustworthy people. If your professional career has some "deep episodes" in "forced evaluations", you will not have the moral to lead advanced evaluations.

9. Know the labor laws

If you want to preserve the environment, you need to value the person and their job. The people you work with must have contracts and what is stated there must be respected. Schedules, vacations, salaries must be discussed from the beginning.

10. Whatever you do, look for change

Environmental management is seen as something that "stops investment" and that the environmental experts are dreaming and not seeing the reality. This may be partly true, because of all the social conflicts. The love for science motivates us to understand every aspect of the environment. We will never completely understand nature, however this hard and constant effort will make a change.

Saul Montoya

Saul Montoya es Ingeniero Civil graduado de la Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú en Lima con estudios de postgrado en Manejo e Ingeniería de Recursos Hídricos (Programa WAREM) de la Universidad de Stuttgart con mención en Ingeniería de Aguas Subterráneas y Hidroinformática.

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