The global marketing industry is predicted to be worth over half a billion dollars, with this number expected to grow in the coming decades. This isn’t surprising, considering marketing plays such a crucial role in the success of a business. Great ideas come and go but what gets a product or service noticed, is a solid marketing strategy. 

Marketing is one of the many hats business owners need to wear, along with the other fundamental aspects of running a business. Instead of always trying to accomplish everything by yourself, sometimes it’s better to get the help of an expert. Enlisting outside help can be far more effective than figuring it out yourself, which is why some business owners turn to marketing consultants for their help. 

If you’ve got considerable expertise and experience in marketing, your skills could be of value to businesses. Starting your own marketing consulting business is the way to go but before you start offering your awesome services to other businesses, let’s talk about getting your marketing consulting business set up first. 

What Is A Marketing Consulting Business?

Marketing consulting businesses help other businesses identify the best marketing strategy for them and aid their implementation. It’s usually a mix of analytical work, such as analysing data trends along with the more creative aspects of marketing, like designing an eye-catching advertisement. 

Marketing is pretty technical and deliberate- it’s not just about ‘the biggest billboard wins’. Rather, you have to specifically target your audience and reach them in a way that is engaging. As a result, many business owners lack the capacity or skills set to successfully implement effective marketing campaigns for their business. This is where a marketing consultant comes in. 

How Do I Become A Marketing Consultant? 

Before you start your business as a marketing consultant, it’s important to make sure you’ve got the right qualifications and experience. There’s no specific path of study or career trajectory you need to officially call yourself a marketing consultant. This means, you’ll need to decide on an area of marketing you want to focus on (it’s a pretty broad industry) and ensure you’ve gained an expert level of understanding. 

Take your time to know your area of marketing well. Potential clients will want to see someone who doesn’t just talk but has proven their success in the marketing industry. 

How Do I Start A Marketing Consulting Business? 

The first step to starting a marketing consulting business is getting it registered. To do this, you will need to pick out a legal structure for your business, which requires some thinking about the current and future plans you have for your business. 

Generally, businesses tend to be registered as a:

  • Sole trader
  • Company or 
  • Partnership 

Each business structure has their own benefits- the one you choose to register will depend largely on what you want for your business. 

A sole trader business has a pretty easy set up process and is low maintenance to run, as there’s not much upkeep. However, the business will not be separate from you, meaning you will be personally liable for everything that happens with your marketing consulting business. To set up a sole trader business, you just need to go online and secure an ABN, then you can go ahead and Register A Business Name for your marketing consulting business. 

Even though a sole trader business is easy to get started, its lack of legal protection often causes business owners to turn to registering a company instead. A company is a legal entity on its own, which limits your liability and protects you personally. Essentially, whatever happens with the company doesn’t affect you personally, which is a smart distinction. Ultimately, if you plan on carrying your marketing business long-term and growing it, then it’s always best to Register A Company right from the start- that way you have it taken care of and won’t have to go back and do it later on. 

You might be thinking of starting your marketing consulting business with a partner. Sharing the responsibility of running the venture can be a great idea, though it’s still important to have the right legal agreements in place, such as a Partnership Agreement or a Founders Term Sheet. Having everything in writing can make sure there’s clarity, leaving less room for misunderstandings and creating a stronger partnership.   

To learn more about business structures, check out our guide here.

Legal Considerations For Starting A Marketing Consulting Business

With your marketing consulting business properly registered, it’s time to jump into the other legal aspects of getting your business up and running. Getting your business registered isn’t the end of your legal commitments- it is just the start of it. In fact, the legal parts of running a business is something you will need to stay on top of consistently (don’t worry though, we’re always here to help).

Let’s take a closer look at some of the things you’ll need to prepare for when starting your marketing consulting business. 

Contracts For My Marketing Consulting Business 

Contracts and other legal documents ensure your business is protected, business operations run smoothly and important matters are clearly communicated. Having strong contracts in place is essential if you want to run a successful business venture of any kind. 

For your marketing consulting business, a few legal agreements you may want to consider getting include: 

Consultancy Agreement: This contract is arguably the most important one between you and your clients, as it can protect your liabilities, manage expectations and secure your revenue streams. It’s crucial to have a written agreement between you and your clients that outlines the roles and responsibilities of both parties. 

Mutual Non-Disclosure Agreement: Understandably, both parties will have information and interest they want to protect. A mutual NDA can ensure both your and your clients are aware of what they need to keep private, this way no one is causing each other any harm. 

Business Terms and Conditions: When anyone (not just clients) chooses to engage with your business, it’s important to set out what is acceptable and what is not from the start. This way, you’ll have more control over your business environment, you’ll be able to better protect others interacting with your business and have the ability to manage your liabilities.

Talking to a legal expert can help in identifying the exact legal documents that will benefit your business. From there, it’s important to have them drafted in a way that’s tailored to your business, so you’re getting the most out of your contracts. 

Regulatory Compliance Measures When Starting A Marketing Consulting Business 

As the owner of a marketing consulting business, it’s important that you follow the laws and regulations that apply to your business. You’ll need to be aware of a number of different regulations that could differ based on where you are located, so it’s important to do some thorough research. 

Some regulations that could apply to your marketing consulting business include:

  • Local council and zoning laws
  • Advertising regulations 
  • Australian Consumer Law (ACL)
  • Tax obligations 
  • Permits and licences

This can be a lot to wrap your head around! After all, it’s pretty hard to learn all the different kinds of regulations that could apply. It’s best to talk to a Regulatory Compliance Lawyer about what your legal obligations may be. This way, they can alert you of anything you might be missing and help you be in line with the law. 

Protecting My Marketing Consulting Business’s Intellectual Property 

When you’re starting and running a business, your intellectual property (IP) is going to protect your business’s identity and uniqueness. Strong intellectual property protections can lead to a leather business overall, so it’s important to take steps to properly secure your intellectual property.  

There’s no one way to secure your intellectual property, as there’s a number of different kinds of intellectual property. For example, logo’s, written resources originally created by you, customer lists and business strategies can all be considered some form of IP. 

Certain types of IP can be registered with IP Australia. For example, you can get your logo registered as a Trade Mark, that way you’ll have complete legal ownership over it. For others, you may need to have confidentiality agreements, Copyright Disclaimers or NDA’s in place to ensure that information doesn’t fall in the wrong hands. 

Talking to a legal expert specialising in IP can help you determine the best ways to safeguard your marketing consulting business’s IP.  

Data And Privacy When Running A Marketing Consulting Business 

Data and Privacy is another legal aspect you’ll need to keep in mind when starting your marketing consulting business. There’s a chance some component (if not all of your business) will operate online. This can be a convenient and resourceful way to conduct business, however you’ll need to make room for the additional data and privacy concerns. 

Let’s say, your business is collecting information from clients online to join your marketing consultancy’s mailing list. It’s fantastic people are so interested in what you have to say! However, as you’ll be collecting their names and emails at the very least, you will need to have a Privacy Policy in place. Australian privacy laws require any business that collects information from its website’s users or has an annual turnover of more than $3 million to have a privacy policy visible on their website.  

Depending on your business operations, it’s also important to consider things like an Information Security Policy, Email Disclaimer and a Data Breach Notification (incase information gets leaked). 

Our Data and Privacy experts will be able to identify any potential risks your business might be exposed to and figure out the best ways to protect it. 

Next Steps

A marketing consulting business can be a promising venture but it’s important to take care of all the legal considerations first. To summarise what we’ve discussed: 

  • Marketing consulting businesses provide valuable expertise in identifying and implementing effective marketing strategies for other businesses
  • Becoming a marketing consultant requires gaining expertise in a specific area of marketing and demonstrating a track record of success
  • To start a marketing consulting business, you need to choose a legal structure, such as sole trader, company, or partnership, based on your business goals
  • Sole trader businesses are easy to set up but offer no legal protection, while registering a company can limit personal liability and is advisable for long-term growth
  • If starting with a partner, having legal agreements like a Partnership Agreement or Founders Term Sheet is essential for clarity and partnership stability
  • Legal considerations include contracts (e.g., Consultancy Agreement, Mutual Non-Disclosure Agreement, Business Terms and Conditions) to protect your business and clients
  • Regulatory compliance measures must be followed, which can vary based on location and may include local council and zoning laws, advertising regulations, consumer laws, tax obligations and permits
  • Intellectual property (IP) protection is crucial for safeguarding your business’s identity and uniqueness, including logos, written resources, customer lists and business strategies
  • Data and privacy regulations should be addressed, including the need for a Privacy Policy, Information Security Policy, Email Disclaimer and Data Breach Notification, depending on your business operations
  • Seeking legal expertise, especially from regulatory compliance and IP specialists, can help you navigate these legal aspects effectively
  • Developing a comprehensive and tailored approach to protect your business’s IP and comply with data and privacy regulations is essential
  • Taking these legal considerations seriously is crucial before launching a marketing consulting business, ensuring a solid legal foundation for your venture

If you would like a consultation on starting a marketing consulting business, you can reach us at 1800 730 617 or for a free, no-obligations chat.

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