Technology is evolving faster than ever. The rapid changes in the tech world have driven business owners to seek out expert help from tech consultants. After all, calling on the help of someone with more knowledge than you is much more beneficial than trying to figure it all out by yourself. So, if you possess the knowledge, expertise and skills in technology, there’s a good chance that tech consulting might be something you’re interested in. Before you open up your own tech consulting business though, there’s some essential steps you need to take care of first. 

What Does A Consultant Do?

A consultant is someone with a specialty in a particular area. They lend their knowledge, skills and thoughts to organisations that require their help by performing analysis and offering recommendations. Naturally, a tech consultant is someone that specialises in technology. Most tech consultants will likely have a niche field. They can be sought out to offer advice on matters ranging from security to technology trends. 

How Do I Become A Tech Consultant?

There’s no specialised degree or course that makes someone a tech consultant. Generally, it’s a combination of the right qualifications and experience that enables a person to have the expertise to be able to consult others. Remember, a consultant has a high level of knowledge that usually takes years and effort to build, so if you’re not there yet then it’s best to stay on course and keep strengthening your expertise before getting into business. Tech is also a very broad area- working out what your niche is and how you can use it to help businesses grow is beneficial when pursuing a career as a tech consultant.   

How Do I Start My Own Tech Consulting Business?

A tech consulting business is started like any other business. You’ll need to formally register your business and apply for the relevant taxes. Let’s take a look at this in more detail below. 

Choose A Business Structure

First, it’s important to decide what business structure will be best for your business. This will be the initial building blocks for your business, so it’s one of the most important decisions you will make. Commonly, people start their business either as a sole trader, a company or in a partnership. Each business structure differs when it comes to simplicity of the registration process, management duties and personal liability. Knowing where you stand regarding these matters will help you make the best choice for your business. If you’re confused, talking to a legal expert can help clear things up. 

Register Your Business

Once you’ve picked a business structure, you will need to register your business. If you’re thinking of starting up as a sole trader business, then you will need an Australian Business Number (ABN) which can be obtained by applying online. Along with getting an ABN, you might also need to register your business name if you’re using something other than your personal name. 

On the other hand, if it’s a company you’re setting up, then the process is much more different. A company is considered to be a legal entity on its own and needs to report to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and get an Australian Company Number (ACN). There’s more regulations when it comes to setting up a company which is why it’s always beneficial to have a legal expert help you do this. 

Additionally, if you’re thinking of starting a partnership, then along with the formal registration process you will also need to get some legal documents sorted like a Partnership Agreement or Founders Term Sheet

Think About Taxes   

When you’re registering your business, it’s wise to think about the relevant taxes and apply for them as you go. Things like goods and services tax (if your annual turnover is more than $75, 000), PAYG and knowing what can qualify as a potential tax dedication can help when it comes to keeping up with your tax obligations. 

Do You Need A License To Start A Tech Consulting Business?

As of right now, there’s no specific license you need to apply for that permits you to start a tech consulting business. However, depending on where you plan on starting your business, it’s always a good idea to look at any local council or state regulations. Things like zoning laws and council permits are likely to play a role in where you can open a business and whether you can open a certain type of business in a particular area, as well as any other rules and regulations that need to be followed. 

What Else Would I Need To Run A Tech Consulting Business?

One of the most important elements to starting any business are the legal documents you will need. Having the right documents in place can help protect your business from things like misunderstandings, false claims and limit your liability. It’s advisable to invest in having these documents sorted prior to starting your tech consulting business. 

A few legal documents you might want to look into getting include:

IT Services Agreement

An IT Services Agreement covers a range of important matters, from scope of services, to liability and payment. It’s crucial to have this agreement in place with your clients before you start conducting business with them. This way, both parties can be on the same page and there’s less chances of a misunderstanding.  

Business Terms and Conditions

Every business has certain rules in place as well as responsibilities they hold towards individuals that engage with their business. A Business Terms and Conditions can help clarify the roles and responsibilities of each party, further protect your liabilities and help keep your revenue stream secured. Look into getting one drafted by a legal expert today. 

Privacy Policy 

As an It consulting business, there’s a good chance you’ll be utilising technology yourself and making yourself available online. Having an online presence can be a great way to be more accessible however, if you’re collecting the information of others (even if it’s just an email) then you will need a Privacy Policy so you can be compliant with Australian privacy regulations. 

Employment Agreements 

At some point in your business’s journey, you might decide on onboard staff to help with the day to day management of the business or even get additional consultants working with you. Having an expanding team is always exciting but it’s crucial you have a formal agreement in place with them prior to their first day of work. An Employment Agreement covers key matters such as a description of the role, responsibilities, salary, leave, entitlements and termination. 

Management Consulting vs Tech Consulting 

Management consulting and tech consulting can sometimes get confused, as it’s not uncommon for their areas to cross paths. Management is focused on areas that are linked to the running of the business, such as culture, processes and strategy. Tech on the other hand looks at technology as a whole and focuses on things like software development, cyber security and artificial intelligence. Certain forms like to offer both management and tech consulting services, as businesses might be interested in improving both areas at once. 

Next Steps 

Starting a tech consulting business can be a gateway into providing valuable advice to businesses and make your mark in the industry. However, it’s important to take care of all the legal considerations and make sure your business is compliant so it can have the best start possible. To summarise what we’ve discussed: 

  • Technology is evolving rapidly, leading businesses to seek help from tech consultants for expert advice and solutions
  • A tech consultant specialises in technology related fields, offering advice on security, trends and more
  • Becoming a tech consultant requires a combination of qualifications and experience, with a niche expertise being beneficial 
  • Starting a tech consulting business involves choosing a business structure, registering the business and considering relevant taxes
  • There is no specific license for starting a tech consulting business however, you should always keep an eye out for any local regulations that might apply 
  • Legal documents like IT Services Agreement, Business Terms and Conditions, Privacy Policy, and Employment Agreements are important for your tech consulting business
  • Management consulting focuses on business processes and strategy, while tech consulting focuses on technology related solutions

If you would like a consultation on starting a tech consulting business, you can reach us at 1800 730 617 or team@sprintlaw.com.au for a free, no-obligations chat.

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