Fresh out of school with a newly earned master's degree in organizational behavior, 29-year-old Jeff Houghton was ready to take on the world of training consulting. Knowing he wanted to be in business for himself, Houghton set out to find the perfect opportunity to turn in his cap and gown for some serious capital. "I looked at everything from buying a franchise to starting my own firm and developing my own material," he says.
As luck would have it, Houghton found 360 Solutions LLC, a Waco, Texas, HR training and consulting company that has a wide network of independent management consultants. Intrigued by the opportunity to build residual income (something most firms struggle with), Houghton started his own 360 Solutions of Utah in 1998.
The 360 system offers clients a variety of management training options, including monthly workshops, a series of specialized one-on-one programs, human resources tools and software, and access to a nationwide, online organizational leadership coaching forum. According to Houghton, the three facets of the program may be implemented either as a whole, or independently from one another, depending on the consultant's preference. "My focus now has been building my workshop business and clientele base," says Houghton. "My goal is to build a business that is based on relationships and rapport."
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Start-up costs vary, depending on how many workshops you purchase and on whether you offer programs, which require certification at an additional cost. Corporate 360 also provides Tiger Schools to teach consultants how to build and run a consulting training business, at additional cost of $450. A $495 annual fee gets you access to the company's support resources as well as a chance to sit down with an area coach and discuss strategies. Houghton, who estimates his 2000 sales at $350,000, assures, "You can build a million-dollar business in three years [with 360 Solutions]."