Start a corporate immigration consulting business by following these 10 steps:
You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your corporate immigration consulting business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
Check out our How to Start a Business page.
STEP 1: Plan your business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a corporate immigration consulting business?
Entrepreneurs who have launched a successful consulting firm recommend a starting budget of at least $150,000. Items that should be included in your budget include:
- Insurance — Annual premiums could reach as high as $10,000 or more
- Office facility — Depending upon whether you decide to purchase or lease a space, your initial investment in an office space could cost as much as $40,000
- Office equipment — Computers, business software, telephones, printers, furniture, and fixtures
- Marketing materials
- Payroll expenses
- Licensing and fees
- Business consultant — While this could cost you anywhere from $1,500 to over $3,000, the guidance your consultant offers could prove invaluable
If you lack the necessary funding, consider all financing options available to you. Remember who your business will serve — if you cut corners on your website or office space, it will show, and your business will suffer the consequences.
What are the ongoing expenses for a corporate immigration consulting business?
In addition to the standard overhead costs of rent/mortgage, utilities, insurance, website management/hosting, and marketing, you will need to maintain a steady cash flow to cover payroll. Additionally, your ongoing expense budget should include travel expenses and ongoing education.
Who is the target market?
Your marketing strategy should be geared towards businesses, particularly corporate enterprises, that are looking to move or expand to the United States. You will need to appeal to the decision-makers, as they are the ones you will be dealing with and who, ultimately, control the budget.
How does a corporate immigration consulting business make money?
Corporate immigration consulting companies are hired by corporations who are considering moving or expanding their businesses to the United States. Fees are negotiated based on the scope of the project and are typically paid out at an hourly rate.
How much can you charge customers?
Established corporate immigration businesses charge a flat fee for basic services and bill hourly for others. Hourly rates range from $150 to $300, and flat fees vary from $250 to over $5,000. Keep in mind that pricing is a delicate balance — if you price too low, people will wonder why; alternatively, if you price too high, potential clients will look to hire another agency.
How much profit can a corporate immigration consulting business make?
If you charge clients $150 per hour and invest 51 hours of work into one client and 46 hours into the other, you will generate over $14,000 in revenue. If your ongoing expenses equal $4,400, your total profit will equal out to almost $10,000.
How can you make your business more profitable?
If you are looking for ways to increase annual profits, consider offering additional immigration consulting services. While corporate immigration may be a focus, you may want to consider helping individuals who are trying to navigate the legal system and legally immigrate to the United States.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is very important. Read our detailed guide on how to name your business. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your corporate immigration consulting business is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).
You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.
Open net-30 accounts
When it comes to establishing your business credit, net-30 vendors are considered the way to go. The term "net-30," which is popular among vendors, refers to a business credit arrangement where the company pays the vendor within 30 days of receiving goods or services.
Net-30 credit terms are often used for businesses that need to obtain inventory quickly but do not have the cash on hand.
Besides establishing business relationships with vendors, net-30 credit accounts get reported to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.
Recommended: Read our guide on the best net-30 vendors so you can start building business credit now, so you never have to worry about cash flow in the future. Keep in mind that poor cash flow is the #1 reason businesses fail!
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
STEP 7: Get business insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
How to promote & market a corporate immigration consulting business
Since your target audience will be executives and key decision-makers, you will need to create engaging content that speaks to their pain points and establishes you as an authority in your field. Your website should include case studies and success stories. It should be professional and deliver informative content. Additionally, well-placed advertisements in printed publications, online, and on social media could prove beneficial.
How to keep customers coming back
Like any service-oriented business, the client should be at the center of everything you do. Your services should satisfy the unique needs of your client and a professional approach should be taken in everything you do.
Still unsure about what kind of business you want to start? Check out the latest Small Business Trends to help inspire you.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
STEP 10: Set up your business phone system
Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.
There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use.
Recommended: Find the best phone system for your business; check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2021.
Start A Corporate Immigration Consulting Business In Your State
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Is this Business Right For You?
Do you have a background in corporate immigration? Do you enjoy identifying and resolving complex issues? Are you well versed on the subject of corporate management and finances? If you enjoy helping others achieve their business goals and are ready to invest in a challenging yet rewarding and profitable business venture, launching a corporate immigration consulting business could be the perfect fit for you.
Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?
Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!
What happens during a typical day at a corporate immigration consulting business?
Helping a business entity immigrate to the United States requires a great deal of work. Once your marketing efforts land you a client, it is time to get to work. More than likely, your business dealings will take you overseas, where you will conduct on-site interviews to gain a clear understanding of their goals and expectations.
You will need to assess every aspect of the organization, from the scope of the business to its financials and everything in between. All paperwork must be filled out and filed with the appropriate agencies, with adherence to immigration laws as a top priority. All relevant fees should be paid, and all issues must be addressed promptly. Additionally, your clients will likely look to you to ensure all paperwork for migrating employees is filed and that they have access to any resources that might make for a smooth transition.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful corporate immigration consulting business?
Operating a business of this magnitude requires a highly-specialized set of skills. While not required, many entering this industry have a legal background. At the very least, you will want several years of industry experience before venturing out on your own. Certificates related to immigration are also recommended. If you do not already hold these certificates, you’ll want to consider getting your PERM Labor Certification, the Certified Immigration Consultant & Certified Immigration Forms Preparer certificate, as well as the Immigration Specialist Paralegal Certificate.
While education and industry experience will help build a solid foundation for your agency, there are a number of business and leadership skills needed to launch and manage a successful consulting firm. You will need to be an excellent communicator with strong active listening skills. You must be detail-oriented, organized, and skilled at problem-solving. It is also critical that you be adept at researching and committed to staying current with new laws and guidelines that may affect your clients’ corporate immigration goals.
If you do not have a business background or experience in marketing, consider taking a workshop through your local small business administration or hiring a professional to handle those aspects of your business. This will set your organization up for long-term success and ensure you have enough time to focus on your true passion — helping others achieve their business dreams in the United States.
What is the growth potential for a corporate immigration consulting business?
While we often hear about corporations migrating out of the United States, the number of businesses looking to enter the US has increased dramatically over the last decade. This, coupled with the specialized nature of this field, ensures significant growth and profit opportunities for entrepreneurs considering this business venture.
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Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Learn from other business owners
Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a corporate immigration consulting business?
Unfortunately, no matter how prepared you are, mistakes happen. As a result, industry leaders indicate they cannot stress the importance of networking. One phone call to a well-placed connection can tear down any roadblocks in a matter of minutes, paving the way for successful immigration.
How and when to build a team
When deciding when to build a team and what skills new hires must possess, you must start by looking inwards. If research isn’t your strong suit, hire a team member to tackle those duties. If a new client requires specialized experience you do not possess, consider hiring a consultant on a freelance basis. Every team member, whether permanent or freelance, should maintain a professional air and have a clear understanding of what will be expected of them.