Human resources consulting is a lucrative industry in Nigeria with immense growth opportunities. As businesses expand operations, the demand for outsourced HR expertise keeps rising.
If you are an experienced HR professional looking to start your own consultancy, this guide will walk you through the key steps to launching a successful HR advisory firm in Nigeria.
Conduct market research.
Thorough market research will help you identify the most profitable HR consulting opportunities in Nigeria.
- Evaluate the competitive landscape. Who are the major existing players? What services do they offer? What are their rates? Where are the gaps you can fill?
- Research the HR spending trends of Nigerian businesses across sectors like banking, energy, manufacturing, tech, etc.
- Identify the most in-demand services: recruitment, training, compensation planning, HR policy development, etc.
- Understand key HR pain points businesses want addressed: high attrition, lack of skilled talent, low employee engagement, etc.
- Target clients: large corporations, SMEs, startups, multinationals, etc. Map their HR needs and challenges.
- Choose a profitable niche area aligned with your expertise—payroll, organisational development, executive coaching, etc.
Develop a strong value proposition.
Create a compelling value proposition that convinces potential clients to hire you over your competitors. Communicate your key strengths and differentiators:
- Deep expertise in your HR niche is supported by credentials, certifications, and experience.
- customised solutions, not one-size-fits-all approaches.
- Cost-effectiveness: affordable, transparent pricing.
- Local knowledge: insights into the Nigerian employment landscape
- Quality delivery: high ROI, proven frameworks, actionable recommendations
- Trust and reliability; professionalism and integrity
Structure Your HR Consultancy Offerings
Outline the specific HR advisory services you will provide to target clients. Some options:
- Recruitment: talent strategy, job profiling, hiring process design, sourcing, and assessment.
- Workforce planning: demand forecasting, identifying talent gaps, and succession planning
- Change management: structured support for organisational change
- Policy development: handbooks, workplace standards, and compliance policies
- Compensation and benefits: salary benchmarking, incentives, framework design
- Performance management: programme design, appraisals, and goal setting
- Learning and development: training needs analysis and programme development.
- HR analytics: metrics and insights from HR data
- Employee relations: address grievances, mediate disputes, and boost engagement.
- Regulatory compliance: guidance on employment law, workplace safety, etc.
Develop capabilities and methodologies.
Build your capabilities and proven methodology for delivering results across the above service offerings:
- Obtain certifications in your HR niche, e.g., compensation, assessment tools, and labour relations.
- Create process frameworks and tools—interview scorecards, training needs analysis forms, etc.
- Design project approach: problem diagnosis, data collection, analysis, and recommendations.
- Learn best practices for client advisory: building trust, effective communication, and overcoming resistance.
- Develop HR policy templates.
- Create presentation templates to convey ideas and recommendations professionally.
Define your pricing strategy.
Pricing is key for profitability. Consider:
- Time and costs: factor in the time required and overhead costs. Build in healthy profit margins.
- Value to clients: Charge based on the value you deliver for clients.
- Project scope: complexity, size, hours required, number of consultants needed
- Ongoing service vs. one-time: recurring consulting, retainers can be premium priced vs. ad hoc projects.
- Retainer fees: a monthly or quarterly fee for specialised services like talent acquisition.
- Market rates: don’t underprice compared to competitors.
Structure Your HR Consulting Firm
Decide on the legal structure and staffing needs:
- Sole proprietorship, partnership, or limited liability company: consider liability, taxes, and ease of setup.
- Hire HR consultants with niche expertise as you scale up.
- Appoint a business development manager to get new clients.
- Dedicated account manager to manage key client relationships.
- Hire interns and junior consultants to reduce costs.
- Leverage freelancers for writing, graphic design, research, etc.
Fund Your HR Consultancy
Assess the funding required to cover startup costs and operating expenses until revenue flows:
- Personal savings
- Loans from family and friends
- Bank loan against collateral
- Private investors: pitch your business plan to angel investors or VC funds.
- Business grants and loans: Bank of Industry, Tony Elumelu Foundation, etc.
- Enterprise development schemes (WE4A, GrowthAfrica Accelerator, etc.)
Select and set up office space.
Important factors for selecting HR consulting office space:
- Professional image: an impressive location builds credibility. Branded signage.
- Meeting rooms: for client discussions, workshops, and training.
- IT infrastructure: fast internet, servers, and data security.
- Accessibility: easy for employees and clients to reach. Parking.
- Scalability: room for expanding staff and operations.
- Costs: rent, renovations, furniture, and office equipment.
Or opt for shared office space to lower startup costs.
Obtain relevant licencing and permits.
Ensure full legal compliance by obtaining:
- Business registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
- Relevant HR certifications (CIPM, CIPD, SHRM, etc.) for credibility
- Tax identification number (TIN)
- HR consultancy has an operational licence from state government agencies.
- Industry association membership: Join the Institute of Workforce Development as a certified consultant.
Get Found: Marketing and Branding
Effective marketing is crucial to getting new HR consulting clients.
- Create a strong brand identity—the logo, colour palette, and design theme. Conveys your positioning.
- Launch a website showcasing services, client case studies, thought leadership articles, and contact options.
- SEO optimisation so clients find you easily through Google searches
- Content marketing: blogs, newsletters, and articles with HR insights. Establish thought leadership.
- Social media marketing: post regularly on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
- Network extensively: conferences, trade shows, industry associations, and alumni networks.
- Referrals from existing, happy clients are powerful. Offer referral incentives.
- Cold email outreach: target emails and free consultation offers convert prospects.
- Advertise in HR publications and portals.
Deliver consistent, high-quality consulting.
This builds client trust and repeat business.
- Listen deeply to understand each client’s unique situation, needs, and constraints before recommending solutions.
- Maintain clear communication with clients throughout the engagement. Align on timelines, expectations, and required support upfront.
- Collaborate effectively and keep clients involved throughout the process. Welcome feedback.
- Meet deadlines committed to clients. A quick turnaround builds reputation.
- Overdeliver value: go above and beyond to address the client’s true problems strategically.
- Implement the recommendations smoothly. Offer implementation support.
- Continuous learning: evaluate outcomes to keep sharpening consulting delivery.
Expand your client base.
Growth requires expanding beyond a few clients. Strategies to get additional clients:
- Upsell and cross-sell to existing clients—new services, training, workshops, etc.
- Ask for referrals and introductions to new clients.
- Offer a free consultation or trial to prospects to secure new business.
- Publish case studies to establish credibility.
- Guest blog for reputable publishers.
- Speak at conferences to spread awareness.
- Use promotions—email drip campaigns, free resources in exchange for client leads, etc.
Hire and develop a strong consulting team.
HR consultants are the engine of your business. Strategies for building an excellent consulting team:
- Hire for niche skills and cultural fit. Check for problem-solving ability and emotional intelligence.
- Competitive compensation to attract top talent: salaries, performance bonuses, profit sharing
- Hands-on induction and training. Ensure new hires are client-ready quickly.
- Help build personal brands and thought leadership. Encourage publishing articles and speaking.
- Encourage specialisation to build niche expertise. Support certifications.
- Project leadership opportunities let junior consultants gain experience. Mentor them.
- Constructive feedback on project outcomes improves skills. Conduct satisfaction surveys.
Diversify your service offerings.
Expand into new high-demand HR services once established:
- HR technology consulting (HRIS, performance management software, etc.)
- Diversity and inclusion consulting
- Virtual recruiting: online screening, video interviews, gamified assessments
- HR call centre setup: as a standalone service or with your own team
- Online HR compliance training: harassment, ethics, etc.
- HR shared services: handle non-core HR functions for clients.
- Wellness programmes: yoga, nutrition, mindfulness workshops, etc.
Achieve strong financial management.
Sound financial practices ensure profitable growth.
- Accurate budgeting: forecast costs and profitability for new services.
- Billing and invoicing: timely payment reminder emails and follow-ups
- Cost control: Monitor team productivity and margins on services.
- Revenue tracking by service line, client, or consultant Identify the most profitable areas to focus growth efforts on.
- Financial statements: monitor P&L, cash flow, and balance sheet.
- Tax compliance: pay taxes on time. File accurate returns.
With domain expertise, strategic planning, and effective execution, HR professionals can build highly successful consultancies in Nigeria’s fast-growing market. Determine the most in-demand services, develop strong branding, deliver consistent value to clients, and watch your advisory scale up!