How to Set Up a Risk Consulting Firm / Practice after clearing IRM’s Global Enterprise Risk Management Qualifications

Global risk management market size is expected to reach $28.87 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 18.7% from 2020 to 2027 – Allied Market Research. Starting a risk consulting firm involves careful planning, deep industry knowledge, a keen understanding of business risks, solid foundation through IRM’s Global ERM Exams (atleast Level 2 or Level 3), significant cross-functional sector-wide experience, good network and the ability to provide strategic advice by using the learnings from IRM’s curriculum. Having the IRM title / designation not only enhances your credibility but also opens up a range of opportunities within the IRM network. Depending on your area of specialization, you may choose to even take up add-on certifications like Digital Risk Management and refer to a range of resources and publications by IRM.

Here, we will walk through the essential steps you need to take to set up a successful risk consulting firm.

  1. Identify Your Specialty: Risk consulting can cover a broad range of areas, including cybersecurity, financial risk, operational risk, strategic risk, regulatory risk, and more. Identify your area of expertise and align it with the needs of your target market.
  2. Draft a Business Plan: Once you have determined your specialty, you need to draft a business plan. This document should outline your vision, mission, unique selling propositions, target market, and competition. It should also detail your financial projections, marketing strategies, and plans for growth.
  3. Register Your Business: Your business must be legally registered. This process involves selecting a unique business name, deciding on a business structure (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, LLP, private limited company). It’s also essential to get any necessary licenses or permits, which vary by location and type of service offered.
  4. Secure Financing: Starting a consulting firm can require substantial initial investment for things like office space, equipment, and marketing. Your financing options may include personal savings, loans, investors, or even crowdfunding. Be sure to consider your financing options carefully and to factor in enough working capital to sustain your business until it becomes profitable.
  5. Create a Marketing Strategy: Marketing is critical for your firm’s success. Start by building a professional website and establishing a presence on relevant social media platforms. Additionally, consider other marketing strategies like email marketing, content marketing, SEO, networking, and partnerships.
  6. Build a Team: In the beginning, you might start as a one-person operation, but as your client base grows, you’ll need to build a team of qualified / certified Enterprise Risk Management professionals. You can reach out to IRM’s alumni office to support you with profiles. Your team members should be experienced in your firm’s area of specialty and be aligned with your business values. Remember to consider whether you want employees or if contractors might better suit your needs.
  7. Set Up Your Office: You can start with a home office, a shared working space, or rent a traditional office space, depending on your budget. You’ll need basic office equipment, a reliable internet connection, and industry-specific software or tools.
  8. Implement a Risk Management Framework: As a risk consulting firm, it’s critical to walk the talk by implementing a comprehensive risk management framework within your own organization. This will not only protect your firm but also serve as a model for your clients.
  9. Constant Learning and Adaptation: In the risk management field, continuous learning and staying ahead of industry trends and regulatory changes are key to remaining relevant and providing up-to-date, effective advice to your clients.

Starting a risk consulting firm is no small feat, but with careful planning and execution, it can be a rewarding venture. Remember to leverage your experience, build strong relationships, and provide unmatched value to your clients.


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