How To Start a Data Analytics Consulting Business in Malaysia

Are you passionate about data and extracting insights from it to help businesses make smarter decisions to grow their business? 

But maybe you want a different pathway.

Rather than seeking to work as a data analyst attached to a company, you are leaning more toward the possibility of becoming a business owner and starting your own data analytics consulting business, right in Malaysia. 

Is it a viable plan? 

In this post, we'll help you consider if starting a data analytics business makes sense and give you some steps to start.

Are there other businesses in the space? 

In business, sometimes you don't have to reinvent the wheel. If there are businesses already offering a product or service you're looking to go into, that's a good sign!

It means there is demand in the market. 

Here are a few companies that offer data analytics services in Malaysia: 

Remember, existing businesses mean there's a demand. It means companies are willing to pay for the services and solutions they offer.

But that leaves you with another problem. How do you differentiate? How do you go against companies that have already been established for years?

Use the Zig-Zag Technique

Instead of doing exactly what the competition is doing, you "zag" when they "zig". In simple words, you position your business differently from everyone else.

Ask yourself these questions: 

What makes me unique? What sets you apart from the competition? Your unique set of skills and experiences will create the foundation for your business.

Who is my ideal customer? Before incorporating a business, it's always best to validate your business idea by finding a potential customer. Who are you targeting? Be specific. What are their pain points and challenges? How can your business solve their problems? 

What "language" does your customer speak? Talk to potential customers and listen to the words they use. Use that feedback to tailor your service offerings to meet their needs. For example, a potential customer who is a business owner might say something like "I don't know what else I can do to increase revenue". They won't say things like "We need to do supervised learning to make predictions". 

Using the Zig-Zag technique means you'll be able to position your business differently and stand out.

For example, have you ever noticed that 99% of all gym websites sound the same? They do the exact same thing as everyone else and then wonder why nobody finds them different. 

Define Your Niche

Data analytics is a big field with various specialties – from predictive analytics, to business intelligence, and machine learning. 

You can define your business by its expertise or area of focus. A more effective way is to niche down to the type of business and problems you're interested in solving. 

Comeby helps retail businesses grow revenue with data

As an example, Tide Analytics is a data analytics company that focuses on helping shopping malls measure foot traffic. Another example is ComeBy, a data analytics company that focuses on shopper analytics. 

Both companies offer data analytics solutions. Yet, the two businesses serve different types of customers and does not compete with each other. 

Build a Data Analytics Portfolio

It's easier to convince a potential client when you have examples or case studies of past data analytics projects, including the positive impact they brought. 

That's also why students in our data analytics certificate program, work on real-world data projects and build a portfolio with them. 

Start by taking on small projects or offering servicing to non-profit organizations to build a portfolio that showcases your expertise and success stories.

Develop a Pricing Strategy 

A business that doesn't make a profit is not a business – it's a hobby. 

At some point, you'll need to charge for your data analytics consulting services. Most consulting firms and agencies commonly charge a project-based fee, where they charge a sum to provide some level of work. There are also consulting firms that charge a retainer fee, usually in the form of a monthly fee in exchange for their time or deliverables for a client. 

Developing the right pricing takes practice and feedback. No company develops the right pricing on the first go. 

Here are two ways we recommend you start pricing: 

  • Hourly pricing: Research to see what freelancers on platforms like Upwork charge hourly for data analytics consultation. Start your business by choosing an hourly rate that you're comfortable with. 
  • Value-based pricing: Determine the value you'll potentially provide your client with the work you do, and charge a percentage of that value. Let's say you potentially provide a client with a RM500,000 gain in revenue with your data analytics work. Charge a 10% of RM500,000 (RM50,000) for your work. 

Again, keep in mind that setting the right pricing takes trial and error. You will get better as you work with more clients and begin understanding the market. 

Don't expect to get it right straight away, but be flexible to continually improve your pricing structure. 

Marketing your Data Analytics Consultation Business

Start by creating a website that showcases your services, portfolio, and client testimonials. While you don't actually need a website to start getting clients, having a website is a great way to show your client that you're serious.

Once you have a website, start marketing your services by talking to potential customers. No, you don't have to do any complex marketing – run paid ads, or do any of the "typical" advice you get from online blogs. 

Here are our top 3 ways to find clients: 

  1. Networking events. Most people go to networking events to look for clients. Don't be that person. Instead, go to networking events to find connectors. Connectors are people who may not be your clients but can help introduce you to potential ones. 
  2. Go where clients hang out. We're not asking you to go to their houses. You're going to go where they hang out online. As a data analytics consultant, find Facebook groups where business owners discuss business ideas. Start by engaging in the group and offering help. 
  3. Cold email/outreach to potential clients. We know what you're thinking. Do cold emailing and outreach still work these days? Cold outreach can still work if you put in the work. Instead of reaching out to people and pitching immediately, outreach from a position to help and add value. Create a list of dream clients and then use LinkedIn to reach and connect with them.

But, first, develop your expertise in data analytics

It's easy to dream about starting a business and getting clients – but the truth is, none of that matters if you don't have the skillsets and experience to help clients. 

All businesses exist to solve problems.

Regardless of whether you plan to offer data analytics consulting, implementation, or an analytics SaaS product, you need to be able to solve your client's problems. 

That's why the most important thing you can do is to invest in yourself – and pick up practical data analytics skillsets.

When you're ready, consider joining our flagship data analytics certification program to pick up data analytics, work on real-world data projects, and build a data science portfolio. 

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