Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Leadership (MAL)



First Advisor

Alan Tuchtenhagen


An initial question in the minds of budding entrepreneurs is how to start a successful business; the answer to this question is a vital stepping stone to getting to the next level where other questions about operational strategies, sustainability, competitive advantage and profitability are even considered. Many different opinions may exist, depending on the type of business involved, the source of the recommendation based upon the recommenders experience and knowledge and their interpretation of the question posed. The primary purpose of this paper was to explore what other researchers surmised as the best starting points for building a successful consulting business in particular, as differentiated from other types of entrepreneurial endeavors. I sought to gather insights on the big picture as well as gain an understanding of the risks involved. In addition, a secondary purpose of this paper was to provide applicable knowledge gained to the creation of a personal action plan for possibly moving forward within the near term of 3 to 5 years. Several questions addressing (a) my motivation for considering this directional change in career; (b) examining whether or not I truly had a valuable service to offer; (c) understanding current and near term needs of potential clients within my industry; (d) the impact of going it alone - on myself and family; and (e)whether or not the timing was right to consider self-employment were investigated through the use thorough self-reflection, insight gained from research materials and conversations with others who know and understand me as well as my industry.


SC 11.MAL.2015.LewisRardin.S