Starting an advisory shop

Hi there, I want to get some perspectives on this plan:

I'm planning to open an advisory shop and focus on corporate growth (M&A + Cross-border M&A, spin-offs, breakups, etc.) and restructuring and turnaround. In my region, companies usually are SMEs (family businesses), and 20% - 40% of those also have operations abroad. My only competition would be the local Big 4s which have more services to offer + brand + reputation (but my approach would be to cultivate relationships with clients which is something that the Big 4 can't do as they are seen more as a corporation - so I will remain focused on small businesses).

Also, I may start the business as a one-man army as I have experience in law (passed the bar) and finance. Because my education and experience fall somewhere in the 1% in my regional area I'm confident that I could attract clients mainly because of this and be invited down the road to be an 'Of counsel' or even negotiate equity in some companies - those as side projects without shutting down the business.

Other points:

  • During my first months I may focus more on restructuring and turnaround* - to improve the financials, build a good reputation and cultivate trust - and then propose some ideas for growth once the clients become more comfortable and have better cash flows.
  • I have savings to operate for approximately 12 months (rent included); any other costs which I should include? How much capital would be needed considering it's purely advisory?
  • For complex transactions I can reach out for help to people from my network - law, finance, accounting, etc.; still, when should I  start to think about recruiting people?
  • Getting the first clients could be hard, so what would be the best way to market oneself and expand the network?
  • Besides clients, what would be other priorities during my first year operating the business?
  • Other things which I should be careful/prepared for?

*In my region loans usually have one of the highest default rates in Europe (small market, amateur business owners, lack of talent, etc. - reasons why I think I could have a competitive advantage by entering this market).

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