I kinda have a dilemma! My partner and I, who are coworkers, came up with the idea to start our own consulting firm. Our firm will target our present clients. We are Medicaid consultants in a centralized unit that serves a higher income of clientele.
Presently, there are several consultants -- retired nurse, a few psychologist, some parents and a few others. DIFFERENCE BETWEEN US AND THEM -- we (team of 6) are the only state workers trained specifically in this type of medicaid in our state. Our unit was newly centralized and warned about strict adherence to policy.
Our team, 6 workers, some with prior medicaid experience but non trained specifically in this type of medicaid. Out of the 6 of us only 4 of us have been working solely with the unit since its inception (2 others had to be transferred temporarily but are now back and have not been working out very well at all). 3 of the 4 of us left ended up being the strongest. We know that there is a market for our services because of the volume of applications.
HR policies prevent us from marketing ourselves while still employed. We have been volunteering at as many local events as possible, to get our names out there. However, because of summer break our potiental clientele are out of reach. Does anyone have any ideas on how to reach are targetd audience, given these variables?
Any ideas on marketing? Our anticipated date of resignation is approaching fast. Help!
I would be very careful you are not in breach of contract with your employer first - check your work contract and rules you have agreed to abide by - you may well find that setting up a rival company or working for a competitor, even for a period after your employment ends, may be contractially barred.
You may also have issues with a second job or working for another company (or even owning shares in a competitor) in the same regard. This can all be checked easily by getting your employmnet contract and taking it to a good employment lawyer.
Assuming you are good to go, then there is the option of using your current employer (perhaps). If you all leave en-bloc at the end of contract, they may find themselves in the you-know-what with respect to covering themselves (as all experience is lost in one go). You may find that they are a good client for your new company - there are benefits for them too (SLAs being a big one - and the ability to get out of a contract with an escape clause and a payoff than a lot of redundancy and legal hassles trying to shed staff - even deadwood). This would also benefit you as a company, you get a foot in the door, get paid while you market, buid up client lists from their clients and often get to meet other potential clients too, and saves you time/trouble/money finding clients.
This would give you much more breathing space and start you off gently in an area you already know.
Read your employment agreement! You can get yourself not only fired, but also sued.
It is very likely there are provisions in there that preclude you from doing what exactly you are trying to do. I don't have long lost count number of times my friends and acquaintances have gotten into hot waters with that.
Bottom line: find a lawyer and spend couple hundred $ to have them read through your agreement and interpret it for you.
I think it's a legit question, it's a very targeted problem you have, marketing isn't off topic on the site and its a good situation, try changing the title of the post to make it sound more specific.
As with all marketing there is no formula, just principals to apply and try.
To answer you..
Your situation in that you can promote yourselves, can you register a company and promote that instead. You would then simply have a second job. Check with a lawyer but this could be enough of a distinction to allow you to kick it off.
Targeting for your stage and market im guessing is going to be more personal, so promote to those who know you. Setup the brand and target a single aspect at a time to people you already know, most likely couch it in terms of taking an annoyance off their hands.
Possibly have one of you go around to each practice in your area and setup a half hour meeting with the practitioner.
Alternatively if your consulting is more consumer focused then defining your demographics well you could put up a Facebook targeted advertising to get I front of a volume of clients drawing them to a nice safe feeling website with an explainer video. The facebook advertising is kind of expensive but being able to nail exactly your customer base is going to be key.
Apart from that business cards and a single page flyer describing what problems your clients are facing that you can solve.
Basically at least one of you must become the salesperson, it's better if you all can do it in some form or other.
You say "HR policies prevent us from marketing ourselves while still employed" then end with a question "Any ideas on marketing?"
These two parts are in conflict. Anything you do to market yourself while still employed will be considered as a breach of contract by your HR.
So the real question for you is - are you willing to take the risk and do it anyway? If yes, there are dozen of marketing strategies you can employ. If not, you cannot do anything.
Create a mini-campaign for a worthy cause (saving the planet is an all-timer, but I think you can find better ones). Then provide high quality services to your targets for a low fee and make sure you give all the money to charity (have proof).
You helped charity, you got your name on their list legally. Win-win. Of course, you never trust the internet for legal advice, so you verify with your lawyer.