How to create a consultant business plan

  • Nirit Braun
  • Oct 30, 2023
  • 12 min read

How to create a consultant business plan

When launching your consulting business, one of the essential first steps is crafting a well-structured and detailed business plan. Your consulting business plan is like a strategic playbook that lays out your goals, tactics and financial projections. It not only steers you toward success but also equips you to adapt and thrive in the dynamic world of consulting.

Keep reading for tips on how to build a strong business plan for your business. Use the template provided at the end to get started on your own plan.

Looking to kick off your consultancy business? Create a business website today with Wix.

Why create a consultant business plan? Top benefits to consider

A business plan forces entrepreneurs to thoroughly evaluate their business idea, target audience and competitive landscape. This process clarifies their vision and mission, ensuring that they have a clear understanding of how their consultancy will provide value to clients. A business plan helps you in the following ways:

Create a business blueprint : With a business plan in place, entrepreneurs looking to start a business can make informed decisions based on a solid foundation of research and analysis. They can choose the most effective strategies for marketing, pricing and service delivery, enhancing their chances of success. Your business plan can also be used to explain what type of business you'll start - whether that's an LLC, Corporation or something else. Learn more about how to start an LLC .

Secure funding : The cost to start a consultancy business can range from around $60 to several thousand dollars . For those seeking external funding, a well-developed business plan demonstrates credibility and professionalism. Investors and lenders are more likely to support a venture with a thought-out plan that showcases its potential for growth and profitability.

Set measurable goals : A business plan sets measurable goals and performance metrics, which is vital with this type of business . This allows entrepreneurs to track their progress, adapt strategies as needed and celebrate milestones along the way.

Want to remind yourself of the basics? Learn more about how to start a service business .

How to create a successful consultant business plan in 6 steps

In this section, we'll break down the key components involved in crafting a successful consultant business plan in six steps.

Executive summary

Business and domain names

Market analysis and research

Operations plan

Marketing and advertising plan

Financial plan

01. Executive summary

An executive summary serves as a concise overview of the consultant's business plan, providing a snapshot of the key components and the business' essence. It's usually the first section investors, lenders and stakeholders read, so it must encapsulate the business' value proposition, objectives, strategies and projected growth. To write a clear executive summary for a consultant business make sure to keep it succinct yet informative. Clearly state the purpose of the business, the services offered, the target market and the unique value proposition. Avoid technical jargon that may confuse readers.

Then you can mention the business' strengths, such as the expertise of the consultants, unique methodologies or specialized services. Emphasize factors that set your consultancy apart from competitors.

Briefly discuss the market need for your services and how your consultancy plans to fulfill it. It’s worth noting that strategy and management consulting, as well as technology consulting, financial consulting and HR consulting are in high demand . Highlight any trends or changes in the industry that your business can capitalize on.

Remember to include a snapshot of your financial projections, indicating expected revenue, costs and profitability. This provides a glimpse into the business' potential financial success.

Example of an executive summary for a consultant business

"XYZ Consulting is a boutique consultancy firm specializing in digital transformation for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). With a team of seasoned professionals, we offer tailored solutions to help businesses harness the power of technology for growth. Our unique approach blends strategic consulting with hands-on implementation, ensuring tangible results. In a rapidly evolving tech landscape, XYZ Consulting is poised to be the partner SMEs need to thrive. Our financial projections forecast a steady growth trajectory, with a focus on achieving profitability within the first two years. With a proven track record and a finger on the pulse of industry trends, XYZ Consulting is well-equipped to guide businesses toward digital success."

02. Business and domain names

Knowing how to name a business is crucial for a consultancy venture and a key step before you register your business . It's the foundation of your brand and influences how clients perceive your services. With Wix , you can use a free business name generator or consulting company name generator as helpful tools for brainstorming unique and memorable names. Ensure the name reflects your expertise and the services you offer.

Similarly, the domain name for your business website is vital. It should be easy to remember, relevant to your services and ideally, match your company name. Check the domain's availability using domain registration platforms. Ensure the domain name aligns with your consultancy's focus and services. Generally, this means keeping it short and easy to spell and pronounce.

Learn more: How to make a consulting website

03. Market analysis and research

Incorporating a thorough market analysis within your consultant business plan is essential. Understand the competitive landscape, target audience and market trends. Research your competitors' strengths and weaknesses, pricing strategies and client base. This information will shape your business strategies and help you identify gaps in the market that your consultancy can fill.

04. Operations plan

The operations plan outlines the logistical aspects of your consultancy. It covers location, premises, equipment and staffing requirements. Determine whether your consultancy will be home-based, have a physical office or operate virtually. Define the equipment and software needed to deliver services effectively. Outline your staffing needs, including the roles and expertise required.

05. Marketing and advertising plan

Your marketing and advertising plan outlines how you will promote your consultant business. Identify the most effective strategies to reach your target audience. Consider content marketing, social media campaigns, networking events and speaking engagements to showcase your expertise. Emphasize how your marketing efforts will build brand awareness and attract clients.

You’ll need to develop a suite of brand assets to use in your marketing as well, starting with a company logo. You can use a free logo maker to get a professional logo in minutes.

06. Financial plan

The financial plan is a critical component of any business plan. It outlines how you will raise money for your business initially and provides a timeline for reaching profitability. Detail your startup costs, including equipment, marketing expenses and personnel. Present your revenue projections, taking into account different pricing models and growth scenarios. Highlight your break-even point and the strategies you'll employ to achieve profitability.

By addressing each part of their plan, entrepreneurs can create a robust business plan that guides them toward achieving their business goals and building a reputable consulting brand.

steps to developing a business plan

Consultant business plan examples

These templates illustrate two hypothetical consultant business plans, each tailored to a specific niche. These are just templates and should be adapted to your specific business goals and industry dynamics.

Consultant business plan template 1: XYZ Digital Consultants

XYZ Digital Consultants is a pioneering consultancy firm focused on digital transformation for businesses seeking to thrive in the digital age. Our team of experienced professionals offers strategic guidance and hands-on implementation to drive growth through technology adoption. With projected profitability within two years and a commitment to excellence, XYZ Digital Consultants is poised to lead businesses into a successful digital future.

Company and domain name

Company name: XYZ Digital Consultants

Domain name:

Market opportunity: The rapid shift toward digital operations has created a substantial demand for expert guidance. Our analysis reveals a gap in the market for holistic digital transformation solutions tailored to the needs of SMEs.

Competitor research: We've identified key competitors and their strengths, which informs our strategy to emphasize personalized service and comprehensive implementation.

Location: Primarily virtual, with occasional in-person consultations as needed.

Premises: Home-based setup with access to modern communication tools.

Equipment: High-speed internet, latest software tools and virtual meeting platforms.

Staffing: Founder and lead consultant, supported by contract specialists as projects demand.

Content marketing: Regular blog posts on digital transformation trends, case studies and client success stories.

Social media campaigns: Active presence on LinkedIn and X to engage with potential clients and share valuable insights.

Networking events: Participation in industry webinars, seminars and local business events to showcase expertise.

Speaking engagements: Leveraging speaking opportunities at conferences and workshops to establish authority in the field.

Startup costs (equipment, website development, marketing materials): $15,000

Revenue projections (year one): $150,000

Revenue projections (year two) : $300,000

Break-even point: Achieved by the end of year one

Funding: Initial investment and savings from the founder

Consultant business plan template 2: LeadersEdge Consultants

LeadersEdge Consultants is a dynamic consultancy dedicated to leadership development and organizational excellence. Our experienced team offers customized programs that empower leaders to drive positive change. With a projected growth trajectory and a commitment to fostering impactful leadership, LeadersEdge Consultants is poised to transform organizations and elevate their success.

Company name: LeadersEdge Consultants

Domain name:

Market opportunity: Our analysis reveals a growing need for leadership development programs in diverse industries.

Competitor research: We've identified competitors' offerings and recognized an opportunity to provide a unique blend of coaching, training and strategy implementation.

Location: Virtual consultations, with the option for on-site workshops

Premises: Virtual office setup with video conferencing capabilities

Equipment: High-quality audiovisual tools, assessment software and learning platforms

Staffing : Founder will serve as the lead consultant, supported by certified leadership coaches

Customized workshops: Designing tailored leadership development programs for individual organizations.

Webinars: Hosting webinars on leadership best practices to showcase expertise and engage potential clients.

Thought leadership content: Publishing whitepapers, eBooks and video content on leadership topics.

Collaborations: Partnering with HR and talent development professionals to expand reach.

Startup costs ( making a website , training materials) : $10,000

Revenue projections (year one): $120,000

Revenue projections (year two): $250,000

Break-even point: Achieved within the first six months

Funding: Initial investment from the founder.

How much should you be charging as a consultant?

The amount you charge as a consultant will depend on a number of factors, including:

Your experience and expertise

The type of consulting services you offer

The value you provide to your clients

The market rate for consulting services in your field

In general, consultants charge between $100 and $500 per hour. However, some experienced and highly specialized consultants can charge upwards of $1,000 per hour.

To determine your consulting rate, you can use the following formula:

Consulting rate = Hourly rate * Value multiplier

Your hourly rate should reflect your experience and expertise, as well as the type of consulting services you offer. For example, if you have 10 years of experience and you offer specialized consulting services, you can charge a higher hourly rate than a consultant with less experience and who offers more general consulting services.

Your value multiplier should reflect the value you provide to your clients. For example, if you can help your clients to achieve significant results, you can charge a higher value multiplier.

Here is an example of how to use the formula:

Consultant: Experienced consultant with 10 years of experience offering specialized consulting services

Hourly rate: $200 per hour

Value multiplier: 2

Consulting rate: $200 per hour * 2 = $400 per hour

Can a consulting business be profitable?

Yes, a consulting business can be profitable. In fact, consulting is one of the most profitable industries in the world. According to a report by IBISWorld, the average profit margin for consulting businesses is 20%. This means that for every $100 in revenue, consulting businesses generate $20 in profit.

There are a number of factors that contribute to the profitability of consulting businesses. First, consultants are able to charge high fees for their services. Second, consulting businesses have relatively low overhead costs. Third, the demand for consulting services is high, and it's only expected to grow in the coming years.

Of course, not all consulting businesses are successful. Some consultants struggle to find clients or to charge high enough fees. Others may not be able to deliver the results that their clients expect. However, for consultants who are able to overcome these challenges, the potential rewards are great.

Here are some tips for increasing your chances of success as a consultant:

Specialize in a high-demand area of consulting. This will allow you to charge higher fees and attract more clients.

Build a strong reputation and network of clients. This will help you to generate word-of-mouth referrals and land new clients.

Market your services effectively. Make sure that potential clients know about your services and how you can help them.

Deliver high-quality results. This is the most important thing you can do to ensure that your clients are satisfied and that they continue to use your services in the future.

How much does it cost to start a consulting business?

The cost to start a consulting business can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the type of consulting services you offer, the size of your business and your location. However, in general, you can expect to spend between $10,000 and $50,000 to start a consulting business.

Here is a breakdown of some of the typical start-up costs for a consulting business:

Business formation: $100 to $1,000

Website and domain name: $100 to $2,500

Marketing and advertising: $500 to $5,000

Office equipment and supplies: $500 to $5,000

Professional liability insurance: $500 to $1,000

Other miscellaneous expenses: $500 to $5,000

Total start-up costs: $10,000 to $50,000

You can reduce your start-up costs by working from home, using free or low-cost marketing tools and purchasing used equipment. You can also start your consulting business part-time while you continue to work your full-time job. This will give you a chance to generate revenue and build a client base before you leave your full-time job.

If you need financial assistance to start your consulting business, you may be able to qualify for a loan from a bank or credit union. You may also be able to find investors who are willing to invest in your business.

Which clients to avoid and which to take on?

Here are some tips on which clients to avoid and which to take on in a consulting business:

Clients to avoid

Clients who aren't willing to pay your rates. If a client isn't willing to pay your rates, it's a sign that they don't value your services.

Clients who are unrealistic about their expectations. If a client has unrealistic expectations about what you can achieve, you're likely to set yourself up for failure.

Clients who are difficult to work with. If a client is demanding, rude or disrespectful, it's best to avoid them.

Clients who aren't a good fit for your business. If a client isn't in your target market or if their business isn't aligned with your values, it's best to decline working with them.

Clients to take on

Clients who are willing to pay your rates. This shows that they value your services and are committed to working with you.

Clients who have realistic expectations. This makes it more likely that you will be able to meet their needs and exceed their expectations.

Clients who are easy to work with. This will make the consulting process more enjoyable and productive for both of you.

Clients who are a good fit for your business. This means that they're in your target market and that their business is aligned with your values.

In addition to the above, here are some other factors to consider when deciding which clients to take on:

Your own skills and experience. Make sure that you have the skills and experience to help the client achieve their goals.

The client's budget. Make sure that the client has a budget that's sufficient to cover your fees.

The client's timeline. Make sure that you have the time and resources to meet the client's timeline.

Your gut feeling. If you have a bad feeling about a client, it's best to trust your gut and decline working with them.

It's important to be selective about the clients you take on. By avoiding difficult clients and focusing on good-fit clients, you can set yourself up for success in your consulting business.

Consultant business plan FAQ

What qualifies you as a consultant.

To qualify as a consultant, you need to have the expertise and experience in the area that you're consulting in. You also need to be able to communicate your ideas effectively and build relationships with clients.

How do you start off as a consultant?

How to make 6 figures as a consultant, how do you pay yourself as a consultant, do consultants pay their own taxes, want to create another business plan.

How to create a virtual assistant business plan

How to create a cleaning business plan

How to create a plumbing business plan

How to create a trucking business plan

How to create a daycare business plan

How to create a food truck business plan

How to create a restaurant business plan

How to create a clothing line business plan

How to create a real estate business plan

How to create a contractor business plan

How to create a bar business plan

How to create a coffee shop business plan

How to create a bakery business plan

Looking for other service business ideas ?

How to start an online business

How to start a consulting business

How to start a fitness business

How to start a fitness clothing line

How to start a makeup line

How to start a candle business

How to start a clothing business

How to start an online boutique

How to start a T-shirt business

How to start a jewelry business

How to start a subscription box business

How to start a beauty business

How to start a car wash business

How to start a baking business

How to start a food prep business

How to start a trucking business

How to start a construction business

How to start a landscaping business

How to start a food business

How to start a vending machine business

How to start a contractor business

How to start a coaching business

How to start an eCommerce business

How to start a dropshipping business

How to start a farming business

How to start a plumbing business

How to start a rental property business

How to start a cleaning business

Check out more service business examples .

Looking to start a business in a specific state?

How to start a business in Arizona

How to start a business in South Carolina

How to start a business in Virginia

How to start a business in Michigan

How to start a business in California

How to start a business in Florida

How to start a business in Texas

How to start a business in Wisconsin

Related Posts

How to create a website from scratch in 11 steps (for beginners)

How to start a business in 14 steps: a guide for 2024

Consulting business names for your firm

Was this article helpful?

Consulting Firm Business Plan Guide

Starting your own business, or scaling up is intimidating. we’re here to break it down piece by piece so you can create your very own plan., in this free , you will learn:.

  • Why Create a Consulting Firm Business Plan?
  • The Key Components of a Business Plan
  • How to Use a Business Model Canvas
  • How to Bake Productization Into Your Business Plan

how to create consulting business plan

You’re in the right place if…

○ You have an idea for a consulting firm, and you’re ready to take the next step ○ You’ve started a business, and you need focus and direction

○ Your consulting company needs to bring in partners or funding

Starting a consulting business is no small task, so setting a clear action plan is essential. This comprehensive guide will give you a step-by-step breakdown of how to create a consulting business plan, why you need one, and how a business model canvas can help you along the way.

Try Thinkific for yourself!

Accomplish your course creation and student success goals faster with thinkific..

Download this guide and start building your online program!

It is on its way to your inbox

PlanBuildr Logo

Consulting Firm Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

Business Plan Outline

  • Consulting Firm Business Plan Home
  • 1. Executive Summary
  • 2. Company Overview
  • 3. Industry Analysis
  • 4. Customer Analysis
  • 5. Competitive Analysis
  • 6. Marketing Plan
  • 7. Operations Plan
  • 8. Management Team
  • 9. Financial Plan

Start Your Consulting Firm Plan Here

Consulting Business Plan

If you need a business plan for your consulting business, you’ve come to the right place. Our consulting business plan template below has been used by countless entrepreneurs and business owners to create business plans to start or grow their consulting businesses.

Important note: If you are looking for a business plan consultant , specifically, a consultant to help you write your business plan, we recommend Growthink who offers a business plan consultation service here.

Sample Consultant Business Plan & Template

Below are links to each section of your consulting business plan template:

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Overview
  • Industry Analysis
  • Customer Analysis
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Marketing Plan
  • Operations Plan
  • Management Team
  • Financial Plan

Next Section: Executive Summary >

Consulting Business Plan FAQs

What is a consulting business plan.

A consulting business plan is a plan to start and/or grow your consulting firm. Among other things, it outlines your business concept, identifies your target customers, presents your marketing plan, and details your financial projections.

You can  easily complete your consulting firm business plan using our Consulting Firm Business Plan Template here .

What Are the Main Types of Consulting Firms?

There are many types of consulting firms. Most consultant companies are in business concentrations such as Management, Strategy, Operations, IT, Human Resources, Financial Advisory, and Marketing/Sales. There are also firms that are singularly focused such as those that offer business plan consulting.

What Are the Main Sources of Revenue and Expenses for a Consulting Business?

The primary source of revenue for consulting firms are fees paid by the client. The client will either sign a contract or agreement of the services it will choose and the pricing for those services beforehand.

The key expenses for a consulting business are the cost of leasing the office, employee cost, marketing/advertising costs, and any office technology or software.

How Do You Get Funding for Your Consulting Business?

Consulting businesses are most likely to receive funding from banks. Typically you will find a local bank and present your consulting business plan to them. Angel investors and other types of capital-raising such as crowdfunding are other common funding sources.

What are the Steps To Start a Consulting Business?

Starting a consulting business can be an exciting endeavor. Having a clear roadmap of the steps to start a business will help you stay focused on your goals and get started faster.

1. Develop A Consulting Business Plan - The first step in starting a business is to create a detailed consulting business plan that outlines all aspects of the venture. This should include potential market size and target customers, the services or products you will offer, pricing strategies and a detailed financial forecast.  

2. Choose Your Legal Structure - It's important to select an appropriate legal entity for your consulting business. This could be a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks so it’s important to do research and choose wisely so that your consulting business is in compliance with local laws.

3. Register Your Consulting Business - Once you have chosen a legal structure, the next step is to register your consulting business with the government or state where you’re operating from. This includes obtaining licenses and permits as required by federal, state, and local laws. 

4. Identify Financing Options - It’s likely that you’ll need some capital to start your consulting business, so take some time to identify what financing options are available such as bank loans, investor funding, grants, or crowdfunding platforms. 

5. Choose a Location - Whether you plan on operating out of a physical location or not, you should always have an idea of where you’ll be based should it become necessary in the future as well as what kind of space would be suitable for your operations. 

6. Hire Employees - There are several ways to find qualified employees including job boards like LinkedIn or Indeed as well as hiring agencies if needed – depending on what type of employees you need it might also be more effective to reach out directly through networking events. 

7. Acquire Necessary Consulting Equipment & Supplies - In order to start your consulting business, you'll need to purchase all of the necessary equipment and supplies to run a successful operation. 

8. Market & Promote Your Business - Once you have all the necessary pieces in place, it’s time to start promoting and marketing your consulting business. This includes creating a website, utilizing social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, and having an effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. You should also consider traditional marketing techniques such as radio or print advertising. 

Learn more about how to start a successful consulting business:

  • How to Start a Consulting Business

Where Can I Get a Consulting Business Plan PDF?

You can download our free consulting business plan template PDF here . This is a sample consulting business plan template you can use in PDF format.

How to write a consulting business plan

If you want to work as a consultant, you'll need a plan. Here's how to create one just for you.

A consulting business plan written up in a notebook

Consultants do things differently

If you’re a self-employed consultant your work isn't like other forms of business. Unlike retailers or manufacturers, you're not making and/or selling tangible products. And unlike service companies, you're not employing a team of people to provide solutions.

Remember you’re not not just selling your time. As a consultant, you will be paid for the skills, knowledge and abilities you've developed over your career.

We have some useful background reading about the benefits of becoming a consultant or contractor , which will help explain how such businesses work. But having decided to become a consultant, what's the next step?

Like all new small businesses, you'll need a plan. That plan will have to cover funding, growth, pay rates, expenses, marketing, equipment costs, training and qualifications. It will also have to cover your goals, and the strategy you'll use to reach them.

Consulting business plans are a little different to other business plans. Here's what you need to know to get your consulting career off the ground.

Who are you writing the plan for?

This is an important question to ask yourself before you start. For most conventional businesses the answer will be "For the bank and investors." That's because small businesses usually need startup funding to get off the ground.

But consultants setting up their own business might not need much funding – if any. It's still important to have a business plan though – not only to clarify the details in your own mind, but also to help you understand the potential risks and rewards.

A good business plan will combine elements of both finance and strategy, but the contents will vary depending on the target audience. We'll take a look at the options next.

A business plan for banks and investors

You may not need funding for capital equipment expenses or office rent. But you might need a loan to tide you over for the first few months, until you have a regular cash flow. The initial period for any new business can be a tough time – money worries will just make it tougher.

You may also decide that you want to make more of an impression by hiring office space, perhaps in a shared office environment. Or you might want funds to spend on marketing and advertising, particularly if you're offering consulting services in a competitive market.

For all of this, you'll need money. You could apply for a bank loan, look for grants, or try other forms of capital-raising such as crowdfunding. Whichever method you choose, any potential investors will want to see the important numbers. That means you'll need to cover the following points in your business plan:

  • target market and sector analysis
  • business objectives and USP (unique selling proposition)
  • startup expenses and assets, including equipment
  • overheads and fixed costs
  • marketing strategy and budget
  • funding requirements, loan collateral and cost of interest
  • pay rates, revenue and cash flow projections
  • sales forecasts in monthly intervals
  • ongoing expenses
  • growth projections and strategy

Some of this information will be difficult for you to estimate. It might be even harder for you to present clearly. Use your accounting software to help with figures and to produce professional tables and charts. Then, an accountant can help you include the right information in your plan.

A business plan for you

Of course, you might not need any funding. Perhaps you have enough savings to keep you going for a few months and clients already lined up. Or you may be starting your consulting career after an inheritance or unexpected windfall.

If money isn't an immediate concern, you can afford to be less formal when drafting your plan. That means making sensible predictions and setting goals for yourself, not just financial targets – though you should include those too.

This isn't an exercise in creative writing. The purpose of creating a plan is to help you concentrate on what you want to achieve. Some points to consider include:

Reasons for being a consultant

Why are you doing this? It's important to answer honestly. If the answer is “to make more money” or “because I'm good at what I do” then write that down. Write down all the reasons you can think of, then read them back. Do they sound convincing? Make sure you know your true motivation, as it will help you focus on your goals.

Consulting can mean you have an irregular income. Sometimes you might be busy, other times less so. It makes sense to keep some money in savings accounts, especially if you'll be paying tax at the end of the year instead of while you're earning.

Relationship risks

Think about the impact of consulting on your family or friends. Consultants often work irregular hours, sometimes from home, and they might be working at weekends. That can put a strain on relationships. Be realistic about this and set boundaries around when and where you will work.

Which clients to avoid and which to take on

You will already have an idea of the types of client you don't want to work for, because you know the industry you work in. For example, known late-payers can damage your cash flow so it's sensible to avoid them where possible. Look for clients who are reliable, as they’ll help make your business a success. Know that you can let go of clients who are more trouble than they're worth.

Training and certification

In many industries, especially IT, it's important to keep your skills up to date. But your clients are unlikely to pay for you to go on training courses – that's an expense you'll have to cover yourself. How will you stay up to date? Think about industry magazines, websites, forums, news feeds, conferences, courses, distance learning, peer groups and self-teaching strategies.

Personal goals

Perhaps you're planning to be a consultant for the rest of your working life. Maybe you want to do it for a couple of years and then move back in-house as an employee. Or you might want to start employing other consultants at some stage and build up an agency – maybe even sell it. It doesn't matter what your personal goals are, as long as you have some. Write them down and bear them in mind when making big decisions.

What to do with your profits

This is a good opportunity to think about how much money you want to make . Consider how much you will charge and what you will do with your commission. For example you may decide to use 50% to cover costs, pay yourself with 30% and put 20% back into your business.

Some of this information would be inappropriate to include in a financial business plan for banks or investors. But it can be very helpful in guiding you through the early part of your consulting career.

Five top tips for writing a good consulting business plan

Business plans can be difficult documents to write. If you've never done it before, thinking clearly and logically about your business strategy may not be easy. Here are some tips to help you succeed:

1. Write the first draft

Don't worry about grammar, structure or neatness. Just get the thoughts out of your head and onto the paper or screen. Some people find this easier to do in an informal setting, such as a library or café.

2. Do your research

Understand the market you're going to be working in. Get to know all the details, as it'll help you write a more effective consulting business plan.

3. Identify your USP

That's your unique selling proposition. Why should companies hire you and not one of your competitors? Think carefully about what you're particularly good at, then use that as a basis for marketing yourself.

4. Get feedback

Talk to your peers, friends, previous business associates and potential customers. Show them your plan and listen to their feedback.

5. Keep it simple

Don't write dozens of pages. You'll bore the investors and your plan will end up on a pile where nobody will ever look at it again – including you. Stick to the important points.

Update your business plan regularly

A business plan isn't a static document. It should change and evolve over time as your business grows. You will learn a great deal in your first few months working as a consultant, and that knowledge should be applied to your business plan. It's a good idea to review your plan every month.

You may find that some of what you initially wrote turns out to have been misguided, inaccurate or just plain wrong. That's normal. Nobody can predict every step a business will take. The important thing is to learn as you go along – and make use of that knowledge to improve your plan.

Plan for consulting success

A consulting business plan is written as much for you, the consultant, as for anyone else. The point of writing it is to concentrate on what's important. That clarity is what will help you succeed.

So don't look at a business plan as just another box to be ticked. It's a fundamental process when starting any business, particularly a consulting business where you will need initiative and drive to succeed.

Take the time to write a proper business plan, and keep it regularly updated as your business grows. You can use our free business plan template . You'll find it an invaluable guide to becoming a successful consultant.

Xero does not provide accounting, tax, business or legal advice. This guide has been provided for information purposes only. You should consult your own professional advisors for advice directly relating to your business or before taking action in relation to any of the content provided.

Download the business plan template

Fill in the form to get a free business plan template as an editable PDF. We’ll send a one-pager and a multi-pager to choose from.

Privacy notice .

Start using Xero for free

Access Xero features for 30 days, then decide which plan best suits your business.

  • Included Safe and secure
  • Included Cancel any time
  • Included 24/7 online support

Or compare all plans

  • Announcements
  • Inside Copilot

Back to Blog

How to start a consulting business in 2024 (in 7 steps)

  • 12 min read

What is a consulting business?

  • steps to start a consulting business in 2024

Can anybody start a consulting business?

Copilot: how consultants manage their consulting business.

Two years ago, I realized that what I was doing at my 9-5 job could easily be turned into a consulting business where I made my own hours and decided who I wanted to work with.

Time flexibility, autonomy, and income potential were at the top of my list of things I wanted to accomplish.

But, I also noticed that there were many consultants and agencies in my niche giving lackluster advice. I wanted to bring a new approach and be a guiding light to business — which is what essentially allowed me to consistently bring in new clients and help me achieve what I wanted in terms of time freedom and finances.

However, starting my consulting business isn’t something that happened overnight. In fact, when I quit my job, it took me almost a full year to figure out what I was doing and to make any sort of living income.

But, don’t let this discourage you. I clearly made A LOT of mistakes. When I first started, it felt like trying to scale Mount Everest barefoot. Though it seemed like an impossible task, the journey need not be so daunting.

This guide is your sherpa up that mountain, offering practical steps on identifying your niche expertise, creating an effective business plan based on client pain points, and managing finances like a pro. We'll even dive into legal aspects and relationship-building strategies for long-term success.

Intrigued? Let’s make this journey together!

A consulting business, at its core, is about problem-solving. It's where an expert in a specific field offers advice and strategies to individuals or companies who need it.

This kind of business opportunity can be highly rewarding since businesses are always looking for ways to enhance productivity, generate more revenue, and find solutions to intricate issues.

The essence of being a consultant lies not just in having specific knowledge, but also knowing how to apply that knowledge effectively. That's why experience plays such a crucial role here — the more problems you've solved before, the better equipped you'll be to tackle new ones.

In addition to solving problems, consultants often help with implementing solutions too. This might involve coaching team members on new processes or helping set up systems that facilitate improvement.

Consulting spans many industries — from IT and management, all the way to finance and HR. What ties them together? The fact they're built around offering specialist insight others don't have access to.

Now, let’s get into the steps you can take to start your own consulting business. These steps are based on my own experience of starting my marketing consulting business two years ago.

7 steps to start a consulting business in 2024

Here are nine steps on how to start a consulting business:

  • Master a craft in a specific niche
  • Create a business plan based on pain points
  • Setting up your online workspace
  • Marketing your business to acquire clients
  • Managing cash flow and your finances
  • Building relationships and referrals
  • Taking care of the legal stuff

Okay, let’s dive deeper into each step.

1. Master a craft in a specific niche

Before you launch your consulting business, hone your skills to become a master in the specific niche. It's insufficient to just be familiar with an industry or field — you need to excel .

Your clients will rely on your expertise and advice for their business decisions. If you aren't fully equipped with deep knowledge of the field, it might lead to ill-advised guidance which can harm both parties involved .

This doesn't mean spending decades working in that particular field before taking the plunge into consulting though. But yes, having years of experience would certainly add credibility.

Finding your niche

Choosing a niche isn’t as complicated as it sounds — it’s all about identifying where your passion meets proficiency. Start by analyzing what interests you most and then look at how proficient or skilled are in that area. Here’s some help if needed.

Becoming an expert

To achieve mastery in any given domain, consistent learning is crucial along with hands-on experience. HubSpot has detailed insights on how anyone can grow from being good at something to becoming great.

Avoid client disservice

If I’m honest here, entering consultancy without sufficient expertise may do more harm than good to your client’s businesses due to its high-stakes nature (depending on the industry). This reinforces why mastering a craft within a chosen niche is non-negotiable when thinking about starting your own consultancy business.

2. Create a business plan based on pain points

Building your consulting venture starts with a solid game plan. A solid business plan addresses the real issues potential clients face in their businesses.

To start, you need to know what keeps your target market up at night. Your expertise should align with these concerns and provide solutions that alleviate them.

The next step is setting goals for your consulting business that directly address these pains. This will not only guide the direction of your services but also show prospective clients how valuable you can be to their success.

You'll then want to map out strategies for attracting new customers who experience these specific problems. The aim here is to position yourself as an expert problem-solver within this space.

Try looking in online communities for what problems and conversations are happening in your niche. Reddit is a great place to start if you’re not sure where your community hangs out. Try Googling something related to your niche and type in “reddit” after to see what conversations show up.

And last but not least, sketch out financial projections considering all these factors into account. Here’s where you’ll outline anticipated income streams and expenses tied specifically to solving client problems — this helps ensure sustainable growth for both parties involved.

Note: Don't forget tools like Copilot make managing finances easier by offering features such as invoice templates and third-party integrations like QuickBooks.

Once you have a general idea of what your goals and objectives are, it’s time to take some tangible action.

3. Setting up your online workspace

If you're about to start a consulting business, getting organized is crucial. But it doesn't mean having papers and sticky notes scattered all over your desk.

Your workspace needs to be as digital and streamlined as possible. This is where Copilot , a modern client portal for service businesses, comes in handy.

The power of Copilot: Everything at your fingertips

Running your consulting business on Copilot

Copilot offers an intuitive platform that lets consultants manage everything from contracts , invoices, files, messaging, intake forms, and more in one place. Imagine having a clutter-free desktop but with access to every essential tool needed for your work.

A community you can count on

You might be wondering if this setup works for other consultants too. Absolutely. In fact, one of the largest customer bases of Copilot consists of successful consultants who decided to streamline their operations digitally.

Copilot for consulting firms

Copilot isn’t just about managing paperwork, it's also about fostering relationships with clients through seamless communication features built into the system. It keeps conversations flowing smoothly while making sure important messages don't get lost in translation or buried under heaps of emails.

Say goodbye to disorganization chaos

To say starting a consulting business can be chaotic would be an understatement. But thanks to tools like Copilot, keeping track becomes less daunting and more efficient — letting you focus on what truly matters: providing exceptional services for your clients.

4. Marketing your business to acquire clients

Realizing who requires your services is the key to advertising them successfully. To stand out in the crowded market, you need a unique selling proposition (USP) . This is what sets you apart from others and makes clients choose you over competitors.

Once you figure out who you want to speak to, and what you want to speak about, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to reach your ideal clients. Many consultants initially take an outbound approach — usually reaching out to prospective clients via LinkedIn.

Social media platforms are excellent places for promoting your consultancy. You can use these channels to share valuable content related to your niche, positioning yourself as an expert.

However, note that taking the “content creation” route on social media can take a while to see some tangible results. This is definitely the route to go down for the long term. But, if you’re just starting out, you need to sign your first client as quickly as possible. And, to do this, many consultants (myself included) do a cold reachout approach.

Email remains one of the most effective ways to reach potential clients directly. An email newsletter filled with insightful advice can be just the thing that converts prospects into paying customers.

If you have the time, you can also go to events related to your industry and network with people. The rate of how efficient this will be depends on your industry. For me, as a marketer, this wasn’t the best option as it is very time-consuming (and I’m sort of an introvert). But, for non-tech-related industries, this is often a great place to start.

Some things you can do to network include:

  • Nurture relationships within professional networks such as LinkedIn or industry-specific forums.
  • Join local business groups and attend events where prospective clients might hang out.
  • Talk at conferences or webinars — sharing knowledge helps build credibility and attract potential leads.

As your business grows, you can shift your focus to acquire clients “passively.” By passively, I mean inbound marketing. Here are some strategies:

  • A well-optimized website attracts organic traffic; consider SEO blogging regularly on topics relevant to your expertise.
  • Publish whitepapers or case studies demonstrating how you've helped previous clients achieve their goals. It’s proof that gives confidence.
  • Copilot's client portal software , a powerful tool used by many consultants like myself, integrates smoothly with other marketing tools, letting you automate processes and focus more on delivering value.

5. Manage Cashflow and Your Finances

Running a successful consulting business isn't just about your expertise. It's also about smart money management. In the early days of your business, you’ll most likely act as the CEO, CMO, COO, and CFO — yeah, it’s a lot. But you’ll gain a lifetime of experience in a short amount of time.

One of the most crucial “roles” early on will be the CFO (chief financial officer). Most businesses die because they run out of capital. So, don’t take this aspect lightly.

When starting out, consider packaging your services . Determine the appropriate pricing for your consulting services that is competitive yet does not undervalue yourself. Don't undersell yourself but make sure you're still competitive.

Invoicing made easy with Copilot

Copilot for invoicing

Sending invoices shouldn’t be a chore. With Copilot’s invoicing feature , it doesn’t have to be. Create branded invoices and even set up recurring subscriptions — no sweat.

Also, to manage cash flow effectively, keep track of all expenses – both big and small. From office supplies to travel costs, every penny counts. This is where integrations with your back office platform, like Copilot, comes in handy.

Copilot integrations make life easier

Copilot apps

Fumbling between different apps? Let Copilot do the heavy lifting by integrating with third-party applications like QuickBooks for seamless financial management.

6. Building relationships and referrals

You might be wondering how to get more clients for your consulting business. The secret? It's all about building solid relationships.

People trust people, not businesses . So it's crucial that you focus on developing genuine connections with your clients. They're much more likely to recommend someone they like and trust — that could be you.

In my marketing consulting business, after just two years of dedicated relationship-building, I started seeing a consistent stream of client referrals from past customers I'd done great work for. This is the power of word-of-mouth.

The power of networking

Beyond individual clients, don't forget the potential power within professional networks too. Connect with other consultants or professionals in related fields — these contacts can also provide valuable client referrals if they know and respect your work.

Maintaining client relationships

Maintaining those strong bonds even after projects end is equally important because happy clients are the best advertisers for your services. Regular check-ins let them know you value their partnership long-term.

Acing customer service

Finally, ace customer service at every step along the way. Delivering high-quality results is a given but being responsive, respectful, and easy to work with gives added reasons for referral recommendations.

Remember: Happy clients = more referrals.

7. Take care of the legal stuff

To start a consulting business, you'll need to tackle some paperwork first.

Make sure to check your local laws and register your company name with the authorities in your area so they know you're ready to conduct business and pay taxes. Registering your small business with the local government informs them that you're in operation and prepared to pay taxes. It might sound daunting, but it's not as scary as it seems.

Choose your business structure

The type of structure can affect how much you pay in taxes and your personal liability. Do some research or get help from an attorney or CPA. In the US, many consultants operate with an LLC (Limited Liability Company). But, this will all depend on your preference and practice.

You’ll also want to open a separate business bank account to separate your personal finances from that of your business. This will help you avoid headaches when it comes to tax season.

Nail down licenses and permits

You may also need specific licenses or permits depending on what kind of consulting work you do. For example, if environmental consultancy is your thing, certain certifications are required.

Tax obligations

Avoid any unpleasant surprises by understanding tax obligations upfront. Are you aware that consultants often have self-employment tax?

Breathe easy with liability insurance

Last but certainly not least, consider getting liability insurance for peace of mind because accidents happen even when we wish they didn't. This isn't everything there is to starting a consulting biz legally, but these steps will set solid foundations.

Well, the short answer is yes. But it's more about who should. The truth of the matter is that anyone can technically become a business owner and start a consulting firm. You don't need any special license or degree to hang up your shingle and call yourself a consultant.

This may seem like great news for those itching to escape their nine-to-five grind and set off on an entrepreneurial adventure.

However, there's more than meets the eye

Becoming successful in this field requires something money can't buy — expertise. It’s not just about having knowledge; it’s also about being able to apply that knowledge effectively for clients' benefit.

Your success hinges on demonstrating your skills in tangible ways. This could be through past work experience, professional certifications, academic achievements, or even client testimonials praising your abilities.

To really hit home with potential clients and succeed as a consultant you'll need a solid business plan. This helps demonstrate how you're going to solve problems for clients — essentially why they should choose you over someone else.

Above all else though, remember confidence counts. To thrive as a consultant you must believe in yourself before expecting others (clients) will too.

Copilot consulting client portal software

The journey of starting a consulting business is an adventure filled with twists and turns. But one tool that can help smooth out the bumps in this road is Copilot.

Crafting your workspace with Copilot

Client portal messaging

A well-organized workspace is essential for success, and that's where Copilot shines. This client portal platform lets you keep track of contracts, invoices, files, messaging, and forms all in one place.

Financial management made easy

No need to dread financial management anymore. Copilot makes it simple by letting you create branded invoices and recurring subscriptions right from your dashboard.

Bonus? It even integrates seamlessly with third-party apps like QuickBooks so you have everything under control without breaking a sweat.

Fostering client relationships

I've been running my marketing consultancy for two years now — believe me when I say relationships are key.

If done right using platforms like Copilot can get consistent referrals from past clients who loved working with us because we did an amazing job managing their projects smoothly through the portal.

Growing Your Consulting Business With Confidence

In conclusion, there’s no doubt about it: Starting a consulting firm isn’t easy. But, having tools such as Copilot on your side gives both newbies & experienced consultants the confidence they need to grow their businesses effectively and efficiently.

Launching a consulting startup is a complex adventure that goes far beyond just announcing your readiness to serve. Finding your niche where your expertise aligns with industry trends and new business needs is key.

If you’ve made it this far into the article, you've mastered the art of crafting an effective business plan that's not just a document, but a strategic roadmap addressing the real pain points of new clients. We've dove into client portals, equipping you with robust online workspace setups and innovative marketing strategies to captivate and retain clients.

We navigated the financial landscape, providing practical advice on project management tools like Copilot, designed to streamline your invoicing and financial tracking — crucial for any entrepreneur eager to maintain a healthy cash flow. We also shed light on the significance of relationships in the consulting industry — these connections are not merely advantageous but are the lifeblood for referrals and sustained growth.

Legal stuff? Consider it covered. Everyone is now equipped with the knowledge that diligent attention to legalities and choosing the right business name from the outset can prevent future legal entanglements.

Whether you're eyeing a niche in management, IT consulting, or any of the other types of consulting, this guide has laid the foundation. You're not just starting a new consulting practice — you're sculpting a beacon in the consulting industry.

Launching your consulting business is no longer akin to scaling Everest barefoot — it's an exhilarating climb we've prepared for together. With the toolkit you've assembled, the path to success is clear, and the summit is within reach.

Share this post

Sign up for our newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive emails about important announcements, product updates, and guides relevant to your industry.

The new standard for modern services business.

  • Messages Billing Files Contracts Forms Helpdesk Client Home Profile Manager
  • Developer Home Custom Apps API Reference Copilot on Zapier Copilot on Make
  • Accounting and Bookkeeping Marketing Agencies Startups Consulting Firms Real Estate Freelancers Law Firms Small Businesses Designers
  • Brand Pricing Jobs Terms Privacy
  • Blog Guide Video Tutorials What’s New Find an expert Security System Status Experts Program Affiliates Program Glossary Compare Sitemap
  • Introducing Copilot's App Store and Platform Copilot 2024 Winter Release Announcing our Series A

You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser or activate Google Chrome Frame to improve your experience.

crowdspring Blog

  • Why crowdspring
  • Trust and Security
  • Case Studies
  • How it Works
  • Want more revenue? Discover the power of good design.
  • Brand Identity
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Small Business

How to Start a Consulting Business: The Definitive Guide for 2024

How to Start a Consulting Business: The Definitive Guide for 2024


You’ve become an expert in your field after years of dedication, countless hours of work, and relentless pursuit of excellence.

So, what’s next?

Imagine leveraging your expertise and time into a rewarding venture – starting a consulting business .

What is consulting?

Consulting is the art and science of offering specialized advice, sharing opinions, and crafting strategies to help clients excel. Consultants aren't just advice-givers; they wear numerous hats. They diagnose problems, gather data, offer constructive feedback, build strategies, and participate in implementation.

how to create consulting business plan

According to Statista, the information technology consulting industry in the U.S. grew by over 30% between 2011 and 2019, amounting to more than $600 billion in 2022. Similarly, the management consulting sector is projected to hit $343.4 billion by 2025 from an estimated $330 billion in 2023.

And these are just two pieces of the enormous consulting pie.

Leveraging my extensive experience of over a decade as an attorney, alongside a 15-year journey mentoring numerous entrepreneurs, I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with hundreds of consultants and consulting firms. I’ve also hired many consultants for my businesses.

Moreover, crowdspring has served as a vital springboard for tens of thousands of ambitious consultants and aspiring small business owners for the past fifteen years. Our team has amassed a rich repository of insights, practical tips, and industry best practices essential for kick-starting and successfully sustaining a consulting venture.

This definitive guide shares this collective wisdom, hard-earned experiences, and insightful learnings with you.

Consultant vs. contractor vs. freelancer

As you stand on the cusp of launching your consulting business, it’s essential to understand where you fit in the professional landscape. The terms ‘consultant,’ ‘contractor,’ and ‘freelancer’ are often used loosely and interchangeably, but critical differences exist.

While consultants, contractors, and freelancers offer their services to businesses, their roles diverge beyond this similarity.

Contractors, including freelancers, are self-employed professionals contracted by companies to provide specific services. On the other hand, consultants are specialists who offer expert advice and assessments. They can either be independent or part of a consulting firm.

However, the lines can blur.

You could be asked to deliver a specific service as a consultant, making your role somewhat akin to a contractor. For instance, imagine you’re hired to evaluate a customer service team’s performance. Post-assessment, you suggest a new strategy and training plan. If you’re asked to develop and present this strategy, your role will expand to include elements of a contractor’s job.

Consulting is a vast field with opportunities across virtually all sectors. So, let’s delve into the diverse consulting specializations you can consider.


How to Start a Consulting Business

  • Choose your niche and define your services
  • Write a business plan
  • Choose your legal business structure
  • Set up business accounting and bookkeeping
  • Assess your finances and secure startup capital
  • Develop your brand identity
  • Create an effective fee structure
  • Launch your website and market your business
  • Grow your consulting business

Additional resources for consultants

  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Choose your niche and define your services

When someone utters the word “consulting,” what springs to mind?

Is it a seasoned expert offering priceless advice or a niche firm with razor-sharp strategies to tackle business challenges?

Consulting is a thriving industry revolving around knowledge – the commodity businesses are willing to pay for.

Business leaders often navigate complex problems; sometimes, the much-needed solution is a fresh perspective. That’s precisely what consultants bring to the table. Their unbiased viewpoint helps reduce the noise and find the best approach to tackle business problems.

In a nutshell, consultants are problem solvers. They work tirelessly to make their clients more successful, a commitment that makes the consulting business rewarding and lucrative.

Here are some of the reasons that businesses hire consultants:

  • Businesses hire consultants because of their expertise. Suppose a company is raising funding or adopting a new software system. In that case, it pays for them to hire a specialist who has raised millions or has already implemented the same software system.
  • Businesses hire consultants to supplement their staff. Companies often engage consultants for their specialized skills and flexibility. This approach eliminates the costs and commitments of full-time hires, particularly for temporary projects.
  • Businesses hire consultants to identify problems. It’s not uncommon for employees to struggle to resolve an issue inside an organization. Having seen a similar situation across many organizations, an experienced consultant might have the necessary expertise to help.
  • Businesses hire consultants to promote change. Often, companies get stuck trying to change their internal organization. Outside consultants are often used to facilitate the transition.
  • Businesses hire consultants to teach. Training programs, retraining programs, technical software implementation, and other areas require specialized skills only experienced consultants offer. And remember, age is simply a number. Even if you’re over 60 or have been living the good life for a while, there’s never a wrong time to kick off your consulting gig. You’ve got a lifetime of lessons under your belt, and believe it or not, people are always hunting for that kind of seasoned insight.
  • Businesses hire consultants to make tough decisions. If a company needs to downsize, it will often bring in consultants to make the tough decisions to deflect blame for letting people go.
  • Businesses hire consultants to influence important decision-makers at other companies. For example, if you’re trying to reach a deal with another company and find a consultant who knows that company well, the consultant may be the X factor in putting the deal together.
  • Businesses hire consultants for ideation. Sometimes, a company hits a rough patch and has a hard time finding new ideas. Consultants can help bring new energy to the business and help ideate products and services.
  • Businesses hire consultants to create new companies and products. Some specialized consultants help others create (or buy) new companies’ products and services.

When choosing your niche, you can start by assessing your skills and strengths and brainstorming the general consulting services you’d like to offer.

How to assess your skills and strengths for consulting:

  • Start by identifying your transferable skills. What skills have you gained from your education, work experience, and personal life that can be applied to consulting? For example, if you have experience in sales, you may have transferable skills such as communication, persuasion, and negotiation.
  • Reflect on your past experiences. Think about the projects and tasks that you have successfully completed in the past. What skills and strengths did you need to be successful? For example, if you successfully managed a complex project, you may have demonstrated organization, time management, and problem-solving skills.
  • Survey your network. Ask your friends, family, and colleagues for feedback on your skills and strengths. What do they see as your assets? What areas do they think you could improve?
  • Take a skills assessment test. There are several online and offline skills assessment tests available. These tests can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses in various areas, such as communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking.
  • Complete a personal SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis is a framework for identifying your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This can be a helpful exercise for assessing your skills and strengths as a potential consultant.
  • Create a portfolio of your work. This could include samples of your writing, presentations, case studies, or other work products. A portfolio is a great way to showcase your skills and strengths to potential clients.
  • Volunteer your services to a nonprofit organization. This is a great way to gain experience and test your skills in a real-world setting.
  • Shadow a consultant. This is a great way to learn about a consultant’s day-to-day work and see if it is a good fit for you.
  • Take a consulting course or certification program. This can help you to learn the essential skills and knowledge needed to be a successful consultant.
  • Network with other consultants. Attend industry events and connect with other consultants on LinkedIn. This is a great way to learn from others and to get your foot in the door.

By following these suggestions, you can better understand your skills and strengths and start to develop a plan for becoming a successful consultant.

Just as you’d consider different business ideas when starting a business, you must nail down the specifics of your consulting business before you work with any clients.

This is vital for three reasons:

  • You must articulate your consulting service to potential clients to convince them that your services are valuable.
  • You’ll need to charge fees that let you run a sustainable business.
  • Specificity helps to set realistic expectations for your clients and potential clients.

This last point benefits both you and your clients. Your clients can make comfortable, informed decisions. And you can avoid clients taking advantage of you.

While you can’t prevent “scope creep” entirely, being clear about what a client is paying for upfront (and getting it in writing) will help set realistic, workable boundaries both parties can agree to. And, importantly, this will also clearly define the value proposition for your consulting business.

If you’re struggling to identify what your niche or specialty might be, consider these techniques for narrowing it down:

  • Identify any underserved specialties in your field.
  • Consider what specialties will continue to be underserved by a suitable consultant over the long term.
  • Determine which areas in your field clients and potential clients struggle with the most.
  • Ask yourself if your unique background and niche expertise provide you with rare knowledge not easily found in the job market.
  • You’ve probably informally helped friends solve their business problems and pain points. What areas have you focused on when working with your friends?
  • Is your consulting business limited to helping clients in the United States, or will you provide services to clients worldwide?

Here’s a detailed look at the most popular consulting niches. For each niche, we’ll outline the essential skills required, provide insights into the typical clientele, and discuss the frequent challenges small businesses face.

Types of consulting:

  • Management consulting
  • Strategy consulting
  • I.T. consulting
  • Operations consulting
  • Business consulting
  • Financial strategy consulting
  • Sales consulting
  • Human resources consulting
  • Marketing consulting
  • Career consulting
  • Financial consulting
  • Environmental consulting
  • Real estate consulting
  • Risk management consulting
  • Education consulting
  • Legal consulting
  • Digital transformation consulting
  • Sustainability consulting
  • E-commerce consulting
  • Healthcare consulting
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consulting (DEI)
  • Public relations consulting
  • Brand consulting
  • Nonprofit consulting
  • Food service consulting
  • Retail consulting
  • Franchise consulting
  • Agriculture consulting
  • Hospitality consulting
  • Logistics consulting
  • Payroll management consulting

1. Management consulting

Management consultants play a critical role in helping businesses improve their overall performance. They meticulously assess existing organizational issues, devise strategic improvement plans, and aid in the execution of those strategies. Their solutions typically span various business functions, including operations, H.R., finance, and IT. They also collaborate with international contractors to ensure a global perspective is incorporated into their recommendations and to navigate the complexities of international contracting.

Skills needed: Problem-solving, business strategy, change management.

Typical clients: Large corporations like McKinsey and Bain & Company, where they may work with C-suite executives to streamline business processes.

Common SMB Problems: A local restaurant chain struggling to manage operations across multiple locations; an online retailer failing to optimize its supply chain efficiency.

2. Strategy consulting

Strategy consultants are the architects of high-level, strategic business decisions. They help companies devise growth strategies, enter new markets, and make informed business choices. They analyze a company’s strengths and weaknesses , assess market conditions, and help formulate a winning strategy.

Skills needed: Strategic thinking, industry-specific expertise, decision-making.

Typical clients: Large-scale organizations such as Coca-Cola and IBM, where strategic decisions have far-reaching consequences.

Common SMB problems: A brick-and-mortar bookstore considering expansion into the e-commerce space; an artisanal coffee shop struggling to differentiate itself in a competitive market.

3. I.T. consulting

I.T. consultants are technical wizards that help businesses implement and manage new technologies. They tackle system integration, software development, enterprise architecture, cybersecurity, etc. Their work is essential in today’s digital age, where technology plays a pivotal role in business success.

Skills needed: Technical knowledge, problem-solving, and project management.

Typical clients: Tech companies, manufacturing firms, and educational institutions.

Common SMB problems: A local bookstore trying to set up an online sales platform; a small travel agency experiencing difficulties with their booking system.

4. Operations consulting

Operations consultants are the mechanics of business processes. They help organizations streamline operations by enhancing supply chain management, procurement, manufacturing, and service delivery. They identify bottlenecks, propose improvements, and may even assist in implementing these changes.

Skills needed: Project management, process improvement, analytical thinking.

Typical clients: Large logistical companies like Amazon and FedEx, where efficient operations directly influence the bottom line.

Common SMB problems: A local craft brewery struggling with inventory management an online fashion boutique experiencing difficulties with order fulfillment.

5. Business consulting

Business consultants wear many hats, depending on their clients’ needs. They could advise on financial matters one day and resolve operational bottlenecks the next. Their ultimate goal is to help businesses run more efficiently and profitably.

Skills needed: Business understanding, problem-solving, and communication skills.

Typical clients: Small to medium-sized businesses, entrepreneurs, and startups.

Common SMB problems: An independent fashion retailer struggling with business growth; an online fitness trainer unsure how to scale their business.

6. Financial strategy consulting

Financial strategy consultants guide businesses in making sound financial decisions, focusing on corporate finance, risk management, financial restructuring, and real estate. Their expert financial advice helps companies maximize returns, manage financial risks, and comply with legal requirements.

Skills needed: Financial acumen, risk management, understanding of laws and regulations.

Typical clients: Multinational corporations, financial institutions, and property developers .

Common SMB problems: A growing neighborhood bakery unsure of how to manage its financial growth; an online health supplement retailer struggling with pricing strategy.

7. Sales consulting

Sales consultants are sales performance enhancers. They develop effective sales strategies , refine sales processes, and boost team morale, aiming to optimize sales team performance and, ultimately, increase revenue.

Skills needed: Sales expertise, communication skills, motivational abilities.

Typical clients: Companies with sales teams, ranging from technology firms to consumer goods manufacturers.

Common SMB problems: A small electronics store with stagnating sales figures; an online handcrafted jewelry shop failing to meet sales targets.

8. Human resources consulting

Human resources consultants are experts in managing a company’s most valuable asset—its employees. They guide H.R. processes, such as talent management, conflict resolution, training and development, benefits administration, and compliance with employment laws.

Skills needed: Understanding H.R. practices, interpersonal skills, and knowledge of employment laws.

Typical clients: Corporations of all sizes, startups, and nonprofit organizations.

Common SMB problems: A family-owned grocery store grappling with high employee turnover; a small digital marketing agency striving to develop a comprehensive employee benefits program.

9. Marketing consulting

Marketing consultants work magic with a company’s marketing strategy , enhancing brand visibility , customer engagement, and sales conversions . They specialize in diverse areas, including digital marketing, content creation, SEO , social media marketing, and more.

Skills needed:   Marketing expertise, creativity, analytical skills.

Typical clients: Any company needing marketing help, including tech startups, retail businesses, and service providers.

Common SMB problems:   A small café struggling to attract customers; an online clothing boutique experiencing low web traffic.

10. Career consulting

Career consultants serve as career architects, helping individuals set career goals and build successful careers. They assist with skill development, resume writing and enhancement , job applications, interview preparation, and market understanding.

Skills needed: Job market knowledge , interpersonal skills, H.R. expertise.

Typical clients: Job seekers, career changers, and businesses looking to support their employees’ career growth.

Common SMB problems: A small architectural firm looking to improve employee skillsets; an online tutoring company wanting to assist tutors with professional development.

11. Financial consulting

Financial consultants help individuals, families, and businesses manage their finances. They offer guidance on investments, budgeting, tax planning, insurance, and more. They help their clients make financially savvy decisions to achieve their monetary goals.

Skills needed: Financial knowledge, analytical skills, trustworthiness.

Typical clients: Individuals, families, entrepreneurs, and businesses of all sizes.

Common SMB problems: A family-owned bed and breakfast struggling with budgeting; an online art store owner uncertain about investment strategies.

12. Environmental consulting

Environmental consultants help businesses assess and minimize their environmental impact. They offer advice on sustainable practices, regulatory compliance, waste management, etc. Their work often intersects with the construction, energy, and real estate sectors.

Skills needed: Knowledge of environmental regulations, scientific expertise, and analytical skills.

Typical clients: Construction companies, energy producers, and manufacturing firms.

Common SMB problems: A local brewery looking to reduce water waste a small online furniture retailer aiming to source more sustainable materials.

13. Real estate consulting

Real estate consultants provide expert property buying, selling, and management advice. They analyze market trends, assess property values, and help clients make informed real estate investment decisions.

Skills needed: Deep understanding of the real estate market, analytical skills, and negotiation skills.

Typical clients: Individual investors, real estate developers, and commercial property firms.

Common SMB problems: A local coffee shop considering expansion and needing advice on location selection; an online business ready to establish a physical headquarters and requiring guidance on property acquisition.

14. Risk management consulting

Risk management consultants are the fortification experts of an organization. They identify potential threats to a business’s financial health, operational efficiency, or reputation and devise strategies to mitigate these risks.

Skills needed: Risk analysis, strategic planning, problem-solving skills.

Typical clients: Financial institutions, manufacturing companies, and businesses exposed to significant risk.

Common SMB problems: A small construction company grappling with safety compliance issues; an online travel agency struggling with data security risks.

15. Education consulting

Education consultants work with schools, educational institutions, or individuals to enhance learning experiences. They advise on curriculum development, educational policies, and strategies to improve student performance.

Skills needed: Knowledge of educational systems and policies, curriculum development, and interpersonal skills.

Typical clients: Schools, universities, and educational technology companies.

Common SMB problems: A local private school struggling to improve student outcomes; an online tutoring platform seeking advice on curriculum enhancement.

16. Legal consulting

Legal consultants provide expert advice on legal matters. They help with contract drafting, legal compliance, dispute resolution, and other legal complexities businesses may face.

Skills needed: Legal knowledge, analytical skills, attention to detail.

Typical clients: Businesses across industries require legal guidance without a full-time attorney.

Common SMB problems: A small brewery facing difficulties understanding licensing laws; an e-commerce platform unsure about customer data usage compliance.

17. Digital transformation consulting

Digital transformation consultants help businesses adapt to the digital age. They guide companies in integrating digital technology in all operations, enhancing efficiency and competitiveness.

Skills needed: Proficiency in digital technologies, change management, and strategic planning.

Typical clients: Traditional businesses looking to digitize their operations and tech companies aiming to update their digital strategies.

Common SMB problems: A local bookstore wanting to create an online presence; an established online clothing retailer seeking to streamline order processing with advanced technologies.

18. Sustainability consulting

Sustainability consultants assist businesses in incorporating sustainable practices into their operations. They help clients reduce environmental impact, comply with sustainability regulations, and build a green brand image.

Skills needed: Understanding environmental science, corporate sustainability strategies, and regulatory compliance.

Typical clients: Manufacturing companies, energy firms, and businesses aiming for greener operations.

Common SMB problems: A local organic grocery store wanting to reduce its carbon footprint; an online eco-friendly clothing brand needing help with supply chain sustainability.

19. E-commerce consulting

E-commerce consultants guide online businesses toward success in the digital marketplace. They assist in website optimization , digital marketing, customer journey mapping , SEO consulting , and conversion rate improvement .

Skills needed: Digital marketing, SEO, UX design, data analysis.

Typical clients: Online retailers and businesses transitioning from brick-and-mortar to online.

Common SMB problems: A small local artisan wanting to sell their products online; a niche online beauty store struggling to increase site traffic and conversion rates.

20. Healthcare consulting

Healthcare consultants focus on optimizing the operations and outcomes of healthcare organizations. They scrutinize all aspects, from personnel and profits to processes, offering valuable insights to enhance efficiency and tackle complex challenges.

Skills needed: Deep understanding of healthcare systems , analytical skills, and problem-solving abilities.

Typical clients: Hospitals, clinics, healthcare tech companies, and pharmaceutical firms.

Common SMB problems: A local dentist office struggling with patient scheduling efficiency; an e-health startup looking to improve their telehealth service delivery.

21. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consulting (DEI)

DEI consultants promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within organizations. They bring an unbiased perspective to companies’ equity issues and help devise strategies that nurture an inclusive and respectful workplace culture.

Skills needed: Deep understanding of DEI issues, sensitivity to cultural differences, and practical communication skills.

Typical clients: Businesses across all sectors committed to improving diversity and inclusivity.

Common SMB problems: A local bakery with a culturally diverse staff experiencing communication issues; an online software development company aiming to build a more inclusive work culture.

22. Public relations consulting

P.R. consultants are crisis managers and image guardians for organizations. They strategize how to present the company in the best light, deal with potential crises, and facilitate effective communication with the public and media .

Skills needed: Excellent communication skills, crisis management expertise, and ability to think independently.

Typical clients: Enterprises, celebrities, political entities, or organizations needing to maintain a positive public image.

Common SMB problems:  A small town family restaurant facing negative press over a food safety issue; an online retail brand dealing with customer complaints going viral on social media .

23. Brand consulting

Brand consultants act as brand sculptors, carving out a company’s brand identity in the market. They conduct competitor analysis , initiate market research, and devise creative strategies to enhance brand perception and customer loyalty.

Skills needed: Creativity, market research skills, and understanding of consumer psychology .

Typical clients: Businesses looking to launch, rebrand , or strengthen their market position.

Common SMB problems: A local gym failing to differentiate its brand from competitors; an online pet supplies store struggling to connect with its target audience .

24. Nonprofit consulting

Nonprofit consultants assist charitable organizations in achieving their mission and improving their effectiveness. They help with fundraising strategies, volunteer management, marketing efforts, and organizational structure.

Skills needed: Understanding the nonprofit sector, fundraising strategies , leadership, and management skills.

Typical clients: Charitable organizations, educational institutions, and advocacy groups.

Common SMB problems: A small local animal shelter struggling with volunteer retention; an online nonprofit aiming to improve donor engagement and fundraising .

25. Food service consulting

Food service consultants advise restaurants, cafeterias, and other food establishments. They help with menu development, supply chain management, health and safety compliance, and operational efficiency.

Skills needed: Understanding the food industry, culinary expertise, and supply chain management.

Typical clients: Restaurants, hotels, catering businesses, and food delivery services.

Common SMB problems:  A small town café needing menu innovation to compete with larger chains; an online food delivery service struggling with logistical and supply chain issues.

26. Retail consulting

Retail consultants work with businesses to optimize their operations, sales strategies, inventory management, and customer service. They help brick-and-mortar stores transition to e-commerce and cope with the challenges of the digital era.

Skills needed: Understanding the retail industry, sales and marketing expertise, and knowledge of e-commerce trends.

Typical clients: Retail stores, e-commerce businesses, and department stores.

Common SMB problems: A local bookstore struggling to compete with online retailers; a clothing store facing inventory management issues.

27. Franchise consulting

Franchise consultants guide businesses through becoming franchisors or help potential franchisees select the right opportunity. They help with legal matters, business plans, marketing strategies, and location selection.

Skills needed: Franchise business models, legal expertise, and business development skills.

Typical clients: Potential and existing franchisors and franchisees.

Common SMB problems: A small fast-food restaurant looking to franchise their business; an online tutoring service considering becoming a franchisee.

28. Agriculture consulting

An agriculture consultant assists farmers and agribusinesses in making informed decisions that improve their farm operations’ profitability and sustainability. They can provide expert advice and assessments on crop management, soil health, livestock care, sustainable farming practices , and modern farming technologies.

Skills needed: Deep knowledge of farming techniques, environmental regulations, and agricultural economics. Furthermore, an understanding of biotechnology and data analysis proficiency can be beneficial.

Typical clients: Farm owners, agribusinesses, agricultural technology firms, agrarian nonprofits, and government agencies.

Common SMB problems: A small family-owned vineyard might struggle with soil health affecting their grape yield. Alternatively, an organic vegetable farm could explore ways to enhance sustainable farming practices to meet increased demand without compromising its organic status. These situations call for an agriculture consultant’s expertise.

29. Hospitality consulting

Hospitality consultants assist businesses in the tourism and lodging industries. They help with business development, customer service strategies, facility management, and creating memorable guest experiences.

Skills needed: Understanding of the hospitality industry, customer service expertise, and facility management skills.

Typical clients: Hotels, resorts, travel agencies, and event planning businesses.

Common SMB problems: A boutique hotel struggling with online booking management; a local tour agency facing marketing challenges in attracting tourists.

30. Logistics consulting

Logistics consultants help businesses streamline their supply chain, distribution, and transportation processes. They assist in optimizing warehouse operations, reducing shipping costs, and improving delivery times.

Skills needed: Supply chain management, transportation logistics, analytical skills.

Typical clients: Manufacturing companies, e-commerce businesses, and logistics providers.

Common SMB problems: A local craft brewery having issues managing distribution logistics; an online clothing retailer struggling with international shipping costs and regulations.

31. Payroll management consulting

Payroll management consultants streamline and optimize a business’s payroll process, ensuring employees’ accurate and timely payments. They help create efficient payroll structures, integrate payroll systems, ensure regulatory compliance, and manage payroll taxes.

Skills needed: Extensive knowledge of payroll systems and payroll services , tax regulations, auditing skills, numerical proficiency, and a thorough understanding of local and international labor laws.

Typical clients: Any organization that manages a workforce, from small businesses to multinational corporations, across industries.

Common SMB problems: An e-commerce startup might struggle with managing payroll for its remote workers across different states or countries, creating issues with tax compliance and payment schedules. In another scenario, a local retail business may experience errors in calculating overtime, leading to discrepancies in employee pay.

Finally, don’t forget to consider the size of your target market. Not every niche will be lucrative. You can make more informed decisions once you understand each niche’s total addressable market (TAM) .

2. Write a business plan

Starting a new business is quite an adventure, and like any good journey, it can be helpful to have a map. That’s where a business plan comes in.

It’s not a must-have, but it can help clarify your thoughts and dodge some rookie mistakes.

Believe it or not, studies show that folks who take the time to jot down a business plan when kick-starting a business are 2.5 times more likely to see their dreams turn into reality. Not only that but crafting a business plan also helps you sharpen skills that’ll be a tremendous asset down the line.

Don’t sweat over making every little detail perfect in your business plan.

You certainly don’t need to lose sleep over writing a 100-page document. There are tons of practical one-page business plan models out there that can guide you in writing a concise, one-page business plan.

Different consulting business models

The independent consultant model.

As an independent consultant, you are the captain of your ship. You work directly with clients, deliver projects single-handedly, and manage all aspects of your business operations.

This model is an excellent fit if you prefer maintaining flexibility and having hands-on involvement in every project. It requires a high level of expertise in your niche and solid business and time management skills.

The consultancy firm model

In the consultancy firm model, you set up a team of consultants, each contributing their unique expertise. You focus on leading the organization and contributing to client projects.

This model allows for scalability and an expanded service offering, making it a viable option if you’re targeting large businesses and complex projects. However, it also comes with increased team management responsibilities, including hiring, training, and retention.

The productized consulting model

Productized consulting takes a unique approach to consulting services.

Instead of delivering bespoke advice and solutions, you build a standardized “products” suite based on your expertise. These could range from online courses and digital tools to books and webinars. You sell these to clients at a fixed price, creating a scalable source of passive income.

This model allows you to leverage your knowledge and reach a wider audience, but it requires product development and marketing skills.

The hybrid consulting model

A hybrid model is a fusion of two or more models tailored to your preferences and business goals. For example, you could combine independent consulting with productized services, delivering personalized consulting while offering pre-packaged digital resources.

This model gives you the flexibility to design a business that aligns with your skill set, work style, and the needs of your target market.

The networked consulting model

In the networked consulting model, you collaborate with other independent consultants, forming a network of specialists. You refer work to each other, collaborate on projects, or even pitch together as a virtual firm for more significant contracts.

This model allows you to extend your service offering and reach without the overheads of running a firm. It requires strong networking skills and forming mutually beneficial professional relationships.

The subscription consulting model

In this model, instead of charging per project, you offer your consulting services for a regular subscription fee. Clients get a certain amount of your time or specific services each month.

This provides steady recurring revenue and allows you to form deeper client relationships. It suits consultants whose services involve ongoing work, like business coaching, digital marketing, or I.T. support.

Each of these models has advantages and challenges, so choosing a model that aligns with your goals, preferred working style, and the needs of your target clients is crucial.

Need some help getting started? Check out our no-nonsense guide to writing a business plan . It’s packed with insights and free downloadable business plan templates designed to help you take your business from a dream to a reality.

3. Choose your legal business structure

Embarking on your consulting business journey, you’ve got to make a few critical decisions – like the kind of business type you want your business to be.

It might seem a bit dry, but this stuff is essential, as it affects everything from tax filings and liability to local, state, or national rules you need to follow.

There are different legal business structures to choose from, and for those starting, it can feel like trying to order food in a foreign language.

Here’s the thing – don’t feel pressured into registering your business immediately. Sure, becoming a sole proprietor might be easy on the wallet and quick to set up, but it could leave you open to more risk and potentially create a tax headache.

Forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC) could be smarter for most consulting gigs.

Invest some time into researching the business structures that could suit you. Consider which will benefit your business now and align with your future professional and personal ambitions.

Let’s look at the four main types of business entities:

  • Sole proprietorship. This is the simplest entity. As a sole proprietor, you’re the lone ranger responsible for your business’s profits and debts.
  • Partnership . This is when two or more people team up, sharing liability and responsibility for a business.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC). This structure allows owners, partners, or shareholders to limit their personal liability while reaping a partnership’s tax and flexibility perks.
  • Corporation . This is a separate legal entity from its owners. A corporation can own property, get sued, pay taxes, and enter into contracts.

Consider what will work best for your current needs and future ambitions.

Hire an expert to form your company and save time. Our trusted partners can help: Northwest ($39 + state fee) or Bizee ($199 + state fee) . We recommend Northwest. After evaluating the leading registration companies, Northwest stands out as our top choice due to its competitive pricing, exceptional customer support, and commitment to privacy. Pay just $39 + state fees and you'll get a free year of registered agent service, articles of organization, privacy, and client support from local experts.

And a heads up – in most states, if you’re planning to run your consulting firm under a different name than your legal business name, you need to register this with the secretary of state or county clerk.

For instance, if your registered company is an LLC named “Three Brothers, LLC,” but you’re selling services as “Three Tigers,” you might have a problem. That’s because your registered name and your trade name don’t match.

But don’t worry, this is not as scary as it sounds. You can sort this out by registering your trade name with your state (and or local government) by filing a “doing business as” (DBA) certificate. Also known as an “assumed name,” “fictitious business name,” or “trade name.” Need help? Check out this super handy resource that breaks down what a DBA is, the state requirements for a DBA, and how to file a DBA in all 50 states and U.S. territories .

3. Set up business accounting and bookkeeping

Let’s talk about something I find less cool but super important – business accounting and bookkeeping. This stuff is vital to understanding your cash flow and filing taxes correctly.

Accounting is all about recording, organizing, and presenting your financial info. It’s the backbone of your business’s financial health, helping you make informed decisions.

Bookkeeping is more about recording, storing, and retrieving your financial data.

Sure, the two overlap. But the significant difference? Bookkeeping is about recording and categorizing financial info, while accounting uses that info for analysis, strategy, and tax planning.

Hire a bookkeeper – your new best friend

Unlike accountants, bookkeepers have a simple mission: keep things organized, pay bills, track an invoice financing loan , and prep work for the accountant. They’re typically more wallet-friendly than CPAs (certified public accountants) and can handle day-to-day transactions, bank account balancing, basic reports, and keeping your financial records tidy.

Many consultants hire an external bookkeeper, paid hourly, who swoops in regularly to manage entries, bills, invoices, and receivables. The best part? They don’t need to be in your office 24/7. They can work remotely or drop by every couple of weeks.

An experienced bookkeeper isn’t just handy; they’re a lifesaver, especially when setting up invoice financing to speed up client payments. Plus, with the help of tools, a free invoice template , or invoicing software from Billdu for creating and managing invoices, they can help you be more efficient and less stressed.

Organize your financial information

Every business generates heaps of data; if it’s not organized and accessible, it’s as useful as a chocolate hammer. This is doubly true for your consulting gig. Even a few weeks of unrecorded transactions or a month of unmailed invoices can drown a small business.

A sharp bookkeeper can help you set up a filing system, keep bills organized, ensure invoices are sent out promptly, and introduce a disciplined, organized approach. They can even help set up and track invoice financing loans if clients are slow on payments.

Perform an annual health check

Don’t underestimate the value of a yearly review of your bookkeeping, accounting, and tax strategies. Give a hard look at your systems and the people managing them, and ask some critical questions.

Are you being cost-effective and productive with your accounting? Does your CPA understand your industry enough to give solid advice? Is your tax preparer skilled enough to keep you on the right side of the law? Most importantly, can you trim expenses while maintaining high-quality controls?

Take the time to reevaluate and bolster your accounting strategy. It might seem like a chore, but trust me, it’s worth it!

4. Assess your finances and secure startup capital

Let’s talk money. Assessing your finances is super important – it’s not just about tracking sales and profits but getting a complete picture of your financial health.

So, here’s the rundown on business finance:

Business finance is like your company’s personal trainer. It uses your financial data to help you manage your funds, making your operations profitable and sustainable.

And you’ve got plenty of business financing options.

You must figure out how to fund your business and fuel its growth. You’ll struggle to build a sustainable, profitable business if you’re not on top of your numbers.

Starting a business is exciting, but don’t let the excitement push you to overspend. Be careful with your funds and make purchases that make sense.

Expensive and unnecessary equipment? That’s a no-no. They might seem cool, but they could put your small business’s survival on the line.

Your startup costs may include the following:

  • your brand design (logo, business cards , and website)
  • any license or permit fees
  • deposits and rent for a physical work location (if you plan to lease your own office space)
  • basic infrastructural costs like VoIP phone and internet service, scheduling and invoicing software , etc. You can reduce costs by picking invoicing software that includes automated tax compliance.
  • marketing and advertising costs

Here’s the upside – most successful consultants can run their businesses with low costs until they’ve built a solid client base, then they can spend more on equipment and supplies.

Securing startup funding

Securing sufficient capital is a major hurdle for new businesses. While self-funding is ideal, it’s often not feasible, making business partners or outside investors essential.

Before engaging potential partners or investors, clarify your expectations:

  • What do you want from this partnership or investment?
  • How involved should they be in decision-making?
  • Is the relationship short-term or long-term?

Your partnership can take various forms: pure capital investment, cost-sharing, leads generation, or associating with a reputed brand. Knowing your goals upfront helps in selecting the right partner or investor.

Consider these relationship options:

  • Crowdfunding. Platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo allow raising funds from the public without granting them business control. However, it requires fulfilling commitments made to backers. Crowdfunding may not suit consulting businesses, but its growing popularity, projected to exceed the global venture capital industry, makes it worth exploring.
  • Angel investors and venture capitalists. These traditional funding sources suit those planning a consulting agency. Convincing investors about your business viability is challenging, particularly for startups. However, finding investors becomes easier if you have a profitable consulting business looking to scale, particularly in technology. Remember, they may want significant involvement in your business to safeguard their investment.
  • Partnerships. True business partnerships involve an equal investment of finances, resources, and labor. Alternatively, you can establish temporary partnerships with existing brands or consultants who complement your services. Here are two examples: (a) Partner with a consultant in a related field to offer combined services to a broader client base; (b) Collaborate with a software business in your field to create a lead exchange program, driving well-qualified leads to each other. The crux is finding a partner who shares your goals and fostering mutual motivation to succeed.
  • Strategic alliances. This is a collaboration where you and another business agree to combine resources to achieve a common goal. For example, a marketing consultant might form a strategic alliance with a graphic design firm . Together, they could offer a more comprehensive service to their clients. Both businesses retain their independence but might share costs, risks, and rewards.
  • Joint ventures. A joint venture (J.V.) is a business agreement in which parties agree to pool their resources to accomplish a specific task or business activity. Unlike a strategic alliance, a J.V. often results in the creation of a new business entity. For instance, two consulting firms might create a J.V. to tackle a market segment neither could own. This type of arrangement typically involves more commitment and investment than a strategic alliance but can lead to greater rewards due to the combined strength of the partners.

Finally, remember that accounting and bookkeeping system we discussed earlier? It’s back in play here. You need to set up one to keep tabs on your finances. It’s essential for understanding cash flow and filing taxes, but it also helps you track income, expenses, capital expenditures, profit, loss, EBITDA, and so on.

5. Develop your brand identity

Think brands are only for the big corporations?

They’re super crucial for small businesses, especially independent consultants.

A solid brand adds a layer of professional polish that can be tricky for small outfits to establish. So, don’t leave your brand identity to fate – building a successful consulting biz requires serious attention to branding .

Let’s rewind – your brand is your company’s public persona. Ideally, it should reflect your business’s best and most vital traits.

For consultants, credibility is king. A lackluster brand identity undermines that.

Good design isn’t just a luxury – it’s essential for you and your clients.

logo designer sitting in front of a computer

Picture this – you’re selling $10,000 projects and want to double the price. To do that, you must articulate the value differently, and design can help.

Before you dive into networking, ask yourself some key questions. What persona do I want my brand to project? Who needs my services? What unique value do I offer? What are my brand values ? What’s the core part of my client’s experience? Your answers will shape your brand’s core and influence your future branding decisions, from your company name and logo design to your website design.

And remember, you don’t have to break the bank to create a strong brand identity. Here’s a guide to help you figure out the sweet spot for pricing:

  • How much should a logo design cost?
  • How much does a business card cost?
  • How much should brochure design cost?
  • How much does website design cost?

These guides cover various price points, so you’ll find something that fits your budget.

Ultimately, building a successful consulting business is about brand authenticity and connection . A compelling brand can make that happen. Whether you’re starting or thinking about a rebrand , take the time to think about your brand. It might make all the difference.

For more on establishing and maintaining a consistent brand identity, check out Grow Your Small Business with Consistent Branding .

Marketing psychology can help you increase revenues

Marketing Psychology can help you boost your revenues by incorporating psychological principles into your marketing strategy.

how to create consulting business plan

6. Create an effective fee structure

Creating an effective fee structure starts with understanding your operating costs – rent, utilities, subscriptions, taxes, supplies, and salaries. But don’t forget to factor in profit, which is crucial for business sustainability. And remember to pick a an appropriate consulting model.

Envision how you want to run your consulting business – a brick-and-mortar agency, a home office, or a global setup while traveling. Your fees should support this style. For various strategies, see this article by Andrea Coutu of Consulting Journal.

Thoroughly dissect your operational costs, which stretch beyond fixed and variable expenses like rent, utilities, and supplies, to incorporate aspects like:

  • Time investment. Calculate the non-billable hours spent on marketing, administration, and skill enhancement.
  • Risk mitigation. Factor in a buffer for unforeseen circumstances or potential risks, such as project overruns or unexpected costs.
  • Profit margin. Explicitly ascertain a profit margin that compensates for your expertise and ensures business growth.

Next, conduct a robust analysis of:

  • Competitor pricing. Understand competitors’ pricing strategies and identify market gaps or opportunities.
  • Clients’ paying capacity. Evaluate the financial bandwidth of your target audience and what they’re willing to pay for your services.
  • Unique Value Proposition . Gauge how your unique offerings and expertise can justify a premium or competitive pricing strategy.

Your pricing should resonate with the tangible and intangible benefits clients derive. To augment your perceived value:

  • Showcase expertise. Use case studies, testimonials, and certifications to validate your expertise and results.
  • Brand positioning . Ensure your branding, from website design to communication, exudes professionalism and competence.

Next, explore, understand, and select a pricing strategy that aligns with your services and client expectations:

  • Hourly rate. Transparent and straightforward, this method is often suitable for consultants with clearly definable hourly services, such as legal consultants or I.T. troubleshooters. However, tracking hours is essential; questions may arise if work takes longer than estimated.
  • Project rate. Ideal for projects with clear deliverables and defined timelines, like marketing campaigns or project management services. This could be risky if the work takes longer but beneficial if completed quicker. Adjustments may be needed for scope changes.
  • Retainer. Suitable for ongoing, long-term services, such as H.R. consulting or business advisory, where clients require access to your expertise over a period.
  • Value-based pricing. Charging is based on the value provided to the client, which can be highly profitable for consultants who significantly impact client revenues or costs, such as business strategy consultants or revenue growth advisors.

Additional revenue streams

Beyond direct consulting, explore alternative revenue avenues:

  • Online courses. Leverage your expertise to educate others, ensuring a revenue stream decoupled from your consulting hours.
  • E-books or guides. Create comprehensive guides or e-books based on your area of expertise, providing a low-cost option for those unable to afford your full services.
  • Affiliate marketing. Recommend tools or services and earn a commission for each sale made through your referral.

Periodic review and adjustment

Ensure your fee structure remains viable and competitive through:

  • Client feedback. Understand client perceptions and reservations about your pricing.
  • Market trends. Stay attuned to shifts in market rates or emerging pricing strategies.
  • Business evolution. As your expertise and offerings evolve, ensure your pricing reflects these advancements.

For more on fee setting, check out this online mini-course by Consulting Journal.

Consider offering online courses if you have unique expertise. It’s another revenue stream for your consulting business. Here’s a guide on how to sell online courses .

7. Launch your website and market your business

Your business website is not just a digital address; it’s your brand ambassador. Use your site to effectively communicate your brand ethos, values, and services to your target audience.

It’s crucial that your website truly personifies your consulting brand. For example, suppose you’re running a leadership consulting service emphasizing transparency and innovation. In that case, the site should have a modern, clean design with easy-to-navigate menus and transparent information about your services.

The website’s visual design elements should resonate with your brand’s voice and identity. For instance:

  • Use your brand’s colors. If your brand colors are turquoise and white, these colors should be prominently displayed in your site’s design. For example, a sustainability consulting company might use green and earth tones to reflect their environmental commitment.
  • Feature your company logo. Your logo is a visual shorthand for your brand, and it should be prominently displayed, preferably in the header or corner of every page.
  • Write marketing copy for your target audience. Your website copy should speak directly to prospective clients’ needs and interests. If you’re a technology consultant, use language that tech-savvy visitors will appreciate and understand.
  • Showcase your consulting style. Whether you’re more hands-on or prefer to guide from the sidelines, ensure this is evident. For example, a dynamic, interactive website may indicate a more engaging consulting approach.

Beyond these design elements, your website is an ideal platform to highlight your consulting achievements.

Feature testimonials and case studies from past clients to showcase your expertise and success. For example, a healthcare consultant might include a case study on how they helped a hospital streamline its processes for better patient care.

Including an online store on your website can be a strategic move, especially if you have proprietary consulting tools, books, or digital resources to sell. For example, a marketing consultant might sell eBooks or webinars on the latest marketing strategies.

Passive income can bolster your bottom line and is an important safety net for lean seasons.

Marketing your consulting business

Being an exceptional consultant is only half the battle; marketing yourself effectively ensures your talents don’t go unnoticed.

If you’re not selling your services, there’s a good chance that no one is. So, you’ll complete your current contracts to find an empty calendar with no income looming ahead. As a result, you’ll miss many opportunities to generate ongoing online marketing income and may need to start from scratch.

Establishing a steady pipeline of clients and potential clients involves spreading the word about your consulting services to your target market.

Ultimately, you’ll write many client proposals , so get used to doing so early in your consulting practice.

Client proposals are your chance to show how you can help clients solve their problems. You’ll need to be clear about the project’s scope, the services you provide, what you’ll charge for the services, the deliverables, and the time frame, and use an electronic signature tool to bind clients legally. And be sure you show how you and the client can measure the results.

One proven method to gain traction in consulting and attract clients is to share your expertise extensively.

Networking at industry events relevant to your clients can be a goldmine for insights about industry trends, networking with current and prospective clients, and leveraging word-of-mouth referrals to generate fresh consulting leads. For example, if you’re a technology consultant, participating in tech expos or conventions can put you directly in contact with potential clients.

Participating in events catered to the consulting industry could also be beneficial, as you can build connections with other consultants and potential clients. This could also expose you to different approaches to delivering a persuasive value proposition when offering your consulting services to clients.

When attending these events, carry business cards and brochures about your services, complete with contact information, including a phone number. While email communication is prevalent,   other tactics like an email signature can help strengthen your business communication and establish trust with prospective clients.

In your marketing collateral, include the following:

  • A comprehensive overview of your services
  • A persuasive argument about why you’re the best choice
  • Convincing reasons to hire you
  • A concise biography containing relevant information
  • A snapshot of your existing client portfolio

Also, consider exploring content marketing strategies tailored for consultants. Writing an ebook about your field of expertise or maintaining a regular blog can help establish you as an authority in your niche, improve your search ranking through SEO practices, and gather email leads. For example, a leadership consultant could blog about the latest trends in leadership and management, drawing from their own experiences and insights.

As a burgeoning business owner, capitalize on the exposure offered by social media marketing . Platforms such as Twitter , Facebook, and LinkedIn can help build an audience of followers.

Regularly post helpful tips, insights, and articles related to your services. By engaging with your followers and participating in relevant discussions, you present yourself as a subject matter expert, reinforcing your reputation as a knowledgeable and reliable consultant.

Invest in a social media management tool like Buffer for scheduling posts beforehand, freeing up your day to focus on clients. However, regular check-ins are essential to address client inquiries promptly.

Consider collaborating with micro-influencers in your industry, as aligning your brand with theirs can boost credibility and accelerate growth.

Here are other marketing strategies and tactics that can help you grow your consulting business:

Host free workshops or webinars

Free educational content through workshops or webinars can exhibit your expertise and attract potential clients.

Best for: I.T. consultants, marketing consultants, and management consultants. Not good for: Legal consultants, financial advisors, medical consultants.

Collaboration and partnerships

Join other consultants or businesses to expand your client base by providing complementary services. Best for: Technology consultants, business strategy consultants, marketing consultants. Not good for: H.R. consultants, independent financial consultants, health & safety consultants.

Whitepapers and case studies

Publishing in-depth whitepapers and client case studies demonstrates your skills and past successes. Best for: Data analytics consultants, research consultants, and financial consultants. Not good for: Image, lifestyle, or social media consultants.

Leverage client testimonials

Use your positive feedback and testimonials from past clients in your marketing materials to build trust. Best for: Management consultants, education consultants, H.R. consultants. Not good for: Cybersecurity consultants, legal consultants, crisis management consultants.

Join online forums and groups

Engage in online communities related to your niche, offering advice and establishing your expertise. Best for: Tech consultants, SEO consultants, freelance writing consultants. Not good for: Medical consultants, corporate strategy consultants, or tax consultants.

Implement a referral program

Reward existing clients for referring new clients to your consulting business. Best for: Career consultants, small business consultants, fitness consultants. Not good for:  Forensic, industrial safety, and agricultural consultants.

Pitch to local media

Offer your expertise for free to local media in exchange for publicity.

Best for: Personal finance consultants, relationship consultants, wellness consultants. Not good for: I.T. consultants, biotech consultants, energy consultants.

Speak at conferences

Presenting at conferences can establish you as an authority and help network with potential clients.

Best for: Environmental consultants, scientific researchers, marketing consultants. Not good for: Personal shopping, etiquette, or hobby consultants.

Engage in direct email marketing

Sending targeted emails with valuable content to a segmented audience can generate leads. Best for: Sales consultants, digital marketing consultants, and e-commerce consultants. Not good for: Grief consultants, child behavior consultants, or art consultants.

Local business community involvement

Engaging with local business communities or chambers of commerce can help foster local client relationships. Best for: Retail consultants, local marketing consultants, and hospitality consultants. Not good for: International trade, space, and research & development consultants.

Sharing regular posts about industry insights or tips showcases your expertise and improves your website’s visibility on search engines. Best for: Marketing consultants, career coaches, nutrition consultants. Not good for:  Privacy consultants, forensic consultants, chemical consultants.

Hosting online seminars can display your knowledge to a wide audience and attract potential leads. Best for: Financial consultants, I.T. consultants, marketing consultants. Not good for: Art consultants, fashion consultants, or local retail consultants.

Creating or participating in podcasts can help you reach new audiences and discuss industry trends and insights.

Best for: Personal development coaches, financial advisors, and health consultants. Not good for:  Cybersecurity consultants, data privacy consultants, industrial consultants.

Speaking and teaching

Leading workshops or courses and speaking at events can build your reputation and network. Best for: Business consultants, educational consultants, leadership consultants. Not good for:  Legal consultants, risk management consultants, chemical safety consultants.

Social media marketing

Using platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to share content and engage with followers can enhance your online presence and credibility.

Best for: Social media consultants, branding consultants, travel consultants. Not good for:  Data security consultants, industrial safety consultants, forensic consultants.

Print or digital advertising

Placing ads in newspapers, magazines, or online platforms can promote your services to a broader audience.

Best for: Event planners, small business consultants, real estate consultants. Not good for: Scientific research consultants, aerospace consultants, and biomedical consultants.

Cold calling and emailing

Directly contacting potential clients might generate quick leads, but it might also have low conversion rates.

Best for: B2B service providers, sales consultants, and marketing consultants. Not good for:  Childcare consultants, mental health consultants, art consultants.

Remember, marketing becomes more straightforward once you’ve established a client base. According to this study , “43.7% of consultants reported that referrals were their top-earning marketing strategy”. Don’t hesitate to ask satisfied clients for referrals, as they can be a significant marketing asset.

Starting out, covering as many marketing channels as possible is wise. As you grow, you’ll naturally discover what methods work best for your consulting business.

8. Grow your consulting business

Starting a consulting business is thrilling, but it’s just the beginning. Here are five exciting steps to take your consulting business to the next level:

Study your competitors

Get your magnifying glass out and take a good, hard look at what other consultants or firms in your space are up to.

You’ll uncover their secrets to success and spot areas they’ve missed, carving out unique opportunities for you. Notice their marketing approach, service offerings, and how they price their services. A competitive analysis will give insights into your customers’ journeys and ways to make your service the top pick.

Be a storyteller

Starting a blog is like opening a window into your consulting world. It gives your business a voice, helps you become a trusted authority in your field, and boosts your online visibility.

If you’re scratching your head about what to write, your clients are your best inspiration. Address their challenges and questions in your blog posts. Plus, sharing these posts with potential clients can convince them of your expertise.

Be the thought leader

Beyond blogging, sharing your insights on social networks can amplify your reach. Use platforms like HARO to connect with journalists and bloggers who can quote you in their stories. This way, you can gain your consulting niche’s recognition as a thought leader.

Broaden your horizons

Your competitive analysis might reveal services your competitors offer that you don’t. Can you fill these gaps?

For example, if you’re a content marketing consultant, could you extend your services to include email or social media marketing? But remember, only add services that align with your expertise.

Make friends

The world is full of potential connections, and they’re only a click away from the internet. Networking online might seem tricky, but with platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn, you can spark conversations with industry peers and potential clients. Regular interaction can rekindle old connections and forge new ones.

Test these strategies and find the ones that boost your client base and help your consulting business thrive. Remember, it’s not about copying others but learning from them and building a brand that reflects you.

Grow your team

The life of an entrepreneur can often feel solitary, especially when you’re launching your consulting business. While the journey may start with you at the helm, remember the goal is to grow and expand, which calls for additional hands on deck.

After all, time is a finite resource, and you can’t run a successful consulting business burning the midnight oil every night. As your business scales up, you must delegate tasks to ensure you continue delivering exceptional service to your clients.

However, expanding your team doesn’t mean hiring without a strategy. Each new member should bring immediate value to your business. This decision is highly specific to your business, as every consulting venture has unique challenges and requirements.

Reflect on your strengths and weaknesses to determine who your first hire should be.

For instance, if marketing isn’t your strong suit, consider hiring a marketing manager to help map your business plan. Just ensure you validate their credibility, perhaps through references or evaluation letters , to guarantee they’re the real deal.

If dealing with numbers gives you a headache, a billing specialist could be your saving grace, managing accounts and ensuring payments are collected on time.

In essence, your first employees should fill the gaps in your expertise. Building a well-rounded team ensures a sturdy foundation for your business.

For many entrepreneurs, the first hire is often a part-time virtual assistant – a jack-of-all-trades ready to dive in, learn, and grow with the company. This person should be reliable, proactive, and have a strong work ethic. Having someone dependable on your side will make your journey less stressful and more enjoyable.

So, take a moment to reflect: what does your business truly need? Who could help turn your weaknesses into strengths and pave the way for your consulting business to thrive?

Start your consulting journey today

Venturing into entrepreneurship, especially after years of enjoying the safety of a salaried job, can be daunting.

The fact that you’ve made it this far in the article indicates a spark within you, a desire for something more fulfilling, more liberating.

Starting a consulting business can be a transformative journey, not just a decision. It’s a courageous step, a move that speaks volumes about your passion, expertise, and readiness to shape your destiny.

Are you ready to embrace this adventure, empower others with your knowledge, and define your own path?

The world of consulting awaits your unique perspective and innovative solutions. Will you rise to the challenge and create your own consulting legacy?


  • Airport Consultants Council
  • American Marketing Association
  • Association of Management Consulting Firms
  • Canadian Association of Management Consultants
  • Canadian Marketing Association
  • Direct Marketing Association
  • Direct Selling Association
  • Information Technology Association of America
  • Institute of Management Consultants USA
  • International Advertising Association
  • International Association of Registered Financial Consultants
  • International Association for Wedding Professionals
  • International Branding Association
  • IWA – International Webmasters Association
  • National Retail Federation
  • Professional & Technical Consultants Association
  • Public Relations Society of America
  • Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization
  • SMEI The worldwide professional association for sales & marketing
  • The National Association of Sales Professionals
  • The Society of Professional Consultants
  • Word of Mouth Marketing Association

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about consulting

1. where can a consulting business identify government contracts to pursue.

You can find government contracts on official government procurement sites such as in the U.S. This platform lists federal business opportunities. Remember, each country has its own respective platform.

2. Can I establish a consulting business while still employed elsewhere?

Absolutely! Starting a consulting business as a side venture is possible. It allows you to test the waters and build a client base without risking your current employment. Just ensure that there’s no conflict of interest with your present job.

3. Which are promising sectors to launch a consulting business in?

The best field for your consulting business depends on your skills, experience, and passion. However, industries like I.T., H.R., business strategy, healthcare, and environmental sustainability are seeing high demand for consultants.

4. What credentials are required to start a consulting business?

While there are no specific requirements to start a consulting business, having relevant qualifications, certifications, and experience in your chosen field will boost your credibility and attract potential clients.

5. How can I price my consulting services?

Pricing can be based on factors like market rates, the complexity of the work, the client’s budget, and your experience. You can choose an hourly rate, a per-project fee, or value-based pricing.

6. How do I market my consulting business?

Multiple channels to market your consulting business include networking, social media marketing, blogging, speaking engagements, and email marketing. Highlight your unique value proposition and expertise.

8. Is a business plan necessary for a consulting business?

It’s not necessary but highly recommended. It provides direction, helps you understand your market and competition, and is necessary if you seek funding.

8. How can I differentiate my consulting business from competitors?

Differentiating your consulting business requires you to clearly articulate your unique value proposition, leverage your unique skills or experience, specialize in a niche, provide excellent customer service, and build a strong personal brand.

9. Should a consulting business be incorporated?

Incorporation can provide benefits such as limited liability, tax advantages, and a professional image. It’s advisable to consult with a legal professional or business advisor to understand the best structure for your business.

how to create consulting business plan

More About Small Business:

12 great productivity and organization apps for small businesses, how to plan, start and grow a real estate business: the…, 16 crucial website design factors that help your small…, the 15 most common reasons small businesses and startups fail, entrepreneurs' guide to identifying logical fallacies in business, the complete guide on how to name a business, how to start a photography business: the definitive guide, how to start a cleaning business: a step-by-step guide to success, how to start a property management company, 12 best crms for small businesses, selling cbd online: how to succeed and 17 ways to boost sales, how to start a business: a definitive step by step guide for 2024, make every second count by crafting the ultimate elevator pitch, how to start a successful online t-shirt business in 2024: the…, 28 ways artificial intelligence will affect your business and life, design done better.

The easiest way to get affordable, high-quality custom logos, print design, web design and naming for your business.

Learn More About Small Business

  • Business Ideas
  • Business Plans
  • Starting Your Business
  • Growing Your Business
  • Content Marketing
  • Customer Service
  • Managing Customers
  • Office Setup
  • Small Business Tools
  • Getting Financing
  • Online Business
  • Taxes & Accounting

Actionable business & marketing insights straight to your inbox

Subscribe to the crowdspring newsletter and never miss a beat.

Upmetrics AI Assistant: Simplifying Business Planning through AI-Powered Insights. Learn How

Entrepreneurs & Small Business

Accelerators & Incubators

Business Consultants & Advisors

Educators & Business Schools

Students & Scholars

AI Business Plan Generator

Financial Forecasting

AI Assistance

Ai Pitch Deck Generator

Strategic Planning

See How Upmetrics Works  →

  • Sample Plans

Customer Success Stories

Business Plan Course

Small Business Tools

Strategic Planning Templates

E-books, Guides & More

  • Sample Business Plans

How to Write a Consulting Business Plan + Free Template

how to create consulting business plan

Are you someone people usually come to to get valuable business advice? Or do you really like sharing valuable business insights to help businesses grow? Well, starting a consultancy business can be one efficient move to monetize your expert skills.

Now, you wouldn’t start a business without solid planning, would you? Well, how about you take the first step and write an actionable management consulting business plan for your business idea?

Writing a business plan can be tough. But we are here to make it easier for you.

This step-by-step guide is here to help you write a forward-thinking, realistic plan in easy actionable ways and offers a free management consulting business plan template to kickstart your writing process. .

So let’s get started.

Key Takeaways

  • Craft a remarkable executive summary summarizing the concept, strategies, objectives, financial projections, and mission values of your consulting business plan.
  • Conduct in-depth industry analysis and market research identifying emerging trends and shifts that are likely to influence your consultancy business.
  • Introduce the services of your consultancy firm along with its pricing plan to give readers a thorough idea of your service offerings.
  • Conduct a SWOT analysis of your key competitors and determine your competitive edge over them to strengthen your competitive analysis.
  • Lay down a clear organizational chart highlighting the key skills, salaries, and experience of people working in your consulting firm. .
  • Create realistic financial projections for sales, revenue, costs, expenses, and cash flow for your consultancy after making room for contingencies and emergencies.
  • Draft a detailed operations plan highlighting the processes and procedures for everyday activities at your consultancy.
  • Devise a diversified marketing and sales plan to promote your business effectively to your target audience.

Key Elements of a Management Consulting Business Plan

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Overview
  • Competitor and Market Analysis
  • Service Offerings
  • Marketing Plan
  • Management Consulting Team
  • Operational Plan
  • Financial Outlook

Since we are talking about a consulting business plan, let us walk you through this step-by-step outline to help you write a stellar plan covering all the essential facets.

1. Executive Summary

The executive summary is the first and foremost section of your consulting business plan that will engage your readers and persuade them to dive further into details.

Begin by offering a brief overview of your business idea highlighting what it does. Take reference from the below example written using Upmetrics AI assistant .

Further, paint a picture, briefly highlighting your consulting services, market scenario, competition, USP, marketing and sales strategies, and financial objectives.

Ensure that you adopt a storytelling approach while crafting your executive summary. Ideally, this section of your business plan should concisely summarize your entire business plan in a page or two.

So ensure that you strategically place the information within this section to keep the readers hooked.

Now be smart and revisit this section after you are done writing for every other section of your plan. A thorough understanding of your business plan at that time will enable you to craft a compelling summary easily.

Say goodbye to boring templates

Build your business plan faster and easier with AI

Plans starting from $7/month

CTA Blue

2. Company Overview

This section of a business plan helps the reader get a thorough understanding of your consulting firm.

The company overview offers a detailed description highlighting what type of consultancy you would run, its physical location, legal structure, mission objectives, history, and all such related information.

Begin by clearly stating the concept and niche of your consulting firm. Further, highlight whether you would be running a sole proprietorship or partnership, and if it’s the latter discuss the profit-sharing ratio.

Don’t forget to mention your business structure and whether or not will you run a Limited Liability Company (LLC).

This section is your chance to introduce your business objectives, core value proposition, and mission objectives. Highlight any milestones you plan to achieve or have already achieved and make this section insightful.

Refer to this example describing the short-term objectives of a consulting firm from an Upmetrics plan.

Consulting Business Plan company overview example

3. Competitor and Market Analysis

An in-depth analysis of the consulting industry, market, and competitors is essential to build a successful consulting business. This is the most crucial part of your consultancy business plan helping you identify your target market, emerging trends, competitors, and your advantage over them.

Market analysis

The market analysis section of your consultant business plan will help you evaluate the market condition, target market, and business growth opportunities for your consultancy business.

Begin by researching and analyzing the consultancy market size and the serviceable obtainable market of your specific consultancy.

Further, determine your target audience by creating a buyer’s persona of your ideal customer. In this customer analysis section, determine their demographic and psychographic details to get a clear understanding of who your customer would be.

Refer to this buyer’s persona written using Upmetrics AI assistant:

Lastly, identify the emerging market trends within your industry, potential risks, and the shifts in consumer behavior likely to influence your business.

Competitors analysis

In the competitive analysis section of your plan, identify the consulting firms and other businesses that offer direct or indirect competition to your business.

Your direct competitors are other consultants in your local market, while your indirect competitors are in-house experts, software solutions, and an industry-specific business community extending resourceful help.

Conduct a SWOT analysis of your key competitors and analyze them based on their service offerings, target demographics, pricing, and other relevant factors.

Highlight your competitive advantage over these firms, suggesting that there are ample opportunities for you to succeed despite the competition.

competitive advantage example for consulting business

Here’s an example of a competitive advantage for a consultancy business using Upmetrics.

4. Service Offerings

Consulting businesses offer a variety of consulting services. In this section of your consulting business plan, you will create a clear list of all the services you will be offering.

The list can include various business consulting services such as:

  • Strategy consulting
  • Operation consulting
  • Human resources consulting
  • IT Consulting
  • Risk and compliance consulting

Now, elaborate on these services to help your readers understand what it truly entails. Refer to this example of legal and compliance services brief description:

As part of our risk and compliance service, the company will offer:

  • Draft, negotiate, and conclude ‘Joint Venture Agreements’, and ‘Memoranda of cases for one of our key clients. 
  • Legal Advice & Consultation
  • Case Litigation & Pleading
  • Legal Translation
  • Business Start-up Advice
  • Management Consultancy
  • Representation and Attorney Services
  • Legal Compliance

Determine the pricing of these services and place it alongside your service list. Ideally, you should create differential and tiered pricing plans for your services to cater to different target audiences.

All in all, make this section an informative read for your readers helping them understand your unique business offerings.

5. Marketing Plan

A well-defined marketing plan is among the most important components of your consulting firm’s business plan. Well, It’s time to design your marketing strategies using your market research about the target customers and the potential clients.

Multifarious marketing efforts are essential to make your new business visibly famous in the market. Well, here are a few strategies that a successful consultant follows religiously:

Social media marketing

Choose different social media platforms to build your consultancy brand online. LinkedIn can be a good choice for a consultancy business followed by FaceBook and Instagram. Create your marketing plans for different platforms and be consistent with your posting there.

Informative website

Build an informative website for your consulting business and enhance its ranking on search engines by creating a dedicated content marketing program.

Email marketing

A well-defined email marketing program to attract new clients, newsletters for subscribed customers, and promotional services offer to convert a potential customer base.

Targeted advertising

Running a paid ads program to reach targeted small businesses and potential clients.

Refer to this example of marketing and promotion programs for your consultancy from Upmetrics.

example of marketing and promotion programs for consultancy

In this section of your consulting business plan, also highlight your marketing budget and its allocation to different marketing activities.

6. Management Consulting Team

Introduce your managerial team in this section of your consultant business plan by showing how you have the right people to run a successful consultancy.

Begin by introducing the people at top managerial positions and offer a brief description depicting their skills, expertise, and experience in offering specific consulting services.

Refer to this example introducing the managing director of a consulting agency.

Mr. Ashton will serve as the Managing Director of CCI. A highly motivated and dynamic individual, Thomas boasts vast experience in the field of aesthetics having spent a career spanning 14 years essaying various white-collar roles for aesthetic companies across America. His ability to multi-task and expertly weave through operational pitfalls equips him with exceptional management and administrative skills. The US operations include sourcing, interacting, and building client relations across the industry value chain involving professional salons and end-user clientele. Mr. Ashton’s expert management and industry-specific skills will play an instrumental role in achieving the parent company’s goal of establishing a sustainable and reliable aesthetic brand in the US.

Don’t limit this section to the introduction of owners and managers. Instead, introduce every person who’s an asset to your business and can contribute significantly to your business goals.

In this section, you will also highlight the organizational design to offer a clear understanding of the hierarchy in your consulting firm. And lastly, don’t forget to add the salaries and wages of these people alongside their roles while creating your management plan.

7. Operational Plan

The operations plan shows that you don’t only have the means but also the knack to operate the consulting business efficiently.

This section of your business plan highlights the processes and procedures essential to run the everyday operations of your consulting business and the milestones you wish to achieve.

Confused what should you include in your operations plan? Let’s check this out:

Hiring plan

Mention the number of project managers, analysts, BD, administrative, and support workers needed for your business. Briefly describe the qualifications, skill sets, and experience for these roles and lay your hiring plan to hire employees.

Refer to this example of a hiring plan for a consultancy by Upmetrics.

hiring plan example for a consultancy business

Operational processes

Briefly explain the different processes and procedures of your business in the consulting industry. This includes processes for client acquisition, service delivery, project management process, quality assessment, and client retention.

Tools and equipment

Mention all the equipment you will require to deliver quality consulting services to the clients. Also, include the pricing of these equipment and how you plan to source them from the market.

Overall, think of smaller nuances and make this section as brief and detailed as possible. Consider it as a guidebook that will answer all the operational queries that arise while running the business.

8. Financial Outlook

A comprehensive financial plan is the most crucial component of your business plan and sometimes it is the only section investors or readers might be interested in.

So work on putting together a well-detailed financial plan with realistic financial forecasts to increase the weight of your consulting plan.

The projections in a financial plan are important because they help the readers gauge the financial viability of your business idea. They offer a clear picture of the profitability, growth potential, and cash-generating capacity of your consulting business.

To create a befitting plan, begin by offering a detailed insight into your startup costs, revenue streams, profit margins, operational costs, and cash flow projections. Gather these projections to work on your key reports.

Refer to different business plans to see what more could you add to your financial section apart from these key essentials:

  • Balance sheet
  • Profit and loss statement/ Income statement
  • Cash flow statement
  • Break-even analysis
  • Investment plan

While making a financial plan, ensure that you figure out the calculations for the next 3-5 years. And yes, we agree that calculating all these financial projections from scratch can get overwhelming. However, with this financial forecasting tool from Upmetrics , the entire task of creating a detailed plan will get much easier and more effective.

Simply enter the details in the tab and let the tool undertake all the manual calculations and create engaging visual reports to add to your plan.

Get Your Free Management Consulting Business Plan

Need help writing the contents of your management consulting business plan? Well, here you go. Download our management consulting business plan pdf and start writing.

Our intuitive and modern consulting business plan template offers a step-by-step guide with relevant examples to speed up your process of writing an effective business plan. It will get your actionable plan ready while ensuring that you add all the crucial details to it.

The Quickest Way to turn a Business Idea into a Business Plan

Fill-in-the-blanks and automatic financials make it easy.


Start preparing your business plan with Upmetrics AI

And here we are. Now that you are aware of how to write an effective business plan using our consulting business plan template, you are one step closer to starting your business with a bang.

But that’s not it. What if we tell you that your business planning process can be made easier and more efficient with a few cutting-edge tools? Well, the Upmetrics business planning app is here at your service.

With an AI assistant to speed up your writing process, financial forecasting tools to help you with projections, and thousands of free educational guides to help you set up the business- we think you get it all with Upmetrics.

Get started now.

Related Posts

Bookkeeping Business Plan

Bookkeeping Business Plan

Virtual Assistant Business Plan

Virtual Assistant Business Plan

How to Write Customer Analysis for Business Plan

How to Write Customer Analysis for Business Plan

Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Business Plan

Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Business Plan

Engineering Consulting Business Plan

Engineering Consulting Business Plan

Marketing Consulting Business Plan

Marketing Consulting Business Plan

Frequently asked questions, what are the key components of a management consulting business plan.

While there are no fixed rules regarding what to include in your consulting business plan, you can ensure that you don’t miss adding these key components to your plan:

  • Executive summary
  • Company overview
  • Market and competitor analysis
  • Service offerings
  • Management team
  • Operations plan
  • Financial plan

What financial projections should be included in the business plan?

While making your consulting business plan, ensure that you add the financial forecasts for startup costs, expenses, revenue, cash flow, sales, and expected profitability to your plan.

How often should I update my Management Consulting Business Plan?

Ideally, you should update your business plan at least once a year since you operate in a highly dynamic industry. However, if you feel that the yearly updates are insufficient, you can also review and update your plan every quarter.

How should I approach the funding section of my business plan?

Begin by calculating your startup costs and the actual monetary situation to evaluate the funding needs for your business. Thereafter check the potential funding sources and their application procedure to avail required funding.

As a consulting business, you can choose one of these funding sources:

  • Private loan
  • SBA approved loans
  • Angel Investors
  • Venture Capitalist firms
  • Crowdfunding

Can the business plan help in securing funding or investments?

Absolutely it does. Investors, credit lenders, and banks will look after your business plan before accepting the funding request for your business. This is because a business plan offers a clear understanding of your business idea while simultaneously vouching for the financial feasibility of your plan.

What legal considerations should I include in my business plan?

Here are a few of the legal considerations you should make while writing your business plan:

  • Business licenses and permits
  • Health safety compliance
  • Insurance coverage
  • Legal business structure
  • Employment laws

About the Author

how to create consulting business plan

Vinay Kevadiya

Vinay Kevadiya is the founder and CEO of Upmetrics, the #1 business planning software. His ultimate goal with Upmetrics is to revolutionize how entrepreneurs create, manage, and execute their business plans. He enjoys sharing his insights on business planning and other relevant topics through his articles and blog posts. Read more

Plan your business in the shortest time possible

No Risk – Cancel at Any Time – 15 Day Money Back Guarantee

Popular Templates

bpb AI Feature Image

Create a great Business Plan with great price.

  • 400+ Business plan templates & examples
  • AI Assistance & step by step guidance
  • 4.8 Star rating on Trustpilot

Streamline your business planning process with Upmetrics .

Download How to Write a Consulting Business Plan + Free Template

  • Credit cards
  • View all credit cards
  • Banking guide
  • Loans guide
  • Insurance guide
  • Personal finance
  • View all personal finance
  • Small business
  • Small business guide
  • View all taxes

You’re our first priority. Every time.

We believe everyone should be able to make financial decisions with confidence. And while our site doesn’t feature every company or financial product available on the market, we’re proud that the guidance we offer, the information we provide and the tools we create are objective, independent, straightforward — and free.

So how do we make money? Our partners compensate us. This may influence which products we review and write about (and where those products appear on the site), but it in no way affects our recommendations or advice, which are grounded in thousands of hours of research. Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services. Here is a list of our partners .

How to Start a Consulting Business

Eric Goldschein

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

Starting any kind of business is a challenge, but starting a business where your goal is to help others run their own more efficiently is doubly challenging.

A niche tends to be a good place to look when determining how to start a consulting business, whether your area is HR (managing the workforce of a company, including sourcing, selection, hiring, and ensuring compliance), strategy (improving performance, perhaps through workflow management), technology (delivering and implementing new software solutions), or some other consulting service that will help other businesses improve and grow.

In any of these categories, the client wants guidance but doesn't want to bring on the advice-giver full time. That’s where you come in. If you've got expertise and knowledge to offer and you like the idea of being your own boss, then you could be on the brink of starting your own consulting business.

how to create consulting business plan

How to start a consulting business in 9 steps

As work processes become more complex and our economy becomes increasingly globalized, the need for good consultants has never been greater. According to IBISWorld, revenues in the consulting industry will exceed $261 billion in 2020.

“It’s hip right now to tell people you’re an independent consultant,” says Christy Hopkins, the founder of 4 Point Consulting in Chicago. “I do human resources consulting for various small businesses throughout the country, and I provide various services that change depending on the client. The same thing can be done different ways if the culture and needs are different.”

Once you identify a niche for the kind of consulting you do, consider the following steps to establishing yourself as a leading voice across the industry.

How much do you need?

with Fundera by NerdWallet

We’ll start with a brief questionnaire to better understand the unique needs of your business.

Once we uncover your personalized matches, our team will consult you on the process moving forward.

Step 1: Assess your strengths and skill set

Often, consultants are hired to solve problems that businesses can't solve themselves. Otherwise, why would they pay you, someone who doesn't know anything about their company, to come in and tell them what to do? When starting a consulting business, it's important to have deep knowledge in a specific area so that you can offer value to your clients.

There are many different kinds of consulting that you can consider for your business. For example, if you know a lot about computers, you can set up shop as a computer or IT consultant.

There are also plenty of opportunities for PR mavens, accountants, digital marketers, and people who have a mind for business strategy.

Assess your strengths to figure out where you can be of help. It's also worth taking an objective look at any weaknesses or missing skills you may have so that you can work on filling those gaps. Also keep in mind that, depending on your area of expertise, you may need special certifications or licenses before becoming a consultant. For example, if you're a fundraising consultant it helps to have a certification from the National Society of Fund Raising Executives.

Step 2: Figure out what your market needs

Once you've identified your niche, think about what kinds of questions, problems, and pain points businesses in your chosen area of expertise have. It's not enough to simply have a strong skillset and a lot of knowledge in your field. If businesses don't have problems that your consulting business can solve, then you will find yourself treading water.

The best way to figure out what your market wants and needs is to ask. Start by doing an online search for blogs in your niche. What are the thought leaders writing about? Where does there seem to be a lot of confusion? Is there heated debate in any forums or comment sections over a particular topic?

You can also find pain points in your market by tapping your network. For example, if you want to start a digital marketing consultancy, then who can you think of that either owns their own business, works closely with digital marketers, or is a digital marketer themselves? Chances are, you know a lot of people. Ask them about challenges they face in meeting their short and long term goals. Then figure out how you and your business can help.

Step 3: Ride the organic marketing train

As an independent consultant, it will be all on you to grow your client base and make sure the business rolls in at a consistent pace. This is best done with marketing—but as always, the best marketing is organic marketing.

Hopkins started her business with a simple post on Upwork , the freelancer site that a few years ago was less well-known and had, according to Hopkins, more lucrative contracts. Hopkins says her first client is still with her today, and she has grown almost exclusively without having to advertise.

“I’ve been very fortunate that my business has built organically. I don’t know if that’s typical, but my personal experience is that I do the best I can. I’m very honest, I’m ethical, I don’t overcharge, I’m willing to work within budgets, and that has led to a lot of organic referrals,” she says.

Business owners have two distinct advantages with organic marketing. The first is that business owners tend to know each other and can make referrals for you. Like tends to be with like, so if you work well with somebody, you’ll probably work well with one of their friends.

The second upside with organic marketing is the cost—there isn't any. “I’m biased on how well it works for business, because it’s free,” Hopkins says with a laugh.

Step 4: Invest in the tools of the trade

Hopkins built her business with technological tools of the trade that let her forge and maintain connections with clients, prospective employees, and her assistant.

“I use three types of recruitment software—web-based software that helps you to post jobs,” she says. There’s MightyRecruiter, which has a system that feeds to Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn, and all the job sites you can think of, which saves time and concentrates applicants into one space. There’s ZipRecruiter, which is good for low-level jobs. LinkedIn has a two-tiered recruiter service for propositioning applicants or referrals.

MightyRecruiter is $300 a month, while ZipRecruiter is $1,000 for the year. LinkedIn’s RecruiterLite is $150 and Corporate is $700. In total, Hopkins pays about $500 a month for these recruiting tools, which give her access to people searching for everything from culinary jobs to data scientists.

Hopkins also recommends video conferencing software, at about $200 per year, for making a better connection with clients.

“They click in and they feel like they know me," she says. "They know I’m 5'2", big personality, blue eyes, talk with my hands, and they get all that even though I don’t have an office space.”

Beyond these consultant-specific tools, new consultants should also invest in the kinds of things almost all new small business owners do: develop a website ($2,000 for a great, navigable site plus around $200 for hosting), order business cards, set up an LLC (prices vary from state to state), open a business checking account and business credit card , and hire an accountant to check on the books and file taxes (around $700 annually for a small business).

Step 5: Staff wisely

Whether you need (or want) a staff to help you depends on the amount of work you have to do. Working seven days a week and 12-hour days isn’t sustainable no matter how zen you might be, and is certainly a possibility if you’re successful at growing your company.

Hopkins personally doesn’t see the upside in taking on more work than she can handle at this point. She did hire an on-demand assistant, who lives overseas and handles the dirty work of consulting on a part-time basis.

“I can do the work with the client, get the spec [job description] together, and he can find the résumés, the people, the LinkedIn profiles, which is the arduous uphill battle, and I can outsource those hours to him,” she says. “He has his own business, as well, and we have a B2B relationship. Some months he logs 50 hours to me and some he logs none.”

She communicates with her assistant via Skype, since he’s an American living in Budapest. She wouldn’t normally hire someone outside the U.S. since “there's a ton of talent right here,” but the two of them hit it off right away over Skype. She might otherwise hire an intern or two from her old graduate school to help with sourcing.

Step 6: Practice your elevator pitch

There's no use in having an impressive skill set, a rock solid marketing plan, and the most up-to-date tools if you can't make and close the sale. Convincing potential clients to choose your consulting business starts with your elevator pitch.

Your elevator pitch should be a short and sweet explanation of your target audience's problem, the solutions you offer, and how you are different from the competition. Although you may be very passionate about the services you offer and the industry problems you see, it's important to keep your pitch to around three sentences max.

A big-picture way of looking at your elevator pitch is that it is your value proposition. Once you deliver the concise version of your value proposition and a potential client wants to learn more, you can proceed to tell your story and talk about your consulting services more in-depth.

Step 7: Write client proposals

Often, the final step in bringing on a new client is writing a client proposal. This tends to occur right before the client signs on, effectively closing your sale. As such, writing proposals is an important part of getting business for your consultancy.

Client proposals are your chance to illustrate how you can serve your client and solve their problem. As such, it's necessary to be clear about what the project is, why you're lending your consulting services, and when you'll complete the project. It's also important to be very clear about all the details that will go into the project, including deliverables, budget, and how you'll measure results. Be clear, be convincing, and close that client.

Step 8: Set your pricing

Along with your proposal, you'll need to include a price. When starting out in consulting, it can be difficult to know how to price your services. Luckily, Hopkins has a pretty easy formula to follow.

“When I first started moonlighting, I took my HR manager salary and turned it into an hourly rate. For a consultant, that’s undercharging. Now I charge double that hourly rate, and that’s been a progression,” she says.

When it comes to progressing past that starting converted hourly rate—because as an independent, you are assuming more risk and should be billed higher than an in-house option—Hopkins suggests showing clients just how much value you bring to their company.

“For [existing] clients I had... I made each of them a cost/benefit write-up to show them how much money they saved versus either working with a traditional recruiter or a different independent consultant," she says. "From there, I told them my rates were going up 25%, this is the new hourly rate, and every single one of them said 'done, fine.' I just showed them the math. Now... I’ve only pitched clients at the new rate and no one has told me I’m overpriced. I’m probably still undercharging, but I like to work with small businesses and startups, and if I want to work with them, I can make it work. If they have a good mission and vision, if they’ll be ethical and treat the new hires well, I want to help them because I know there are a lot of recruiters and consultants that won’t.”

Step 9: Stay organized and deliver results

Once your consulting business is on track, be sure to stay organized and deliver results so that you can get repeat clients and referrals. Staying organized is important to ensure that you don't lose valuable information, deliver past deadlines, or forget to remind clients to pay you. Start by seeing where you can automate certain processes. Perhaps you can get paid electronically rather than by check or switch to an online bookkeeping system such as QuickBooks. Software such as Infusionsoft can help you manage your clients. If all else fails, consider hiring a virtual assistant.

Delivering results is a bit harder to give advice on, but very important to the vitality of your consulting business. Be sure to stay on top of industry trends, and to check in with your clients to be sure you're delivering results that they want and that help their businesses achieve their objectives. If you successfully help your clients achieve their goals, then your consulting business will be set up for success.


Start Your Dream Business

Consulting niches to consider

Say you have expertise that applies to multiple industries—how do you pick an area to specialize in? When you're just starting out, you might want to consider focusing in a space that has consistent demand. On the other hand, you could identify an emerging field of business, and hone your reputation as an expert in that industry. Here are some suggestions for consulting niches to consider specializing in:

Yes, being an independent accountant is a type of consultant. As an accountant, you'll help businesses manage their books and financial needs. It helps to be a CPA if considering striking off as an accounting consultant, but anyone with a bookkeeping background is eligible to enter this field of consulting.

As a brand consultant, you can work with businesses to identify and refine their brand voice and image. As a brand consultant, you'll work to learn about a business's customers, then craft a brand that will help the business resonate with its target market. To become a brand consultant, it helps to have a background in marketing.

Another area of need for many businesses is web design. As a web design consultant, you'll work with businesses to create a website that is on-brand and functions to their specifications. A background in computer engineering is helpful here.

Human resources

Like Hopkins, you can become an HR consultant—assisting businesses with their staffing and employee management responsibilities, and advising them on best practices for keeping their workforce happy and engaged. This job could include everything from writing job descriptions to helping with onboarding.

Green living

As more and more businesses commit to going green to protect the environment, consulting on how to lower carbon emissions can be a lucrative field without a lot of competition. As a green living consultant, you can help businesses accomplish a variety of tasks that lower their carbon footprint, such as developing more green-friendly office environments or manufacturing processes.


Organization consultants advise individuals and businesses on how they can reduce organizational red tape, clutter, and distractions in order to operate more efficiently. This is an area of increased focus, as technology has created new distractions and blurred the lines between work and home life.

The bottom line

Whether your consulting business is going to be big or small, brick-and-mortar-based or online-only, expensive or economical, you need to have the experience, resources, and confidence to help other business owners get back on track. Everything else is about managing workflow and expectations.

On a similar note...

One blue credit card on a flat surface with coins on both sides.


How To Write A Consulting Business Plan

Creating a business plan is essential for any business, but it can be especially helpful for consultants who want to establish their credibility and get ahead in the industry.

A well-crafted business plan not only outlines your vision for the company but also provides a step-by-step process of how you are going to accomplish it. In order to create an effective business plan, you must first understand the components that are essential to its success.

This article will provide an overview of the key elements that every consultant should include in their business plan.

Download the Ultimate Consulting Business Plan Template

What is a Consulting Business Plan?

A consulting business plan is a formal written document that describes your company’s business strategy and its feasibility. It documents the reasons why you will be profitable, how you can succeed in your market, what will set your product or service apart from others, and includes information about your team members, if applicable, to convince investors and lenders (if needed) that you have what it takes to make your venture successful.

Why Write a Consulting Business Plan?

A consulting business plan is required for banks and loan companies, and it is often requested by investors. This document is a clear and concise guide of your business idea and the steps you will take to make it profitable.

Entrepreneurs can also use this as a roadmap when starting their new company or venture, especially if they are inexperienced in starting a business.

Writing an Effective Consulting Business Plan

The following are the key components of a successful consulting business plan:

Executive Summary

The executive summary of a consulting business plan is a one to two page overview of your entire business plan. It should summarize the main points, which will be presented in full in the rest of your business plan.

  • Start with a one-line description of your consulting firm
  • Provide a short summary of the key points of each section of your business plan.
  • Organize your thoughts in a logical sequence that is easy for the reader to follow.
  • Include information about your company’s management team, industry analysis, competitive analysis, and financial forecast.

Company Description

This section should include a brief history of your company. Include a short description of how it all started, and provide a timeline of milestones the company has achieved.

If you are just starting your consulting business, you may not have a long company history. Instead, you can include information about your professional experience in this industry and how and why you conceived your new venture. If you have worked for a similar company before or have been involved in an entrepreneurial venture before starting your consulting firm, mention this.

Industry Analysis

The industry or market analysis is an important component of a consulting business plan. Conduct thorough market research to determine industry trends, identify your potential customers, and the potential size of this market. 

Questions to answer include:

  • What part of the consulting industry are you targeting?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • How big is the market?
  • What trends are happening in the industry right now?

You should also include information about your research methodology and sources of information, including company reports and expert opinions.

Customer Analysis

This section should include a list of your target audience(s) with demographic and psychographic profiles (e.g., age, gender, income level, profession, job titles, interests). You will need to provide a profile of each customer segment separately, including their needs and wants.

You can include information about how your customers make the decision to buy from you as well as what keeps them buying from you.

Develop a strategy for targeting those customers who are most likely to buy from you, as well as those that might be influenced to buy your products or consulting services with the right marketing.

Competitive Analysis

The competitive analysis helps you  determine how your product or service will be different from competitors, and what you are using as your unique selling proposition (USP) that will set you apart in this industry.

Complete a SWOT Analysis. Your SWOT analysis should include:

  • Strengths : what are your strengths?
  • Weaknesses : what are your weaknesses?
  • Opportunities : how can you take advantage of competitive weaknesses and strike back at them with your strengths and possible new product or service offerings?
  • Threats : what are the potential threats to your company? How can you prepare for them? What can you do to mitigate potential risks?

You will then use this information to develop your own competitive strategy. Determine your competitive advantage and how you will differentiate your business from these competitors.

Marketing Plan

Your consulting marketing plan is where you determine how you are going to reach your target customer(s). Your marketing strategy should be clearly laid out, including the following 4 Ps.

  • Product/Service : Make sure your service offering is clearly defined and differentiated from your competitors, including the benefits of using your service.
  • Price : How do you determine the price for your service? You should also include a price strategy that takes into account what customers will be willing to pay and how much the competition within your market charges.
  • Place : Where will your customers find you? What channels of distribution will you use to reach them?
  • Promotion : How will you reach your target market? You can use social media or write a blog, create an email marketing campaign, post flyers, pay for advertising, launch a direct mail campaign, etc.

You should also include information about your paid advertising budget, including an estimate of expenses and sales projections.

Operations Plan

The operations plan should include the following information:

  • How will you deliver your service to customers? For example, will you do it in person or over the phone only?
  • What infrastructure, equipment, and resources are needed to operate successfully? How can you meet those requirements within budget constraints?

The operations plan is where you also need to include your company’s business policies. You will want to establish policies related to everything from customer service to pricing, to the overall brand image you are trying to present.

Management Team

Include a list of team members including names and titles, as well as their expertise and experience relevant to your specific consulting industry. Include brief biography sketches for each team member.

Financial Plan

Now include a complete and detailed financial plan. This is where you will need to break down your expenses and revenue projections for the first 5 years of operation. This includes the following financial statements:

Income Statement

Your income statement should include:

  • Revenue : how will you generate revenue?
  • Cost of Goods Sold : These are your direct costs associated with generating revenue. This includes labor costs, as well as the cost of any equipment and supplies used to deliver the service offering.
  • Net Income (or loss) : once expenses and revenue are totaled and deducted from each other, what is the net income or loss? 

Sample Income Statement for a Startup Consulting Firm

Balance sheet.

Include a balance sheet that shows what you have in terms of assets, liabilities, and equity. Your balance sheet should include:

  • Assets : All of the things you own (including cash).
  • Liabilities : This is what you owe against your company’s assets, such as accounts payable or loans.
  • Equity : The worth of your business after all liabilities and assets are totaled and deducted from each other.

Sample Balance Sheet for a Startup Consulting Firm

Cash flow statement.

Include a cash flow statement showing how much cash comes in, how much cash goes out and a net cash flow for each year. The cash flow statement should include:

  • Income : all of the revenue coming in from clients.
  • Expenses : all of your monthly bills and expenses. Include operating, marketing and capital expenditures.
  • Net Cash Flow : the difference between income and expenses for each month after they are totaled and deducted from each other. This number is the net cash flow for each month.

Using your total income and expenses, you can project an annual cash flow statement. Below is a sample of a projected cash flow statement for a startup consulting business.

Sample Cash Flow Statement for a Startup Consulting Firm

You will also want to include an appendix section which may include:

  • Your complete financial projections
  • A complete list of your company’s business policies and procedures related to the rest of the business plan (marketing, operations, etc.)
  • A list of your hard assets and equipment with purchase dates, prices paid and any other relevant information
  • A list of your soft assets with purchase dates, prices paid and any other relevant information
  • Biographies of the key employees listed in the executive summary section above.
  • References to people you have done business with who are willing to confirm their positive business holdings with your company.

Writing a good business plan gives you the advantage of being fully prepared to launch and grow your consulting company. It not only outlines your business vision but also provides a step by step process of how you are going to accomplish it. Sometimes it may be difficult to get started, but once you get the hang of it, writing a business plan becomes easier and will give you a sense of direction and clarity about your consulting company.  

Finish Your Consulting Business Plan in 1 Day!

Wish there was a faster, easier way to finish your consulting business plan?

With our Ultimate Consulting Business Plan Template you can finish your plan in just 8 hours or less!

Close Menu

How To Start A Consulting Business In 2024 (6 Steps & Study)

This is the ultimate guide — with data — on how to start a consulting business in 2024.

By the end of this guide, you’ll know how to turn your skills and expertise into a profitable and successful consulting business .

Let’s dive right in.

(If you want to read our “ How To Start A Consulting Business Study “, click here to scroll down to that section)

how to create consulting business plan

Step 1: Choose Your Consulting Business Model

First, let’s define the term consulting.

Consulting is “the business of giving expert advice to people working in a professional or technical field.”

For example, I’ve spent over 21 years being a consultant.

I’ve spent 10,000+ hours on marketing , sales , fees , proposals — and everything else that consultants do.

So, I’ve accrued experience that enables me to give expert advice to people in the consulting field.

If you can provide advice that helps business-to-business (B2B) or non-profit organizations based on your past experience, you can consult.

People and organizations will pay you for your advice to help them get results.

Results like more sales, a lower employee turnover rate, a risk-free software project, help with executive decision making — the list goes on.

But before you start consulting, it’s important that you choose your consulting business model first.

Why should you do this first?

At Consulting Success®, we believe that your consulting business should support your lifestyle — and not the other way around.

That means that you should build the type of business that helps you live the lifestyle you want to live.

I’ve seen too many people end up building consulting businesses that trap them into a lifestyle that’s just like their 9-5 job…or worse.

To avoid that, you’ll aim at the type of consulting business you want by choosing the right model for you.

Watch the video below for an introduction to the 4 proven consulting business models :

Let’s talk about each model.

The Solo Consultant Model

As a solo consultant, you work closely with your clients and complete the project work yourself.

For example: Martin Krumbein is a strategy consultant who helps companies implement the right strategy for growth, enabling them to scale.

The solo consulting model is great for you if you want a lean, profitable, and flexible consulting business — a “lifestyle” business.

The solo consulting model is not right for you if you intend to sell your business (because you are the face of it), and if you don’t like the fact that if you stop working, it will be challenging for you to generate revenue.

Six-Figure Blueprint

The consulting firm model.

In the consulting firm model, you are responsible for running the firm instead of just working on client projects.

For example: Amanda runs an HR consulting firm , where she helps technology companies with culture, hiring, and talent retention. Instead of working on client projects, she manages a team of consultants who are implementing projects for their clients.

The consulting firm model is great for you if you don’t want to be focused on the “day-to-day” work, want to build a business that runs without you, and would like to sell it one day.

The consulting firm model may not be the right fit for you if you don’t like managing people, don’t like the idea of a lower profit margin, and if you would feel stressed about making payroll.

The Productized Consulting Model

The productized consulting model is where you turn your expertise into a “ productized service ” — a repeatable series of steps that deliver a predictable outcome for clients.

For example: Kristen’s provides brand consulting for food and beverage brands. After years of delivering custom branding projects, she’s turned her expertise into a process. She’s branded this process, has put a fixed price on it, and delivers that instead of custom branded projects.

The productized consulting model is great for you if you want to build a business that scales , you want to create a saleable asset, and you want to remove yourself from the day-to-day work.

The productized consulting model might not be a great fit for you if you want to work on new projects or you don’t like managing or training people to deliver your productized service.

It also takes years of experience and delivering custom projects before you’re ready to turn it into a repeatable process that delivers a predictable result.

The Hybrid Consulting Model

The hybrid consulting model is a mixture of the previous 3 models.

You pick and choose what you like about the other models and combine them into your own unique hybrid.

For example: Our business, Consulting Success®, is a hybrid consulting business. We offer a digital course, Momentum , and a training program, the Clarity Coaching Program that includes personalized coaching and consulting with it.

The hybrid model is ideal once you’ve been running your consulting business for a few years. After a few years, you’ll know what you like, what you don’t like, and can start to customize your business model into what works best for you and your clients.

After reading those descriptions, examples, and pros & cons, which model excites you the most?

Remember: you can always change your consulting business model later.

But it helps to get clear on the type of consulting business you’d like to build from the start.

With that, let’s move on to the next step and think about your ideal client.

Step 2: Get Clear On Your Ideal Client

Who will your consulting business serve?

This is one of the most important questions you’ll answer to start a consulting business.

And it’s one that many people skip over.

As a result, it’s very hard for them to attract clients, price their services, and win consulting projects.

Pay particular attention to this step and take the time to get it right.

Watch the video below to learn why being crystal clear on your ideal client is critical to your consulting business:

Here’s how to think about choosing your ideal client.

The “Big Fish In A Small Pond” Mindset

Imagine that you’re dealing with severe back pain.

You’re looking for a physiotherapist who can help get rid of your back pain — so you can get back to living a healthy, active lifestyle.

So, you begin searching for physiotherapists to help solve your problem.

You find one clinic called “ActiveFit Physiotherapy.” They’re a generalist physiotherapy clinic that helps people with all types of pain.

After that, you find a clinic called “SpineExperts Back Pain Specialists.” They’re a clinic that specializes in helping people with their back pain.

Given your specific problem — your back pain — which clinic draws your attention?

Which one are you most likely to attend?

You’re more likely to go with SpineExperts because they speak to your exact problem.

It feels like they are talking directly to you — your pain, your problem, and the results that you want.

This example shows how important it is to get specific on who your ideal client is.

specialization vs generalization for consultants

As a consulting business, you provide your expert advice to people or organizations.

Who are those people or organizations, exactly?

The more specific this “who” is, the more your business will stand out to them.

Without standing out, your ideal clients won’t pay attention to your messaging and content (which is marketing).

They’ll be less receptive to having a call with you about how you can help them (which is sales).

To start a consulting business, you want to start by being the big fish in a small pond.

You’ll stand out more, garner more attention, and become an expert faster.

It will make it much, much easier to get clients. And clients are what you need to start a consulting business.

So how do you actually figure out who your ideal client should be?

Brainstorm & Write About Your Ideal Client

The next step is to brainstorm about the niche that you’d like to serve in your business.

A niche is an industry or type of client.

For example, Nic Campbell works with nonprofit and philanthropic organizations.

Jason Fearnow of Prime Contract Solutions works with mining companies.

Husain Shekhani of Ultrasonic Advisors works with companies in the ultrasonic device industry.

None of these consultants target “businesses” or even “small businesses.” These are far too general.

Instead, they serve a specific niche.

To start a consulting business, you must pick your niche.

How do you actually do that?

In our Clarity Coaching Program , we instruct clients to use the Niche Scoring Method.

consulting niche scoring method

Here’s how it works.

Pick a couple of niches that you’re interested in serving.

If you can’t think of any, pick the industries that you’ve worked with before. What industry does the company you work for now belong to? What about companies you’ve worked with in the past? Or, how about companies you applied to work at?

Once you’ve picked out a few of these industries, score them on the following factors on a scale of 1-5 — with 1 being weak, and 5 being very strong:

  • Experience : How would you rate your experience with this niche?
  • Expertise : How would you rate your status as an expert within this niche?
  • Results : How would you rate your confidence that you can deliver results for this niche?
  • Potential : How would you rate this niche’s growth and how willing they are to hire consultants?
  • Interest : How would you rate your interest in this niche?
  • Access : How would you rate your ability to speak with ideal clients in this niche?

Then, you add up the total scores for each niche.

Pick the one with the highest score to start with.

And pay attention to the “Interest” score.

You’ll enjoy your work more if it’s an industry or niche you are passionate about helping.

You can always change your niche later. But if you want to start a consulting business, you must pick a niche, and then go on to the next step.

Once you’ve made your selection, you’ll start talking to people about the potential of this niche.

Validate Your Ideal Client Potential

Picking your niche is the first step.

And now, it’s crucial that you validate your niche.

By validate, I mean going out and talking to people in that niche and learning about their problems and results that they desire in their organization.

People pay consultants to solve their problems and help them get their desired results.

Instead of guessing what those are, you validate your niche’s potential by asking them about these problems and desired results.

Use a tool like LinkedIn Sales Navigator to make a list of 10-20 ideal clients — people in the industry you’d like to serve.

Then, send them a connection request. In your connection request, send a message that introduces yourself, and that you’re connecting with people in your niche.

For example, if your niche is “Financial Services”, and you are connecting with Andrew, a CFO at a financial services company, you might say:

“Hi Andrew, you do great work at COMPANY NAME — would be great to connect with another person in the INDUSTRY NAME space.”

Notice how you’re not pitching anything like most people do.

You’re simply mentioning the person’s company, and that you’d like to connect with people in a similar space.

Tweak this example so that it suits your style.

The next step is to ask them a question. What are they working on? What’s new with their company?

Ask them something you are genuinely curious about.

If they are receptive and open to talking, you can ask them for a 5-10 minute call to learn more about that.

What you’re trying to do on this call is to learn about the industry — the problems they have, the type of projects they work on, and the results that they are working towards.

And if they have the types of problems that you’re interested in, can solve (or have solved before), then that is evidence that you’ve found a good niche to target.

Go and set-up these short, introductory calls with 10 ideal clients. Take notes on the call and record their feedback.

After you’ve done 10 calls, review your feedback.

client validation exercise

Is this a niche that has problems that you have experience solving?

Is this a niche that works on the types of projects that you can deliver?

Would you enjoy working with this niche?

You want to select a niche where you can answer “Yes” to the questions above.

Now, reaching out to connect with ideal clients and then asking them for a call might scare you or make you uncomfortable.

If starting a consulting business was easy, everyone would do it.

To start a consulting business, you’ll have to embrace this discomfort.

You’ll have to take imperfect action.

Reaching out to prospects and calling them is a big part of marketing and sales, which we’ll get to later on in this article.

If you can’t do that, then you might be more comfortable sticking with a 9-5 job.

However, if you make your outreach more about your prospect instead of about you or your services, you’ll be surprised about how willing they are to connect and speak with you.

So, who’s your ideal client?

What industry are they in?

What’s their job title?

How big is their company, and where are they located?

By brainstorming and validating your ideal client, you’ll write specific answers to these questions.

Your ideal client — who you serve and add value to — is the foundation of your consulting business.

Once you’ve got that foundation down, you’re ready for the next step.

You’ll write messaging that attracts these ideal clients to you.

how to create consulting business plan

Step 3: Write Messaging That Attracts Clients

I once had a friend who was looking into joining a weekly yoga class to work on his flexibility.

He worked a desk job, and outside of some running, he didn’t do a lot of stretching.

However, he was intimidated by most yoga studios.

They looked as though they were all for experienced yoga practitioners.

On their website and their advertisements, they showed off impossible-looking poses, ridiculously fit instructors, and all kinds of spiritual mumbo-jumbo.

He almost gave up his search.

But then, he came across one Yoga studio that spoke to him:

“Yoga For Stiff Guys — Get More Fit & Flexible With Our Relaxed Classes For Beginners”

This message attracted him like a magnet.

It spoke to what he wanted — yoga for beginners — but also who he was: a stiff guy.

That’s what good messaging does.

It makes your ideal client feel as though your marketing is speaking specifically to them.

It makes them take interest in your business and want to learn more.

Watch the video below to learn more about creating a magnetic message that attracts clients :

In this step, you’ll learn how to put together your magnetic message — and how to put it on display so that your ideal client starts to notice you.


Your ideal clients have problems they want to solve.

You, as the consultant, take actions to solve those problems.

As a result of those actions, your expertise creates results for your clients.

Problems, Actions, and Results are essential components of a magnetic message.

For example, let’s say you’re a sales consultant who helps enterprise software technology companies.

  • Problem : Your ideal client’s sales team is performing poorly.
  • Action : You offer a 6-week sales training program.
  • Result : On average, your program increases the sales team’s performance by 33%.

Consultants — especially beginners — tend to focus too much on the actions.

But if you really want to get the attention of your ideal clients, focus on results.

Your ideal client wants results, not just actions.

Do this exercise now.

Write down 10 problems that your ideal client has.

Write down 10 actions you can take to solve those problems.

And then write the result of each of those actions.

If you’re unsure of what problems they have, then you haven’t done enough validation from the previous step. That’s where you learn about the problems your ideal client is facing.

By writing down problems, actions, and results, you have the building blocks of a magnetic message.

Now, we’ll put these blocks into a formula.

The “Magnetic Messaging Formula

We designed the “Magnetic Message Formula” to help you write a simple, effective message to draw the attention of your ideal client.

Here’s how it looks:

I help [WHO] to [solve WHAT problem] so they can [see WHAT result]. My [WHY choose me]…

magnetic message formula

Inside the square brackets are your “variables.”

You fill them in with the right words to match who your ideal client is, the problem you solve for them, the results you create for them, and why they should choose you.

For example: I help enterprise software companies with underperforming sales teams so that they can boost sales and revenue. My 10 years of experience and 6-step program has helped over 20 clients boost their sales by an average of 33% in 6 months.

  • WHO : Your ideal client (ex: enterprise software companies).
  • Solve WHAT problem : The problem that you solve for your ideal client (their sales team’s underperformance).
  • See WHAT result : The result you create for your ideal client (ex: boost sales and revenue).
  • WHY choose me : Why your ideal client should choose you (ex: 10 years of experience and 6-week program has helped over 20 clients boost their sales by an average of 33% in 6 months).

The Magnetic Message has everything you need to draw the attention of your ideal client.

Its purpose isn’t to win the sale. It’s to simply get them interested in you and want to learn more.

consulting magnetic message

Use the example above to write your own Magnetic Message.

Your first message won’t be perfect. Instead, aim for “good enough.”

You’ll make it better once you make it public and start gathering feedback.

Applying Your Magnetic Messaging

Once you’ve written your Magnetic Message, it’s time to make it public.

It won’t draw the attention of your ideal clients unless you’ve put it in places where they can see it.

First, put it in your email signature.

That way, everyone you email will be aware of what you’re doing, who you’re serving, and how you can help them.

This is great for when you reach out to your ideal clients. It’s also great for creating referral opportunities.

You’ll interact with many people who don’t need your consulting service — but they know someone who might.

Second, put it in your LinkedIn profile.

Make your magnetic message your tagline.

Unlike your job title or the type of consultant you are, your magnetic message is more about your ideal client.

It’s about what you can do for them and the results you can create for them.

If ideal clients see your tagline, you want them to take interest and click to read your profile.

Finally, you want to put your magnetic messaging into your consulting website .

consulting websites

It should be one of the first things your ideal clients read when they visit your consulting website’s homepage.

And throughout the website, you back up your magnetic message with articles, testimonials, case studies, and other forms of content that demonstrates your expertise.

Your magnetic message won’t do you any good if it’s on a piece of paper in your drawer.

Put it out there and make it work for you.

Ask people to give you feedback.

Keep making it better and better until your ideal clients can’t help but want to learn more.

Once you start getting the attention of your ideal clients, you’re ready for the next step, creating your strategic offer — and pricing it.

Step 4: Create & Price Your Consulting Offer

By this point, you’ve chosen your consulting business model, gotten clear on who your ideal client is, and have written messaging that attracts that ideal client to you.

Now, you need to create and price your strategic consulting offer.

Remember: Your ideal client has a series of problems.

You, the consultant, have the expertise and experience to carry out actions to solve those problems.

As a result of your actions, you’re able to create your client’s desired results.

Your strategic offer is those actions you take to create your client’s desired results.

And your consulting fees are what your ideal clients must invest for you to work with them and achieve their desired result.

Creating and pricing your offers is a very nuanced topic. There are strategies for beginners and for more advanced consultants.

We’ll focus on beginner and intermediate strategies for now.

If you want to learn more about advanced strategies like value-based pricing , discovery offers , and retainers , check out our Momentum or Clarity Coaching Program .

Let’s start with a popular topic: setting your consulting fee .

Set Your Consulting Fees

Why do you pay for products or services?

Because you want to get a result.

If you purchase a massage session, you want your body to feel better.

If you purchase accounting software, you want an easier time managing your money.

Now, how much you invest depends on many factors.

  • How painful is the problem?
  • How reliable is the product or service?
  • How will getting this result impact your life?
  • How much money do you have to invest in it?

Your clients are paying for your service because they want a result.

And much they are willing to pay depends on these factors.

Consultants in our programs regularly charge $25K, $50K, or even $100K+ for a single project.

That might sound crazy to you.

But if you think about the results their clients are getting, these prices become much more understandable.

As a beginner, the easiest way to set your consulting fee is by using the hourly method or the project-based method.

how consultants set their consulting fee

(See our consulting fees guide for a more in-depth tutorial on how to set your fees using these methods.)

With the hourly method, you charge your client by the hour.

It’s a good option for your first few consulting projects.

For example, let’s say you earn $80 dollars per hour in your day job.

Take your hourly fee and double it for your consulting projects.

You’ll charge at least $160 for consulting.

As a new consultant, you’re not working 40-hour weeks with your clients.

You have to spend just as much time (if not more) to actually go out and win business.

Your fee must account for this.

If it doesn’t, you won’t be able to do your best consulting work.

Clients are happy to invest higher fees if it means working with an expert and feel certainty about getting the results they want.

With the project-based method, you charge your client a fixed price.

It’s a better option than hourly because your clients know exactly how much they are paying upfront.

With the hourly method, they don’t have this same certainty.

For example, let’s say your consulting service will take 30 hours to deliver.

Take your hourly rate, and times it by 30.

$160 x 30: $4800.

Then, times that by 1.5.

Projects will take longer than estimated when starting out.

This multiplier helps account for revisions, scope creep, and any add-ons.

Once you’ve chosen a pricing strategy and set your fee, you’ll begin to create some options for your clients.

Create Three Options

Buyers like options for getting their desired results.

And when you offer them options, their thinking shifts from “Should I use you” to “How do I use you.”

So now, you’ll create three options to help your clients get their desired result.

NOTE: You will customize these options after speaking with each ideal client. You design your options to help your client get the specific results they want.

By having some stock options, you have a foundation.

It will be much easier for you to craft and customize your offers when you aren’t working from scratch.

Here’s how to think about your three consulting offers.

Option 1 – $

  • Basic offer
  • Minimum effort required
  • Provides value
  • Lowest investment

Option 2 – $$

  • Helps them get their result quicker than option 1
  • Provides more value than option 1 (ideally, without having to spend more time)
  • Highest investment

Option 3 – $$$

  • If money isn’t an issue
  • Best results
  • Shortest time to result

For example, let’s say you’re a marketing consultant who serves accounting businesses.

Your client, Acme Financial Services, wants to win 3 new clients per month.

Each client is worth $500 per month recurring revenue to the client.

You offer her client 3 options:

Option 1 – $6000

  • Brand positioning overhaul
  • Website messaging audit
  • Direct outreach sequence

Option 2 – $15,000

  • Website content strategy
  • LinkedIn content + outreach plan

Option 3 – $30,000

  • Search engine optimization
  • Lead-magnet development & implementation
  • Direct mail campaign

Notice how as the options increase in price, the value for the client increases.

The more they invest, the quicker they get their desired results, and the more certainty they get about achieving those results.

Think about it this way: your offer is a series of actions you take to deliver your client their desired result.

By offering multiple offers, you give the client about how they’d like to get their desired result.

Next, we’ll “brand” your offers and make them more intriguing to your ideal client.

Brand Your Offer

You don’t just offer “consulting.’

You offer more sales, increased efficiency, cost savings, stress reduction, etc.

So it’s important that your consulting services reflect that.

Branding your offer means to make them more memorable, unique, intriguing — and easier to sell.

No clients will be excited about a “sales workshop.”

But a 1-Day Sales Revolution Workshop?

That’s going to get people’s attention.

But how do you come up with a branded name for your offer?

Start by looking at your Problems/Actions/Results — specifically, your results.

Like a good headline, you want to include the result your clients want in the title of your offer.

For example, if your consulting services increase sales, then you want to incorporate that into the name of your offer.

Then, think about the format in which you deliver your consulting service.

Is it a workshop? Ongoing consulting? A bootcamp? One-off?

Add the format to the title as well.

Then, you’ll want to add a power verb to it.

Power verbs are action words that add color and force to your offer.

So, if you help your clients increase their sales by 33%, then use a word like “revolution” instead of “increase.”

With these three steps in mind, you’re ready to start brainstorming your offer’s name.

Here’s the formula: result you create + power verb + how you deliver it.

Example: 1-Day Sales Revolution Workshop.

Have some fun with this one.

Make it eye-catching. Make it original. Make it reflect your personality and style.

That’s what branding is all about — attracting the right people for you and your business.

Once you’ve created a few consulting offers, you’re ready to begin the marketing process.

It’s time to tell the world what you’re up to, and how you can help your ideal clients.

Step 5: Rev Up Your Marketing Engine

Early on in your consulting business, you can’t expect your ideal to come knocking on your door and asking to work with you.

You’ll have to find and approach them.

This is what marketing is for consultants: getting your ideal clients to know you, like you, and trust you.

When they know you, like you, and trust you, they’ll want to have a conversation with you about how you can help them.

At this point, you’ll start putting all of your work to the test.

Marketing is a complex topic — but in this step, we’ll make it easy for you to start reaching out and generating conversations with your ideal clients.

The Marketing Engine Mindset

Should you be on Instagram?

Is YouTube the way to go?

What about paid Google or Facebook ads?

There are thousands of ways to get the attention of your ideal clients.

However, most of these are shiny objects and tactics.

Some of them work, some of them don’t.

But if you don’t focus on what actually creates conversations with your ideal clients, you’re stuck in “no-mans land.”

Here’s what you want to focus on with your marketing:

1. Outreach : reaching out directly to start having meaningful conversations with your ideal clients.

For example, a direct LinkedIn message or email sharing valuable content with an ideal client to add value to their lives — and to get them interested in what you offer.

2. Follow-up : following up with ideal clients and adding more value.

For example, sending a direct mail to them — something they would find interesting, meaningful, unique (like a case study or white paper), and prompts them to reach out to you to learn more.

3. Authority-building : Publishing content to position yourself as an authority and to support your outreach/follow-up efforts.

For example, using your consulting website to publish articles that help your ideal clients.

If you combine outreach, follow-up, and authority-building, your marketing will be effective and fulfill its purpose: to build relationships with your ideal clients and to create conversations with them.

Now, reaching out to ideal clients might sound intimidating to you.

But this exercise will help.

Magic Number Exercise

People who write down their goals are much more likely to achieve them.

If you know your monthly revenue target, how much your average project is worth, and how many conversations with ideal clients it takes to win a project, you can be VERY specific on what it would take to reach your monthly goals.

For example, let’s say you want to make $50K per month in your consulting business.

Your average project is worth $25K.

And 1 out of every 4 conversations with an ideal client leads to a project.

That means you need to win 2 projects per month.

That’s 8 conversations with ideal clients per month — or, 2 conversations per week.

Now, the question is…

What are you doing TODAY to have 8 conversations this month?

We’ve created a simple spreadsheet for you to do this exercise and plug in your numbers:

Magic # Exercise Spreadsheet

Click File > Make a copy to save a copy of the spreadsheet for yourself so you can adjust the numbers.

This exercise makes it crystal clear as to what you need to be doing to reach your monthly revenue target.

It’s all about having more meaningful conversations with your ideal clients.

Now, how do you actually reach that number of conversations?

That’s what we’ll cover next.

Daily/Weekly/Monthly Plan

You need a plan — a daily list of activities — that will help you create X number of conversations with your ideal clients.

Remember your three key marketing activities: Outreach, Follow-Up, and Authority-Building.

You should be doing Outreach, Follow-Up, and Authority-Building EVERY DAY.

weekly marketing schedule

Early-stage consultants will spend more time reaching out to clients and following up with them.

Writing content to build authority is a longer-term strategy, whereas outreach and follow-up can create conversations very quickly.

You need to wake up each day and know exactly what to do every day in order to hit your numbers.

Doug Nelson , one of our Clarity Coaching clients, put his magic # everywhere around his home.

His day wasn’t finished until he had his required number of conversations with ideal clients.

As a result, he grew his consulting business to over $2M dollars.

Here’s a sample daily plan you can use to start your Marketing Engine:

  • 8:00 AM: Start your Marketing Engine outreach in the morning
  • 8:30 AM: Follow up with any potential clients from the previous day
  • 9:00 AM: Make warm follow-up calls
  • 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM: Client work
  • 2:00 PM: Marketing Engine conversations/Authority Building
  • 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM: Client calls and meetings
  • 4:00: Daily review (focus on the most direct path and stage of your marketing maturity)

If you follow this plan, you’ll be reaching out to ideal clients, following up with ideal clients, and creating content for your ideal clients — every day.

This is what it takes to reach your magic # and hit your revenue goals.

With your marketing engine up and running, ideal clients will start scheduling calls with you.

They’ll want to learn more about your offers and how you can help get them results.

This brings us to the final step of starting your consulting business:

Having meaningful conversations with ideal clients — and winning consulting projects.

Step 6: Generate Meaningful Conversations (& Win Your First Consulting Project)

You’ve created your consulting offers .

You’ve started up your marketing engine.

What’s the sign that it’s all working?

Your ideal clients are receptive. They want to learn more about how you can help them.

Of course, you help them through your strategic offers.

But how do you bridge the gap?

How do you take someone who’s interested in your services to say “yes” to your offer and send you the check?

That’s where sales come in.

Just the word “sales” might make you feel icky.

But in consulting, “sales” take on an entirely different meaning.

The Truth About Consulting Sales

When people who are uncomfortable with selling think about sales, they think about the loud, aggressive car-salesman who doesn’t care about the customer.

They just want to “close.”

The good news is that effective selling in consulting takes the opposite approach.

As a consultant, sales is about having a meaningful conversation with a buyer to learn about their situation and needs.

If you help improve their situation and add value, then you can tell them about your offer.

You’re not trying to “close.”

Instead, you’re trying to help the client get clear on their desired situation, what’s holding them back — and then (and only then) if you can help, you make them an offer.

So, what do you ask a client to have a meaningful, valuable conversation that leads to the sale if the fit is right?

Meaningful Conversation Sales Framework

To figure out if there’s a fit between you and an ideal client, you have a conversation with your ideal client that’s about their business, their goals, and their challenges.

This conversation is meaningful but it prompts the client to get crystal clear about the problem they are facing, where they want to be, and what’s holding them back.

If your expertise can help solve those problems and get them to where they want to be, then you introduce your offer.

We’ve created the Consulting Sales Conversation Framework, which is designed to create three outcomes:

  • The client accepts your offer on the call
  • The client says they will review your proposal at an assigned future date
  • The client says no to your offer.

Here’s a loose outline of the framework.

  • Part 1: Establish rapport. Ask your client a few questions about where they are from and what they are up to this week.
  • Part 2: Set the agenda. Give them an outline of the meeting, that you’ll explain your offer if there is a fit, and confirm that it sounds good to them.
  • Part 3: Learn about their current business and important details. Ask them questions about their problems, why it’s important to fix, and the impact it’s having on their life.
  • Part 4: Ask where they want to be. Ask them about their key goals in the next 6-12 months and what they want their future to look like.
  • Part 5: Uncover the main challenges . Ask them where they need the most help.
  • Part 6: Discovery “why now?” Ask them why it’s important for them to fix this now.
  • Part 7: Make your offer. If you feel as though your offer can help get them to where they want to be, explain how it helps solve their problems — and present your investment options.

After you finish guiding a client through this framework, they’ll often have questions — or “objections.”

When clients ask you questions about your service, it’s a good sign.

Objections just mean they’re interested.

Objection handling is all about answering truthfully which minimizes the risk the client is feeling.

After you hear an objection, write it down. Then, after the call, write your best answer to it.

After many calls, you’ll know all the objections your ideal clients have, and you’ll be able to handle them with ease.

Now that you’re having these calls with your clients, it’s important to track each one with the consulting sales pipeline.

The Simple Consulting Sales Pipeline

There is a very clear progression to take a prospect and turn them into a paying client.

The consulting sales pipeline is a series of stages that outlines this progression.

By using a CRM and pipeline to track this progression, you’ll have a much easier time understanding your “lead flow” — the amount of consulting business you have in the works.

What gets measured gets managed. Manage your pipeline, and you’ll have an easier time closing consulting business.

consulting crm pipeline

You can break the consulting sales pipeline down into 5 columns:

  • LEAD . You’ve identified the prospective client and have begun reaching out to them to set-up a conversation.
  • CONVERSATION . You’ve had a sales conversation with the prospective client.
  • PROPOSAL . You’ve sent a proposal to the prospective client.
  • WIN . The prospective client has accepted your proposal and you won the business.
  • LOSS . The prospective client has declined your proposal and you lost the business.
  • NURTURE . Most people you reach out to won’t be ready to buy or make a decision right away. In fact, even people who say ‘No’ to a proposal now, may buy from you later as long as you stay top of mind through your nurture process.

By having your leads organized in these columns, you’ll understand what aspect of your marketing or sales you need to work on most.

Remember: consulting is a long-term sales cycle.

That nurture column is very important.

We’ve had clients who have followed us for years before they were ready to invest in our programs.

If you consistently nurture and follow-up with your leads, then you create top-of-mind awareness. So when the need for your service arises, they’ll think of you.

Selling is an integral part of starting a consulting business.

If you can’t sell your consulting projects, you can’t earn revenue.

If you don’t have revenue, you don’t have a business.

But by following this 6-step guide, you know how to identify, message, market, and sell your ideal clients.

And that’s how you start a consulting business: by winning your first few clients.

Once you can do that, the logistics of starting will be easier.

What Comes Next? Start A Consulting Business Checklist

Getting clients is where consultants — especially new ones — struggle the most.

If you start your business by mastering this crucial skill, you’ll be in much better shape.

That said, there are some other considerations for starting your consulting business.

We’ve put together a simple checklist to walk you through the logistics.

Remember: focusing on your office or accounting before you can win clients is a bad idea.

Your ability to win new business comes first.

Start A Consulting Business Checklist

There are a few things you’ll need to set up a professional consulting business.

5 factors you must consider:

  • Incorporation

We’ve put together a checklist to help you start a consulting business and cover these 6 areas.

Equipment For A New Consulting Business

You don’t need much equipment to start a consulting business, but you’ll need a few logistical things.

  • An office space (can be a home office)
  • Telephone with voicemail
  • Mailing address
  • Computer/laptop with high-speed internet

Do You Need To Incorporate A Consulting Business?

In most cases, you don’t have to incorporate a brand new consulting business. But you should consider it.

  • I’ve incorporated my consulting business (recommended only if you are making far more than you need to live on — or if you’re at risk of litigation)

Accounting For Your Consulting Business

Trying to do my own accounting was one of my biggest mistakes as a young consultant.

Make sure you hire an accountant and set up a separate business account for your consulting business.

The return on your investment in time saved and with regards to your taxes will be worth it.

  • I’ve hired an accountant to do my invoicing and taxes
  • I’ve set up a bank account for my business

Legal Considerations

As a newfound consulting business owner, connect with a lawyer who understands small businesses. Then, if you have any questions, you can call them for help.

  • I know a lawyer who can help me with any legal questions I might have

Your Consulting Office

You don’t need a fancy office — but you do need a quiet space where you can do deep work.

My office space is distraction-free: where I can think, work, and make calls.

office for starting a consulting business

My temporary consulting office while in Japan. You can run a million-dollar consulting business from an office space like this

Now, you know everything you need on how to start a consulting business.

Follow these steps in order and get started!

Get Help To Start Your Consulting Business

Feeling a bit overwhelmed?

I get it. There’s a lot to this article.

If you’ve been excited about starting your own consulting business, you might even be feeling a little discouraged at this point.

That’s OK. There’s a lot of work ahead of you.

But now, you know how to start a consulting business the right way.

You now have a guide that gives you the process of building a profitable consulting business.

And if you’re still reading, taking notes, and not discouraged by the work ahead, then you’re serious about becoming a successful consultant.

If you’d like our help to guide you through this process so you can avoid spinning your wheels and hoping that you’re going about it the right way, get in touch.

Our Coaching Program For Consultants

We’ve helped over 500 consultants from all around the world in all different industries grow their consulting businesses and add six and seven figures to their annual revenues along the way.

Coaching has been the single best investment for our consulting business — and it’s the same for our clients.

So, are you ready to accelerate your success and realize your true potential as a consultant?

If you’re interested in learning more about our coaching program for consultants go here now: Clarity Coaching Program .

Why are you interested in starting a consulting business and becoming a consultant?

What are the biggest challenges you’re facing right now in getting your business off the ground?

Let us know and join the discussion in the comments below.

And if you enjoyed this guide, please take a minute right now to share it with others through social media!

How To Start A Consulting Business Study

Want to see the data on how to start a consulting business?

We sent out a survey to consultants asking how they started their consulting business — and over 500 responded.

We analyzed the data and used it to help inform our 6 steps to start a consulting business.

If you want to learn how to start a consulting business based on the data from real consultants, this study is for you.


  • Key Findings

Reasons To Start A Consulting Business

Transitioning from corporate to entrepreneurial consultant, consulting business operations, consulting fees, marketing, & proposals, consulting demographics, key findings from our “how to start a consulting business” survey.

Let’s start with our 12 key findings from the survey data.

1. 67% of consultants start their consulting businesses after quitting their jobs , while 33% start while they’re still at their jobs.

2. Over 50% of consultants get their first consulting client through a referral from their network .

3. For most consultants, networking/referrals are their highest-performing marketing channel .

4. Mentorship/coaching has helped consultants more than any other form of learning.

5. Over 62% of consultants were dissatisfied with their former jobs before starting their consulting business.

6. Marketing (generating conversations with prospective clients) is the biggest challenge for new consultants , closely followed by sales (turning conversations with prospective clients into paid projects).

7. Over 58% of consultants reach their previous income level as employees within 3 years .

8. Most consultants set their fees using a project rate , followed by value-based fees and then hourly rates.

9. The most common average dollar value (in USD) for consulting projects is $5000-$15K and $15K-$50K . In North America, $15K-$50K projects are much more frequent.

10. The majority of consultants (65%) state this as their long-term goal: “I want a profitable business to provide a great lifestyle for me (and my family)”

11. Nearly 50% of solo consultants have felt lonely in the past and still do at times .

12. For most consultants, their partners and/or family were confident and happy to support their decision to start a consulting business.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the data.

We began the survey by asking respondents WHY they decided to start a consulting business.

The #1 Reason People Start Consulting Businesses

data on reasons to start a consulting business

People decide to start consulting businesses for many different reasons:

  • Realize my potential (34%)
  • Be my own boss (24%
  • Was laid off from my job (11%)
  • Flexible schedule (9%)
  • Unlimited income potential (8%)
  • Be able to work from anywhere (7%)

Starting a consulting business offers you the opportunity to create more freedom, wealth, and impact than traditional employment.

Were Consultants Unhappy With Their Former Careers?

how to create consulting business plan

40% of consultants were dissatisfied with their former careers.

22% of them were very dissatisfied.

However, 38% liked their jobs.

How Long Consultants Thought About Starting Their Consulting Business

how to create consulting business plan

48% of consultants had thought about starting their business for a few years.

26% had been thinking about starting their own business for more than 5 years.

And 26% had also been thinking about starting their own business for less than a year.

In 2024, starting a consulting business has never been easier. You can start today .

What Consultants Felt MOST Prepared For Before Starting A Consulting Business

how to create consulting business plan

We asked consultants what they felt most prepared for before starting their business:

  • Project Delivery: delivering on projects for my clients (44%)
  • Marketing: generating conversations with prospective clients (11%)
  • Knowing what to focus on and when 11%)
  • Sales: turning conversations with prospective clients into paid projects (9%)
  • Operations: setting up and running the business (accounting, legal, etc) (9%)
  • Time Management & Organization: getting everything on my to-do list done (8%)
  • Emotional: loneliness and frustration with starting a new business (6%)
  • Fees: figuring out what to charge for my services and why (3%)

When starting a consulting business, the biggest challenge isn’t delivering projects .

It’s winning those projects in the first place.

What Consultants Felt LEAST Prepared For Before Starting A Consulting Business

how to create consulting business plan

Here’s what consultants felt least prepared for:

  • Marketing: generating conversations with prospective clients (26%)
  • Sales: turning conversations with prospective clients into paid projects (24%)
  • Fees: figuring out what to charge for my services and why (17%)
  • Operations: setting up and running the business (accounting, legal, etc) (14%)
  • Knowing what to focus on and when (6%)
  • Emotional: loneliness and frustration with starting a new business (5%)
  • Project Delivery: delivering on projects for my clients (4%)
  • Time Management & Organization: getting everything on my to-do list done (4%)

Marketing and sales are the hardest part of starting a consulting business.

That’s why they are a major focus in our Clarity Coaching Program (get in touch if you’d like help taking your marketing and sales to the next level so you can see greater growth in your consulting business).

How Does Your Family Feel Before You Start A Consulting Business

how to create consulting business plan

If you decide to start a consulting business, how will your partner/family feel?

For 38% of consultants, their partners were very confident and happy to support their decision.

34% said their partner was somewhat confident and happy to support their decision.

13% were single when they became a consultant.

11% said their partners were somewhat unconfident and unhappy to support their decision.

And 4% said their partners were very unconfident and unhappy to support their decision.

So, you’re in a corporate job and want to start a consulting business .

How do consultants actually make this transition?

Here’s what they had to say.

Did Consultants Start Consulting On The Side Or Quit Their Job?

how to create consulting business plan

67% of consultants quit their job and then started their businesses.

33% started their business while they were still at their job.

Both of these are valid transition strategies.

Which one you choose depends on your risk tolerance, financial runway, and network.

How Consultants Get Their First Consulting Client

how to create consulting business plan

Getting your first consulting client is a critical first step.

55% of consultants get their first client as a referral from their network.

For 10% of consultants, their first client is their previous employer.

10% of consultants also get their first client from an outbound marketing method.

7% of consultants’ first client is a previous employer.

5% of consultants get their first client via an inbound marketing method.

Consulting is a relationship business.

Getting your first client by tapping into your network is a powerful approach that has worked well for hundreds of consultants and it’s what we teach in our programs .

Do The Skills You Learn In Your Career Help As A Consultant?

81% of consultants say that the skills they learned in their former career helped “a lot” as a consulting business owner.

17% said these skills “helped a bit.”

And only 3% said the skills “didn’t help at all.”

Sharpening up your consulting skills is a high-ROI move. You’ll need more than what you learned in your corporate role.

The Biggest Challenge For New Consultants

how to create consulting business plan

Here are the biggest challenges for new consultants:

  • Marketing: generating conversations with prospective clients (33%)
  • Sales: turning conversations with prospective clients into paid projects (26%)
  • Fees: figuring out what to charge for my services and why (12%)
  • Operations: setting up and running the business (accounting, legal, etc) (8%)
  • Knowing what to focus on and when (8%)
  • Time Management & Organization: getting everything on my to-do list done (6%)
  • Emotional: loneliness and frustration with starting a new business (3%)
  • Project Delivery: delivering on projects for my clients (3%)

Consultants accurately predicted what would be their biggest struggles once they’ve started their business: marketing and sales.

Do Solo Consultants Ever Feel Lonely?

how to create consulting business plan

If you’re transitioning from corporate to consultant, you might find yourself dealing with newfound feelings of loneliness.

49% of consultants have felt lonely and still do at times.

37% of consultants never felt lonely as solopreneurs.

14% of consultants felt lonely in the past, but no longer do.

How Long It Takes Consulting Businesses To Exceed Their Previous Income?

how to create consulting business plan

40% of consultants are still working on reaching their previous income level as an employee after 3 years.

29% of consultants reached their previous income in less than 1 year.

20% reached their previous income within 2 years, and 11% within 3 years.

The quickest shortcut to replacing (and exceeding) your previous income level is to invest in a program by consultants, for consultants .

Do Consulting Business Owners Invest In Courses, Coaching, Or Mentoring?

how to create consulting business plan

44% of consultants invested in courses, coaching, or mentoring and found it very helpful.

34% of consultants found these resources somewhat helpful.

23% of consultants have not invested in courses, coaching, or mentoring.

How do consultants run their business — and what are their goals?

Here are a few questions we asked about their current stage.

Consultant Annual Income

how to create consulting business plan

How much money do consulting business owners make?

  • 37% make less than $50,000
  • 19% make $50K-$99K.
  • 16% make $100K-$149K.
  • 14% make $150K-$249K.
  • 9% make $250K-$499K.
  • 4% make $500K-$999K.
  • 1% make $1M-$3M.
  • And one respondent makes $3M+.

We have many high-six and seven-figure consultants in our consulting community.

Do Consultants Have Teams

how to create consulting business plan

As a consultant, there are a few different consulting business models to choose from.

63% of consultants do not have a team and do everything alone.

23% of consultants have a team of 2-9 employees or contractors.

11% of consultants have an assistant/admin to help them stay organized.

3% of consultant business owners have 10 or more employees or contractors.

Resources Most Helpful For Consultants

how to create consulting business plan

What form of learning do consultants find most helpful?

  • 27% said that mentorship and coaching is most helpful .
  • 19% said courses .
  • 18% said free online content .
  • 17% said books .
  • 12% said communities.
  • And 7% said “other.”

There is an endless amount of information on the web about consulting.

But it can be challenging to find information that is actionable.

That’s where we focus on our content and programs; helping you implement the information and getting the results you desire.

Primary Consulting Goals

how to create consulting business plan

What are the primary goals of consulting business owners?

46% want growth : to build a team, get systems in place, and grow the business.

39% want productization : to earn more while working less.

7% want maintenance: they’re happy with where they’re at.

5% have an “other” goal.

And 3% want to sell their consulting business .

Long-Term Goals For Consultants

So, what do consulting business owners want in the long term?

65% want a profitable business to provide a great lifestyle for them and their families.

16% want to keep growing and making more money, but they haven’t thought about selling their firm.

10% plan to sell their business one day.

And 9% haven’t given their long-term plan much thought.

Consulting fees, marketing, and proposals are always hot topics.

Here are some specific questions we asked about these topics.

How Consultants Set Their Consulting Fees

how to create consulting business plan

There are a few different ways you can set your consulting fees .

Here’s how consultants do it:

  • 37% use a project rate.
  • 26% use a value-based rate .
  • 21% use an hourly rate.
  • 13% use a monthly retainer .
  • 3% use a performance-based model.

Over 50% of consultants use a pricing method we DON’T recommend: project-rate and hourly.

One of the highest ROI moves you can make is to switch to value-based fees .

What Marketing Channel Works Best For Consultants

how to create consulting business plan

How do consulting businesses get their clients?

  • For 63%, networking/referrals is their best marketing channel.
  • 19% said social media is their best marketing channel.
  • 10% said speaking/presentations are their best marketing channel.
  • 4% said Blog/SEO.
  • 3% said cold email/cold calling.
  • And 1% said paid advertising.

A good marketing strategy for consultants will have you doing a bit of each.

But, it’s important to put your energy into the channels that are working best for your particular business.

What % Of Proposals Do Consultants Win

how to create consulting business plan

26% of consultants win less than 20% of their proposals.

22% of consultants win more than 80% of their proposals.

19% of consultants win 40-59% of their proposals.

17% win 20-39% of their proposals.

And 16% 60-79% of their proposals.

Consulting proposals are a critical part of winning consulting projects.

Here’s our consulting proposal template to help you win more proposals.

At the very least, you should be winning 60%+ of your proposals.

How Consultants Deliver Their Proposals

how to create consulting business plan

39% of consultants email their proposal to the client.

39% of consultants get on a call with their clients to review the proposal together.

And 21% of consultants meet the buyer in person to review the proposal.

We recommend that you get on a call with buyers to review the proposal together.

This will drastically increase your win rate.

Average Consulting Project Value ($USD)

how to create consulting business plan

How much do consulting business owners make per project?

  • 31% make $5000-$15K per project.
  • 27% make $15K-$50K per project.
  • 26% make less than $5K per project.
  • 10% make $50K-$100K per project.
  • 4% make $100K-$500K per project.
  • And 1% make $500K per project.

We also asked consultants some basic demographic questions.

Here are their answers:

Types Of Consultants

how to create consulting business plan

There are many different types of consultants . Here is a breakdown of the type of consulting that people who took part in this study identify as…

  • Management consultant (25%)
  • Strategy consultant (17%)
  • Other (14%)
  • Marketing consultant (9%)
  • Operations consultant (7%)
  • IT/Tech consultant (6%)
  • HR consultant (5%)
  • Non-profit consultant (4%)
  • Sales consultant (3%)
  • Science/Pharma Consultant (3%)
  • Financial advisory consultant (2%)
  • Data consultant (2%)
  • Design/branding consultant (2%)
  • E-commerce Consultant (1%)

How Many Years Have You Been In The Consulting Business?

how to create consulting business plan

We saw everyone from consulting business “newbies” to consulting business veterans.

  • 26% of consultants have been in the business for 1-3 years.
  • 19% have been consultants for 15+ years.
  • 18% have been consultants for 4-6 years.
  • 17% have been consultants for less than 1 year.
  • 14% have been consultants for 7-10 years.
  • And 11% have been in the business for 11-14 years.

Age of Consultants

how to create consulting business plan

There are consulting business owners within every generation.

  • 33% of consulting business owners are 60+.
  • 30% of consulting business owners are 50-59.
  • 23% of consulting business owners are 40-49.
  • 10% of consulting business owners are 30-39.

You can be a successful consultant at any age.

Consulting Gender Demographics

how to create consulting business plan

67% of consultants we surveyed are male.

32% are female.

And 1% chose not to answer.

Where Consultants Live

how to create consulting business plan

You can start a successful consulting business from anywhere in the world. Here are where the 500+ respondents of this study live…

  • 61% of consulting business owners are in North America.
  • 16% are in Western Europe, and 3% are in Eastern Europe.
  • 6% are in Africa, and 6% are also in Asia.
  • 5% are in Australia/New Zealand.
  • 3% are in South America.

As a consultant, your demographics don’t matter.

As long as you can solve problems and create results for your clients, you can be successful in this business.

31 thoughts on “ How To Start A Consulting Business In 2024 (6 Steps & Study) ”

Great article Mr Michael, truly to establish a successful consulting business requires strategy, tactics and a proven mindset. I have been fortunate to be part of your mailing list, following your blog post and listening to your podcast for quite some time and it has truly helped me. Thank you so much for what you do. I will like to ask, how do one create a discovery offer? Is creating a discovery offer possible for all consulting practices?

Otobele, you’re very welcome and glad you’ve been finding value. Yes, every business can develop a discovery offer. We go deep into this in the Clarity program:

Thank you Michael, as one new to the consulting business, I look forward to registering with your program once am able to raise the fee. I appreciate you

Really enjoying all of your articles and podcast. So helpful in getting my consulting business off the ground. Thank you Michael.

Appreciate the comment Janice and glad to hear you’ve found the resources here helpful. Wish you great success!

This is super helpful. Did you really have a consulting practice for 18 years?

Hi Andrea, glad you found it helpful. I’ve been consulting and building consulting businesses for going on 19 years and have been working with consultants to help them grow their businesses for the last 10 years. Wish you great success with yours.

This is very nice information. Thanks for sharing this informative information.

You are very welcome glad it’s helpful.

Hello Mr.Michael, I am a 25yr old student pursuing my masters, i have experience of a year in the field of finance and accountancy and i am very much driven to start a consulting business, as i am excited towards helping a business grow and be profitable,so i just wanted to ask you that am I in a position to start a consulting business with this much experience or do i have to wait some more years to go ahead with consulting? Awaiting your reply. Thanks.

Huzefa, don’t wait for anything. Go after what you desire. I started my first consulting business my first year in university. I had a lot to learn and still do. Focus on your strengths and where you can provide value. That’s your starting point. From there work on developing your skills and expertise. Keep at it.

Your article shows the best practical way to start a consulting business. Novice will gain more knowledge from this.

Thanks for your comment Anthony.

I’ve been in the restaurant business since I was five. I’ve continued to expand in a food service Industry in different areas. I’d like to further my career by becoming a consultant. Not only to help others but to learn more.My question is what is my first step to get started?

Hi Andrew! That’s great you’ve been in the industry since age 5! Here’s where to start: Identify your ideal client and who you want to serve that you can bring value to. Then go and have conversations with them to validate what they want and how you can help. If you’d like a proven guide to follow step by step to launch your consulting business use this:

Loved the information as I am in the process of forming a consultancy. Please feel free to send further guidance in particular regarding financials as I require assistance in that area.

Glad you loved it. Appreciate the comment Leighton

To start any business, it is very essential to make proper planning, set the budget, check out various issues that can happen later, risks involved while opening a business, etc.

Glad this helps Kartik

My former supervisor sent me this when I shared my intention of starting an HR consultancy outfit with him. He mentioned he wished he had come across this before he started off his and now I know why! Thank you so much this is very useful since I am just starting!

Glad to see this is helpful Femi – wish you great success!

Very Nice content

Glad it resonates Aman!

Very much helpful Michael. I hope to start consulting in refugee camps in Uganda. I’ve always helped some local CBOs and refugees on finance and business respectively. Though not much paying, but its worth helping.

I’m glad it’s helpful Alison. Wishing you great success!

I appreciate the story of you and your cousin … particularly the “dark period” and having relinquished the “dream job”, to come out on the other side.

I just taught a workshop with a segment about being world class. Your story resonates with those principles.

Appreciate the thoughtful comment Kent and nice to hear the story resonates. Great to have you in the community here.

Really nice article! Thanks for that. I’m a web developer working for companies for 10 years (began to code 20 years ago) and I’ve worked quite a lot with CMS. I was thinking being a remote and international consultant, helping non-profit with their content (strategy and technical). Of course I’m afraid, I feel I don’t have enough expertise; so many things I don’t know… I’m definitely considering momentum though, it looks great!

Glad to hear that Matthieu and welcome to the community!

Is it possible to start as a side business to eventually wean out the current employee status? If so, how?

Hi Stuart, it is very possible and we’ve helped many people do exactly this. Take a look at our Momentum course for a self-study option or our Clarity Coaching program if you want to be coached through the process. Happy to help.

Leave a Comment, Join the Conversation! Cancel reply

Your Email will be kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Privacy Overview

Start a Consulting Business in 6 Steps [+Ideas for Your Venture]

Learn about the types of consulting and how to start a lucrative, successful consulting business.



Access 8 templates for consultants in The Complete Consultant's Success Kit.

consultant using a rocket to demonstrate growth IMG name: consulting business

Updated: 02/08/24

Published: 02/08/24

Did you know the strategy consulting market is expected to grow by $70.08 billion between 2022 and 2027? This is great news for those wanting to start their own consulting business this year.

A career in consulting may be a good fit for you if you’re passionate about helping others in your industry succeed and you are considered an expert in your career field. In fact, consultant jobs are predicted to increase by 11% from 2021 to 2031, making consultants more in demand than ever.

We’ve compiled this guide to dig deeper into the world of consulting and how to start marketing your own consulting business. Learn about the types of consulting and how to start a lucrative, successful consulting business.

Download Now: Free Consultant's Success Kit

Table of Contents

What is consulting?

How to start a consulting business in six steps, the 16 different types of consulting, how to grow your consulting business.

Consultants are experts in their field. They possess knowledge so valuable that someone else — an individual, department, or entire organization — is willing to pay for it. Consulting can include many activities beyond simply giving advice , including problem diagnosis, data collection, feedback, strategy-building, and implementation.

“The defining characteristic of a consultant is their talent. It’s an intrinsic capacity to look beyond the apparent, make connections that others might miss, and motivate people to take initiative and be confident,” says Hrair Tcholakian , founder of

Sometimes, business leaders need a new set of eyes when approaching an issue. As a consultant, you can provide that unbiased perspective. Consultants and consulting firms are highly sought after for their fresh perspectives on a pressing business problem or challenge. Simply put, consultants work to make their clients more successful.

Consultant vs. Contractor

You may have heard the words consultant, contractor, and even freelancer used interchangeably. While all of these parties work with businesses and aren’t full-time employees, that’s where their similarities end.

  • Contractors (including freelancers ) are self-employed workers that companies contract to provide services.
  • Consultants, however, primarily offer assessments and their expert advice. They can be self-employed or employed by an outside consulting firm.

However, if, as a consultant, you were asked to provide a service or deliverable, you could be hired into a contractor-type role.

Now, let’s explore how to begin your own consulting business.

  • Assess your skills and strengths to choose your niche.
  • Analyze your market needs and pain points.
  • Develop your brand, website, and service offerings.
  • Open your business.
  • Market your business to attract new clients.
  • Stay organized and scale.

Are you specialized in a certain field or niche industry and believe you could offer quality advice to others? You may consider opening your own consulting business. Here are six steps to follow to start a consulting business that helps both you and your clients succeed.

1. Assess your skills and strengths to choose your niche.

A good first step to starting your consulting business is to brainstorm and define which valuable skills and strengths you have that make you a great consultant. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What makes you an expert?
  • What do you love to do and talk about?
  • If you had to stand in front of a classroom and teach any subject, what would that be?
  • What do your friends, family, and coworkers ask for your advice on?

I consider myself to be an expert in content marketing, so during this step, I would explore which skills I’m often asked about, such as SEO, website and user optimization, and more. Consider what skills were key in getting you hired in the past, as these could be your most lucrative offerings.

2. Analyze your market needs and pain points.

Once you establish your consulting niche, you should better understand what industry and market you’ll be targeting.

Narrowing your market as a consultant allows you to understand your potential clients’ needs, challenges, and pain points. This can help clarify how you can use your skills to provide solutions.

For example, content marketing is a wide field, but my niche experience is in tech content marketing, like SaaS companies and cybersecurity firms. I can position myself in a niche industry because this is where I will do the most good.

Just as you specialize in a certain skill set as a consultant, you should also specify what services you provide for your clients. This information can also help you better market to clients, which we’ll talk about below.

3. Develop your brand, website, and service offerings.

Next, create the external-facing components of your business, including your website, branding , and services. These resources can help clients distinguish you from competitors.

Whether you identify your business with your name or with another name, you should give it an official name and website to boot. Ask yourself what you bring to the table that makes you so valuable, and highlight this offering.

Another important part of this step is outlining how much your consulting costs. Be clear about what services are included in your price.

4. Open your business.

This step is more complicated than flipping a proverbial sign from Closed to Open.

First, consider the legal structure of your business. Legitimizing your business gives you credibility and direction when it comes to taxes, staffing, and other legal details.

Next, consider what tools you need to conduct business and connect with clients. These might include tools to help find new clients and jobs — like a LinkedIn membership — and video conferencing software like Zoom or Skype.

In my experience, the more hype you can generate around your new business, the better. Ask your friends, LinkedIn contacts, previous clients, and others to share your new business. Consider offering a discount on future services if they do.

At this stage, you should also open a business bank account, invest in an accountant (and eventually an assistant), and order business cards with your branding and information.

how to create consulting business plan

8 Free Consulting Templates

  • Management Consulting Plan Template
  • Business Plan Template
  • Sales Plan Template

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

Download The Complete Consultant’s Success Kit to access eight free templates for planning, researching, and client onboarding.

5. Market your business to attract new clients.

Now that you’ve opened your business, it’s time to grow . Marketing yourself correctly is key to reaching new clients.

Consulting marketing can adopt a variety of marketing methods:

  • Podcasting .
  • Speaking and teaching.
  • Social media marketing.
  • Print or digital advertising.
  • Cold calling and emailing.

Regardless of how you promote your consulting business, invest in consulting marketing methods that will get you in direct contact with your potential clients.

Methods like blogging, podcasting, and social media marketing don’t necessarily draw a direct line to new revenue, but they are powerful for growing awareness and establishing expertise. Content marketing is often a marathon, not a sprint, so be sure to create a consistent publishing schedule.

Once you get in front of potential clients, have an established elevator pitch and client proposal template ready to go. Half the consulting “battle” is providing advice. The other half is selling your advice in the first place.

As you grow your client base, use a CRM like HubSpot’s all-in-one CRM platform (which comes in a free version for small-to-medium businesses or a paid version for enterprises). It can help you keep track of client information as well as the context of your relationship with each client.

6. Stay organized and scale.

As you grow and master your consulting business, stay organized and consistent. High-quality results are the best way to incite referrals from previous clients — and referrals can be your best source of new sales .

In fact, as you build successful relationships with clients, don’t be afraid to ask for referrals for new leads.

Once a month or so, sit down and analyze your consulting business. Look at your client list, software tools, and other business practices. Analyze what’s working and what’s not.

Understand where you can cut extra effort and resources to ultimately save money. Lastly, subscribe to industry trends to keep your business relevant to the challenges and trends your clients face.

how to create consulting business plan

6 Free Blog Post Templates

Save time creating blog posts with these free templates.

  • "How-to" Post
  • "What is" Post
  • Listicle Post

Download our free guide to starting a successful blog and receive an 8-part planner to get your blog up and running.

Another source of great blog content is your client base. Pay attention to what issues or questions your clients face and gather feedback about what information would be helpful to write and share.

In the same vein, blog content can also serve as sales enablement content — sharing a popular blog post or two with potential clients can help them understand why they should hire you.

4. Share thought leadership content.

Like starting a blog, publishing thought leadership content can help you establish your authority. Consider platforms like Medium that already have an audience. Publish your most authoritative, data-driven content on there to boost your brand awareness.

You can also use tools like HARO to connect with journalists and bloggers looking for expert quotes, anecdotes, and stories for their content. Respond to queries to get your voice featured as a thought leader in your consulting niche.

5. Network and make new connections.

Between social media, dedicated Slack channels, and online masterminds, you are the only thing standing in your way of making new connections and friends online.

Networking in person is pretty straightforward. But networking online can be tricky. Thankfully, with today’s technology, there are countless ways to network and make new connections.

One of my favorite spots to network is on Twitter. It’s the easiest platform to engage with folks and start interesting conversations. I’m also reminded of old connections that I can revive with a short Tweet or email.

Angelique Rewers , founder of Premier Global Community, argues that clients need a compelling ROI story.

“Employee experience is reportedly on the budget chopping block this year, as are a lot of other things. That means every dollar companies invest needs to go a long way. Decision makers need and want to see big, visible dents being put in their problems quickly, and they want to see those results last for longer than sizzle on a steak,” Rewers says.

When you network, you need to share what exactly organizations will get from their investment in you.

Test a few platforms and programs and see which one helps you get connected, attract clients, and build a community.

Start Consulting Today

Consulting may be a fascinating, lucrative career, but it’s also a mindset. Successful consulting businesses begin with an individual or team of experts passionate about helping others.

Regardless of your firm’s size, keep your passion and expertise centered, and you’ll always find success. Top consultants are great at planning, presenting, and marketing their services. Start your consulting business plan by downloading our free consulting templates below.

consulting templates

Don't forget to share this post!

Related articles.

How to Write a Consulting Proposal [Templates & Examples]

How to Write a Consulting Proposal [Templates & Examples]

30 Consulting Buzzwords that Work (and Don't Work) in Conversation

30 Consulting Buzzwords that Work (and Don't Work) in Conversation

What a Retainer-Based Approach Can Do for a Consulting Business

What a Retainer-Based Approach Can Do for a Consulting Business

Healthcare Consulting: What It Is & How to Succeed in It

Healthcare Consulting: What It Is & How to Succeed in It

9 Essential Certificates for Consultants

9 Essential Certificates for Consultants

Building a Career in Consulting — The Ultimate Guide

Building a Career in Consulting — The Ultimate Guide

Innovation Consulting: Everything You Need to Know

Innovation Consulting: Everything You Need to Know

15+ Interview Questions for Consultants [+ Sample Responses]

15+ Interview Questions for Consultants [+ Sample Responses]

Consultative Selling: 7 Ways to Win Deals With Consultative Sales

Consultative Selling: 7 Ways to Win Deals With Consultative Sales

How to Network in Consulting (+6 Tips)

How to Network in Consulting (+6 Tips)

Powerful and easy-to-use sales software that drives productivity, enables customer connection, and supports growing sales orgs

Don't bother with copy and paste.

Get this complete sample business plan as a free text document.

Business Consulting Business Plan

Start your own business consulting business plan

Growth Management and Strategies

Executive summary executive summary is a brief introduction to your business plan. it describes your business, the problem that it solves, your target market, and financial highlights.">.

Growth Management and Strategies (GMS) is an ambitious innovative new company that is attempting to turn the small business consulting business on its head. With an experienced consultant at the helm as President, GMS intends to grow at more than 50% per year through solid customer service, a great sales plan, proven competitive strategies, and a group of people that bring dynamic energy to the company and the sales process.

The goal for this plan is financial: GMS needs a Small Business Adminstration (SBA) loan, and this document is one step in the process. It is also a road map for the company. The document gives all present and future employees, as well as the owner a sense of purpose that may exist without the business plan, but becomes more relevant after the business plan is written, reviewed, shared, and edited by all. It is a living document that will last far beyond the SBA loan purpose, or if that doesn’t occur, to bring an investor on board.

GMS’s financials are realistic, and based on very conservative sales figures relative to the industry as a whole. That is because one of the goals of GMS is to build the business one client at a time, and to serve each client as if it were the last. This is how loyalty is generated, and cultivated. Customer service is what GMS will do best, and is a large part of the company’s overall mission.

Business consulting business plan, executive summary chart image

1.1 Objectives

The objectives for Growth Management and Strategies are:

  • Gain access to an SBA loan upon start up.
  • Grow the company from 2 employees in Year 1, to over 10 by Year 5.
  • Increase revenue to over $3 million by Year 3.
  • Increase client base by 450% in three years.
  • Maintain job costing that keeps margins above 70%.

1.2 Mission

The company mission is to serve small business clients that are in need of logistical, technical, and business strategy services. All projects will be chosen based on the availability of human resources, and each individual employee will be given the respect of a contract worker, and will share in profits for each job. Politics have no place at Growth Management and Strategies, and to limit the affects of favoritism, the company will implement and clearly communicate a performance review policy that applies to those at the bottom as well as the top of the leadership ladder. Credit will be given to the person who performed and/or innovatively modified a project, and compensation will be both financial and in the form of commendation.

Growth Management and Strategies is a company that respects the needs and expectations of its employees and clients. If either is compromised, adjustments will be made so that the company culture may remain intact.

1.3 Keys to Success

Our keys to success are:

  • To maintain client satisfaction of at least 90%.
  • To keep overhead low.
  • To ensure professional marketing and presentation of services.
  • To provide an active and functional website.

Company Summary company overview ) is an overview of the most important points about your company—your history, management team, location, mission statement and legal structure.">

Growth Management and Strategies was established as a C corporation. The company’s headquarters are located in Boston, MA, near Copely Place. The company was established as a result of the efforts of its owner, Bill Dawson, and his experience in leading small businesses into prolonged periods of growth and innovation. Dawson worked for McKinsey before being hired away to Bain and Company. A Harvard graduate, Dawson spent hundreds of hours each week for nearly a year, slowly building the company to where it is now.

The company has had numerous successes this year, including one client that was purchased by a major multinational conglomerate, and another that experienced product sales growth of over 700% the first year.

2.1 Start-up Summary

This start-up summary table lists all the costs associated with establishing a lease, purchasing office equipment, and pulling together the other resources necessary to get the business off the ground. Furniture, LAN lines, and additional technology purchases are a must in order to properly communicate with clients, and to establish a website.

Other services included in the start-up summary are legal consulting fees, kept to a minimum thanks to resources provided by Nolo. Incorporation fees are included in the legal fees line item.

The free cash flow (cash balance) appearing in this start-up table is high relative to other small consulting businesses of its size. The owner is preoccupied with maintaining positive cash flow, and is risk averse enough to understand that during months in which contracts are not available, the corporation must sustain itself.  With this said, planned debt leverage is low, therefore risk to the lender is relatively low as well.

Business consulting business plan, company summary chart image

2.2 Company Ownership

Growth Management and Strategies is wholly owned by Bill Dawson, and is classified as an LLC.

Growth Management and Strategies offers a variety of services to the small business client. Many of the services are customized for each client, and a bidding process is observed. The company also offers a traditional fixed rate sheet for its services.

Market Analysis Summary how to do a market analysis for your business plan.">

The target customer owns a small business, and is generally dissatisfied with the revenue that the business is generating, or is dissatisfied with the daily management of their business. The customer is likely to operate a business worth between $200K and $10 million, with growth rates of between 1-10%, or even a negative growth rate.

Market growth, that is, the predicted growth in the small business sector within the Boston/Cambridge Metro area is expected to be around 3% per year. This may increase due to additional SBA lending programs designed to match the strengths of research and faculty grant work with the needs of the market and small businesses willing to take new products to market. Regardless of the market growth, the company’s customer base is far more dependant upon service needs, and a solid reputation. Mr. Dawson is well respected within the community, and has built a number of relationships with high profile individuals, and is a frequent contributor to the business section of the Boston Herald.

The corresponding market analysis table below breaks the potential market down into tactical sub-markets.

4.1 Market Segmentation

Brought to you by

LivePlan Logo

Create a professional business plan

Using ai and step-by-step instructions.

Secure funding

Validate ideas

Build a strategy

  • Debt of more than 30% yearly revenue.
  • Free cash flow frequently in the negative, requiring deep pocket borrowing or investment.
  • Long-term growth underperforming relative to competitors.
  • Management discord and performance issues.

These are not the only differentiators used to determine the market potential for a client, they are simply a starting point for the sales team as they reach out to this group of small businesses, owners and investors.

Business consulting business plan, market analysis summary chart image

4.2 Target Market Segment Strategy

The target market strategy involves isolating potential customers by revenue, then drilling down to very specific needs via the sales team’s needs analysis methodology.

The first tier customers, businesses with over $3 million in revenue, is more experienced in outsourcing and may find themselves more comfortable hiring Growth Management and Strategies on retainer. Strategically, a retainer helps maintain consistent cash flow, even if during some months these customers will require more services than what they have paid for that month. This issue will be addressed in the Personnel topic.

The second tier customers, those businesses operating at revenue levels of $501K – $3 million, typically are very excited to have moved out of the home office stage, and into a new level of stability. If they are self-funded, these businesses can be the most challenging to work with because they are often not willing to part with company shares, and don’t yet have a sense of what kind of marketing investment is necessary to grow a business at this stage. The company will serve these small businesses based on a bid cycle, and needs analysis.

The third tier customers are easier to identify, and more ubiquitous than the rest. These small businesses are operating on $200K – $500K in revenue, often are operating out of a home, and have a firm sense of their market and potential, yet have trouble executing their plans effectively, or following through on growth strategies that generate wealth. Again, the strategy is to provide these businesses with a short needs analysis, and focus on the quantity of such customers to maintain a solid revenue stream.

4.3 Service Business Analysis

This industry is split up between a variety of players, including small businesses advising small businesses, such as the case with Growth Management and Strategies, to large conglomerate multinational consulting firms that send in newbie MBAs and use their name recognition to convince their clients that every one of these MBAs will generate over $300K a year in value. Sometimes they do, but when they don’t, GMS plans to be there.  

At the other end of the spectrum, there are a wide variety of mom and pop consulting firms owned by very talented people who simply don’t have the marketing resources or expertise to reach a broader spectrum of customer.

GMS is somewhere in between. With years of guerrilla marketing experience, and a long-term plan for success, Mr. Dawson is determined to build the company each client at a time, and to focus on a sales team that outperforms all the competitors.

GMS is planning to grow exponentially within the first two years, to over $2 million in consulting revenue. At this point the service business analysis will be re-evaluated from the outside in.

4.3.1 Competition and Buying Patterns

Typically small business clients will learn about the consulting services market through word-of-mouth experience passed on through a friend or contemporary. Still, outbound sales teams dominate this category, and the stronger your sales team and name recognition, the greater your odds of finding clients willing to place your company on retainer or accept your company’s bid. The most competitive players in this market tend to have some of the best sales teams in the industry, that is, people who know not only how to communicate the technical needs analysis in a non-technical way, but in addition, are able to follow through and execute on promises and provide accurate, industry specific information that is useful to the client even before the deal is made.

Price is also important, and operates on a complex tiered system that is dependant upon the effectiveness of a particular salesperson, the word-of-mouth (WOM) advertising already in the mind of the potential client, and the ability of the client to reform the way they think about their own business. The demands of turning a business around, or pushing it to the limits of its potential are in direct proportion to the price of each bid. GMS must be careful not to be lured into out bidding a competitor, only to find that the customer has no plans to modify their business plan, and are seeking a “magic bullet” that may or may not exist. Competition in this industry leads to frustration and burnout for many people, and it takes a strong sense of purpose to push the business beyond the realm of the high-intensity, low-return client.

Strategy and Implementation Summary

GMS will pursue a strategy in line with the experience of the owner, and implementation will be performance based and follow a clear path. Milestones are important to the implementation of this plan, and so is the vision and the will of the company’s owner, Mr. Dawson. The overall company strategy is tied very closely with the sales strategy, that is, with the front lines of the business. One of the biggest threats to any strategy is that they can become too high-minded, and not literal enough to translate into action. This will not be the case with GMS, a solid company that hires top talent and achieves it’s goals on time and on budget.

5.1 Competitive Edge

GMS has a significant competitive edge in the following areas:

  • Customer service mobility – As a customer-centric firm, GMS offers no hold phone lines, same day email responses, and callbacks within one hour. In addition, the phone technology is set up in such a way as to provide salespeople with all databased information about the customer before they say “hello”. 
  • “Needs Analysis” service – Possibly the best competitive edge in an industry fraught with agressive outbound sales teams and your run of the mill ego-centric, customer alienating, consultants.
  • A considerable network of contacts – Mr. Dawson is well connected in the area of general consulting, and his Harvard degree opens doors via simple bragging rights, and an extensive alumni network.

5.2 Marketing Strategy

GMS’s marketing strategy revolves around a three-tiered focus. At the top of pyramid one, imagine a customer service ideal. This ideal is also included in the competitive comparison.

Pyramid three has at the top a team-centric company culture. Tactics revolve around building this culture from the ground up so that it rewards innovation and determination, and management shows no personal bias or favoritism except when a salesperson or consultant is outperforming the mean. Although this strategy appears to be an internal management goal or company summary object, it is highly relevant to marketing’s performance because without integrity standards and a consistent company culture, GMS’s marketing will feel disconnected and unsupported, and will suffer as a result. A more detailed breakdown of tactics and programs related to this strategy is available in the full marketing plan. 

5.3 Sales Strategy

GMS plans to develop and train 5-6 new salespeople by year two. Upon start up, the primary sales contact will be Mr. Dawson, but this will change as the revenues increase, and the company is able to invest in human capital.

GMS has a sales strategy that focuses on an initial needs analysis. Once the results of the needs analysis has been forwarded or described over the phone to a potential client, the salesperson will ask for a personal interview, a chance to sit down and discuss specifics. At no time should this be perceived by the potential client as “pushy” or “agressive.” 

The goal of this sales process is to get behind the numbers, and the business successes, to identify where the client’s needs lie. Once this is mapped out, GMS will decide how these problems can be best addressed, and will offer both a bid and some action points. If the client wants to use the action points to move forward on their own, this is very acceptable. GMS’s research has in fact shown that the clients that choose this path, often come back to seek additional information, and more often than not, accept the bid.

This strategy differs from the course often taken by large consulting firms in that the customer is not condescended to, or treated as if the knowledge isn’t right there in their own heads. Often, consulting companies will send a large ego to clean up a client’s mess, and find that the strategy backfires when the client only chooses to give the consultant the chance to bid. GMS’s sales strategy revolves around customer service and empowerment, not condescension and sales “closers.”

5.3.1 Sales Forecast

Sales forecast is based on the assumption that most of the revenue will be the result of consulting bids. The growth in retainer revenue is about 30% lower than the expected yearly growth in consulting bids of 80%/year. This may seem like an agressive number at first glance, but this is not a large company being discussed in this business plan. The smaller the company, often the larger the opportunity for exponential sales growth, and especially if the firm uses sound sales and marketing strategies to take share from the larger, less nimble consultancies.

The Needs Analysis service is listed only to highlight the fact that some outside information gathering firms/consultants will be used to compile the necessary information. This poses some risk because there are no costs associated with the Needs Analysis efforts. Nevertheless, GMS is confident that this product will set the company apart from the competition, and generate sales far in excess of the costs incurred.

Business consulting business plan, strategy and implementation summary chart image

5.4 Milestones

The milestones table includes one listing each for the business plan and the marketing plan. Each of these are crucial to the long-term and short-term success of GMS. The other milestones are also important, but most are simply tasks necessary in starting up almost any business. Nevertheless, the most important milestone in this table is financial. The SBA loan will determine whether this company will have the working capital to operate for 5-12 months with little or no immediate revenue. If GMS cannot find the working capital to meet the minimum cash flow expectations set forth in this document, the company will dissolve and the owner will turn his talents elsewhere. Therefore, it is possible that the line item for “SBA Loan” may be changed to acquire family or friends as investors. Ideally it will not come to that and Mr. Dawson will be able to retain full control of the company, and direct it entirely based on his vision.

Business consulting business plan, strategy and implementation summary chart image

Management Summary management summary will include information about who's on your team and why they're the right people for the job, as well as your future hiring plans.">

The management team will initially consist of Bill Dawson. A Harvard MBA, and world-renowned consultant for major Fortune 500 companies, Mr. Dawson has built a reputation based his customer-centric approach to consulting, a relative anomaly in the world of high profile consulting. Many consultants are trained to believe they are right and the client was put on this earth to learn from the consultant. That is not the case for GMS, as the management team (Dawson) takes a different tact. The consultant acts as an interviewer, learning all that is possible to learn about the client in a one or two week period. As a management tool, this approach is very effective because it gives the sales team flexibility in dealing with potential customers, and relieves the uncomfortable pressure to close the sale.

Mr. Dawson’s approach to managing customers is also the approach he will take in dealing with his salespeople. GMS doesn’t need a hefty management structure, or administrative overhead. Many of those processes may be handled through outsourcing and Internet technology. On the contrary, the management structure at GMS is designed to reward the performer and educate the underperformer. Each salesperson is given a battery of psychological and rational tests, and most importantly, are screened based on how well they will fit into the Dawson management style. This leaves little to chance, and encourages a team atmosphere that remains light-hearted and fun.

6.1 Personnel Plan

This table demonstrates how GMS plans to start acquiring clients. One salesperson will be trained initially, and that person will later head a team of salespeople as the company expands. The promise of growth, and chance to work for a strategically positioned consulting business is enough to have three major players bidding for the job. Although each will see a major cut in salary from their current position, the chance to share in company profits (10%) and growth is enough to draw them to a low base, high commission position that offers no guarantees.

Financial Plan investor-ready personnel plan .">

The Financial Plan is based on a pending SBA loan, and a corresponding cash flow amount held in a highly liquid account.

7.1 Important Assumptions

7.2 break-even analysis.

The Break-even Analysis table is based on the assumption that each hour worked can be billed at approximately $70 per unit, and the employees will start at approximately $25/hour. This doesn’t include the cost of the payroll burden, however the assumptions are fairly accurate. Fixed costs are related to the lease and other monthly costs.

Business consulting business plan, financial plan chart image

7.3 Projected Cash Flow

The following table and chart show the Projected Cash Flow figures for Growth Management and Strategies.

Business consulting business plan, financial plan chart image

7.4 Projected Profit and Loss

The following table and charts are the Projected Profit and Loss and Gross Margin figures for Growth Management and Strategies.

Business consulting business plan, financial plan chart image

7.5 Projected Balance Sheet

The following table is the Projected Balance Sheet for Growth Management and Strategies.

7.6 Business Ratios

Business ratios for the years of this plan are shown below. Industry profile ratios based on the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code 8742, Business Management Consultants, are shown for comparison.

Garrett's Bike Shop

The quickest way to turn a business idea into a business plan

Fill-in-the-blanks and automatic financials make it easy.

No thanks, I prefer writing 40-page documents.

LivePlan pitch example

Discover the world’s #1 plan building software

how to create consulting business plan

Consulting Business Plan Guide + Free Example

how to create consulting business plan

July 6, 2023

Adam Hoeksema

The consulting industry offers vast opportunities, and while some might believe that running a consulting agency is straightforward, involving only client meetings and providing expert advice, careful planning and meticulous execution are essential for achieving success, hence a well-structured business plan is indispensable.

Our primary expertise lies in creating consulting agency financial projections , but we recognize that some of our clients require comprehensive business plans. That's why we've taken the initiative to delve into this topic and cover the following:

  • Why Write a Business Plan For a Consulting Agency?
  • What to Include in a Consulting Agency Business Plan?

Consulting Agency Business Plan Outline

How to determine the market demand for my consulting services.

  • How to Analyze the Competition for a Consulting Agency?
  • How to Create Financial Projections for a Consulting Agency?

Consulting Agency Business Plan Sample

  • Consulting Agency Business Plan FAQs

Why write a business plan for a consulting agency?

For consulting agency proprietors seeking financial support from investors, banks, or financial institutions, a well-structured business plan is an essential requirement. Demonstrating a comprehensive analysis of the market, a clear and strategic approach to client acquisition and service delivery, and a thoughtful assessment of potential risks and rewards is vital to securing the necessary funding for your venture. This provides both a roadmap for the agency's growth and assurance to potential investors that the business is robust and well-equipped to navigate industry challenges.

What to include in a consulting firm business plan?

A consulting agency business plan should outline for investors and lenders the compelling reasons why clients will select your services over others in the market, highlight the qualifications and expertise of you and your team in delivering consulting services, and present a robust financial projection that validates the security of their investment. Below is a comprehensive outline of our complimentary consulting agency business plan template.

We suggest the following sections for your consulting agency business plan

Executive Summary

Company Description

Market Analysis

Product and Service Offerings

Marketing Plan & Customer Acquisition

Operating Plan

Financial Plan

Analyzing the market for consulting services is essential to understanding your potential clients, competitors, and the overall landscape of the industry. Here's a step-by-step guide tailored for consulting services:

Identify Your Target Audience : Determine who your potential clients are. Are you targeting corporations, small businesses, non-profits, individuals, or specific industries? Understanding the unique needs and problems of these segments will help you tailor your services.

Market Size Estimation : Gauge the size of your potential market. This might include the number of businesses or professionals in a particular industry, region, or demographic segment. 

how to create consulting business plan

Competitor Analysis: Assess who your competitors are, their offerings, pricing strategies, marketing approaches, client reviews, and market share. This can help you find opportunities and differentiators for your consulting business.

Trend Analysis: Use Google Trends to see trends in popularity in your market. If we examine the consulting services industry, for example, we can track the following seasonal trends and trends over the last 5 years for search terms related to specific types of consulting, "IT consulting." This can help you identify when demand for particular services might peak, allowing you to align your marketing and service offerings accordingly.

SWOT Analysis: Perform a SWOT analysis - strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to your consulting service. This will help you identify your unique position in the market.

Pricing Analysis: Evaluate your competitors' pricing strategies and understand the budget constraints and willingness to pay among potential clients. This will help you set a price that's both competitive and profitable.

Customer Behavior and Preferences : Utilize surveys, interviews, and feedback to understand what drives client decisions. Consider their pain points, needs, and what influences their choice in selecting a consulting firm.

How to Analyze the Competition for a Consulting Firm?

When analyzing the competition in the consulting agency industry, there are several useful tools at your disposal. One of the key tools I recommend using is Ahrefs.

Ahrefs is a powerful SEO tool that allows you to research and analyze your competitor consulting agencies' online presence. By entering a competitor's website into Ahrefs, you can gain valuable insights into their organic traffic and the keywords driving that traffic. For example, we can see that Exact IT is receiving roughly 250 monthly organic traffic visitors. 

how to create consulting business plan

The tool provides data on the competitor's organic traffic and highlights the specific keywords that are bringing visitors to their website.  For example, they are ranking for 498 keywords and below you can see the keywords that are bringing the most traffic to the site. 

how to create consulting business plan

By understanding the keywords and SEO strategies that competitor consulting agencies are employing, you can tailor your content and marketing approach to compete effectively in the same spaces or identify niche areas that are underserved. This knowledge can help improve your consulting agency's online visibility, attract more clients through search engines, and position your business for success in the competitive consulting industry.

LinkedIn is a powerful platform for professional networking and can be a goldmine for competitor analysis. By searching for the names of consulting agencies or specific individuals who work for them, you can gather valuable information about their company size, services offered, client base, and recent updates or publications. Additionally, you can follow their company pages and employees to receive updates on their activities, such as new hires, client wins, and thought leadership content.

How to Create Financial Projections for a Consulting Firm?

Just like in any industry, the consulting agency business has its unique factors that impact financial projections, such as client acquisition rates, project size and complexity, billable hours, and overhead expenses. Utilizing a consulting-specific financial projection template can simplify the process and increase your confidence. Creating accurate financial projections goes beyond showcasing your consulting agency's ability to secure contracts; it's about illustrating the financial roadmap to profitability and the realization of your firm's growth goals. To develop precise projections, consider the following key steps:

Estimate Startup Costs: These might include office space, professional certifications, legal and insurance costs, technology setup, and initial marketing and branding efforts.

Forecast Revenue : Base this on projected client acquisition, average project value, billable hours, retainer agreements, and potential growth in client base or expansion into new service areas.

Project Costs : Include costs related to staffing, subcontractors if needed, travel and accommodation for client meetings, and any other expenses specifically related to delivering your consulting services.

Estimate Operating Expenses : Regular overheads like rent, utilities, office supplies, technology and software subscriptions, marketing expenses, and administrative salaries.

Calculate the Capital Needed: This should cover both the initial expenses to launch the consulting agency and provide working capital for continued growth and operational expenses until the business reaches sustainable profitability.

Seek Guidance from Experienced Professionals : While financial projections are a critical component of your consulting agency business plan, don't hesitate to seek expert advice. Adapt your projections based on real-world insights, leverage industry resources, and stay informed about trends and best practices in the consulting world to ensure your financial plan aligns with your goals and positions your consulting agency for long-term success

Delve into our Consulting Agency Business Plan, available for your review below. If you desire more customization, a Google Doc version of this consulting agency business plan template is accessible for download, enabling you to modify it to fit your unique needs and strategies. For your convenience, an accompanying video tutorial is also provided, directing you through the method of tailoring the business plan to perfectly resonate with your specific consulting agency's goals and identity.

Table of Contents

1. executive summary.

1.1 Organization Overview

1.2. Objectives

1.3. Mission Statement

2. Organization Description

2.1. Organization History

2.2. Legal Structure

2.3. Unique Value Proposition

2.4. Target Beneficiaries

3. Market Analysis

3.1. industry overview.

3.2. Collaborator and Competitor Identification

3.3. Target Beneficiaries

Key Point  1

4. Marketing and Fundraising

4.1. Strategic Plan

4.2. Program or Service Offerings:

4.4. Distribution Channels

4.5. Promotions and Fundraising

Key Point  2

5. Organizational Structure and Management

5.1. Organization’s Facility & Location

5.2. Staffing Plan and Volunteer Management

5.3. Governance, Financial Management, and Accountability

Key Point  3

6. financial plan.

6.1. Startup Costs

6.3. Expense Projections

6.4. profit and loss statement, 6.5. cash flow projections, 6.6. break-even analysis, 7. appendix.

7.1. Supporting Documents

7.2. Glossary of Term

7.3. References and Resources

Key Point  5

 1.1. Company Overview

Briefly introduce the company's background, products or services, and target market.

      -  Example: TalentEdge Consulting is a premier HR consulting firm based in Denver, Colorado, specializing in providing comprehensive human resources solutions to businesses of all sizes. Our services range from talent acquisition and employee development to HR strategy and compliance.

   1.2. Objectives

Outlines the company's short-term and long-term goals.

        - Example: Short-term: Establish TalentEdge Consulting as a trusted partner for businesses in Denver. Within the first year, we aim to secure partnerships with at least 100 businesses.

        - Example: Long-term: expand our presence beyond Denver and become a leading HR consulting firm in the region, known for our expertise, exceptional client service, and measurable impact on businesses.

  1.3. Mission Statement

 Describes the company's purpose and core values.

        - Example: We are dedicated to providing customized and  effective HR strategies and solutions that align with our client's unique needs, foster a positive work environment, and unlock their full human potential.

  1.4. Keys to Success

Highlights the factors that will contribute to the company's growth and success.

        - Example: By leveraging our in-depth industry expertise in HR best practices, tailoring HR solutions that address our client's specific challenges and goals, and by continual innovation to stay ahead of emerging HR trends and technologies, TalentEdge Consulting is poised to become the go-to HR consulting firm for businesses seeking strategic and impactful HR solutions in Denver and beyond.

2. Company Description

   2.1. company history.

Provides context on the company's background and founding story.

        - Example: TalentEdge Consulting was founded by Rosetta Tanner, an experienced HR professional with a passion for driving organizational success through effective people strategies. With a background in talent management and HR consulting, Rosetta established the firm in Denver, Colorado, to provide businesses with expert HR guidance and support.

   2.2. Legal Structure

 Describes the company's legal structure (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation).

        - Example: TalentEdge Consulting operates as a sole proprietorship owned by Rosetta Tanner.

 2.3. Unique Selling Proposition

  Emphasizes the company's competitive advantage or unique offerings.

        - Example: TalentEdge Consulting differentiates itself by offering holistic and tailored HR solutions that align with each client's unique business needs. Our focus on practical implementation and measurable results sets us apart, ensuring that our clients experience tangible improvements in their HR practices and overall organizational performance.

  2.4. Target Market

Defines the company's ideal customer base.

        - Example: We serves businesses in Denver, Colorado, across various industries and sizes. We cater to businesses seeking to optimize their talent acquisition, employee engagement, performance management, compliance, and HR strategy for long-term success.

  Presents a general overview of the industry, its trends, and growth potential.

        - Example: As businesses in Denver, CO recognizes the importance of effective HR practices in driving organizational success, the demand for specialized HR consulting services is increasing. Factors such as evolving labor laws, workforce diversity, and the need for talent management contribute to the growth potential of the industry.

3.2. Competitor Analysis

 Evaluates the company's direct and indirect competitors, as well as their strengths and weaknesses.

        - Example: Direct competitors: HR Solutions Inc.: A boutique HR consultancy known for its expertise in leadership development and talent acquisition.

        - Example: Indirect competitors:  In-house HR departments: Larger organizations with dedicated HR teams may choose to handle HR functions internally.

3.3. Target Market Analysis

Explores the company's target customers, their demographics, preferences, and pain points.

        - Example: TalentEdge Solutions targets small and medium-sized businesses in Denver, Colorado, across various industries. Our ideal clients include startups, growing businesses, and companies undergoing organizational changes.

3.4. Market Opportunities

Identifies potential opportunities for the company to grow within the market.

        - Example: TalentEdge Solutions can seize market opportunities by leveraging digital marketing, offer specialized HR solutions, forge strategic partnerships, stay ahead of HR trends, and target niche markets to expand brand visibility, attract clients, generate referrals, provide cutting-edge services, and establish leadership in specific industry sectors.

how to create consulting business plan

  • Example 1: Conduct a survey among local businesses to assess their HR consulting needs and challenges. This will provide insights into the demand for specialized HR solutions in the area. (e.g., 80% of surveyed businesses express a need for talent acquisition and retention strategies)
  • Example 2: Analyze industry reports and local employment trends to identify areas of growth and emerging HR challenges. This will help tailor TalentEdge Consulting's services to address specific market needs. (e.g., Denver's technology sector has experienced a 15% annual growth rate, indicating a potential demand for HR solutions in this industry)
  • Example 3: Analyze the top competitors in the area to understand what services they are offering, and what things you may be able to specialize in to compete or steal some customer base. Do an SEO/keyword analysis of your competitors to see what keywords they are ranking for and what opportunities there would be to steal some of that website traffic through ads or organic SEO
  • Example 4: Perform keyword research related to your specific professional service/industry to see growth trends

4. Marketing and Sales Strategy

4.1. product or service offerings: .

Describes the company's products or services in detail.

        - Example: TalentEdge Solutions offers a comprehensive suite of HR consulting services, including talent acquisition and management, leadership development, performance management, employee engagement, HR policy development, and HR technology implementation.

4.2. Pricing Strategy

 Outlines the company's approach to pricing its products or services.

        - Example: TalentEdge Solutions adopts a flexible pricing structure tailored to the unique needs and budget of each client, ensuring cost-effectiveness and maximizing value for their investment in HR solutions.

4.3. Sales Strategy

  Explains how the company plans to generate sales and build

customer relationships.

        - Example:  We will leverage networking events, industry conferences, and referrals to generate leads and establish strategic partnerships with local businesses and organizations in Denver, CO.

 Describes the methods through which the company will deliver its products or services to customers.

        - Example: TalentEdge Solutions delivers its services through personalized client engagements, utilizing a combination of on-site consultations, virtual meetings, and collaborative technology platforms to ensure seamless communication and service delivery.

4.5. Promotions and Advertising

 Details the company's promotional efforts and advertising strategies.

        - Example: TalentEdge Solutions implements targeted marketing campaigns, leveraging digital channels, industry events, and professional networks to raise awareness about their expertise, showcase thought leadership, and attract potential clients in the Denver, CO area.

how to create consulting business plan

  • Example 1: Begin offering Recruiting & talent finding services as an independent freelancer with some local companies to demonstrate success and traction before expanding the business.
  • Example 2: Host free HR workshops and seminars for local businesses to showcase TalentEdge Consulting's expertise and establish credibility in the market. (e.g., 50 attendees participate in a workshop on effective performance management, generating positive testimonials and potential leads)
  • Example 3: Create a social media following providing tips to people trying to find a job as well as tips to small businesses looking to hire people.

5. Operations and Management

5.1. organizational structure.

Outline the company's organizational structure, including key roles and responsibilities within the HR consulting firm.

        - Example: TalentEdge Solutions will have a flat organizational structure, with a core team consisting of HR consultants, specialists, and administrative staff. The CEO, Rosetta Tanner, will oversee overall operations and strategic direction.

5.2. Team Development and Management

Describe how the company will attract, develop, and manage a skilled team of HR professionals.

        - Example: TalentEdge Solutions will focus on recruiting experienced HR consultants with diverse expertise and a strong track record. The company will provide ongoing professional development, training, and mentorship programs to enhance skills and ensure the team stays updated on industry trends and best practices.

5.3. Quality Assurance

Explain the measures the company will implement to ensure the delivery of high-quality HR consulting services.

        - Example:  TalentEdge Solutions will establish a comprehensive quality assurance framework, including regular performance evaluations, client feedback surveys, and internal audits. This will ensure consistent delivery of tailored, effective, and compliant HR solutions to clients.

how to create consulting business plan

  • Example: The founder of TalentEdge Consulting, Rosetta Tanner, brings 15 years of experience in HR management across various industries, including healthcare and technology. Her expertise ensures that the company stays updated with industry best practices and can provide valuable insights to clients.

5.4. Technology and Systems

Highlight the technology and systems the company will utilize to streamline operations and enhance service delivery.

        - Example: TalentEdge Solutions will leverage advanced HR software and systems to automate administrative tasks, streamline recruitment and talent management processes, and enhance data security. The company will also implement a client management system to efficiently track client interactions and deliver personalized HR solutions.

All of the unique Professional Service  projections you see here were generated using ProjectionHub’s Professional Service Financial Projection Template . Use PH20BP to enjoy a 20% discount on the template. 

   6.1. Startup Costs

  Provide a detailed breakdown of the total startup costs requirements, and where you plan for those funds to come from. You will also want to breakdown how the startup costs will be used including working capital to cover losses before the business breaks even.

        - Example: Creating a solid financial plan is crucial, and we are taking the necessary steps to ensure the success of TalentEdge. Based on our projections, we actually plan to break even relatively quickly by choosing to be as lean as possible in year 1 so we have limited starting capital needs. We plan to begin with$25,000 in cash from person investment from the owner and are seeking a $50,000 SBA microloan to provide a cash buffer to help with unforeseen expenses and working capital.

how to create consulting business plan

6.2. Revenue Projections

Provides an estimate of the company's future revenue based on market research and assumptions.

        - Example:  TalentEdge projects $300,000 in revenue in the first year. The company anticipates steady growth in revenue over the initial five-year period.

how to create consulting business plan

 Estimates the company's future expenses, including fixed and variable costs.

        - Example: TalentEdge is choosing to keep overhead as low as possible in the first year and willow wait to secure a physical office space until year 2 as well as expanding the labor force considerably.

how to create consulting business plan

Summarizes the company's revenue, expenses, and net income over a specific period.

        - Example: TalentEdge expects to achieve sustainable profitability in year 3 of operation.

how to create consulting business plan

 Outlines the company's projected cash inflows and outflows.

        - Example: TalentEdge cash flow projections demonstrate how we’ll handle cash outflows during growth events like securing an office space and hiring more team members.

how to create consulting business plan

  Determines the point at which the company's revenue equals its expenses.

        - Example: TalentEdge anticipates reaching its sustainable break-even point in year 3 of operation.

how to create consulting business plan

Watch how to create financial projections for your Professional Service Firm

how to create consulting business plan

Key Point  4 

how to create consulting business plan

  • Example 1: Benchmark financial projections against industry standards to ensure realistic revenue and expense estimates. (e.g., The average billing rate for HR consulting firms in Denver is $150 per hour, which aligns with TalentEdge Consulting's projected rates)
  • Example 2: Evaluate the potential impact of market fluctuations on financial projections, such as changes in labor regulations or economic conditions. (e.g., A 10% decrease in business expansions could result in a 5% decrease in TalentEdge Consulting's revenue)

   7.1. Supporting Documents

 Includes any relevant documentation that supports the information presented in the business plan, such as resumes, financial projections, market research data, and permits or licenses.

   7.2. Glossary of Term

 Provides definitions for industry-specific terms used throughout the business plan to ensure reader comprehension.

   7.3. References and Resources

Lists any sources or resources referenced during the preparation of the business plan, including industry reports, market research data, and relevant publications.

Key Point 5

how to create consulting business plan

  • Example: Rosetta Tanner and the founding team of TalentEdge Consulting invest personal funds into the business to cover startup costs and demonstrate their commitment to the venture. This personal investment showcases their dedication and shared risk, increasing confidence among lenders and potential partners.

Consulting Business Plan FAQs

How do i start a consulting or professional services business.

To start a consulting or professional services business, define your area of expertise, identify your target market, develop a business plan, establish your pricing structure, create a marketing strategy, build a professional network, and continuously enhance your knowledge and skills.

What types of consulting services are in high demand?

Consulting services that are often in high demand include management consulting, IT consulting, marketing consulting, financial consulting, HR consulting, business strategy consulting, and niche-specific consulting services tailored to specific industries or challenges.

How can I find clients for my consulting business?

To find clients, leverage your professional network and relationships, participate in industry events and conferences, offer valuable content through thought leadership articles or blog posts, utilize social media platforms, and seek referrals from satisfied clients or business partners.

How can I demonstrate the value of my consulting services to potential clients?

Demonstrate the value of your consulting services by showcasing past client success stories or case studies, highlighting your expertise and qualifications, offering free initial consultations or assessments, providing testimonials from satisfied clients, and emphasizing the tangible results or improvements your services can bring.

How can I scale my consulting business?

To scale your consulting business, consider hiring additional consultants or subcontractors, developing scalable systems and processes, expanding your service offerings or target markets, leveraging technology to automate certain tasks, and establishing strategic partnerships or collaborations with other professionals or firms.

About the Author

Adam is the Co-founder of ProjectionHub which helps entrepreneurs create financial projections for potential investors, lenders and internal business planning. Since 2012, over 50,000 entrepreneurs from around the world have used ProjectionHub to help create financial projections.

Other Stories to Check out

How to finance a small business acquisition.

In this article we are going to walk through how to finance a small business acquisition and answer some key questions related to financing options.

How to Acquire a Business in 11 Steps

Many people don't realize that acquiring a business can be a great way to become a business owner if they prefer not to start one from scratch. But the acquisition process can be a little intimidating so here is a guide helping you through it!

How to Buy a Business with No Money Down

Learn the rare scenarios enabling the purchase of a business with no money down and delve into the complexities of selling via seller notes, highlighting the balance of expanded opportunities and inherent risks in these unique financial transactions.

Have some questions? Let us know and we'll be in touch.

Growthink logo white

Sample Consulting Firm Business Plan

consulting firm business plan

Writing a business plan is a crucial step in starting a consulting firm. Not only does it provide structure and guidance for the future, but it also helps to create funding opportunities and attract potential investors. For aspiring consulting firm business owners, having access to a sample consulting firm business plan can be especially helpful in providing direction and gaining insight into how to draft their own consulting firm business plan.

Download our Ultimate Consulting Firm Business Plan Template

Having a thorough business plan in place is critical for any successful consulting firm venture. It will serve as the foundation for your operations, setting out the goals and objectives that will help guide your decisions and actions. A well-written business plan can give you clarity on realistic financial projections and help you secure financing from lenders or investors. A consulting firm business plan example can be a great resource to draw upon when creating your own plan, making sure that all the key components are included in your document.

The consulting firm business plan sample below will give you an idea of what one should look like. It is not as comprehensive and successful in raising capital for your consulting firm as Growthink’s Ultimate Consulting Firm Business Plan Template , but it can help you write a consulting firm business plan of your own.

Consulting Firm Business Plan Example – InsightAdvantage Consultants

Table of contents, executive summary, company overview, industry analysis, customer analysis, competitive analysis, marketing plan, operations plan, management team, financial plan.

Welcome to InsightAdvantage Consultants, our new consulting firm rooted in the vibrant landscape of San Francisco, CA. Born out of a vision to fill the void for high-quality local consulting services, our mission is dedicated to offering unparalleled consulting solutions tailored to the unique needs of businesses in our community. Specializing in strategic planning, management consulting, and financial advisory, we craft personalized solutions that empower our clients to navigate their specific challenges and seize opportunities for growth. With our firm strategically located in San Francisco, we not only ensure our services are highly relevant and specialized for the local market but also contribute actively to the local business ecosystem, making us the go-to consulting firm in the area.

Our success at InsightAdvantage Consultants is driven by a blend of factors. The wealth of experience brought by our founder, who has a proven track record in the consulting industry, sets a solid foundation for our operations. Coupled with our commitment to superior consulting expertise, we stand out as a leader in the field. Our specialized understanding of the San Francisco market further cements our position as the preferred local consulting partner. Since our launch in January 2024, we’ve hit several key milestones, including establishing our brand identity, securing a prime location for our operations, and structuring our business as an S Corporation ready for growth. These accomplishments underscore our readiness and enthusiasm to empower local businesses towards success.

The Consulting Firm industry in the United States, currently valued at over $250 billion, exhibits a robust demand across various sectors, including healthcare, technology, and finance. With an expected annual growth rate of 3-4%, the industry is on a trajectory of steady expansion. A notable trend is the emergence of specialized niche consulting firms like InsightAdvantage Consultants, which cater to specific business needs with highly targeted expertise and solutions. This trend aligns with our focus on the San Francisco market, positioning us to leverage the increasing demand for specialized consulting services in the region.

InsightAdvantage Consultants targets a diverse customer base, starting with local residents to establish a strong community presence. We also focus on small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and tech startups in San Francisco, offering them tailored consulting services to address their unique challenges. By providing strategies for growth, efficiency improvements, and competitive positioning, we aim to support the backbone of the local economy and the dynamic tech startup sector with agile, innovative solutions that drive sustainable success.

Our main competitors include Run Right Business Consulting, with their tailored services and deep local market understanding; Piedmont Avenue Consulting, specializing in marketing and branding strategies; and BookSoEasy, which combines business consulting with technological solutions. Despite the strengths of these firms, InsightAdvantage Consultants remains unmatched in our blend of industry experience, innovative strategies, and deep local market insights. Our diverse team of industry veterans and young innovators enables us to offer solutions that are both time-tested and infused with fresh, forward-thinking ideas. This unique combination, along with our strategic location in San Francisco, positions us as a leader in the consulting industry.

InsightAdvantage Consultants offers a comprehensive suite of services, including Strategic Planning, Management Consulting, and Financial Advisory, each designed to meet our clients’ diverse needs. Our pricing strategy is tailored to reflect the value and customization of our services, with prices varying based on scope and complexity. To promote our offerings, we employ a robust digital marketing strategy, leveraging social media, SEO, and email campaigns, complemented by content marketing to position us as thought leaders. Networking events, referral programs, and targeted advertising campaigns further amplify our visibility and attract a broad spectrum of clients.

Our operations at InsightAdvantage Consultants are centered around key processes such as client communication, market research, strategy development, project management, and quality assurance, to name a few. We are committed to continuous learning and professional development to stay ahead of industry trends. In the coming months, we aim to achieve several milestones, including securing initial client contracts, achieving operational efficiency, and building a strong local network. These efforts are all geared towards ensuring our firm’s success and sustainable growth.

At the helm of InsightAdvantage Consultants is Lucas Jackson, our President, who brings a wealth of experience and a proven track record from the consulting industry. His expertise in strategic planning, operational efficiency, and business development is invaluable to guiding our firm towards achieving its strategic goals. Lucas’s leadership and deep market understanding ensure we are well-equipped to navigate the industry landscape and achieve lasting success.

Welcome to InsightAdvantage Consultants, a new consulting firm based in the vibrant city of San Francisco, CA. As a local consulting firm, we stand out in a landscape that previously lacked high-quality local consulting services. Our mission is to bridge this gap and offer unparalleled consulting solutions that cater specifically to the needs of businesses in our community.

At InsightAdvantage Consultants, we specialize in a range of services designed to empower businesses to achieve their goals. Our offerings include strategic planning, which helps businesses chart a course for success in an ever-changing market. We also provide management consulting to streamline operations, enhance efficiency, and foster leadership within teams. Additionally, our financial advisory services are tailored to help businesses optimize their financial strategies for growth and stability. Each of these services is crafted with our clients’ success in mind, offering personalized solutions that address their unique challenges and opportunities.

Our firm is proudly based in San Francisco, CA, serving customers within this dynamic city. This strategic location not only allows us to be close to our clients but also to be an integral part of the local business ecosystem. By focusing on serving San Francisco businesses, we ensure that our services are highly relevant and tailored to the specific needs of companies operating in this unique market.

InsightAdvantage Consultants is uniquely qualified to succeed for several reasons. Firstly, our founder brings valuable experience from previously running a successful consulting firm, ensuring that we have the knowledge and skills necessary to deliver exceptional results. Moreover, we pride ourselves on offering superior consulting expertise compared to our competition, setting us apart as a leader in the field. These factors, combined with our deep understanding of the local market, position us as the go-to consulting firm in San Francisco.

Since our inception on January 5, 2024, InsightAdvantage Consultants has achieved several milestones. We have successfully established our brand, starting with the design of our logo and the development of our company name, which resonate with our vision and values. Furthermore, we secured a prime location that not only serves as our base of operations but also reflects our commitment to being an accessible and integral part of the local business community. As a S Corporation, we are poised for growth and are excited to continue building our legacy as we serve and empower businesses in San Francisco.

The Consulting Firm industry in the United States is a thriving sector with a significant market size. Currently, the industry is estimated to be worth over $250 billion, showcasing the high demand for consulting services across various sectors such as healthcare, technology, finance, and more.

Market research indicates that the Consulting Firm industry is expected to experience steady growth in the coming years. With an annual growth rate projected to be around 3-4%, the industry is set to reach new heights as businesses increasingly seek out expert advice and guidance to navigate complex challenges and drive growth.

One of the key trends in the Consulting Firm industry is the rise of specialized niche consulting firms, such as InsightAdvantage Consultants. These firms offer tailored services to specific industries or business needs, providing clients with highly targeted expertise and solutions. This trend bodes well for InsightAdvantage Consultants, as their focus on serving customers in San Francisco, CA, positions them to capitalize on the growing demand for specialized consulting services in the region.

Below is a description of our target customers and their core needs.

Target Customers

InsightAdvantage Consultants will target a diverse range of customer segments, beginning with local residents. This group is essential for establishing a strong community presence and reputation. By focusing on the unique needs and challenges of San Francisco’s residents, InsightAdvantage Consultants will tailor services to offer practical, impactful advice and solutions.

Small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within the city will also form a significant part of InsightAdvantage Consultants’ target market. These businesses, which are the backbone of the local economy, often encounter unique challenges that require specialized consulting services. InsightAdvantage Consultants will provide these companies with strategies for growth, efficiency improvements, and competitive positioning.

Furthermore, tech startups, which are prolific in the San Francisco area, will be another primary customer segment for InsightAdvantage Consultants. This sector is dynamic and requires agile, innovative consulting solutions to navigate rapid growth, funding rounds, and scaling challenges. The firm will offer bespoke services that align with the fast-paced nature of tech startups, helping them to achieve sustainable success.

Customer Needs

InsightAdvantage Consultants caters to the distinct needs of San Francisco residents by delivering high-quality consulting services that align with their diverse ambitions and challenges. Clients can expect tailored solutions that resonate with their unique scenarios, whether they are startups seeking to innovate, enterprises aiming to scale, or individuals pursuing personal growth. This dedication to customization ensures that every strategy is not just a roadmap but a reflection of the client’s vision and potential.

In an environment as dynamic and competitive as San Francisco, customers demand not just advice but actionable insights that can lead to tangible outcomes. InsightAdvantage Consultants rises to this expectation by leveraging cutting-edge research, data analytics, and industry expertise to empower clients with strategies that are both innovative and practical. This approach guarantees that clients not only navigate their immediate challenges but are also equipped for long-term success.

Moreover, InsightAdvantage Consultants understands the value of accessibility and ongoing support for San Francisco’s bustling clientele. Clients have the convenience of engaging with experts who are committed to their success beyond the initial consultation. This includes follow-up services, the provision of resources for implementation, and the availability of guidance through the evolution of their projects or businesses. Such comprehensive support underscores our dedication to not just meeting but exceeding client expectations.

InsightAdvantage Consultants’ Competitors Include the Following Companies

Run Right Business Consulting

Run Right Business Consulting offers a comprehensive suite of services including strategy development, operational improvements, and financial advisory. The firm specializes in serving small to medium-sized businesses across various industries. Their services are tailored to meet the specific needs of each client, ensuring a personalized consulting experience.

Pricing models at Run Right Business Consulting are project-based, with costs varying depending on the scope and complexity of the consulting engagement. This flexibility allows them to cater to a wide range of budgets. The firm reports annual revenues in the mid-range, indicating a stable client base and consistent service delivery.

Located primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area, Run Right Business Consulting has a strong local presence. However, they also serve clients across the United States, leveraging remote consulting capabilities. Their customer segments include startups, established SMEs, and occasionally larger corporations seeking niche expertise.

Key strengths of Run Right Business Consulting include their tailored service approach and deep local market understanding. Weaknesses may include limited international exposure and a narrower service offering compared to larger consulting firms.

Piedmont Avenue Consulting

Piedmont Avenue Consulting focuses on marketing and branding strategies, offering services such as social media management, public relations, and digital marketing. They cater to a diverse clientele, including retail, hospitality, and technology sectors. This specialization enables them to offer deep insights and innovative strategies in these areas.

Their pricing strategy is flexible, offering both retainer-based and project-specific engagements. This allows businesses of varying sizes and budgets to access their services. Piedmont Avenue Consulting’s revenue is competitive, reflecting their strong position in the niche of marketing consultancy.

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Piedmont Avenue Consulting maintains a strong local presence while also serving clients nationwide. Their geographic reach is supported by a robust online consulting platform. The primary customer segments include small to medium-sized businesses looking to enhance their market presence and brand visibility.

The firm’s key strengths lie in its specialized focus on marketing and branding, coupled with a strong understanding of digital trends. However, their narrow focus could be seen as a weakness, limiting their appeal to businesses seeking more comprehensive consulting services.

BookSoEasy offers a unique combination of business consulting and technological solutions, with a focus on streamlining operations, improving customer engagement, and enhancing digital presence for their clients. Their services are particularly appealing to the hospitality and retail sectors, where they leverage technology to drive growth and efficiency.

The firm employs a value-based pricing strategy, ensuring clients only pay for tangible improvements and outcomes. This approach has contributed to their competitive positioning in terms of revenue, signaling strong client satisfaction and results-driven service delivery. BookSoEasy operates primarily in San Francisco but has started expanding its services to other major cities across the US.

Their customer base mainly consists of small to medium-sized enterprises seeking to leverage technology for business improvements. BookSoEasy’s strength lies in its ability to integrate consulting services with technological implementation, providing a comprehensive solution to business challenges.

A potential weakness is their sector-specific approach, which might limit their appeal to a broader audience. Additionally, as they expand geographically, maintaining the high level of personalized service that characterizes their San Francisco operations could present a challenge.

Competitive Advantages

At InsightAdvantage Consultants, we pride ourselves on delivering superior consulting expertise compared to our competitors. Our team comprises industry veterans and young innovators, all of whom bring unique perspectives and cutting-edge strategies to the table. This blend of experience and fresh ideas enables us to provide our clients with solutions that are not only time-tested but also infused with innovative approaches. We understand that the landscape of business is ever-changing, and our ability to adapt and foresee shifts in the market sets us apart. Our consultants specialize in various sectors, ensuring that clients receive tailored advice that directly impacts their specific industry challenges and opportunities.

Furthermore, our location in a vibrant city such as San Francisco allows us to stay at the forefront of technological advancements and trends. This geographical advantage complements our commitment to utilizing the latest tools and methodologies in our consultancy services. We leverage local networks and partnerships to offer our clients exclusive insights and opportunities that are not readily available elsewhere. Additionally, our commitment to fostering strong relationships with each client means we go beyond traditional consultancy roles, acting as true partners invested in their success. Our approach is holistic and personalized, ensuring that every strategy we develop is not only innovative but also practical and sustainable in the long run. This unique combination of expertise, innovation, and partnership is what makes InsightAdvantage Consultants a leader in the consulting industry.

Our marketing plan, included below, details our products/services, pricing and promotions plan.

Products and Services

InsightAdvantage Consultants offers a comprehensive suite of services tailored to meet the diverse needs of its clients. With a focus on delivering actionable insights and strategic direction, the firm has positioned itself as a valuable partner for businesses looking to navigate the complexities of today’s market landscape. Among the services offered, Strategic Planning, Management Consulting, and Financial Advisory stand out as core competencies, each designed to address specific areas of client concern.

Strategic Planning is a critical service offered, designed to help businesses define their vision, set achievable goals, and develop a roadmap for success. Clients can expect to engage in deep-dive sessions aimed at understanding their market position, competition, and internal capabilities. The average selling price for Strategic Planning services is typically around $10,000. This price can vary based on the scope and complexity of the project, tailored to meet the unique needs of each client.

Management Consulting is another key service area, focusing on improving organizational performance through the analysis of existing business problems and the development of plans for improvement. InsightAdvantage Consultants leverages industry best practices and innovative strategies to guide leadership teams through transformational changes. Clients opting for Management Consulting services can expect to invest approximately $15,000, depending on the project’s duration and depth.

Lastly, the Financial Advisory service aims to help clients manage their financial strategy, planning, and risk. This service covers a broad spectrum of financial disciplines, including mergers and acquisitions, financial planning, and risk management. With an average selling price of $20,000, this service provides clients with expert advice and insights into optimizing financial performance and achieving long-term financial stability.

InsightAdvantage Consultants prides itself on delivering high-quality, tailored services that drive value and competitive advantage for its clients. By focusing on strategic planning, management consulting, and financial advisory, the firm ensures that it covers a comprehensive range of needs that are crucial for businesses aiming to thrive in the modern economy.

Promotions Plan

InsightAdvantage Consultants employs a comprehensive suite of promotional methods to attract customers, with a keen focus on leveraging the power of online marketing. In the digital age, establishing a robust online presence is non-negotiable, and InsightAdvantage Consultants recognizes this by prioritizing a well-rounded digital marketing strategy. This includes the utilization of social media platforms, search engine optimization (SEO), and email marketing campaigns, all designed to build brand awareness and drive customer engagement.

In addition to these online marketing efforts, InsightAdvantage Consultants also taps into the potential of content marketing. By creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content, the firm aims to attract and retain a clearly defined audience. This strategy not only positions InsightAdvantage Consultants as thought leaders in the consulting industry but also helps in building trust with potential clients. High-quality blog posts, whitepapers, and case studies will serve as tools to showcase the firm’s expertise and success stories.

Networking events and industry conferences represent another pivotal promotional method for InsightAdvantage Consultants. By actively participating in these gatherings, the firm has the opportunity to connect with potential clients face-to-face, build meaningful relationships, and stay abreast of the latest industry trends. These interactions often translate into business opportunities and collaborations, further amplifying the firm’s reach and influence within the consulting sector.

Referral programs will play a critical role in the firm’s promotional strategy as well. Encouraging satisfied clients to refer others to InsightAdvantage Consultants not only helps in acquiring new customers but also strengthens the firm’s reputation. Offering incentives for referrals demonstrates appreciation for existing clients while simultaneously expanding the customer base.

Lastly, targeted advertising campaigns, both online and offline, will complement the firm’s promotional activities. These campaigns will be carefully crafted to reach potential clients within specific industries or sectors, ensuring that the messaging is relevant and resonates with the intended audience. By employing a mix of traditional advertising mediums and digital channels, InsightAdvantage Consultants aims to maximize its visibility and appeal to a broad spectrum of clients.

In conclusion, InsightAdvantage Consultants employs a diverse range of promotional methods to attract customers, with a strong emphasis on online marketing. By integrating content marketing, networking, referral programs, and targeted advertising into its promotional strategy, the firm is well-positioned to build its brand, engage with potential clients, and achieve sustainable growth in the competitive consulting industry.

Our Operations Plan details:

  • The key day-to-day processes that our business performs to serve our customers
  • The key business milestones that our company expects to accomplish as we grow

Key Operational Processes

To ensure the success of InsightAdvantage Consultants, there are several key day-to-day operational processes that we will perform.

  • Client Communication: Maintain open lines of communication with clients through emails, phone calls, and meetings to understand their needs and provide timely updates.
  • Market Research: Conduct continuous market research to stay updated on industry trends, challenges, and opportunities relevant to our clients’ businesses.
  • Strategy Development: Develop customized strategies for each client, focusing on their specific goals, challenges, and market position.
  • Project Management: Utilize project management tools to track progress, manage deadlines, and ensure that all team members are aligned and accountable.
  • Data Analysis: Analyze data from various sources to inform strategies, measure performance, and make data-driven decisions.
  • Quality Assurance: Regularly review and assess the quality of our work to ensure that it meets high standards and delivers value to our clients.
  • Professional Development: Engage in continuous learning and professional development to enhance our skills and stay ahead of industry changes.
  • Networking: Actively participate in local and industry-specific events to build and maintain a strong professional network in San Francisco and beyond.
  • Financial Management: Monitor and manage the firm’s finances, including budgeting, invoicing, and financial reporting, to ensure healthy cash flow and profitability.
  • Feedback Collection: Solicit feedback from clients post-engagement to identify areas for improvement and strengthen client relationships.
  • Marketing and Business Development: Implement marketing strategies and business development activities to attract new clients and retain existing ones.
  • Team Collaboration: Foster a collaborative work environment where team members can share ideas, solve problems together, and contribute to each other’s professional growth.
  • Compliance and Ethics: Ensure that all business practices comply with local laws and regulations and adhere to the highest ethical standards.

InsightAdvantage Consultants expects to complete the following milestones in the coming months in order to ensure its success:

  • Launch Our Consulting Firm : Successfully establish and officially launch InsightAdvantage Consultants, including setting up a fully functional office in San Francisco, CA, and a polished online presence that showcases our value proposition and services offered.
  • Secure Initial Client Contracts : Within the first three months, secure at least 3-5 initial client contracts through networking, marketing efforts, and leveraging personal and professional contacts. This will provide an early revenue stream and case studies/testimonials for future business.
  • Achieve Operational Efficiency : Streamline business processes, including client onboarding, project management, and billing, to ensure operations are as efficient and scalable as possible. Proper use of technology and software tools should be integrated to support these operations.
  • Build a Strong Local Network : Participate in local business events, join relevant associations, and actively engage with the business community in San Francisco. Building a strong local network will be crucial for word-of-mouth referrals and gaining trust within the community.
  • Develop a Robust Marketing Strategy : Implement a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes digital marketing (SEO, content marketing, and social media), speaking engagements, and workshops. This strategy should aim to establish InsightAdvantage Consultants as thought leaders in the industry.
  • Hire and Train Key Staff : As revenue starts to grow, hire additional consultants and support staff to ensure the ability to scale operations without compromising on the quality of service. Implement a training program to ensure all team members are aligned with the company’s methodologies and values.
  • Get to $15,000/Month in Revenue : This is a critical financial milestone that indicates the business is gaining traction. Achieving this goal will likely require a combination of increasing the client base, possibly raising prices for services (based on the value delivered), and ensuring high levels of client satisfaction for repeat business and referrals.
  • Establish Partnerships : Form strategic partnerships with other businesses and organizations that can offer complementary services or refer clients, such as law firms, accounting firms, and local business associations. These partnerships can help expand the client base and add value to InsightAdvantage Consultants’ offerings.
  • Implement a Client Feedback System : Develop and implement a systematic approach for collecting and analyzing client feedback to continuously improve the service quality and address any areas of concern. This will not only help in refining the services but also in retaining clients and encouraging referrals.
  • Evaluate Expansion Opportunities : After achieving a stable client base and consistent revenue growth in San Francisco, begin evaluating opportunities for expansion either by offering additional services or by extending the geographic reach to other cities or regions.

InsightAdvantage Consultants management team, which includes the following members, has the experience and expertise to successfully execute on our business plan:

Lucas Jackson, President

Lucas Jackson brings a wealth of experience and a proven track record of success to InsightAdvantage Consultants. Having previously helmed a consulting firm, Lucas has demonstrated an exceptional ability to lead, innovate, and drive growth within the consulting industry. His expertise spans strategic planning, operational efficiency, and business development, making him well-positioned to guide InsightAdvantage Consultants towards achieving its strategic goals. Lucas’s leadership skills, combined with his deep understanding of the consulting market, ensure that InsightAdvantage Consultants is not just equipped to navigate the complexities of the industry but is also poised for lasting success.

To reach our growth goals, InsightAdvantage Consultants requires $397,000 in funding. This capital will be allocated across both capital and non-capital investments, including location buildout, equipment, working capital, initial marketing, and staffing. These resources are crucial for establishing our operations, securing a competitive position in the market, and laying a foundation for future growth and profitability.

Financial Statements

Balance sheet.

[insert balance sheet]

Income Statement

[insert income statement]

Cash Flow Statement

[insert cash flow statement]

Consulting Firm Business Plan Example PDF

Download our Consulting Firm Business Plan PDF here. This is a free consulting firm business plan example to help you get started on your own consulting firm plan.  

How to Finish Your Consulting Firm Business Plan in 1 Day!

Don’t you wish there was a faster, easier way to finish your consulting firm business plan?

With Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template you can finish your plan in just 8 hours or less!

Growthink logo white

  • Starting a Business
  • Growing a Business
  • Small Business Guide
  • Business News
  • Science & Technology
  • Money & Finance
  • For Subscribers
  • Write for Entrepreneur
  • Entrepreneur Store
  • United States
  • Asia Pacific
  • Middle East
  • South Africa

Copyright © 2024 Entrepreneur Media, LLC All rights reserved. Entrepreneur® and its related marks are registered trademarks of Entrepreneur Media LLC

How to Start a Consulting Business: Your One Page Business Plan Learn the three critical components of your business plan and download a template to get started

By Terry Rice • Apr 28, 2021

I wrote several business plans while obtaining my MBA from the University at Buffalo. But, for some reason, I totally skipped that part when it was time to launch my consulting business. My only real plan was to generate revenue, which often involved saying "yes!" to any opportunity that came my way, and not charging nearly enough for the services. And, when my daughter was born, I was too concerned about the future to be fully present. I was there, but I was more preoccupied with worrying about how I would provide for her than I was with enjoying and appreciating the experience.

Fortunately, that all changed once I decided to create a real plan aligned with the vision I had for my business and my family. That was six years ago and I've now packaged it as the One Page Business Plan for Consultants . I'm sharing the framework with you so you can avoid my mistakes, and compress the amount of time it takes for you to find fulfillment. This is by no means a hack - you're going to put in work - but this guide will reduce the confusion and frustration that can come from starting a new business.

I should also note that you may not complete it in one sitting. By design, it will challenge you and expose blind spots you may not be aware of. That's a good thing! Addressing these critical issues now will save you from months - possibly even years - of self-doubt and lost revenue.

And, if you're currently offering professional services , but are wondering why you haven't been able to "figure it out" just yet, this plan could be the key to unlocking your revenue potential.

It's all centered around answering three critical questions, which I've highlighted below.

Related: Learn how to package, price, and promote your consulting services

What do you do, who do you do it for, and why?

Clarity is the precursor to confidence. Once you establish clarity on your services, audience and motivation; you'll be able to confidently move forward with the next steps. I address how to get clear on your services in the article How to Start a Consulting Business: 3 Steps to Finding Your Idea , so I suggest checking that out in addition to the guidance provided in the business plan.

Be sure not to skip defining your "WHY" - the purpose, the cause, or the belief that drives you - this will become a valuable differentiator as you grow your business. And, if you need help crafting yours, Simon Sinek literally wrote the book on it, but you can also check out his brief YouTube video that provides some valuable tips.

How do you attract clients and opportunities by expressing your expertise and personality? (Marketing)

When I first started offering Digital Marketing services, I visited a local business in Brooklyn so I could pitch them in person. I knew launching a business would require stepping out of my comfort zone and I saw this as the perfect opportunity to do so. Incredibly enough, they said "yes", but I never did door-to-door sales again. Why? Because I hated it, and I knew there had to be a more efficient way.

Your goal should be to land clients based on how you feel comfortable presenting yourself and the value you provide. Not by spending 20 minutes hyping yourself up by listening to Eminem's "Lose Yourself" on repeat before you finally get enough courage to ask for their business. Everyone may be telling you to join Clubhouse , but answering questions on Quora might be a better fit for your personality.

It's also crucial to attract the right prospects. I used to get contacted by people who asked how much I charged before asking how I could help. In time, you'll learn how to weed those people out so you can focus on prospects who understand the value you provide and are willing to pay you what you're worth.

Beyond that, your marketing tactics need to be measurable and repeatable. Otherwise, you won't know how to avoid making the same mistakes or double down on what's working for you.

Related: How to Grow Your Email List and Sales Pipeline by Creating Your Own Free Mini-Course

How do you deliver your services and scale revenue? (Delivery)

Experiencing burnout — emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress — is far too common with entrepreneurs. One way to avoid it: develop a process to deliver your services that is aligned with efficiency and impact.

While custom projects can be lucrative, they also require much more coordination and development. Defining the delivery - and pricing - of your services in advance allows you to create a business model that is aligned with your desired revenue and lifestyle goals.

You can see options for delivering your services below.

Business consulting services examples by Terry Rice

By documenting this process, you'll also be able to better project and scale revenue, which reduces uncertainty and gives you the freedom to take time off without worrying about where your next paycheck is coming from.

Related: How to Start a Consulting Business: Determining Your Rates

Download the One Page Business Plan and block off three hours to work on it. I suggest working for 50 minutes, taking a 10-minute break, and repeating that cycle three times. And, if you have any questions feel free to reach to me on LinkedIn or join a live Q&A session .

Ready to start your consulting business? Check out our Consulting Business Accelerator and get going today! You'll gain access to training videos, hands-on activities and join live weekly Q&A calls.

Entrepreneur Staff

Business Development Expert-in-Residence

Terry Rice is the Business Development Expert-in-Residence at Entrepreneur and Managing Director of Growth & Partnerships at Good People Digital ; an agency that provides marketing and monetization solutions for entrepreneurs. He writes a newsletter about how to build your business and personal resilience and personal brand in just 5 minutes per week and created a revenue optimization checklist to help you multiply your income potential. 

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick Red Arrow

  • Bantam Bagels' Founder Fell Into a Mindset Trap 'People Don't Talk About' After Selling the Now-Defunct Business for $34 Million — Here's What Happened
  • Lock This Startup Wants to Grow Your Side Hustle for You , While Cutting You a Monthly Check
  • I Designed My Dream Home for Free With an AI Architect — Here's How It Works
  • Renowned Psychologist Adam Grant Says This 3-Step Leadership Method Will Help Fight Employee Burnout
  • Lock Most Americans Don't Think Higher Education Is Worth the Cost — But This State-By-State Breakdown of College Graduates' Salaries Tells a Different Story
  • Lock Watch Now: Tapping into Your Unconventional Thinking and Using It to Create a Million-Dollar Business

Most Popular Red Arrow

Build a better resume with this $35 subscription.

AI Resume Builder promises to help you apply to jobs twice as fast.

He Took His Side Hustle Full-Time After Being Laid Off From Meta in 2023 — Now He Earns About $200,000 a Year: 'Sweet, Sweet Irony'

When Scott Goodfriend moved from Los Angeles to New York City, he became "obsessed" with the city's culinary offerings — and saw a business opportunity.

I Got Over 225,000 Views in Just 3 Months With Short-Form Video — Here's Why It's the New Era of Marketing

Thanks to our new short-form video content strategy, we've amassed over 225,000 video views in just three months. Learn how to increase brand awareness through short-form video content.

Samsung Makes 6 Day Workweeks Mandatory for Executives as the Company Enters 'Emergency Mode'

Samsung said its performance "fell short of expectations" last year. Now executives are required to work weekends.

6 Habits That Help Successful People Maximize Their Time

There aren't enough hours in the day, but these tips will make them feel slightly more productive.

You Won't Have a Strong Leadership Presence Until You Master These 5 Attributes

If you are a poor leader internally, you will be a poor leader externally.

Successfully copied link


how to create consulting business plan

Small Business Trends

How to create a business plan: examples & free template.

This is the ultimate guide to creating a comprehensive and effective plan to start a business . In today’s dynamic business landscape, having a well-crafted business plan is an important first step to securing funding, attracting partners, and navigating the challenges of entrepreneurship.

This guide has been designed to help you create a winning plan that stands out in the ever-evolving marketplace. U sing real-world examples and a free downloadable template, it will walk you through each step of the process.

Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or launching your very first startup, the guide will give you the insights, tools, and confidence you need to create a solid foundation for your business.

Table of Contents

How to Write a Business Plan

Embarking on the journey of creating a successful business requires a solid foundation, and a well-crafted business plan is the cornerstone. Here is the process of writing a comprehensive business plan and the main parts of a winning business plan . From setting objectives to conducting market research, this guide will have everything you need.

Executive Summary

business plan

The Executive Summary serves as the gateway to your business plan, offering a snapshot of your venture’s core aspects. This section should captivate and inform, succinctly summarizing the essence of your plan.

It’s crucial to include a clear mission statement, a brief description of your primary products or services, an overview of your target market, and key financial projections or achievements.

Think of it as an elevator pitch in written form: it should be compelling enough to engage potential investors or stakeholders and provide them with a clear understanding of what your business is about, its goals, and why it’s a promising investment.

Example: EcoTech is a technology company specializing in eco-friendly and sustainable products designed to reduce energy consumption and minimize waste. Our mission is to create innovative solutions that contribute to a cleaner, greener environment.

Our target market includes environmentally conscious consumers and businesses seeking to reduce their carbon footprint. We project a 200% increase in revenue within the first three years of operation.

Overview and Business Objectives

business plan

In the Overview and Business Objectives section, outline your business’s core goals and the strategic approaches you plan to use to achieve them. This section should set forth clear, specific objectives that are attainable and time-bound, providing a roadmap for your business’s growth and success.

It’s important to detail how these objectives align with your company’s overall mission and vision. Discuss the milestones you aim to achieve and the timeframe you’ve set for these accomplishments.

This part of the plan demonstrates to investors and stakeholders your vision for growth and the practical steps you’ll take to get there.

Example: EcoTech’s primary objective is to become a market leader in sustainable technology products within the next five years. Our key objectives include:

  • Introducing three new products within the first two years of operation.
  • Achieving annual revenue growth of 30%.
  • Expanding our customer base to over 10,000 clients by the end of the third year.

Company Description

business plan

The Company Description section is your opportunity to delve into the details of your business. Provide a comprehensive overview that includes your company’s history, its mission statement, and its vision for the future.

Highlight your unique selling proposition (USP) – what makes your business stand out in the market. Explain the problems your company solves and how it benefits your customers.

Include information about the company’s founders, their expertise, and why they are suited to lead the business to success. This section should paint a vivid picture of your business, its values, and its place in the industry.

Example: EcoTech is committed to developing cutting-edge sustainable technology products that benefit both the environment and our customers. Our unique combination of innovative solutions and eco-friendly design sets us apart from the competition. We envision a future where technology and sustainability go hand in hand, leading to a greener planet.

Define Your Target Market

business plan

Defining Your Target Market is critical for tailoring your business strategy effectively. This section should describe your ideal customer base in detail, including demographic information (such as age, gender, income level, and location) and psychographic data (like interests, values, and lifestyle).

Elucidate on the specific needs or pain points of your target audience and how your product or service addresses these. This information will help you know your target market and develop targeted marketing strategies.

Example: Our target market comprises environmentally conscious consumers and businesses looking for innovative solutions to reduce their carbon footprint. Our ideal customers are those who prioritize sustainability and are willing to invest in eco-friendly products.

Market Analysis

business plan

The Market Analysis section requires thorough research and a keen understanding of the industry. It involves examining the current trends within your industry, understanding the needs and preferences of your customers, and analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors.

This analysis will enable you to spot market opportunities and anticipate potential challenges. Include data and statistics to back up your claims, and use graphs or charts to illustrate market trends.

This section should demonstrate that you have a deep understanding of the market in which you operate and that your business is well-positioned to capitalize on its opportunities.

Example: The market for eco-friendly technology products has experienced significant growth in recent years, with an estimated annual growth rate of 10%. As consumers become increasingly aware of environmental issues, the demand for sustainable solutions continues to rise.

Our research indicates a gap in the market for high-quality, innovative eco-friendly technology products that cater to both individual and business clients.

SWOT Analysis

business plan

A SWOT analysis in your business plan offers a comprehensive examination of your company’s internal and external factors. By assessing Strengths, you showcase what your business does best and where your capabilities lie.

Weaknesses involve an honest introspection of areas where your business may be lacking or could improve. Opportunities can be external factors that your business could capitalize on, such as market gaps or emerging trends.

Threats include external challenges your business may face, like competition or market changes. This analysis is crucial for strategic planning, as it helps in recognizing and leveraging your strengths, addressing weaknesses, seizing opportunities, and preparing for potential threats.

Including a SWOT analysis demonstrates to stakeholders that you have a balanced and realistic understanding of your business in its operational context.

  • Innovative and eco-friendly product offerings.
  • Strong commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility.
  • Skilled and experienced team with expertise in technology and sustainability.


  • Limited brand recognition compared to established competitors.
  • Reliance on third-party manufacturers for product development.


  • Growing consumer interest in sustainable products.
  • Partnerships with environmentally-focused organizations and influencers.
  • Expansion into international markets.
  • Intense competition from established technology companies.
  • Regulatory changes could impact the sustainable technology market.

Competitive Analysis

business plan

In this section, you’ll analyze your competitors in-depth, examining their products, services, market positioning, and pricing strategies. Understanding your competition allows you to identify gaps in the market and tailor your offerings to outperform them.

By conducting a thorough competitive analysis, you can gain insights into your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, enabling you to develop strategies to differentiate your business and gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Example: Key competitors include:

GreenTech: A well-known brand offering eco-friendly technology products, but with a narrower focus on energy-saving devices.

EarthSolutions: A direct competitor specializing in sustainable technology, but with a limited product range and higher prices.

By offering a diverse product portfolio, competitive pricing, and continuous innovation, we believe we can capture a significant share of the growing sustainable technology market.

Organization and Management Team

business plan

Provide an overview of your company’s organizational structure, including key roles and responsibilities. Introduce your management team, highlighting their expertise and experience to demonstrate that your team is capable of executing the business plan successfully.

Showcasing your team’s background, skills, and accomplishments instills confidence in investors and other stakeholders, proving that your business has the leadership and talent necessary to achieve its objectives and manage growth effectively.

Example: EcoTech’s organizational structure comprises the following key roles: CEO, CTO, CFO, Sales Director, Marketing Director, and R&D Manager. Our management team has extensive experience in technology, sustainability, and business development, ensuring that we are well-equipped to execute our business plan successfully.

Products and Services Offered

business plan

Describe the products or services your business offers, focusing on their unique features and benefits. Explain how your offerings solve customer pain points and why they will choose your products or services over the competition.

This section should emphasize the value you provide to customers, demonstrating that your business has a deep understanding of customer needs and is well-positioned to deliver innovative solutions that address those needs and set your company apart from competitors.

Example: EcoTech offers a range of eco-friendly technology products, including energy-efficient lighting solutions, solar chargers, and smart home devices that optimize energy usage. Our products are designed to help customers reduce energy consumption, minimize waste, and contribute to a cleaner environment.

Marketing and Sales Strategy

business plan

In this section, articulate your comprehensive strategy for reaching your target market and driving sales. Detail the specific marketing channels you plan to use, such as social media, email marketing, SEO, or traditional advertising.

Describe the nature of your advertising campaigns and promotional activities, explaining how they will capture the attention of your target audience and convey the value of your products or services. Outline your sales strategy, including your sales process, team structure, and sales targets.

Discuss how these marketing and sales efforts will work together to attract and retain customers, generate leads, and ultimately contribute to achieving your business’s revenue goals.

This section is critical to convey to investors and stakeholders that you have a well-thought-out approach to market your business effectively and drive sales growth.

Example: Our marketing strategy includes digital advertising, content marketing, social media promotion, and influencer partnerships. We will also attend trade shows and conferences to showcase our products and connect with potential clients. Our sales strategy involves both direct sales and partnerships with retail stores, as well as online sales through our website and e-commerce platforms.

Logistics and Operations Plan

business plan

The Logistics and Operations Plan is a critical component that outlines the inner workings of your business. It encompasses the management of your supply chain, detailing how you acquire raw materials and manage vendor relationships.

Inventory control is another crucial aspect, where you explain strategies for inventory management to ensure efficiency and reduce wastage. The section should also describe your production processes, emphasizing scalability and adaptability to meet changing market demands.

Quality control measures are essential to maintain product standards and customer satisfaction. This plan assures investors and stakeholders of your operational competency and readiness to meet business demands.

Highlighting your commitment to operational efficiency and customer satisfaction underlines your business’s capability to maintain smooth, effective operations even as it scales.

Example: EcoTech partners with reliable third-party manufacturers to produce our eco-friendly technology products. Our operations involve maintaining strong relationships with suppliers, ensuring quality control, and managing inventory.

We also prioritize efficient distribution through various channels, including online platforms and retail partners, to deliver products to our customers in a timely manner.

Financial Projections Plan

business plan

In the Financial Projections Plan, lay out a clear and realistic financial future for your business. This should include detailed projections for revenue, costs, and profitability over the next three to five years.

Ground these projections in solid assumptions based on your market analysis, industry benchmarks, and realistic growth scenarios. Break down revenue streams and include an analysis of the cost of goods sold, operating expenses, and potential investments.

This section should also discuss your break-even analysis, cash flow projections, and any assumptions about external funding requirements.

By presenting a thorough and data-backed financial forecast, you instill confidence in potential investors and lenders, showcasing your business’s potential for profitability and financial stability.

This forward-looking financial plan is crucial for demonstrating that you have a firm grasp of the financial nuances of your business and are prepared to manage its financial health effectively.

Example: Over the next three years, we expect to see significant growth in revenue, driven by new product launches and market expansion. Our financial projections include:

  • Year 1: $1.5 million in revenue, with a net profit of $200,000.
  • Year 2: $3 million in revenue, with a net profit of $500,000.
  • Year 3: $4.5 million in revenue, with a net profit of $1 million.

These projections are based on realistic market analysis, growth rates, and product pricing.

Income Statement

business plan

The income statement , also known as the profit and loss statement, provides a summary of your company’s revenues and expenses over a specified period. It helps you track your business’s financial performance and identify trends, ensuring you stay on track to achieve your financial goals.

Regularly reviewing and analyzing your income statement allows you to monitor the health of your business, evaluate the effectiveness of your strategies, and make data-driven decisions to optimize profitability and growth.

Example: The income statement for EcoTech’s first year of operation is as follows:

  • Revenue: $1,500,000
  • Cost of Goods Sold: $800,000
  • Gross Profit: $700,000
  • Operating Expenses: $450,000
  • Net Income: $250,000

This statement highlights our company’s profitability and overall financial health during the first year of operation.

Cash Flow Statement

business plan

A cash flow statement is a crucial part of a financial business plan that shows the inflows and outflows of cash within your business. It helps you monitor your company’s liquidity, ensuring you have enough cash on hand to cover operating expenses, pay debts, and invest in growth opportunities.

By including a cash flow statement in your business plan, you demonstrate your ability to manage your company’s finances effectively.

Example:  The cash flow statement for EcoTech’s first year of operation is as follows:

Operating Activities:

  • Depreciation: $10,000
  • Changes in Working Capital: -$50,000
  • Net Cash from Operating Activities: $210,000

Investing Activities:

  •  Capital Expenditures: -$100,000
  • Net Cash from Investing Activities: -$100,000

Financing Activities:

  • Proceeds from Loans: $150,000
  • Loan Repayments: -$50,000
  • Net Cash from Financing Activities: $100,000
  • Net Increase in Cash: $210,000

This statement demonstrates EcoTech’s ability to generate positive cash flow from operations, maintain sufficient liquidity, and invest in growth opportunities.

Tips on Writing a Business Plan

business plan

1. Be clear and concise: Keep your language simple and straightforward. Avoid jargon and overly technical terms. A clear and concise business plan is easier for investors and stakeholders to understand and demonstrates your ability to communicate effectively.

2. Conduct thorough research: Before writing your business plan, gather as much information as possible about your industry, competitors, and target market. Use reliable sources and industry reports to inform your analysis and make data-driven decisions.

3. Set realistic goals: Your business plan should outline achievable objectives that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Setting realistic goals demonstrates your understanding of the market and increases the likelihood of success.

4. Focus on your unique selling proposition (USP): Clearly articulate what sets your business apart from the competition. Emphasize your USP throughout your business plan to showcase your company’s value and potential for success.

5. Be flexible and adaptable: A business plan is a living document that should evolve as your business grows and changes. Be prepared to update and revise your plan as you gather new information and learn from your experiences.

6. Use visuals to enhance understanding: Include charts, graphs, and other visuals to help convey complex data and ideas. Visuals can make your business plan more engaging and easier to digest, especially for those who prefer visual learning.

7. Seek feedback from trusted sources: Share your business plan with mentors, industry experts, or colleagues and ask for their feedback. Their insights can help you identify areas for improvement and strengthen your plan before presenting it to potential investors or partners.

FREE Business Plan Template

To help you get started on your business plan, we have created a template that includes all the essential components discussed in the “How to Write a Business Plan” section. This easy-to-use template will guide you through each step of the process, ensuring you don’t miss any critical details.

The template is divided into the following sections:

  • Mission statement
  • Business Overview
  • Key products or services
  • Target market
  • Financial highlights
  • Company goals
  • Strategies to achieve goals
  • Measurable, time-bound objectives
  • Company History
  • Mission and vision
  • Unique selling proposition
  • Demographics
  • Psychographics
  • Pain points
  • Industry trends
  • Customer needs
  • Competitor strengths and weaknesses
  • Opportunities
  • Competitor products and services
  • Market positioning
  • Pricing strategies
  • Organizational structure
  • Key roles and responsibilities
  • Management team backgrounds
  • Product or service features
  • Competitive advantages
  • Marketing channels
  • Advertising campaigns
  • Promotional activities
  • Sales strategies
  • Supply chain management
  • Inventory control
  • Production processes
  • Quality control measures
  • Projected revenue
  • Assumptions
  • Cash inflows
  • Cash outflows
  • Net cash flow

What is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a strategic document that outlines an organization’s goals, objectives, and the steps required to achieve them. It serves as a roadmap as you start a business , guiding the company’s direction and growth while identifying potential obstacles and opportunities.

Typically, a business plan covers areas such as market analysis, financial projections, marketing strategies, and organizational structure. It not only helps in securing funding from investors and lenders but also provides clarity and focus to the management team.

A well-crafted business plan is a very important part of your business startup checklist because it fosters informed decision-making and long-term success.

business plan

Why You Should Write a Business Plan

Understanding the importance of a business plan in today’s competitive environment is crucial for entrepreneurs and business owners. Here are five compelling reasons to write a business plan:

  • Attract Investors and Secure Funding : A well-written business plan demonstrates your venture’s potential and profitability, making it easier to attract investors and secure the necessary funding for growth and development. It provides a detailed overview of your business model, target market, financial projections, and growth strategies, instilling confidence in potential investors and lenders that your company is a worthy investment.
  • Clarify Business Objectives and Strategies : Crafting a business plan forces you to think critically about your goals and the strategies you’ll employ to achieve them, providing a clear roadmap for success. This process helps you refine your vision and prioritize the most critical objectives, ensuring that your efforts are focused on achieving the desired results.
  • Identify Potential Risks and Opportunities : Analyzing the market, competition, and industry trends within your business plan helps identify potential risks and uncover untapped opportunities for growth and expansion. This insight enables you to develop proactive strategies to mitigate risks and capitalize on opportunities, positioning your business for long-term success.
  • Improve Decision-Making : A business plan serves as a reference point so you can make informed decisions that align with your company’s overall objectives and long-term vision. By consistently referring to your plan and adjusting it as needed, you can ensure that your business remains on track and adapts to changes in the market, industry, or internal operations.
  • Foster Team Alignment and Communication : A shared business plan helps ensure that all team members are on the same page, promoting clear communication, collaboration, and a unified approach to achieving the company’s goals. By involving your team in the planning process and regularly reviewing the plan together, you can foster a sense of ownership, commitment, and accountability that drives success.

What are the Different Types of Business Plans?

In today’s fast-paced business world, having a well-structured roadmap is more important than ever. A traditional business plan provides a comprehensive overview of your company’s goals and strategies, helping you make informed decisions and achieve long-term success. There are various types of business plans, each designed to suit different needs and purposes. Let’s explore the main types:

  • Startup Business Plan: Tailored for new ventures, a startup business plan outlines the company’s mission, objectives, target market, competition, marketing strategies, and financial projections. It helps entrepreneurs clarify their vision, secure funding from investors, and create a roadmap for their business’s future. Additionally, this plan identifies potential challenges and opportunities, which are crucial for making informed decisions and adapting to changing market conditions.
  • Internal Business Plan: This type of plan is intended for internal use, focusing on strategies, milestones, deadlines, and resource allocation. It serves as a management tool for guiding the company’s growth, evaluating its progress, and ensuring that all departments are aligned with the overall vision. The internal business plan also helps identify areas of improvement, fosters collaboration among team members, and provides a reference point for measuring performance.
  • Strategic Business Plan: A strategic business plan outlines long-term goals and the steps to achieve them, providing a clear roadmap for the company’s direction. It typically includes a SWOT analysis, market research, and competitive analysis. This plan allows businesses to align their resources with their objectives, anticipate changes in the market, and develop contingency plans. By focusing on the big picture, a strategic business plan fosters long-term success and stability.
  • Feasibility Business Plan: This plan is designed to assess the viability of a business idea, examining factors such as market demand, competition, and financial projections. It is often used to decide whether or not to pursue a particular venture. By conducting a thorough feasibility analysis, entrepreneurs can avoid investing time and resources into an unviable business concept. This plan also helps refine the business idea, identify potential obstacles, and determine the necessary resources for success.
  • Growth Business Plan: Also known as an expansion plan, a growth business plan focuses on strategies for scaling up an existing business. It includes market analysis, new product or service offerings, and financial projections to support expansion plans. This type of plan is essential for businesses looking to enter new markets, increase their customer base, or launch new products or services. By outlining clear growth strategies, the plan helps ensure that expansion efforts are well-coordinated and sustainable.
  • Operational Business Plan: This type of plan outlines the company’s day-to-day operations, detailing the processes, procedures, and organizational structure. It is an essential tool for managing resources, streamlining workflows, and ensuring smooth operations. The operational business plan also helps identify inefficiencies, implement best practices, and establish a strong foundation for future growth. By providing a clear understanding of daily operations, this plan enables businesses to optimize their resources and enhance productivity.
  • Lean Business Plan: A lean business plan is a simplified, agile version of a traditional plan, focusing on key elements such as value proposition, customer segments, revenue streams, and cost structure. It is perfect for startups looking for a flexible, adaptable planning approach. The lean business plan allows for rapid iteration and continuous improvement, enabling businesses to pivot and adapt to changing market conditions. This streamlined approach is particularly beneficial for businesses in fast-paced or uncertain industries.
  • One-Page Business Plan: As the name suggests, a one-page business plan is a concise summary of your company’s key objectives, strategies, and milestones. It serves as a quick reference guide and is ideal for pitching to potential investors or partners. This plan helps keep teams focused on essential goals and priorities, fosters clear communication, and provides a snapshot of the company’s progress. While not as comprehensive as other plans, a one-page business plan is an effective tool for maintaining clarity and direction.
  • Nonprofit Business Plan: Specifically designed for nonprofit organizations, this plan outlines the mission, goals, target audience, fundraising strategies, and budget allocation. It helps secure grants and donations while ensuring the organization stays on track with its objectives. The nonprofit business plan also helps attract volunteers, board members, and community support. By demonstrating the organization’s impact and plans for the future, this plan is essential for maintaining transparency, accountability, and long-term sustainability within the nonprofit sector.
  • Franchise Business Plan: For entrepreneurs seeking to open a franchise, this type of plan focuses on the franchisor’s requirements, as well as the franchisee’s goals, strategies, and financial projections. It is crucial for securing a franchise agreement and ensuring the business’s success within the franchise system. This plan outlines the franchisee’s commitment to brand standards, marketing efforts, and operational procedures, while also addressing local market conditions and opportunities. By creating a solid franchise business plan, entrepreneurs can demonstrate their ability to effectively manage and grow their franchise, increasing the likelihood of a successful partnership with the franchisor.

Using Business Plan Software

business plan

Creating a comprehensive business plan can be intimidating, but business plan software can streamline the process and help you produce a professional document. These tools offer a number of benefits, including guided step-by-step instructions, financial projections, and industry-specific templates. Here are the top 5 business plan software options available to help you craft a great business plan.

1. LivePlan

LivePlan is a popular choice for its user-friendly interface and comprehensive features. It offers over 500 sample plans, financial forecasting tools, and the ability to track your progress against key performance indicators. With LivePlan, you can create visually appealing, professional business plans that will impress investors and stakeholders.

2. Upmetrics

Upmetrics provides a simple and intuitive platform for creating a well-structured business plan. It features customizable templates, financial forecasting tools, and collaboration capabilities, allowing you to work with team members and advisors. Upmetrics also offers a library of resources to guide you through the business planning process.

Bizplan is designed to simplify the business planning process with a drag-and-drop builder and modular sections. It offers financial forecasting tools, progress tracking, and a visually appealing interface. With Bizplan, you can create a business plan that is both easy to understand and visually engaging.

Enloop is a robust business plan software that automatically generates a tailored plan based on your inputs. It provides industry-specific templates, financial forecasting, and a unique performance score that updates as you make changes to your plan. Enloop also offers a free version, making it accessible for businesses on a budget.

5. Tarkenton GoSmallBiz

Developed by NFL Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton, GoSmallBiz is tailored for small businesses and startups. It features a guided business plan builder, customizable templates, and financial projection tools. GoSmallBiz also offers additional resources, such as CRM tools and legal document templates, to support your business beyond the planning stage.

Business Plan FAQs

What is a good business plan.

A good business plan is a well-researched, clear, and concise document that outlines a company’s goals, strategies, target market, competitive advantages, and financial projections. It should be adaptable to change and provide a roadmap for achieving success.

What are the 3 main purposes of a business plan?

The three main purposes of a business plan are to guide the company’s strategy, attract investment, and evaluate performance against objectives. Here’s a closer look at each of these:

  • It outlines the company’s purpose and core values to ensure that all activities align with its mission and vision.
  • It provides an in-depth analysis of the market, including trends, customer needs, and competition, helping the company tailor its products and services to meet market demands.
  • It defines the company’s marketing and sales strategies, guiding how the company will attract and retain customers.
  • It describes the company’s organizational structure and management team, outlining roles and responsibilities to ensure effective operation and leadership.
  • It sets measurable, time-bound objectives, allowing the company to plan its activities effectively and make strategic decisions to achieve these goals.
  • It provides a comprehensive overview of the company and its business model, demonstrating its uniqueness and potential for success.
  • It presents the company’s financial projections, showing its potential for profitability and return on investment.
  • It demonstrates the company’s understanding of the market, including its target customers and competition, convincing investors that the company is capable of gaining a significant market share.
  • It showcases the management team’s expertise and experience, instilling confidence in investors that the team is capable of executing the business plan successfully.
  • It establishes clear, measurable objectives that serve as performance benchmarks.
  • It provides a basis for regular performance reviews, allowing the company to monitor its progress and identify areas for improvement.
  • It enables the company to assess the effectiveness of its strategies and make adjustments as needed to achieve its objectives.
  • It helps the company identify potential risks and challenges, enabling it to develop contingency plans and manage risks effectively.
  • It provides a mechanism for evaluating the company’s financial performance, including revenue, expenses, profitability, and cash flow.

Can I write a business plan by myself?

Yes, you can write a business plan by yourself, but it can be helpful to consult with mentors, colleagues, or industry experts to gather feedback and insights. There are also many creative business plan templates and business plan examples available online, including those above.

We also have examples for specific industries, including a using food truck business plan , salon business plan , farm business plan , daycare business plan , and restaurant business plan .

Is it possible to create a one-page business plan?

Yes, a one-page business plan is a condensed version that highlights the most essential elements, including the company’s mission, target market, unique selling proposition, and financial goals.

How long should a business plan be?

A typical business plan ranges from 20 to 50 pages, but the length may vary depending on the complexity and needs of the business.

What is a business plan outline?

A business plan outline is a structured framework that organizes the content of a business plan into sections, such as the executive summary, company description, market analysis, and financial projections.

What are the 5 most common business plan mistakes?

The five most common business plan mistakes include inadequate research, unrealistic financial projections, lack of focus on the unique selling proposition, poor organization and structure, and failure to update the plan as circumstances change.

What questions should be asked in a business plan?

A business plan should address questions such as: What problem does the business solve? Who is the specific target market ? What is the unique selling proposition? What are the company’s objectives? How will it achieve those objectives?

What’s the difference between a business plan and a strategic plan?

A business plan focuses on the overall vision, goals, and tactics of a company, while a strategic plan outlines the specific strategies, action steps, and performance measures necessary to achieve the company’s objectives.

How is business planning for a nonprofit different?

Nonprofit business planning focuses on the organization’s mission, social impact, and resource management, rather than profit generation. The financial section typically includes funding sources, expenses, and projected budgets for programs and operations.

Image: Envato Elements

national days in June

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© Copyright 2003 - 2024, Small Business Trends LLC. All rights reserved. "Small Business Trends" is a registered trademark.


  1. FREE Consulting Plan Template

    how to create consulting business plan

  2. 32+ Free Business Plan Templates

    how to create consulting business plan

  3. 32+ Free Business Plan Templates

    how to create consulting business plan

  4. FREE Consulting Business Plan PDF

    how to create consulting business plan

  5. Growthink's Ultimate Consulting Business Plan Template

    how to create consulting business plan

  6. How to Create a Business Plan in 1 Day [Updated 2022]

    how to create consulting business plan


  1. How Fresher Civil Engineer Should Start Earning without experience? Er Suraj Laghe in Hindi

  2. Starting a Consulting Business Tips

  3. How to Start a Business Consulting Business

  4. 📚 Entrepreneur's Business Plan guide🏅

  5. How to Start a Consulting Business

  6. Quickplan DIY Business Plan


  1. How To Start A Consulting Business In 2024

    2. Register Your Consulting Business. Before you start doing official business, you'll need to register with your state's Secretary of State as a sole proprietorship or as an LLC. You should ...

  2. How to create a consultant business plan

    In this section, we'll break down the key components involved in crafting a successful consultant business plan in six steps. 01. Executive summary. An executive summary serves as a concise overview of the consultant's business plan, providing a snapshot of the key components and the business' essence.

  3. How To Create A Consulting Business Plan (Incl. Free Template)

    Step 4: Integrate your ideal schedule into the one-page consulting business plan. With step number 3, you've mapped out what you want to include in your business plan in terms of client type and nature of consulting work. In step number 4, we will build your ideal schedule into the business plan for the next 12 months.

  4. Crafting a Successful Consulting Business Clan

    A business plan is a document covering all the aspects of your future consulting business in terms of achieving business goals. In other words, this specific plan removes the guesswork from how one runs their consulting business. In the upcoming sections, we'll explain the key pieces needed to create your business plan.

  5. Consulting Business Plan: 5-Step Plan For A Successful Firm

    1. Solo Model: The classic independent consultant. Your business is just you (and maybe a few contractors). From delivering projects to marketing and sales, you are responsible for every part of the business. (To see the pros and cons of each model, see our post on The 3 PROVEN Consulting Business Models .) 2.

  6. Consulting Business Plan (Guide + Template)

    Your consulting company needs to bring in partners or funding. Starting a consulting business is no small task, so setting a clear action plan is essential. This comprehensive guide will give you a step-by-step breakdown of how to create a consulting business plan, why you need one, and how a business model canvas can help you along the way.

  7. Consulting Business Plan Template (2024)

    Starting a consulting business can be an exciting endeavor. Having a clear roadmap of the steps to start a business will help you stay focused on your goals and get started faster.. 1. Develop A Consulting Business Plan - The first step in starting a business is to create a detailed consulting business plan that outlines all aspects of the venture. This should include potential market size and ...

  8. Write a Consulting Business Plan

    Talk to your peers, friends, previous business associates and potential customers. Show them your plan and listen to their feedback. 5. Keep it simple. Don't write dozens of pages. You'll bore the investors and your plan will end up on a pile where nobody will ever look at it again - including you.

  9. How to start a consulting business in 2024 (in 7 steps)

    Here are nine steps on how to start a consulting business: Master a craft in a specific niche. Create a business plan based on pain points. Setting up your online workspace. Marketing your business to acquire clients. Managing cash flow and your finances. Building relationships and referrals.

  10. How to Start a Consulting Business: The Definitive Guide for 2024

    According to Statista, the information technology consulting industry in the U.S. grew by over 30% between 2011 and 2019, amounting to more than $600 billion in 2022. Similarly, the management consulting sector is projected to hit $343.4 billion by 2025 from an estimated $330 billion in 2023. And these are just two pieces of the enormous ...

  11. How to Write a Consulting Business Plan + Free Template

    Hiring plan. Mention the number of project managers, analysts, BD, administrative, and support workers needed for your business. Briefly describe the qualifications, skill sets, and experience for these roles and lay your hiring plan to hire employees. Refer to this example of a hiring plan for a consultancy by Upmetrics.

  12. Consulting Business Plan Template

    Marketing Plan. Traditionally, a marketing plan includes the four P's: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. For a consultant business plan, your marketing plan should include the following: Product: in the product section you should reiterate the type of consulting business that you documented in your Company Analysis.

  13. How to Start a Consulting Business in 9 Steps

    Step 2: Figure out what your market needs. Once you've identified your niche, think about what kinds of questions, problems, and pain points businesses in your chosen area of expertise have. It's ...

  14. How To Write A Consulting Business Plan

    Start with a one-line description of your consulting firm. Provide a short summary of the key points of each section of your business plan. Organize your thoughts in a logical sequence that is easy for the reader to follow. Include information about your company's management team, industry analysis, competitive analysis, and financial forecast.

  15. How to Start a Consulting Business [Updated 2024]

    Importantly, a critical step in starting a consulting firm is to complete your business plan. To help you out, you should download Growthink's Ultimate Consulting Business Plan Template. Download our Ultimate Consulting Business Plan Template here. 16 Steps To Starting Your Own Consulting Business. Choose the Name for Your Consulting Business

  16. Consulting Business Plan: Complete Consultant Template & PDF

    Consulting Business Plan Template. This plan for consultants contains in-depth information to build your own version. Simply modify the examples in this consulting plan to fit your specific line of work and you can quickly create a plan for industries such as (but of course not limited to):

  17. How to start a consulting business

    Step 3: Create a business plan. Next, it's time to start on your business plan. A business plan is simple—it outlines various components of your company, including how you'll measure success, what services you'll offer, and what your target market is. ... Once your consulting business is up and running, continually reviewing and ...

  18. How To Start A Consulting Business In 2024 (6 Steps & Study)

    As a result, he grew his consulting business to over $2M dollars. Here's a sample daily plan you can use to start your Marketing Engine: 8:00 AM: Start your Marketing Engine outreach in the morning. 8:30 AM: Follow up with any potential clients from the previous day. 9:00 AM: Make warm follow-up calls.

  19. Start a Consulting Business in 6 Steps [+Ideas for Your Venture]

    How to Start a Consulting Business in Six Steps. Assess your skills and strengths to choose your niche. Analyze your market needs and pain points. Develop your brand, website, and service offerings. Open your business. Market your business to attract new clients.

  20. Business Consulting Business Plan Example

    The objectives for Growth Management and Strategies are: Gain access to an SBA loan upon start up. Grow the company from 2 employees in Year 1, to over 10 by Year 5. Increase revenue to over $3 million by Year 3. Increase client base by 450% in three years. Maintain job costing that keeps margins above 70%.

  21. Consulting Business Plan Guide + Free Example

    Explore the key elements of a thriving consulting business planning with our all-inclusive, step-by-step guide. Acquire the expertise to create a strong consulting business plan, encompassing essential aspects such as thorough market research and precise financial projections.

  22. Sample Consulting Firm Business Plan

    The Consulting Firm industry in the United States, currently valued at over $250 billion, exhibits a robust demand across various sectors, including healthcare, technology, and finance. With an expected annual growth rate of 3-4%, the industry is on a trajectory of steady expansion. A notable trend is the emergence of specialized niche ...

  23. How to Start a Consulting Business: Your One Page Business Plan

    Next steps. Download the One Page Business Plan and block off three hours to work on it. I suggest working for 50 minutes, taking a 10-minute break, and repeating that cycle three times. And, if ...

  24. Start A Consulting Business From Scratch (Full Plan)

    Follow this simple plan to land your first few clients.🔥💸 Consulting Playboo... This is the BEST way to branch out as a consultant when starting from scratch. Follow this simple plan to land ...

  25. Crafting Your Consulting Business Plan: Expert Tips

    Set clear goals and objectives for your business. 3. Define your unique value proposition. 4. Develop strategies for marketing, sales, and operations. 5. Outline your financial projections and ...

  26. How To Write A Business Plan (2024 Guide)

    Describe Your Services or Products. The business plan should have a section that explains the services or products that you're offering. This is the part where you can also describe how they fit ...

  27. How to Create a Business Plan: Examples & Free Template

    Tips on Writing a Business Plan. 1. Be clear and concise: Keep your language simple and straightforward. Avoid jargon and overly technical terms. A clear and concise business plan is easier for investors and stakeholders to understand and demonstrates your ability to communicate effectively. 2.