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How Much Are Small Business Consultant Fees?

When you’re starting a small business, you might run into some obstacles to the success you want to see. Small business consultants can help you cut through the number of items on your to-do list and set a course for future success. Here’s what to expect to pay.

Determine Your Budget

Before you begin researching small business consultants in your area, you need to set a budget for your consultancy expenses. You can find consultants from inexpensive solo firms to high-dollar professional firms. While you may be tempted to go for the cheapest consultant you can find, you need to remember that when it comes to consulting, you often get what you pay for.

When determining your small business consultancy budget, you need to decide the quality of service you’d like to receive and allocate a budget according to how much you can realistically spend on a consultant. Remember, this is a business investment, so you should ideally get an attractive return on your consultancy investment.

Do You Need Business Plan Assistance?

Your small business consultant will offer marketing and administrative advice. But there are other services that your consultant may provide. Often, small business owners need help with getting their business plans solidified so that they can pursue the next level of investor funding or bank loans.

If you need business plan assistance, your business consultant may be able to provide this service for an additional fee. This fee will likely be billed as a project, rather than at an hourly rate, and will probably run you a few hundred to a few thousand dollars on top of your other consultancy fees.

Startup Costs

While most small business consultants offer a free initial consultation, once you sign a contract with your consultant, you may owe one-time startup fees to your consultant or their firm. These fees might include meetings to help your consultant prepare a plan for your business’s success, marketing plans and other projections you or your consultant can use to move forward.

Hourly Rates of Small Business Consultants

After the startup fees, which may be billed hourly or by the project, you will likely work with your consultant on an hourly basis. Small business consultants charge rates anywhere from $50 an hour to $200 an hour and above. Depending on your location, consultant’s experience and the size of the firm that they work for, you can expect to pay a rate within this average.

Ongoing Expenses and Retainers

Your small business might benefit from continued support from your small business consultant. In this case, your consultant might contract with you for extended services beyond your initial startup phase. These services include retainers and hourly support, which can run in the thousands of dollars per month.


sample business plan for consulting company

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Consulting Firm Business Plan Template

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

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Consulting Planning Business Plan

Start your own consulting planning business plan

Business Solutions Consulting

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.">.

Introduction Business Solutions Consulting (BSC) is a start-up consulting firm focused on serving the comprehensive needs of businesses in the full range of the business cycle. With a core staff of experienced professionals and a team approach to most consulting projects, BSC will be able to offer a more balanced quality service than many of its competitors.

The Company Business Solutions Consulting is a team of six business consultants. Each consultant specializes in a particular discipline, including finance, sales and marketing, technology, management, operations, and human resources.

BSC offers a list of services for business owners to choose from, depending on their particular business needs. This includes; business and marketing plan preparation, financial search and procurement, IT consulting services, management development, human resources advising,  and etc.

BSC will have a focus on start-up businesses, preferably in the earlier stages of operation. Small and mid-sized businesses make up a sizable majority of U.S. and international markets. BSC prefers to establish a relationship with a younger operation and continue to nurture that relationship over the long term.

BSC will be established as an Oregon based LLC with two principal partners, each of whom owns a 50% share in the company. Mr. Andrew B. Christiansen has extensive experience in business planning and finance, including CFO positions with ABC Conglomerate and DEF International. Mr. David E. Fields brings in experience in the area of marketing, advertising, and communications.

The Market The business consulting industry is very fragmented. Several large multinational companies dominate the industry while many smaller (and often more specialized) firms occupy their market niches. Major management consulting companies, such as McKinsey, Bain, and Boston Consulting Group, have established their dominant position by providing services to the leading companies in various industries. Consulting practices of the major accounting firms (a.k.a. the Big Five) have established worldwide presence and sell their packaged services to companies of different sizes and industries. At the same time, numerous firms and individual business consultants prosper in the market niches that bigger players consider unprofitable to enter.

Start-up companies are the target market of this firm. BSC intends to stay on the pulse of new business activity within the local area. Additionally, business contacts, referrals from among the group, and Internet marketing efforts will be made in pursuit of new clients. Start-up companies are attractive because owners often lack the broad range of knowledge and expertise required to launch a new business. There is a serious need in the marketplace, and certainly a significant demand for, these types of start-up consulting services.

Competitors in the forefront of the marketplace typically offer many of the services that BSC has. These services include information-based consulting, integration and management services. Services are designed to increase clients’ operations effectiveness through reduced cost, improved customer service, enhanced quality of current product lines and services, and a more rapid introduction of new products and services. Competitors also offer industry-specific expertise to objectively evaluate, select, develop, implement, and manage information systems, networks, and applications.

Consulting firms BSC is competing with include regional and specialty consulting firms, as well as the consulting groups of international accounting forms such as KPMG LLP, Ernst & Young LLP, Deloitte & Touche LLP, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Andersen Consulting. In its management and IT consulting services, BSC competes with information system vendors such as HBO & Company, Inc., Integrated Systems Solution Corporation, Electronic Data Systems Corporation, Perot Systems Corporation, SAIC, CAP Gemini America, Inc., and Computer Sciences Corporation. In e-commerce-related services, BSC competes with the traditional competitors, as well as newer, Internet product and service companies such as Razorfish, Scient, TriZetto, and Viant.

Financial BSC’s co-owners, Andrew B. Christiansen and David E. Fields, will each provide $50,000 that will cover the bulk of the start-up expenses. The rest of the required financing will come from the Small Business Administration (SBA) 10-year loan in the amount of $100,000. Combined, these funds will be sufficient to cover the company’s expenses throughout the first year of operations, which is the most critical from the cash flow standpoint.

BSC’s Break-even Analysis is based on the average of the first-year figures for total sales by salaries, bonuses costs, and all other operating expenses. Such analysis shows that BSC will break-even by the tenth month of operations.

Consulting planning business plan, executive summary chart image

1.1 Mission

Business Solutions Consulting aims to offer comprehensive consulting services. BSC will focus on providing personal and specialized services to meet each client’s specific needs.

1.2 Keys to Success

BSC’s keys to success include:

  • A group of professionals with a broad range of specialty areas that complement each other.
  • A high level of experience in these specialty areas.
  • A team approach on most consulting projects.
  • Many business contacts among the consultant group.

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Consulting Business Plan Template [Updated 2023]


Consulting Business Plan

If you want to start a consulting firm or expand your current consulting business, you need a business plan. The following consulting business plan template gives you the key elements to include in a winning business plan. A consultant business plan template can be used to create a business plan for any type of consulting business including but not limited to: business consulting, management consulting, IT consulting, and Human Resources consulting.

You can download the consulting business plan template (including a full, customizable financial model) to your computer here.

Sample Consulting Business Plan

Below are links to each of the key sections of a successful consulting firm business plan:

  • Executive Summary – The Executive Summary should provide an overview of your consulting business plan. It should include an introductory of you and your company, a brief description of the services you provide, your target market, and a summary of your financial projections.
  • Company Overview – In the Company Overview section, you should provide a description of your consulting business, its legal structure, its mission and goals, the services you will offer, and the type of clients you plan to serve.
  • Industry Analysis – There are many industries where consultants are needed. When writing your Industry Analysis, you should provide detailed information about your specific industry and its current trends and future forecasts.
  • Customer Analysis – The Customer Analysis section of your consulting business plan should provide detailed demographic and psychographic information for your target customers to give readers a clear understanding of who your services are designed for.

You can download the consulting business plan template in Word (including a full, customizable financial model) to your computer here.

  • Competitive Analysis – It is important to understand who your competition is and how you plan to differentiate yourself from other consulting firms. The Competitive Analysis section should provide information on the key competitors in your industry, their offerings, their advantages, and any potential threats they may pose to your business.
  • Marketing Plan – In your Marketing Plan, you should outline the marketing strategies you plan to use to reach your target audience, such as advertising and promotional campaigns.
  • Operations Plan – The Operations Plan should provide a detailed description of how you plan to run and manage your consulting business. This should include information on staff, equipment, processes, and any other resources that will be necessary.
  • Management Team – The Management Team section should provide information on the key players in your consulting business and their qualifications.
  • Financial Plan – The Financial Plan section of your consulting business plan should include the 5-year financial projections including an income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement.

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Consulting Business Plan Outline

consulting business plan template

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Sample Business Plan for Consulting Firm

Executive Summary Of Sample Business Plan for Consulting Firm

Sample Plan 5 is an innovative management consulting firm business plan offering a variety of business solutions to clients across a broad cross-section of industries. From financial services to operations optimization to managing organization growth, Sample Plan 5 is adept at effectively managing a variety of client projects.

Founded by The Owner, the organization is in the midst of an aggressive expansion phase with client acquisition and profit growth being two of the primary objectives.

As the economy continues to rebound from what analysts agree was the deepest economic condition in nearly a century , organizations of all sizes will be in need of the types of services that are offered through Sample Plan 5.

The organization has already developed a strong reputation in the industry for the delivery of quality services that positively impact the client.

Moving forward, The Owner plans to leverage these experiences along with her vast professional network amassed over the course of her career to strengthen the client portfolio and improve the year-to-year profit standing of the firm.

Useful Resource:  How to write an executive summary for a business plan

Financial Objectives

The following table and graphs illustrate the financial goals of Shade Station during the next five years. The financials are explained in detail throughout the duration of the plan.

sample business plan for consulting firm

To see the complete financial plan of consulting business plan click here .

Pro Tips: Learn how to create a financial plan for business plan by pros.

Industry at a Glance

The industry is composed of companies that provide advice and assistance to organizations on issues ranging from strategic and organizational planning to financial budget planning. 

Although sample business plan for consulting firm is a relatively new industry, major consulting firms are among the most respected businesses in the world, and their advice is routinely sought by the corporate and governmental sectors. 

In the five years that have led up to 2011, IBISworld .com estimates that industry revenue increased at an average annual rate of 0.7% to $165.5 billion.

Compared with the industry’s overall growth during the past 10 years. this rate is somewhat sluggish. reflecting the extent of the recent economic downturn. 

The recession’s effect on the industry caused sales to plummet by 3.6%. LH in addition to decreasing revenue. firms laid-off employees. causing industry employment to fall by 7.0% over the course of the last two years.

Industry at Glance, Business Plan Sample

Click here to read more about the industry at a glance  and sample business plan for consulting firm.

Projected Industry Growth

The Consulting Industry is currently in the mature stage of its life cycle. Over the five years leading up to 2016, research gathered via IBISworld .co m shows that the industry’s contribution to the overall economy is projected to grow at 2.5% annually. This is roughly in line with GDP growth over the same period. 

Like many industries, the Consulting industry’s growth has been slowed by the recent recession. Furthermore, more corporations are keeping consulting services in-house and hiring fewer consultants.

As a result, the industry’s growth is expected to remain below the levels experienced in the past. The benefits of consultants on human resources and management strategy are becoming increasingly accepted by the business community. 

Some businesses view outside consultants as a necessity when providing impartial advice. Although consultants have been increasingly taken 1n­ house, businesses are still hiring outside consultants to improve their bottom lines.

To read more about the projected growth of the industry click here .

Key External Drivers

Key External Drivers, Business Plan Sample

For more information about external drivers , click here .

What follows is a listing of key objectives for Sample Plan 5.

1. Client portfolio expansion

The Owner has set client portfolio expansion as one of the primary objectives for this phase of business growth and development. The founder will aggressively pursue this objective, projecting to add no less than x clients during the course of the next calendar year.

2. Increased revenues

Founder The Owner has set a goal of no less than x worth of revenues being generated over the course of the next calendar year. Through a diverse suite of services and stellar delivery, this goal is easily attainable and will be the catalyst that propels the firm towards future revenues and profits.

3. Diversify client portfolio

The diversity of services gives The Owner the ability to develop a diverse client portfolio which will be another of the primary objectives. By doing this the organization in effect insulates the profit position from the cyclical nature of the economy and protects long-term growth prospects.

For a complete guide for key objectives for  sample business plan for consulting firm  here .

SWOT Analysis

What follows is a listing of the core strengths and weaknesses of the Alice Cardenas Consulting Company.

Funding:  The lone weakness in what has proven to be an otherwise sound business model and approach would be a lack of funding. Founder The Owner is confident that if a suitable funding source is secured, she can position the organization to become one of the industry’s true market leaders.

Click here for complete detail of the SWOT analysis .

To date Sample Plan 5 has relied primarily on word of mouth networking and the Internet to drive the organization’s marketing message. 

These two elements will remain the core of the marketing model with enhancements made to each that strengthen the market position and increase the volume of qualified business opportunities. 

The organization currently has a website but plans are to totally revamp the current website and develop a more appealing presence using state of the art web development technologies.

In addition to the improved website, the organization will also aggressively integrate social networking into the marketing efforts leveraging both and as well as an interactive online blog, managed by founder The Owner. 

Rounding out Sample Plan 5 marketing model will be an improved networking component as the founder is committed to expanding her professional network by becoming actively involved in the local business and social communities.

You can read more about sample business plan’s marketing by  downloading it.

Balance Sheet

The projected balance sheet for Sample Plan 5 is shown in the table below.

Balance Sheet of Sample Business Plan

To view the full projected balance sheet, click here .

Our free real sample business plan pdf will show you how to write a plan that looks as elegant and professional as this one.

Click here to view an example of consulting business plan for consulting firm. Each business plan is professionally written by our MBA business plan writing consultant and is developed in close collaboration with the customer.

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Sample Plan 5 is an innovative  management consulting company business plan that offers a wide range of business solutions to clients in a broad variety of sectors.

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Business Consulting Firm Business Plan Sample

FEB.26, 2021

Business Consulting Firm Business Plan Sample

Business Consulting Business Plan for Starting Your Own Firm

Do you know why your business is running into a loss? Or do you want to expand your product line but don’t know where to start? There are many times in businesses when business owners need some expert advice and strategist to help them with their goals. And that’s where the scope of a business consulting firm starts.

A business consulting firm hires experienced and qualified business consultants to provide credible and implementable strategies to businesses. The services of business consulting firms may range from training other’s employees to completely reviving a business organization. The business is extremely profitable due to its immense need and never-ending scope.

So, if you have made up your mind to enter this venture, the first step would be to create a business consulting business plan template. If you don’t know how to create a business plan consulting firms , you can take help from here. In this blog, we’re providing small business plan consulting firms  for a startup ‘Bruce Consulting Group’.

Business Consulting Business Plan Summary

2.1 the business.

Bruce Consulting Group will be a registered and licensed business consulting company based in Detroit. The firm will aim at providing expert solutions and detailed proposals/ startup and marketing plans to small and medium-sized businesses.

2.2 Management of Business Consulting Firm

For starting a business consulting firm, you’ll need to hire people who are experts in different fields and business domains. A good approach will be to decide your specialties and type of consultation services in your business plan consulting firms . Defining your consultation types in your business consulting and resource management business plan consulting firms  will help you in acquiring the right talent and tools to provide your services.

In this sample business plan for a business consulting firm, we will provide all details of how Bruce Consulting Group will be managing its resources and finances to provide excellent service as well as to earn target profits.

2.3 Customers of Business Consulting Company

Our major customers will be businesses of all types and sizes who may need consultant firm business plan s, employee training programs, outsourcing programs, legal advice, and more.

2.4 Business Target

Our targets are:

  • To maintain a CSAT score of 90 to 95% throughout our service years
  • To earn a net profit margin of $26k per month by the end of the first three years
  • To extend our services to two more cities by the end of the first five years

Business Consulting Firm Business Plan - 3 Years Profit Forecast

Company Summary

3.1 company owner.

Bruce Consulting Group will be owned by Bruce Pattinson. Bruce is a Chartered Financial Analyst. He has done his MBA and CFA from the University of Michigan. During the last twelve years, he has served in top organizations as an investment advisor.

3.2 Why the business consulting firm is being started

Bruce is famous for his expert analysis and easy-to-implement strategies. During his service years, he has gained huge experience in business strategies and operations. To spread his influence on a wider scale, Bruce decided to launch his own consulting firm.

3.3 How the business consulting firm will be started

Step1: Create Business Consulting Marketing Plan

The first step would be to develop a business plan for business consulting. Since this business demands huge responsibility, you’ll need a skilled team, experienced management, and a proper plan to run it. It is recommended to study some directives of a business consulting firm consultant firm business plan examples to have an idea of what others are offering in this domain. You can also take help from this sample business plan for a business consulting company as it covers all details.

Step2: Define The Brand

The second step is to get registered and licensed and define your business values. This is also the time to set your services so that people can identify you and your competitive advantages.

Step3: Establish Physical & Web Presence

After planning everything, you should start establishing your official presence. For that, you’ll need to rent a facility and hire the required staff. Meanwhile, you should also establish a website presence so that people can find you easily from anywhere.

Step5: Promote and Market

Lastly, after launching your business, you will need to promote your services so that your target customers can discover who you are.

Business Consulting Firm Business Plan - Startup Cost

Services of Business Consulting Firm

While creating a business plan consulting firms  for a start-up business consulting you should clearly mention your services so that you can hire the required talent accordingly. Moreover, deciding your services before developing a plan for business consulting is also important to estimate costs, expenses, and sales.

  • Technology Driven Solutions (Digital Transformations)

Our primary service will be digitizing businesses by providing them with artificially intelligent solutions such as Chatbots. Our tech solutions will be based on enhancing productivity and efficiency in workspaces.

  • Analytics and Innovation Consulting

Using Analytics techniques, we’ll turn daily information regarding finance, operations, risks, supplies, and workforce into organized analytics to figure out actionable strategies and models.

  • Strategy and Operations Consulting

For complex problems and operations, we will carry out rigorous analysis to find out executable approach. We will provide complete solutions to startups about how to start their businesses. We’ll also provide plans to established businesses who may want to expand their offerings and workforces.

  • Human Capital & Finance Transformation

We will offer HR solutions and programs to innovate staff changes, leadership, and talent to improve efficiency in an organization. We’ll also offer financial executive services to drive the companys’ growth.

Marketing Analysis of a Business Consulting Company

Marketing analysis is the study of market analytics from the financial and sales points of view. In this blog on how to write a business consulting firm plan, we’re providing marketing analysis done for Bruce Consulting Group.

5.1 Market Trends

According to IBISWorld, more than 865k management consulting firms are running in the United States. The number is expected to increase in the coming years due to businesses’ inclination towards efficient digital solutions. At present, the industry is responsible for employing 1.6 million people. Moreover, Statista reports the current market size of consulting firms to be $69.9 billion in the United States. With the growth in business consulting startups, these stats of market share and employment are also bound to increase.

5.2 Marketing Segmentation

Marketing segmentation is yet another important component of a consultant firm business plan template. In this, you have to divide your target market into distinct groups of customers. This is to analyze the buying capacities and trends of each of the target categories to estimate profits you can earn in a specific marketplace. Moreover, this practice also enables you in deciding on the pricing strategy, and advertisement mediums.

In this short business plan consulting firms , we’re providing the marketing segmentation done for Bruce Consulting Group. As the type of customers hugely depends on your offerings, you should also study another example of a business consulting firm business plan to know more customer groups associated with different services.

Business Consulting Firm Business Plan - Marketing Segmentation

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5.2.1 Budding Entrepreneurs

Start-up companies will be our topmost group of target customers. Entrepreneurs who are starting some business for the first time lack experience in planning all aspects of the business. They will need our help in making financial and marketing plans, business proposals, HR programs, training programs, and more.

5.2.2 Newly Established Companies

The second group of our target customers will be 2 to 3-year-old companies and businesses. These businesses are expected to avail of all our services to efficiently manage their operations and to boost their growth.

5.2.3 Old Companies & Organizations

Old companies who are looking for solutions to revive their operations, workforce and capabilities will also be our primary customers. They are expected to be the biggest consumer of our digital transformation solutions. Moreover, companies that are established for a long-time usually need employee training programs, infrastructure renewal programs, and software development programs to keep pace with the modernizing world.

5.3 Business Target

Our business targets are:

5.4 Product Pricing

Our prices are slightly higher than those of our competitors. This is because of our highly skilled team and our exclusive solutions. Although our services are priced at a higher rate, we expect to get more customers due to our competitive benefits and also because of the value we offer to our customers and their work.

Marketing Strategy of Business Consulting Business

After you have known everything about how to create an action plan for business consulting you should start working on a business plan consulting firms marketing plan. Because it is what you need to draw customers to your site. Without an effective marketing plan, your customers will never know your competitive advantages and specialties.

6.1 Competitive Analysis

Bruce Consulting Group will come up with the following competitive aspects:

  • All of our financial executives, business consultants, and workers are highly experienced and skilled. Through critical and analytical analysis, our workers will come up with exclusive solutions for your business.
  • Secondly, we believe in working together. Our experts will collaborate with you to understand your business and demands so that we can come up with a collaborative solution.
  • Lastly, we believe that employees, no matter how skillful they are, should be trained continuously to keep pace with the innovating world. So, to keep our workforce skilled and updated at all times, we’ll ensure continuous training of our staff too.

6.2 Sales Strategy

  • We’ll advertise our startup through Google Local ads service and local newspapers.
  • We’ll ensure a strong web and social media presence.
  • We’ll offer a 30% discount on our services for the first three months of our launch.

6.3 Sales Monthly

Business Consulting Firm Business Plan - Sales Monthly

6.4 Sales Yearly

Business Consulting Firm Business Plan - Sales Yearly

6.5 Sales Forecast

Business Consulting Firm Business Plan - Unit Sales

Personnel plan

When you are developing a business plan consulting firms  you should create a detailed list of required employees. Through it, you’ll be able to devise selection criteria, interviewing, and testing techniques to find the most competent employees.

7.1 Company Staff

Anna will be the CEO herself. However, she’ll hire the following people.

  • 1 Co-Manager to help manage business operations
  • 3 Management Consultants to help companies improve efficiency
  • 2 IT Consultants to provide technical solution consultation
  • 2 Human Resource Consultants to help companies develop their HR department
  • 2 Operations Consultants to help companies optimize their performance
  • 3 Financial Consultants to help monitor companies’ financial situations
  • 1 Accountant to maintain financial records
  • 1 IT Expert to run the company’s database
  • 1 Web Developer to manage the online presence
  • 1 Call Operator
  • 2 General Assistants

7.2 Average Salary of Employees

Financial plan.

The last thing to include in your business plan consulting firms is the financial plan. Though starting a business consulting firm doesn’t require any specific inventory or equipment, still the costs of starting and running it are high due to the following major expenses.

  • Costs involved in hiring the most skillful employees.
  • Costs of keeping your employees updated and skilled all the time by continuous training.
  • High costs of software development and digital transformation services provided to other companies.
  • Costs involved in training workforce of other companies (client companies).

Thus, all the expenses for providing your services, and retaining your workforce need proper planning and management. To efficiently manage these finances, resources, and earnings, the only way is to create a financial plan. In this blog, we’re providing the financial plan of Bruce Consulting Group so that you can get an idea of gross margins, projected cash flow, and other important components of an accurate financial plan.

8.1 Important Assumptions

8.2 break-even analysis.

Business Consulting Firm Business Plan - Break-even Analysis

8.3 Projected Profit and Loss

8.3.1 profit monthly.

Business Consulting Firm Business Plan - Profit Monthly

8.3.2 Profit Yearly

Business Consulting Firm Business Plan - Profit Yearly

8.3.3 Gross Margin Monthly

Business Consulting Firm Business Plan - Gross Margin Monthly

8.3.4 Gross Margin Yearly

Business Consulting Firm Business Plan - Gross Margin Yearly

8.4 Projected Cash Flow

Business Consulting Firm Business Plan - Projected Cash Flow

8.5 Projected Balance Sheet

8.6 business ratios.

Download Business Consulting Firm Business Plan Sample in pdf

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Consulting Business Plan: Complete Consultant Template & PDF

consulting business plan

This consulting business plan is a comprehensive copy/paste example that includes an operating and marketing plan for any kind of consulting business. You can download it and make edits to create a plan for your business, whether you’re a startup consultant business or an existing consulting firm that wants to grow faster.

(Estimated reading time: 19 minutes)

Table of Contents

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):

  • management consulting business plan
  • advertising and marketing agency business plan
  • healthcare consulting business plan
  • IT consulting business plan
  • fintech consultant business plan
  • environmental consulting business plan
  • security consulting business plan
  • software consultant business plan

This business plan for consultants covers the following topics that go into a plan: your service list and descriptions, target market, marketing strategies for consultants, competition, and financial projections. You can download this example plan as a Google Doc for easy editing in Google Docs, Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, or save it as a PDF:

Download Now

How to Use This Consultant Business Plan to Attract Clients

seo coaching

  • Consulting Business Plan Template – This section provides guidance on what to include in each part of your business plan.
  • Sample Consulting Business Plan Text – This part includes actual text from a real consulting business plan example that you can use as-is or modify to fit your specific needs.

Since many consulting businesses are established by solo practitioners, this consulting business plan example will focus on one-person firms. However, if you have partners or are part of a larger company, you can easily adapt this plan by replacing singular pronouns (I) with plural forms (we).

To help you chart a revenue course to starting your consulting business, this business plan example also includes a brief overview of a marketing plan. I recommend taking a look at (even downloading) my detailed marketing plan example as a model for yours.

Sample Consulting Business Plan

Let’s begin with the sections that make up your consulting business plan. I include sample text below the description of what to focus on within each section.

The first section of your business plan introduction is critical for framing your consulting practice.

1. Consulting Business Plan Executive Summary

business plan executive summary

Here are the key topics to focus on in this section of your consultant business plan:

  • An introduction to your consulting business and the services you offer
  • A summary of your target market and their needs
  • Your key differentiators and what sets your consulting business apart from competitors
  • Your approach to delivering high-quality consulting services and achieving measurable results
  • A summary of your marketing strategy and how you plan to reach your target market

Consultant Business Plan Executive Summary Example

what is executive coaching

I specialize in strategic planning, market research, and growth strategies for small and medium-sized technology businesses that cater to the financial sector (i.e., fintech). Additionally, I offer consulting resources such as training programs, workshops, and customized solutions tailored to each client’s unique needs.

My consulting business is built on the belief that every business has the potential for growth and success. To achieve this, I work closely with my clients to understand their goals and challenges, and develop customized solutions that help them achieve their objectives.

My target market consists of small and medium-sized businesses in the financial technology industry, a.k.a. fintech, who are looking to make their operations more efficient based on data and methodical research. My management consulting services are tailored to meet their unique needs, and my approach is focused on delivering measurable results that align with their business objectives.

What sets my consulting business apart from competitors is my focus on collaboration and transparency. I believe in working closely with my clients to develop solutions that are customized to their specific needs, and I keep them involved in the process every step of the way.

To reach my target market, I will establish a strong online presence through content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO for consultants). I will leverage social media platforms to engage with potential clients and showcase my expertise in the fintech industry as a top consultant.

My consulting business is committed to helping businesses solve challenging business management problems that require rigorous analysis and careful calculations. With a focus on delivering innovative solutions and building strong relationships with my clients, I am confident in my ability to help businesses succeed and thrive in today’s competitive market.

2. Consulting Business Plan Service Description

Every consulting business description is slightly different. I’ve provided two variations in this section so that you can identify which one resonates best with your goals. Each version provides similar information, but is structured differently. I have also included consulting service description examples for each version.

Version 1: Service Description

service description in business plan

Focus on these elements for this section of your business plan:

  • The types of consulting services you offer and their value proposition
  • A description of the types of clients you serve and the problems you solve for them
  • A summary of your consulting methodologies and tools
  • An explanation of the benefits your clients can expect to receive from your services

If you are an independent consultant or small group, even in serving in a consulting capacity at a different firm, you can introduce the fact that your years of experience enable you to offer the same caliber of services that larger more expensive firms provide at significantly higher rates.

Sample Consulting Service Description

successful consulting business

  • Achieving product-market fit
  • Improving operational efficiency
  • Enhancing strategic planning and decision-making processes
  • Implementing change management initiatives
  • Developing growth strategies and market expansion plans
  • Optimizing financial performance and risk management

My consulting methodologies are based on a data-driven approach that combines qualitative and quantitative analysis to identify and solve business problems. I use a variety of tools and techniques, including process mapping, benchmarking, and SWOT analysis to develop customized solutions for each client.

Working closely with my clients, I help them develop actionable plans and implement them efficiently to achieve measurable results. By leveraging my expertise and experience, my clients can expect to:

  • Improve profitability and reduce costs
  • Increase efficiency and productivity
  • Enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty
  • Expand into new markets and drive growth
  • Stay ahead of the competition and achieve sustainable success

I will share examples of past projects that provide a detailed framework along with results to show clients what they can achieve by hiring my consulting business.

With my 15 years of niche industry experience and wealth of successfully completed projects, I am able to offer exceptional high caliber service at lower overall rates than larger firms. My management consulting services are designed to help businesses achieve their full potential and thrive in today’s competitive marketplace.

Version2: List of Business Consulting Services

services offered

Before you start writing this section, ask yourself the following questions to help define and refine your consulting services. For this consultant business plan example, I’ve included the following prompts to focus on what a management consultant would focus on. Tweak these as needed for your line of consulting.

  • Types of consulting services : Describe the different types of management consulting services you offer, such as strategy consulting, organizational design, change management, or project management.
  • Delivery methods : Explain how you deliver your consulting services, such as through workshops, one-on-one consultations, or online platforms.
  • Benefits : Highlight the benefits of your consulting services for clients, such as increased efficiency, optimized performance, improved profitability, or streamlined operations.
  • Unique value proposition : Describe how your consulting services are unique and different from those of competitors. This could include your methodology, tools, experience, or industry knowledge.
  • Website URL : Include the URL of your website where clients can learn more about your consulting services and contact you for more information.

financial consulting

Below is my example of a management consulting services write up, including descriptions of each service, the benefits they provide, and your unique approach to delivering them. You can modify this section of your consultant business plan to fit your exact services offered.

This version is a little shorter than the one above and also includes a case study example link, since content like that will help clients understand the value you bring to the table. You can add a link like this in version 1 above as well.

Example: Management Consulting Services Offered

consultant business plan

  • Strategy consulting : We work with businesses to develop effective strategic plans that align with their mission and vision and drive business growth.
  • Organizational design and development : We help businesses optimize their organizational structure and processes to improve performance and efficiency.
  • Change management : We assist businesses in managing organizational change effectively to minimize disruption and achieve desired outcomes.
  • Project management : We provide project management services to help businesses plan, execute, and deliver projects on time and within budget.
  • Performance management : We help businesses implement performance management frameworks that align employee goals with business objectives and drive results.

Our management consulting services are delivered through a combination of workshops, one-on-one consultations, and online platforms. We use a data-driven approach that combines qualitative and quantitative analysis to identify and solve business problems. Our unique value proposition is based on our extensive experience working with businesses in diverse industries, combined with our personalized approach and commitment to delivering results.

Clients can expect to achieve a range of benefits, including improved organizational performance, increased profitability, enhanced employee engagement, and optimized project outcomes. See our go-to-market strategy case study example for details on the types of results clients can expect from our team.

3. Consultancy Business Plan Target Market and Buyer Persona

consultancy business plan

It is important to focus on a niche rather than offering generic services.

Consulting as an industry is highly competitive, so prospects may not be able to determine who is the best consultant for them. When you focus, your marketing efforts can be customized to the niche you specialize in.

Think of it this way: if you were to implement Salesforce or Hubspot in your business, would you hire a general IT consultant or a specialist in the product? A general IT consultant may have experience with different systems but may not be as familiar with the intricacies of how to set up Salesforce or Hubspot in a way that makes the most sense for your company.  A specialist, however, will have in-depth knowledge and experience and most all will use best practices for your business.

You would pick the Salesforce or Hubspot specialist without question. In my prior companies, I went through this exact exercise and hired specialists for each of these products.

Similarly, your management consulting business plan should focus on a specific target group so that you become known as a specialist for your niche.

Additionally, create a buyer persona – or a few – to get a clear picture of who you plan to target.

What Goes Into a Buyer Persona for a Consultancy

start a financial planning firm

  • Sample Name, Job Title and Role : I always like to give each persona a name to make it more real. Then, include the specific job title and role of the individual who is most likely to hire a management consultant, such as a CEO, CFO, or HR Director.
  • Industry and Company Size : Add the industry and size of the company that the individual works in, as the challenges and needs of a small startup may be different from those of a large corporation.
  • Goals and Objectives : Be sure to list the most common goals and objectives that the individual is trying to achieve, such as improving operational efficiency, increasing revenue, or expanding into new markets. These should tie into your product or service offering.
  • Pain Points and Challenges : Know the pain points and challenges that the individual is facing, such as difficulty retaining top talent, ineffective decision-making processes, or lack of innovation.
  • Decision-Making Criteria : Identify the factors that the individual considers when making a decision to hire a management consultant, such as experience, reputation, price, or industry expertise. This can include the influences – or rather, influenc ers , that the buyer relies on to make final purchasing decisions.
  • Communication Preferences : Add what you believe to be the preferred communication channels and styles of the individual, such as email, phone, text or in-person meetings.
  • Personal Characteristics : You can include the personal characteristics of the buyer, such as their values, beliefs, and personality traits, which may impact their decision-making process.

I’ve created several samples that you can download and have also provided one for this consulting business plan below.

Download 5 Free Buyer Persona Examples →

Sample Management Consulting Target Market

Given my strong background in financial technology (fintech), I specialize in working with fintech startups and small to mid-sized financial institutions.

My clients are typically looking for help in implementing new technology solutions, improving their operational efficiency, or expanding into new markets. As a fintech consultant, I help them identify market expansion opportunities where they could increase their total addressable market ( TAM ) and clarify the marketing plan to penetrate deeper into existing accounts, also known as the land-and-expand strategy.

My consulting services are tailored to each client’s specific needs and can include everything from strategic planning to project management. By working with me, my clients gain access to my expertise in fintech, as well as my extensive network of contacts in the industry.

consulting buyer persona example

4. Marketing for Consulting Firms

As a consultant starting a new business or growing an existing one, it is crucial to have a well-planned marketing strategy to acquire clients. In the Marketing Strategy section of your consulting business plan, you should outline how you will promote your consulting firm and services to potential clients. This section should also include information on your consulting branding strategy and how you position yourself in the consulting market.

Here are ten marketing ideas to consider when developing your consulting marketing plan, written as tactics that you can copy/paste into a consulting business plan template or PDF. You can even use ChatGPT, Bard, or other AI-writing tools to create a starter outline, but be sure to include your own original content.

consulting marketing plan

Sample Marketing Plan for a Consulting Firms

To acquire new customers and expand deeper within existing clients, I will deploy the following marketing ideas for consultants and leverage partners to expand my brand’s reach:

  • Developing an educational website : My website will contain information on my services, but more importantly it will include case studies and thought leadership content. The key to success will be my educational content as part of my long-term content marketing strategy. I will add lead capture forms on each high-intent article to convert website visitors into leads that I can nurture through email marketing and social media.

use cases in marketing

  • Leveraging SEO : I will identify specific high-intent keywords related to my fintech consulting niche and optimize my website content accordingly. This will help my website rank higher on search engines and attract more potential clients through my educational content. Many of my articles and guides will include videos because research shows that content with videos and images enhances SEO. While many firms rely on paid advertising, using long-tail keywords can be an effective and cost-saving approach. By targeting “low keyword difficulty” and “high search volume” phrases, I can tap into organic search traffic that can continue to generate leads even after the initial investment. Therefore, as a consulting firm, I will prioritize SEO as part of my overall marketing strategy to increase my online visibility and attract potential clients. I will use’s SEO Coaching services to accelerate my footprint online to drive sales from organic traffic.
  • Podcasting with thought leadership content : I will share my knowledge and expertise by starting a podcast . This way, I can repurpose the content I create into multiple channels, including writing articles, blog posts, and white papers and using clips to sprinkle throughout my social media channels. I will also produce webinars and slide decks from these podcasts to educate my target market. Having experts as guests on the podcasts will allow me to expand my reach when the guests share posts on their social channels as well.
  • Attending industry events : I will attend relevant industry events to network with potential clients and showcase my expertise. I will identify 10 unique events every quarter and inquire about speaking to build my reputation and attract new clients. My goal is to speak at least twice each quarter to new audiences.
  • Partnering with complementary businesses : Partnering with complementary businesses can help me reach new clients and expand my services. These businesses would provide services such as IT managed services, accounting, legal and HR, which can lead to referral business.

email marketing benefits

  • Building a referral network : I will leverage my existing network to generate referrals by first providing opportunities for others to get more business. This approach builds trust first, which can lead to getting referrals from others.
  • Advertising on industry-specific platforms : I will advertise on industry-specific platforms such as trade publications, industry associations, and job boards and look at the cost-benefit of Google and LinkedIn advertising.
  • Using email marketing : I will send regular email newsletters with business consulting topics to stay in touch with clients and prospects. I will send newsletters with trending topics, case studies, and other relevant content to keep them engaged and informed about the industry as a whole as well as projects related to my services.

5. Consulting Business Plan Financials

consulting business plan financials

To calculate your projections, your business model needs to consider several factors such as your revenue streams, cost structure, market size, and growth potential. You’ll also need to look at any historical financial data you have to create realistic projections.

It’s important to keep in mind that financial projections are not a guarantee of your business’s future performance, but rather an estimate based on the information you have available. That’s why it’s essential to make sure the assumptions in your business plan are realistic and backed up by data.

Overall, the financial projections section of your consulting business plan is a critical component that helps you understand the financial feasibility of your business and attract investors or lenders. In the example below, I’ve included an outline of what an individual business plan consultant might put into their business plan. If you are operating with partners as part of a larger entity, modify this example to accommodate for your team’s output and productivity. This consulting plan example also includes various sources of revenue, not just billable time.

Sample Financial Projections for Consulting Business Plan

business financial situation

As a consulting firm, I have several sources of revenue aside from billable hours. These include:

  • Retainer Fees : Some clients prefer to pay a fixed monthly fee in exchange for a set number of hours or a specific scope of work. This can provide a predictable revenue stream for the firm.
  • Project-Based Fees : For larger projects with a defined scope, I may charge a fixed fee based on the work required. This allows clients to budget more effectively and can provide a higher profit margin for the firm.
  • Commission Fees : For certain types of work, such as sales, I may earn a commission on the results achieved. This can be a win-win for both the client and the firm, as the client only pays for results achieved and the firm is incentivized to achieve those results.
  • Product Sales : I will develop proprietary online courses to share my expertise in fintech consulting and grow advisory services with those who are not yet ready or unable to afford my consulting services. These will provide an additional revenue stream and can also be used as a freebie given to select clients to share with their staff.
  • Referral Fees : By referring clients to other businesses or consultants, I may earn a referral fee. This not only provides an additional source of revenue, but can also help to build relationships and expand my firm’s network.

By diversifying revenue streams, my consulting firm can create a more stable and profitable business model. Our expected revenues for the first three years are as follows:

Year 1 Consulting Firm Financial Projections:

  • Billable hours: 1,000 hours x $300/hour = $300,000
  • Retainer clients: 3 clients x 10 hours/month x $300/hour x 12 months = $108,000
  • Product sales: 5 sales x $197 = $985
  • Commissions/referral fees: $10,000
  • Total revenue: $419,985

Year 2 Consulting Firm Financial Projections:

  • Billable hours: 1,400 hours x $300/hour = $420,000
  • Retainer clients: 3 clients x 10 hours/month x $350/hour x 12 months = $126,000
  • Product sales: 7 sales x $197 = $1,379
  • Commissions/referral fees: $15,000
  • Total revenue: $562,379

Year 3 Consulting Firm Financial Projections:

  • Billable hours: 1,800 hours x $300/hour = $540,000
  • Retainer clients: 3 clients x 10 hours/month x $400/hour x 12 months = $144,000
  • Product sales: 10 sales x $197 = $1,970
  • Commissions/referral fees: $20,000
  • Total revenue: $705,970

6. Consultant Business Plan Conclusion

The conclusion section of a consulting business plan should summarize the key points of the plan and reiterate the main goals and objectives as you start your consulting firm. It is similar to your executive summary and should reinforce the value that your consulting firm brings to clients and how it will address their needs and solve their problems.

how to find financial investors

Your goal is to leave a positive and lasting impression on the reader, highlighting your consulting firm’s strengths and capabilities and conveying a sense of confidence in your ability to build a successful consulting business. Again, as in previous sections, I’ve written the example below for an individual consultant, which you can easily modify as you need.

Consulting Business Plan Conclusion Example

My consulting firm is well-positioned to provide exceptional services to our clients in the fintech industry. I have a highly experienced team through partnerships with individuals who have a track record of success in this fintech consulting, and we are committed to helping our clients achieve their business goals through innovative and effective solutions. I believe that by leveraging our expertise in operations management and technology, we can help our clients optimize their operations, increase efficiency, and ultimately, drive growth and profitability.

Through strategic partnerships, I’m able to offer a comprehensive suite of services to meet our clients’ needs, from project management and process improvement to software implementation and data analytics. My goal is to establish long-term relationships with our clients and become a trusted partner in their success.

I understand the challenges facing the fintech industry and are constantly adapting and evolving to stay ahead of the curve. I am committed to staying up-to-date with the latest trends, technologies, and best practices in my field, and we are excited to bring this knowledge to clients.

Overall, I am confident in my ability to deliver exceptional value to our clients and achieve the business goals outlined in this plan. I am excited to embark on this journey and look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead.

Start Your Consulting Business

Ready to get started? Download this consulting business plan template and save it as a PDF or doc file for future reference as you build out your business model and growth path.

Connect with me at to help you grow faster! I’ve built several businesses and can help you fast-track your marketing and sales, especially through a managed podcast and thought leadership.

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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.

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