7 Consulting Business Ideas (Based On Real Businesses)

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Thinking about starting a consulting business and looking for viable consulting business ideas?

Entrepreneurial consulting is one of the lowest-risk, highest-reward businesses you can start.

All you need is subject matter expertise and an internet connection.

But in business, ideation is the easy part. Anyone can give you good ideas.

In this article, we’ll show you consulting business ideas coupled with superb execution.

Our consulting business ideas are inspired by successful consulting business owners.

What Is A Consulting Business? (How It’s Different From Coaching & Other Models)

When we’re talking about “consulting” business ideas, we’re talking specifically about B2B consulting — not “coaching” or other related business models.

  • A consultant typically works with organizations. They help organizations by analyzing a situation or problem, providing recommendations on how to solve that problem or make an improvement — and often support the implementation of those recommendations.
  • A coach focuses on asking questions and helping the individual that they’re working with form their own answers. They also provide accountability to the person they’re coaching. That person is an individual who may or may not be a part of an organization.

Consultants can be coaches, and vice-versa.

However, in this article, we’ll focus on consulting business ideas in particular: ideas where you’ll provide your expertise to organizations.

Now let’s explore 7 consulting business ideas, what they are, and some examples of these types of consulting businesses.

1. Sales Consulting

What Is Sales Consulting?

Sales consulting is about using your expertise in sales to help your clients increase their sales and boost their bottom line. There are many different types of sales consultants, but they all typically work with their client’s sales team with the goal of helping them sell more effectively. If you have deep expertise in sales — especially in a specific industry — consider doing sales consulting.

Real Sales Consulting Example

Kevin Loeffler is an enterprise sales consultant and founder of SalesVelocity. Before starting his sales consulting business, he spent 30 years in sales. Now, he helps founders of early-stage technology companies increase their market valuation by winning more enterprise sales.

Learn More About Sales Consulting

2. Software Consulting

What Is Software Consulting?

Software consulting is about using your expertise in designing and engineering software to build custom solutions for your clients. Instead of just programming for your clients, as a software consultant, you are advising them on the entire software project. If you’ve worked as a software engineer — and you have both product and project management experience (or have been a CTO) — then consider starting a software consulting business.

Real Software Consulting Example

Sam Schutte is a software consultant and founder of Unstoppable Software. At his firm, he builds custom software to help his client’s overcome operational inefficiencies, saving them time and money. Sam’s background is in computer science, and today, he runs a software consulting firm: managing a team of developers, designers, and project managers.

Learn More About Software Consulting

3. Operations Consulting

What Is Operations Consulting?

Operations consulting is about helping clients improve their internal operations and processes to increase the overall efficiency of the organization. Operations consultants often have a background supply chain, management, or engineering. They have a love and appreciation for standard operating procedures and are passionate about fixing inefficiencies.

Real Operations Consulting Example

Janice Marquardt is an operations consultant and founder of Passwall Solutions. At her firm, she helps operations leaders in the manufacturing industry reduce costs and increase supply chain value. Prior to starting her business, she spent 15 years in the corporate world working in supply chain management and procurement.

Learn More About Operations Consulting

4. Nonprofit Consulting

What Is Nonprofit Consulting?

Nonprofit consulting is about advising philanthropic and public sector organizations to help them raise more money and grow. Nonprofit consultants help with many areas: from fundraising and grants to legal and operations. The commonality among nonprofit consultants is their passion for making a positive change in the world through the clients they work with.

Real Nonprofit Consulting Example

A. Nicole Campbell is a nonprofit consultant and founder of Build Up Advisory Group. Her consulting firm specializes in strengthening the organizational infrastructure of nonprofit and philanthropic organizations. Prior to founding Build Up Advisory Group, she spent a decade doing legal and operational work in the social sector.

Learn More About Nonprofit Consulting

5. HR Consulting

What Is HR Consulting?

HR (human resources) consulting is about providing your expertise in HR to help clients better manage their most important resource: their people. HR consultants have a knack for aligning their services with business needs. If you have a background in HR, and you want to help businesses with their HR challenges, then consider starting an HR consulting business.

Real HR Consulting Example

Kristen Ireland and Erin Mies are the founders of People Spark Consulting, an HR consulting firm. They help organizations in the agricultural and food industries to attract top-tier talent, structure their organization, solve communication issues, and create alignment among employees. Prior to starting People Spark Consulting, Kristen and Erin worked as HR leaders with vast experience in managing and recruiting people.

Learn More About HR Consulting

6. Manufacturing Consulting

What Is Manufacturing Consulting?

Manufacturing consulting is about helping manufacturing companies to help them increase their efficiency, operations, and profitability. Manufacturing consultants often have a background in management, operations, and industrial engineering. They’re focused on improving key metrics like on-time delivery and net profits.

Real Manufacturing Consulting Example

Dan Burgos is a manufacturing consultant and CEO of Alphanova Consulting. At his consulting firm, he works with US manufacturers to help them increase profitability through operational improvements. Prior to starting Alphanova Consulting, Dan worked as a lean consultant, operations analyst, manufacturing manager, and more.

Learn More About Manufacturing Consulting

7. Marketing Consulting

What Is Marketing Consulting?

Marketing consulting refers to helping clients with their marketing: their ability to gain visibility, market share, and new customers. Marketing consultants typically have a background in marketing and often specialize in specific marketing channels. If you’re passionate about helping businesses attract new customers and you’ve worked in marketing or as a marketing manager, consider starting a marketing consulting business.

Real Marketing Consulting Example

Donna Bates is a corporate strategist, marketing consultant, and founder of On Point Strategy. She helps her clients build a more strategic business and create marketing plans to increase their profitability. Before starting her firm, she worked as a marketing manager, in strategic communications, and as a managing director. Donna ties her expertise in marketing to the overall goals and needs of her client’s businesses.

Learn More About Marketing Consulting

To get dozens of more consulting business ideas, check out our client results page.

Get Help Bringing Your Consulting Business Idea To Life

You might have a great idea for your consulting business…but do you have a plan to execute and make your dream a reality?

As you can see from our case studies — from management consulting to sports field consulting — we’ve seen it all.

And we’ve helped people like you take their ideas and implement them in the real world.

If you’re an aspiring independent consultant or consulting business owner — and you want to build a strategic, profitable, and scaleable consulting business — then we’ve built our Clarity Coaching program for you.

In our Clarity Coaching program, our coaches have helped over 1000 consultants to build a more strategic, profitable, and scalable, consulting business.

Learn More About Clarity Coaching

We’ll work hands-on with you to develop a strategic plan and then dive deep and work through your ideal client clarity, strategic messaging, consulting offers, fees and pricing, business model optimization, and help you to set up your marketing engine and lead generation system to consistently attract ideal clients.

You’ll learn how to generate more profit with every project you take on — and how to land more clients than ever before. Learn more about Clarity Coaching and get in touch to talk about your situation and goals.

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