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Types of Consulting Business

Consulting is the practice of giving expert advice to others, normally in business, financial or technical areas. Clearly that’s a broad definition, so let’s narrow it down a little. Common types of consulting include:

Business process improvement

Business Process Improvement

Examining how a business currently operates and making recommendations to improve efficiency and effectiveness

HR and culture

HR and Culture

Working with HR and leadership to deliver changes in attitude, morale and culture throughout a business

Organization change

Organization Change

Examining the operational and staffing structure of a business and optimizing it for size and business functions

Leadership coaching

Leadership Coaching

Working with C-suite and other senior managers to enhance leadership skills and approaches

Strategy planning

Strategy Planning

Helping to develop strategies for businesses to grow or react to changing environments, regulations and compliance

Technology, hardware and software

Technology, Hardware and Software

Providing insight into the technologies and approaches best suited to delivering business outcomes

Branding and public relations

Branding and Public Relations

Managing how a brand or individuals are perceived by customers and in the wider marketplace

Financial management

Financial Management

Helping a business optimize its cash flow, costs, profit margins and operations to maximize revenue and minimize expenses

Legal consulting

Legal Consulting

Giving insight into likely legal issues, challenges and strategy for new initiatives or business changes

Choose the Right Business Structure and Register Your T-Shirt Business

Choose the Right Business Structure and Register Your Consulting Business

Now that you have all the background information for your consulting business, it’s time to make it into a reality. That starts by choosing the right structure or “legal entity” for your business. In the U.S., there are five main business structures. They are:

Sole Proprietorship

This is the "default" business structure and is what your business will be if you decide not to create a more formal structure. We don't recommend this type of business as it doesn't give you the legal protections you need.

Limited Liability Company or LLC

The most common type of business entity. An LLC is fast, simple and inexpensive to setup and maintain. It protects your personal finances and assets and is a great way to start your consulting business.

Series LLC

This is a special type of LLC entity that's only available in certain states. It allows you to create "mini" LLCs, each with their own limited liability and separate assets, under the umbrella of a master LLC.

S Corporation

This is a more complex type of business and isn't generally recommended for smaller organization.

C Corporation

These are the largest and most complex types of businesses and are far more than the average entrepreneur or business owner will need.

For most smaller consultant businesses, an LLC is the ideal business setup. It provides you with liability protection, is simple to administer and has some tax advantages over other business types. Additionally, if another consulting firm ever subcontracts to you (which does happen), they will definitely expect you to have a formal legal structure in place.

For more information on the advantages and disadvantages of different types of businesses, please see our in-depth guide.

We’ve got a complete guide to everything you need to do to set up an LLC, and we can start one for your consulting business today. LLC formation does vary from state to state, but we’ve got you covered, wherever you are.

Set Up and Maintain Your Consulting Business

Once you've legally created your consulting business, you’ll need to get some other things in place.

The Complete "Start Your Business" Checklist

A Clear and Comprehensive Guide to Starting Your Business the Right Way

The Complete

Social Media Groups for Your Consulting Business

Connecting with other business owners in your industry can be incredibly helpful. Here are some of the best social media groups:

Consultants Network

The largest and most active LinkedIn group for business consultants with over 500,000 members. It also has several location-based and industry-specific subgroups.

Strategy Consulting Network

This is another large network of consultants on LinkedIn with over 200,000 members. The group is for everyone who is currently working as a Strategy Consultant or who aspires to become one.

Proactive Business Consultants

This group brings together consultants from different niches into one community.

Consulting, Contract and Freelance Jobs

With over 48,000 members, this group can provide you with consulting leads.

Discussion Groups and Forums for Your Consulting Business

There are plenty of forums and online discussion groups for consulting businesses. Start with these:

Wall Street Oasis

Wall Street Oasis is one of the largest finance communities online. It has a consulting forum where you can ask questions and talk to other like-minded consultants.

Project Management Central

This forum is for consultants involved in project and portfolio management.

Useful Online Tools for Your Consulting Business

Here are some really great online tools for managing your consulting business. They will reduce the time you spend on administration, help you to collaborate with others and free up your time to grow and manage your new venture.

Please note: This post contains affiliate links and we may receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links.


If you have experience and insight into a particular industry, sector or niche, then consulting could be a viable business option for you. Combine your experience with an innovative approach, strong skills and proven results, and you will be off to a great start in your new career as a consultant.