Interested in the different types of consulting and consulting businesses?
In this post, we’re sharing 21 types of consulting.
Specifically, the “Who, What, When, and Why.”
And we’ve included examples of real consulting businesses for each type.
If you’re looking for real examples of consulting and to learn how they work, you’ll find this post helpful.
Let’s dive right in.
- Management Consulting
- Marketing Consulting
- Non-Profit/Governance Consulting
- Software/IT Consulting
- Human Resources (HR) Consulting
- Strategy Consulting
- eCommerce Consulting
- Construction Consulting
- Retail Consulting
- Science/Medical Research Consulting
- Sales Consulting
- Digital Transformation Consulting
- Compliance Consulting
- SEO Consulting
- Leadership Consulting
- Environmental Consulting
- Innovation Consulting
- Business Process Consulting
- Public Relations (PR) Consulting
- Procurement Consulting
- UI/UX Consulting
Types Of Consulting In 2021
First, let’s do a quick recap.
What is consulting?
Consulting is “the business of giving expert advice to people working in a professional or technical field.”
Can you give expert advice to people working in a professional or technical field?
Then you can “consult” on the subject of your expert advice.
There could be an infinite amount of “types” of consulting.
In this post, we’ll focus on the broader, more common types of consulting.
1. Management Consulting
What is management consulting?
Management consultants help businesses solve problems relating to management, leadership, operations, and more. It’s a general consulting category. It accounts for many different types of business expertise.
Why do clients hire management consultants?
Many business leaders are too deeply embedded in their organizations. They struggle to form an objective viewpoint. By hiring an external expert like a management consultant, they work with someone who can provide an unobstructed view.
Who enjoys management consulting?
Enjoy management, leadership, operations, optimizing performance, working with data, and working with leaders? You’ll enjoy the management consulting field.
Example: David C. Baker
David C. Baker helps businesses make better business decisions. He works with clients on their positioning, structuring roles, performance benchmarking, and succession. IN doing so, he helps them run businesses that do better work.
2. Marketing Consulting
What is marketing consulting?
Marketing consulting is providing expert advice on everything to do with marketing: how you get in front of and attract the interest of potential customers so that you can grow your business more effectively.
Why do clients hire marketing consultants?
Like sales, marketing is one of the few activities that directly generate revenue for a business. However, it is very complicated, and there are many ways to do it. Clients hire marketing consultants when they want to increase the effectiveness of their marketing — so that they can attract more leads and more customers.
Who enjoys marketing consulting?
If you enjoy a mixture of creative work, data analysis, running experiments, and love to grow businesses, then you’ll thrive as a marketing consultant.
Example: Jim Huffman, GrowthHit
Jim Huffman’s company, GrowtHit, grows its client’s sales. They do this by running data-driven growth experiments that attract customers at a higher rate.
3. Non-Profit/Governance Consulting
What is non-Profit/Governance consulting?
Non-profit consulting is providing expert advice and guidance specifically to government or non-profit organizations. It can include fundraising, marketing strategy development, technology strategy and implementation, and many more areas.
Why do clients hire non-Profit/Governance consultants?
Nonprofits and government organizations function differently than businesses. They value consultants who specialize in serving them — who know the ins and outs of their organizations and can provide expertise specific to them.
Who enjoys non-Profit/Governance consulting?
If you enjoy working in the non-profit or governance space more than businesses, or you are passionate about non-profit and social causes, non-profit/governance consulting is a great fit for you.
Example: Douglas Nelson, The Discovery Group
Douglas Nelson’s consultancy, The Discovery Group, works with medium and large-sized nonprofit and charitable organizations. He helps them with four lines of business: board governance, strategic planning, philanthropic performance, and executive search and training.
4. Software/IT Consulting
What is software/IT consulting?
Software/IT consulting is providing expertise specific to software, software engineering, and/or information technology.
Why do clients hire software/IT consultants?
Software and IT projects are notoriously risky and a large percentage of them fail. There are many specific types of software and technology where deep expertise is valued. Companies bring in software/IT consultants when they need help in a specific area to help them successfully complete their projects. When a company needs help starting, completing, or improving their software or IT infrastructure, they’ll bring in a software/IT consultant.
Who enjoys Software/IT consulting?
If you’re an upper-level software engineer or work in IT, and you like working on high-level problems instead of implementation, then you’ll enjoy consulting in these fields.
Example: Sam Schutte, Unstoppable Software
Sam Schutte’s company, Unstoppable Software, builds custom software solutions. His software expertise helps customers overcome operational inefficiencies. His software expertise helps clients save time and money.
5. Human Resources (HR) Consulting
What is HR consulting?
HR consulting is providing expertise to help businesses and organizations hire, manage, train, and/or retain their employees. It often also includes providing guidance on how to implement HR plans.
Why do clients hire HR consultants?
HR plans, processes, and policies, and practices are difficult for companies to create all on their own — and it’s challenging to keep people happy and productive. HR consultants come in and solve these problems — helping the organization manage one of their most important (yet difficult) resources: their people.
Who enjoys HR consulting?
If you enjoy working with people — and creating plans around people — then HR consulting would be a good fit for you.
People Spark Consulting uses their expertise and experience to help businesses focus their HR strategies more effectively. They help clients move beyond “process for the sake of process” or mere compliance. Their expertise drives activities that truly make a difference in retaining employees and driving business goals.
6. Strategy Consulting
What is strategy consulting?
Strategy consulting is providing guidance and advice on high-level decisions and planning for businesses.
Why do clients hire strategy consultants?
Experienced consultants with deep industry knowledge can provide an invaluable objective viewpoint. For making high-level decisions, their input can be very helpful. If a company is struggling to come up with a plan to achieve its goals, a strategy consultant can help.
Who enjoys strategy consulting?
If you enjoy systemizing, decision-making, making plans, and have a high level of subject-matter expertise, you’ll enjoy strategy consulting.
Example: Tom Critchlow
Tom Critchlow, helps leaders of companies to gain clarity about their strategy and develop new initiatives.
7. eCommerce Consulting
What is eCommerce consulting?
eCommerce consulting is providing expertise to companies that sell their products online, including anything from marketing and sales to operations and supply.
Why do clients hire eCommerce consultants?
eCommerce businesses are complex with many moving parts. From marketing to logistics, clients hire eCommerce consultants when they want to increase the value of their business, make things run smoothly, create and implement a go-to-market strategy, and more.
Who enjoys eCommerce consulting?
If you have an affinity for web-based business and online shopping — and can provide these brands with specific expertise for their industry — you’ll thrive as an eCommerce consultant.
Bluprint Partners helps emergent e-commerce brands build strong operational foundations. They have a particular focus on direct-to-consumer logistics, supply chain, and warehousing. They help clients put together platforms, people, and processes that can scale.
8. Construction Consulting
What is construction consulting?
Construction consulting is providing expertise and guidance specifically to construction companies in the area of management, marketing, sales, operations, and more.
Why do clients hire construction consultants?
Construction companies deal with complex, high-risk projects in construction management, surveying, contracts, architecture, analysis, and more. By hiring a consultant with particular expertise in one of these areas, they’ll make the project run smoother and increase the chance the project succeeds.
Who enjoys construction consulting?
If you have adequate education, a specific area of construction expertise, enjoy analyzing construction projects, and working with leaders of construction companies, you’ll enjoy construction consulting.
Jason Fearnow provides consulting services and coaching for companies in the mining industry. He has a particular focus on capital development and major project execution. His company guides clients through contract negotiations for large-scale projects. He also runs an online program, which helps develop an awareness of the mining industry and market.
9. Retail Consulting
What is retail consulting?
Retail consulting is providing expertise specifically to businesses in the retail world: grocery, luxury and apparel, restaurants, travel, leisure, and more.
Why do clients hire retail consultants?
Retail businesses are notoriously difficult to run, with razor-thin margins and the constant threat of digital disruption. Retailers bring in consultants who have the expertise and experience to give them the advantage they need to cut costs and drive growth.
Who enjoys retail consulting?
If you have an interest in retail businesses, love working with and analyzing data, and enjoy fast-paced & challenging projects, you’ll feel right at home in retail consulting.
Example: Vince Rath, Optimum Retail Solutions
Optimum Retail Solutions provides executive coaching, leadership development, and operational improvement consulting to jewelry retailers. These companies are looking to grow their revenues, and Vince’s expertise helps them do that.
10. Science/Medical Research Consulting
What is science/medical research consulting?
Science/medical research consulting is providing expertise to science or medical research organizations. It can include consulting in the areas that aid science or medical research labs: like helping with the business or management side.
Why do clients hire science/medical research consultants?
Some clients hire science/medical research consultants to help perform scientific analysis and research to improve their organization and overall efficiency. Other clients are science/medical research clinics that hire consultants to help with managing a lab. All of these clients are looking for someone with in-depth knowledge they don’t have in-house.
Who enjoys science/medical research consulting?
If you have a background and expertise in science or medical research but also enjoy entrepreneurship, then science/medical research consulting is a great fit for your skills.
Damien Wilpitz is a consultant for biomedical research scientists. He helps his clients with the business side of their research. That way, they can stay focused on the science. He creates business management strategies that are adaptable, teachable, and don’t require an experienced lab manager.
11. Sales Consulting
What is sales consulting?
Sales consulting is providing expertise in the area of sales: sales management, sales leadership, sales training, sales performance, and more.
Why do clients hire sales consultants?
Sales is one of the most important functions of a business. Without sales, you don’t have revenue. Clients hire sales consultants when they are struggling to bring in sales, design sales teams, train salespeople, track performance — or anything else related to challenges around selling their products or service.
Who enjoys sales consulting?
If you enjoy sales, managing a sales team, analyzing and improving sales performance data, and management, then you’ll love sales consulting.
Example: Nigel Green
Nigel Green coaches sales leaders to develop high-performance sales teams. His expertise helps clients increase their sales, grow their revenue, and hit their targets.
12. Digital Transformation Consulting
What is digital transformation consulting?
Digital transformation consulting is helping companies implement or improve technology, improving employee performance with the help of technological innovation.
Why do clients hire digital transformation consultants?
Many companies are lagging behind their competitors in terms of their technology. They hire digital transformation to help them shift their companies, processes, and people to using the technology that will make the business run more effectively.
Who enjoys digital transformation consulting?
If you enjoy technology, planning, strategy, leadership, and operations, you’ll enjoy digital transformation consulting.
Tiffany Rosik is the CEO of TGR management consulting. She provides technology strategy services. Her services include helping clients navigate digital transformation, portfolio planning, project risk management, and more.
13. Compliance Consulting
What is compliance consulting?
Compliance consulting is providing expertise on compliance laws, regulations, and benefits for organizations and companies.
Why do clients hire compliance consultants?
Companies have various laws and regulations they must follow in order to avoid fines. By hiring a consultant with deep expertise on these often complex laws and regulations, they can avoid risk and save hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Who enjoys compliance consulting?
If you have years of experience in compliance-related roles, enjoy writing and presenting on legislative and regulatory topics, and love to apply your knowledge to complex situations, you’ll thrive in compliance consulting.
Sarah helps benefits consultants and brokers get their clients into compliance. Ultimately, she ensures that they can grow profitably. Her services and programs help clients eliminate inefficiencies, decrease the risk of fines, litigation, lost business, and solidify trust.
14. SEO Consulting
What is SEO consulting?
SEO consulting is providing expert advice on Search Engine Optimization to help clients rank higher on search engines and generate more organic traffic.
Why do clients hire SEO consultants?
Many businesses rely heavily on organic search traffic to get more customers. By hiring an SEO consultant, companies can improve their visibility in search engines — leading to more effective marketing, more leads, and more sales.
Who enjoys SEO consulting?
If you enjoy a mixture of content marketing, design, data analysis, and strategy, you’ll enjoy SEO consulting.
Example: Stephan Spencer
Stephen Spencer provides clients with a clear SEO strategy to help them rank higher in search engines. He looks to help clients generate more leads, more sales, and greater profitability.
15. Leadership Consulting
What is leadership consulting?
Leadership consulting is providing expertise in the areas of leadership, decision making, and talent management to help executives improve their performance, and thus, the performance of their teams and organizations.
Why do clients hire leadership consultants?
Leading a company comes with many challenges and responsibilities, and requires fortitude, courage, and resilience. Good leaders know that they don’t have all of the answers, so they bring in leadership consultants and executive coaches to help them be more effective leaders.
Who enjoys leadership consulting?
If you have many years of experience leading a company or organization, enjoy coaching, and work well under pressure, then leadership consulting is an excellent choice.
Constance Dierickx advises organizations, helping them make better decisions during high-stake situations. She also helps them with mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, CEO success, strategic change, and crisis.
16. Environmental Consulting
What is environmental consulting?
Environmental consulting is providing expertise on environmental projects or issues. They work on projects relating to solar, air quality, waste management, soil quality, and more.
Why do clients hire environmental consultants?
Both public and private sector clients hire environmental consultants when they want to ensure their projects succeed. They want to avoid legal action, fines, and misguided transactions — and an environmental consultant’s expertise helps them do that.
Who enjoys environmental consulting?
If you have deep knowledge of environmental laws and regulations, thrive in project management, and enjoy working with people, you’ll enjoy working as an environmental consultant.
New Energy Venture Associates works with companies in the distributed renewable energy space (solar and batteries). Tony helps clients target their offerings in the complex market for renewables, navigate the supply chain, and understand the regulatory environment.
17. Innovation Consulting
What is innovation consulting?
Innovation consulting is providing advice to help companies adapt and change in a strategic way to create growth and new value for customers.
Why do clients hire innovation consultants?
If a company is struggling to keep up with technology, they might bring on an innovation consultant to suggest the way forward — whether that means new products/services, using new technology/IT infrastructure, or a plan for growth.
Who enjoys innovation consulting?
If you enjoy a mix of strategy, operations, management — and you’re obsessed with technology news and trends — then you’ll enjoy work in innovation consulting.
Example: Tendayi Viki
Tendayi Viki helps companies innovate for the future while managing their core business. He provides strategic advice, frameworks, and methods to help companies plan and prepare for the future.
18. Business Process Consulting
What is business process consulting?
Business process consulting is providing expertise and guidance on the implementation and improvement of business processes — the systems that run a business.
Why do clients hire business process consultants?
Businesses hire process consultants when they want to grow and scale — and their current systems and processes are messy, inefficient, unorganized, or non-existent. The business process consultant comes in and brings order to the chaos of messy processes and systems.
Who enjoys business process consulting?
If you enjoy writing, entrepreneurship, systems, and are very organized and pay close attention to detail, you’ll feel right at home as a business process consultant.
Example: Ian James, The Process Consultant
Ian helps companies organize, document, and improve their business processes and systems. As a result, he helps his clients become more efficient, well-trained, and profitable.
19. Public Relations (PR) Consulting
What is PR consulting?
PR consultants help companies with their public image. Their job is to make the public aware of news relating to a company, product, or government department in a way that creates interest and acceptance.
Why do clients hire PR consultants?
When an organization does something new — releases a new product, hosts a press conference, puts on a big event — they need to garner attention for this activity and present it in a specific way. PR consultants help them create this attention through various channels like press releases, media, promotion, and more.
Who enjoys PR consulting?
If you love working in fast-paced environments, have excellent verbal and communication skills, and have a proven track record in media and or promotional strategy, you’ll thrive as a PR consultant.
Example: Jennefer Witter, The Boreland Group
The Boreland Group is a PR firm that creates and implements corporate and executive visibility campaigns. Jennefer helps her clients get the type of attention they need to win more sales, land more opportunities, and drive growth.
20. Procurement Consulting
What is procurement consulting?
Procurement consulting is providing advice on procurement: helping companies find and purchase goods from an external source.
Why do clients hire procurement consultants?
Finding and buying goods from an external source is a complex process, and is full of risk and expenses. Companies might hire a procurement consultant to help improve their procurement programs and strategies so that they can improve productivity and reduce costs.
Who enjoys procurement consulting?
If you enjoy procurement, supply chain management, logistics, and working closely with people in these areas, you’ll enjoy procurement consulting.
Philip Ideson helps companies improve the impact of their procurement strategy and procurement teams. His expertise helps clients align their procurement team’s performance with the needs of the company.
21. UI/UX Consulting
What is UI/UX consulting?
UI/UX consulting is providing expert advice on the user interface and user experience of products, digital media, software, applications, websites, and more.
Why do clients hire UI/UX consultants?
In an age where every company is a technology company, it’s critical that their websites and applications are functional, easy to use, and help both the user and the company achieve its goals. Clients hire UI/UX consultants to provide guidance and hands-on help to create beautiful, easy to use user interfaces and experiences.
Who enjoys UI/UX consulting?
If you work in UI/UX (or design) and enjoy teaching and explaining your best practices as opposed to just completing UI/UX projects, then UI/UX consulting is a great field to break into.
Example: Andrew Kuchieravy, Intechnic
Andrew Kuchieravy works with companies to improve the user experience of websites, apps, and SaaS businesses. In doing so, he helps them increase engagement, conversion, and sales.
Which type of consulting interests you most?
What type of consultant are you — or want to be?
As we’ve demonstrated, consulting is a very broad field.
You can find different types of consultants for every department: Marketing, Sales, Accounting, Administration, Management, etc.
What they all have in common is this: consultants provide expertise and advice to businesses or organizations.
If you can do that, you can consult.
If you’re interested in learning more about consulting, check out some of our related articles below:
- How To Start A Consulting Business In 2021 (6 Steps)
- Consulting Fees Guide: How Much To Charge For Consulting (3 Formulas & Examples)
- The WINNING Consulting Proposal Template (& 7 Proposal Writing Tips)
New To Consulting — And Want A Proven Path To Six-Figures In Consulting Revenue?
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- Dial-in your fees strategy so that you can earn far more than your corporate career (without working more hours)…
- Create a marketing engine that brings in new consulting clients predictably, like clockwork…
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