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Is a productised consulting model right for you? Exploring the potential benefits

By Niclas Thelander

Is a productised consulting model right for you? Exploring the potential benefits

Congratulations! You’ve toiled long and hard, honed your skills and become a recognised expert in your field. It’s time to leverage that expertise and build a thriving independent consulting practice. As you take the leap into this new world of freedom and opportunities, you will face a crucial decision: Which business model will fuel your success? While there are several options, this article focuses on the three business models most often used by independent consultants.

  • The solo consultant model
  • The consulting firm model
  • The productised consulting model

Each one of these models has its own strengths and your choice of model will in large part depend on your approach to building a sustainable business.

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1Solo model

Also known as the independent model, it allows for a certain amount of flexibility. You can establish your own rates and work at your own pace. You can pick which clients to work with and choose to take on projects that appeal to you.

This model, however, requires you to wear several hats; as solopreneur you will need to invest a significant amount of time tasks like sales, marketing, accounting and legal admin work, all of which will time away from client service. This model works best for individuals who have just started the independent consulting journey since it doesn’t require you to incur any overhead costs.

Here’s how you can make this consulting model work for you.

2. Consulting firm

Are you getting great traction, and have more demand than you can handle as an individual consultant? Feel up to the challenge of building out a business? Then building out a consulting firm with staff (permanent employees, a network of associates, or a hybrid model) could be for you.

It provides the opportunity to leverage your network and expertise to win business, not to mention how it enables you to take on bigger projects and operate at scale. It is a very different proposition though building and running a consulting firm with its own pros and cons – have a look here to see if it could be for you!

3. Productised approach

A productised consulting service is primarily a service with product-like features that enable you to organise and improve pricing, marketing, sales, delivery, and follow-up. With this model, clients know exactly what they will receive and how much these bundled services will cost.

Consider this: A traditional marketing consultant would establish short- and long-term marketing goals for a company, conduct market research, produce advice on branding, develop social media strategies and identify growth regions. The same consultant when delivering through a productised model would create different tiers and packages offering productised marketing services along with other business support services. The latter becomes ideal for companies/clients who need a modest amount of help in only a few areas.

Packages could look like the following:

  • Data focused: You offer to build out pre-launch audiences to enrich CRM data and campaign analytics as a bundle with clearly defined deliverables
  • Growth focused: The priority here would be growth. You offer a defined product which includes pre-launch email list building, building out email marketing funnels, and paid acquisition strategy for B2B & B2C

When you’re just starting out it’s often preferable to focus on smaller cash flow gains, rather than big successes. So, from a financial standpoint, productised advice is ideal for clients in need of an immediate boost.

Benefits and challenges of the productised model

The productised model improves your operation’s repeatability and predictability. However, it should not be viewed as a substitute for working on prospects and pursuing other areas of business growth.

As with any model there are both benefits and challenges with this approach:


  • Create a valuable and marketable asset
  • Recurring revenue potential
  • Unlock the ability to rapidly scale
  • Remove yourself from certain day-to-day activities
  • Limited scope creep


  • Monotony and lack of variety
  • Little to no scope for customisation – cookie cutter model only
  • Loss of personalisation in client relationships

If you are confident you can innovate around the challenges, then the next step is to determine if you have a viable business opportunity for this model of consulting.

Groundwork for a productised consulting model

The best approach to take when trying to lay ground for this consulting model is to draw on your own experience and observations to determine what aspect of your consulting can be productised. When doing so, it is important to consider the following:

  • Recurring client challenges
  • Regular queries and questions
  • Look back at project outcomes and seek commonalties

This is a very important phase that needs to be based on actual client feedback and experiences – not based simply on what you think.

The key to success lies in your ability to solve these problems in a way that:

  • Addresses the most prevalent challenges and solves them
  • Offers fast and flexible solutions
  • Demonstrates your understanding of desired client outcomes
  • Once you have clarity on these aspects you can consider which activities to productise

How to productise?

Productising your consulting services means transforming them into standardised, repeatable offerings that deliver consistent value. This transformation involves several key steps:

  • Identify repeatable elements: Scrutinise your consulting services to identify components that are consistently in demand and can be standardised. For instance
  • Develop standard packages: Create different tiers of service packages that cater to varying client needs. This way you can not only offer value to a range of clients, but it also allows for easier upsell with clearly defined deliverables (avoiding scope creep).
  • Clear and transparent pricing: Establish clear, fixed prices for each package. This removes uncertainty and makes the decision process easier for clients.
  • Automate and streamline: Use technology to automate repetitive tasks. For example, if you offer strategic planning services, you could develop a tailored, AI-powered online tool that helps clients build their initial plan, which you then review and refine using your in-depth expertise.
  • Quality control and consistency: Ensure that the quality of service remains high and consistent. Standardised checklists and procedures can help maintain quality across different client engagements.

Let’s take a few practical examples in terms of what it could look like for inspiration:

  • SEO consultancy package: An SEO expert could offer a productised service where they conduct a comprehensive audit of a client’s website, provide a detailed improvement plan, and offer monthly follow-up consultations for ongoing optimisation.
  • Financial planning for startups: A financial consultant might create a package specifically for startups, including cash flow management, budget planning, and fundraising strategy sessions, delivered over a fixed period.
  • HR compliance for small businesses: An HR consultant could offer a package where they ensure a small business is compliant with all relevant employment laws, including creating or updating employee handbooks and conducting training sessions.
  • Marketing strategy toolkit: A marketing consultant might develop a toolkit that includes templates and guides for developing a marketing strategy, supplemented with a few hours of personalised consulting to tailor the strategy to the client’s specific needs.

By following these steps and considering practical examples, you can effectively productise your consulting services, making them more scalable and appealing to a wider range of clients.

Many roads, one destination

You can use a blend of productised and personalised services to create a hybrid model – a business consulting model that combines the principles and advantages of many models into a unique solution. Whatever approach you decide on, it is important to pick the right fit for you. Do this and you will be positioned to address client demands and grow your consulting business.

About the author

Niclas Thelander is the Founder & Chief Marketing Officer at Outsized. He started his career in banking with leading Nordic bank SEB, then worked as a strategy consulting manager at KPMG. He later held in-house strategy and corporate development leadership roles in banking and insurance. Before founding Outsized, he was Director of Value Creation at emerging markets private equity fund LeapFrog Investments, driving growth, impact, and efficiency projects in portfolio companies across Asia and Africa.