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5 Target Markets for Consultants and Consulting Firms


Leaders understand that running a business is an exercise in problem-solving. Many times, these leaders expect to be able to handle the problems that arise internally. However, there are times when getting help from outside of the organization is the best choice which may mean working with consultants.

Consultants can help see problems missed by those within the business and can also add expertise and experience that is much needed to overcome challenges a business is facing. For individuals looking to become a consultant or launch a consulting firm, there is no shortage of problems that they can help solve.

To succeed as a consultant, you need to know how to help a business succeed, have a network to tap into, be able to communicate your ideas and position yourself as a source of knowledge that is valuable to an organization. You also need to know who your ideal customers are. In this article, we will look at a few key target markets for consultants and consulting firms.


What is the Consulting Business Model?

Consulting is a business model where an individual or a company provides expert advice or services to another organization in a specific area. This expertise may be in a variety of fields such as management, technology, marketing, finance, law, human resources, etc. The fundamental aim is to help the client improve their performance, solve complex problems, or create value.

In the consulting business model, consultants generate revenue by charging clients for their time, expertise, and the outcomes they deliver. This can be on a per-hour, per-day, per-project basis, or based on specific deliverables.

The first thing consultants do is carry out an analysis. This is done to understand the client’s situation, problem, or objective. This phase is often called the discovery phase. It involves data collection, interviews, and research. Next, they develop a solution or strategy. This could involve creating models, forecasts, or strategic plans. The information is then presented to the client often in a report or presentation.

In many cases, consultants are also involved in the implementation of the recommended strategies. This is to ensure the recommendations are applied the right way. Sometimes, consultants may also provide training to the client’s team to ensure sustainable improvement.

While it seems as though the services a consultant provides can be used by just about any business, there are a few target markets that are ideal clients for consultants and consulting firms to focus on.

Read: How to Market Your Consulting Business


Target Markets for Consultants and Consulting Firms

1. Consulting Opportunities with Ex-Employers

For consultants and consulting firms, ex-employers are a goldmine of opportunity when targeting. Consultants can turn their pre-existing relationships into premier clients. Since the consultants have an intimate understanding of the business’s challenges and opportunities, they may be the first option when the organization is looking for consulting services.

Consultants can leverage their insider knowledge to provide tailored solutions that are both effective and efficient. Also, because of that knowledge, there is less need for familiarization and allowing for a focused approach to problem-solving. In fact, for consultants, this should be one of the primary selling points.

Consultants average anywhere between $50 and $200 per hour. Some can charge as much as $1,000 per hour. For the business hiring the consultant, finding one who is already familiar with the organization and its issues could save thousands of dollars on a project.

The trust established during the consultant’s tenure with the company can facilitate smoother engagements. Also, this relationship does not only offer immediate consulting opportunities but also serves as a gateway to networking and referrals. This can help expand the consultant’s reach to new clients through a trusted and credible endorsement.



2. New Businesses and Startups

New businesses and startups often need a lot of help to maximize their potential. Many need help just trying to stay afloat. At this nascent stage, these entities face a multitude of challenges. They need to secure funding and develop products. Then, they need to find a way to penetrate the market as well as learn how to scale their operations.

The lack of experience and sometimes resources makes them ideal candidates for consulting services. Consultants can offer invaluable guidance. A good consultant can help these businesses navigate the complexities of their industry. Also, they can help avoid common pitfalls that new businesses usually encounter.

New businesses often have unique challenges that established businesses have already encountered. For consultants, there are a few areas of focus startups may need the most help. Here are a few of those areas:

  1. Market Analysis and Strategy Development: Consultants can conduct in-depth market research to identify target demographics, competition, and market trends. This information is crucial for developing effective business strategies and positioning the startups for success.
  2. Business Planning and Financial Modeling: They assist in creating comprehensive business plans and financial models. This includes projecting revenues, understanding costs, and identifying funding needs, which are essential for securing investments and guiding decision-making processes.
  3. Operational Efficiency: Consultants can analyze a new business’s operational processes and recommend improvements to enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and streamline workflows. This is vital for startups looking to scale operations while maintaining quality and customer satisfaction.
  4. Branding and Marketing Advice: They provide insights into branding strategies and marketing techniques tailored to the business’s target market. Consultants help new entrepreneurs craft compelling brand messages and choose the right marketing channels to reach their audience effectively.


3. Future Founders

Sometimes aspiring entrepreneurs need help finding out if their business idea is even a viable one. Before a startup is launched, future founders need to know with a sense of confidence that their business idea has a fighting chance in the marketplace. A good business consultant can help a future founder flesh out their ideas as well as help identify a market for the business.

A consultant’s expertise can also give these future founders a glimpse into the landscape of the industry the entrepreneur intends to enter. For example, if an entrepreneur plans to launch a tech company that will target governments as clients, a consultant who has worked with government agencies as well as tech startups can help the entrepreneur see their business from multiple points of view. They will be able to consult on how their business will be viewed from their client’s standpoint as well as the sector they are trying to enter.


4. Established Companies Who Are Losing Market Share

Established companies facing a decline in market share constitute a critical segment for consulting services. These companies often struggle to adapt to changing market dynamics. They may have also failed to adapt to changes in consumer behaviors or technological advancements. For these businesses, consultants can offer a fresh perspective.

The consultant can identify underlying issues and help develop strategies to regain competitiveness. For declining businesses, the path to recovery and renewed growth presents a significant challenge. These companies are often well-entrenched in their industries. Because of this, turning things around can be more difficult and more labor-intensive. 

Consultants can start by conducting a thorough analysis of the company’s current position. They need to find the root causes of market share erosion. Is there a new player in the space that is disrupting the industry? Maybe there are so many new competitors that the pool of available customers is shrinking. Or perhaps the business’s product quality has dropped over the years.

This diagnostic phase is critical for the consultants. It lays the foundation for developing a targeted recovery strategy. By understanding the specific challenges the company faces consultants can tailor their recommendations to address these issues effectively.

For example, a company may want to rebrand in order to change its image with the general public. Consultants can help reassess its brand identity and value proposition. This way, the business can find a new way to resonate with current and potential customers.

This might involve refreshing the brand image, developing new messaging, or even pivoting the business model to better meet market demands. Through a strategic rebranding effort, companies can reinvigorate their customer base, attract new clients, and differentiate themselves from competitors.

Read: 10 Online Consulting Business Ideas


5. Companies Looking to Expand

The expansion of a business is always an exciting and challenging time. Whether entering new markets, launching new product lines, or scaling existing operations, is a strategic endeavor that requires meticulous planning and insight. Consulting firms and consultants play an indispensable role in this process.

For companies venturing into new geographic markets, consultants can conduct comprehensive market research. During this process, consultants can look into local consumer behavior, regulatory environments, and competitive landscapes.

This information is crucial for developing entry strategies. Hopefully, they will find that the company’s products or services are well-positioned to meet the needs and preferences of the new market. Furthermore, consultants can assist in identifying potential partners, suppliers, and distribution channels, facilitating smoother market entry and operational scalability.

In the case of launching new products or services, consultants offer invaluable guidance on product development, positioning, and go-to-market strategies. They can help companies understand the market demand, competitive differentiation, and value proposition. The hired consultants can make sure that the expansion is aligned with the company’s strengths and also resonates with the target audience. 

Ultimately, consultants serve as strategic partners to companies looking to expand. By leveraging their expertise, companies can avoid common pitfalls, make informed decisions, and execute their expansion strategies with confidence. This collaboration not only facilitates successful expansion but also positions companies for long-term growth and competitiveness in the global market.



By understanding the unique needs and challenges of these segments, consultants can tailor their services to provide maximum value, establishing themselves as indispensable partners in their clients’ success.

Whether leveraging existing relationships, guiding new ventures, revitalizing established companies, or supporting expansion efforts, consultants have the potential to make a significant impact across the business landscape.

Also read:

Finding Your Target Market on Social Media

5 Types of Target Marketing Strategies You Should Know

What to Do When You’ve Been Targeting the Wrong Audience

Thomas Martin
Tom is a member of the Editorial Team at StartUp Mindset. He has over 6 years of experience with writing on business, entrepreneurship, and other topics. He mainly focuses on online businesses, digital publishing, marketing and eCommerce startups.

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Tom is a member of the Editorial Team at StartUp Mindset. He has over 6 years of experience with writing on business, entrepreneurship, and other topics. He mainly focuses on online businesses, digital publishing, marketing and eCommerce startups.

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