Reading time: 5 minutes

As a consultant, you provide professional and expert services in your particular field. Businesses might hire consultants for one of many reasons, such as sharing their expertise, identifying business problems, improving processes or overseeing business development. This article will explain the essential steps to set up a consulting business to help you better understand how you can leverage your skills to set up a business.

Choose Your Business Structure

The first thing you should consider is what business structure is most suitable for you. The business structure you choose will depend on the nature of your consultancy and how many staff you intend to hire. If your business only consists of yourself, a sole proprietorship might be best for you. This is the easiest and most inexpensive business structure to set up.

On the other hand, if you have one or more partners you intend to go into business with, a partnership might be best suited for your needs. In a partnership, each partner shares in the decision making of the business. A partnership also means each partner is jointly and individually responsible for the partnership’s liabilities.

Further, if you are looking for a business structure with the opportunity to scale, a company might be the best choice. A key advantage of incorporating includes having limited liability, which will separate you, as the director, from the business itself.

Once you have determined the most suitable business structure for you, you will need to complete the standard tasks required to set up a business. This includes registering your business name, obtaining an Australian Business Number (ABN) and an Australian Company Number (ACN) if necessary.

The Ultimate Guide for Startup Founders

The LegalVision Startup Manual provides guidance on a number of common challenges faced by startup founders including structuring, raising capital, building a team, dealing with customers and suppliers, and protecting intellectual property.

The guide includes 10 case studies featuring Australia’s top VC fund partners and leading Australian startups.

Download Now

Obtain Accreditations

Once you have chosen your business structure, you must consider any certifications or accreditations required to establish your business. These will depend on the industry your consulting business focuses on and the business structure that you choose.

Suppose you work in the financial services industry. This is a highly regulated industry and will require you to have certain licenses to operate as well as specific insurance requirements to limit your liability.

Further, you might also wish to obtain industry accreditations or professional memberships. These can help increase your credibility and provide networking opportunities to access new clients.

To ensure you are protected, you should seek legal and financial advice to ensure you limit your liability and have the right insurance and accreditations.

Develop a Business Plan

When you have considered how you will set up your consulting business, you need to develop a business plan. Some things you will want to consider include:

  • who your target audience is;
  • what is unique about your consulting services;
  • why someone would use your services; and
  • what your business rates will be.

Your business plan will need to combine elements of both finance and strategy. As much as your business plan will help you determine your business plans and intentions, it is an equally important document for the banks and potential investors, who will refer to your business plan when making investment decisions. 

Seek Finance

After establishing what you will need to set up your consulting business, you will need to turn your mind to financing. This includes start up costs and operating expenses. 

Once you have determined how much funding you need to get your consultancy off the ground, you will need to obtain financing. For example, you might finance your business through your personal finances or by obtaining a business loan.

Further, if you are operating as a sole proprietor, you should consider separating your personal and business finances. Opening a separate bank account for your business is one way to manage this.

Market Your Business

The consulting industry is competitive, which makes a thorough marketing plan essential to the success of your business. When determining the best marketing strategy for you, you must think about your target audience and what will appeal to them most. 

Potential promotional methods and platforms include:

  • website or blog posts;
  • social media;
  • networking events;
  • e-newsletters; and
  • print advertising.

You should also not underestimate the power of word of mouth referrals. Ensuring you keep your clients happy will help bring in new ones.

Key Takeaways

Being paid for your knowledge, skills or expertise as a consultant is unlike any other business model. Some of the key steps to set up your business include:

  • choose your business structure;
  • obtain accreditations;
  • seek finance;
  • develop a business plan; and
  • market your business.

If you need assistance setting up a consulting business, LegalVision’s experienced business lawyers can help. You can contact them on 1300 544 755 or by filling out the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a consulting business?

Consultants provide professional and expert services in a particular field. Businesses might hire consultants for several reasons, such as sharing their expertise, identifying business problems, improving processes or overseeing business development. Consultancy services can span across a range of industries and exist in a range of business structures.

How do I set up a consulting business?

Firstly, to set up your consultancy business, you must choose which business structure is most appropriate. Secondly, you need to obtain any relevant accreditations. Likewise, you must also seek finance. Finally, develop a business plan and market your business.


Redundancies and Restructuring: Understanding Your Employer Obligations

Thursday 7 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

If you plan on making a role redundant, it is crucial that you understand your employer obligations. Our free webinar will explain.
Register Now

How to Sponsor Foreign Workers For Your Tech Business

Wednesday 13 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Need web3 talent for your tech business? Consider sponsoring workers from overseas. Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

Advertising 101: Social Media, Influencers and the Law

Thursday 21 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Learn how to promote your business on social media without breaking the law. Register for our free webinar today.
Register Now

Structuring for Certainty in Uncertain Times

Tuesday 26 July | 12:00 - 12:45pm

Learn how to structure to weather storm and ensure you can take advantage of the “green shoots” opportunities arising on the other side of a recession.
Register Now

Playing for the Prize: How to Run Trade Promotions

Thursday 28 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Running a promotion with a prize? Your business has specific trade promotion obligations. Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

Web3 Essentials: Understanding SAFT Agreements

Tuesday 2 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Learn how SAFT Agreements can help your Web3 business when raising capital. Register today for our free webinar.
Register Now

Understanding Your Annual Franchise Update Obligations

Wednesday 3 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Franchisors must meet annual reporting obligations each October. Understand your legal requirements by registering for our free webinar today.
Register Now

Legal Essentials for Product Manufacturers

Thursday 11 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

As a product manufacturer, do you know your legal obligations if there is a product recall? Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a commercial law firm that provides businesses with affordable and ongoing legal assistance through our industry-first membership.

By becoming a member, you'll have an experienced legal team ready to answer your questions, draft and review your contracts, and resolve your disputes. All the legal assistance your business needs, for a low monthly fee.

Learn more about our membership

Need Legal Help? Submit an Enquiry

If you would like to get in touch with our team and learn more about how our membership can help your business, fill out the form below.

Our Awards

  • 2020 Innovation Award 2020 Excellence in Technology & Innovation Finalist – Australasian Law Awards
  • 2020 Employer of Choice Award 2020 Employer of Choice Winner – Australasian Lawyer
  • 2020 Financial Times Award 2021 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2021 Law Firm of the Year Award 2021 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards
  • 2022 Law Firm of the Year Winner 2022 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards