Productized Consulting 101: A Guide for Independent Consultants

blog article Dec 19, 2023

Estimated time to read: 29 minutes

Download the article as a PDF:


Table of contents


Who is this guide for


Independent consultants often, and incorrectly, assume it’s not possible to productize their consulting services because each client is different and their approach to each client is unique.

Are you thinking this same way, that it’s not possible to productize what you do as a consultant?

Why would you even want to productize what you do?

In this article, we’ll talk about how it is possible for you to productize your consulting services, at least in part, and why that’s beneficial to you and your business.

Productizing your consulting service will make working with clients easier and more efficient. Plus, it can boost your profits. Imagine being able to divide up your work or bring in subcontractors when needed, so you're not handling everything alone.

But here's the challenge: many consultants struggle with this. Especially if your brand is all about you, it can feel tough to make your work more systematic. That's because consulting often depends on the unique situation each client is in.

But don't lose hope. The good news is that you can still make your work more standardized and impactful. You can create something that's repeatable and valuable. In fact, you might even build an asset that you can share or license to other consultants.

So, while it may seem daunting, turning your consulting services into a product is indeed possible, and it can lead to more success and less time spent on each project.


Productized consulting 101


Productized consulting services can take various forms, from simple to complex. On one end, it might involve taking on a specific task within an organization through outsourcing. For instance, you could handle tasks like running marketing campaigns for midsize tech startups. This approach makes your service clear and contained, focusing on one type of project.

On the other end of the spectrum, you might assist a specific type of client, such as midsize software companies, to achieve various goals. The key is that you use a consistent consulting process, even though the specific objectives may differ. For example, you could help these software companies standardize their customer implementation processes. While there are specific steps you follow, the details may vary slightly for each client.

So, productized consulting can mean two things: repeating the same work for different clients, like setting up marketing funnels, or repeating the same steps for slightly different business scenarios that clients aim to achieve. It's about finding the right balance between standardization and customization to deliver value effectively.


What is productized consulting, and what are its benefits?


Productized consulting involves creating a structured approach, like a well-defined roadmap, to help your ideal clients achieve specific results. It's not about using the same solution for everyone, but about applying a consistent methodology tailored to each client's unique situation.


For example, your productized consulting approach may include something like 

  • An Initial Assessment: You start by using a codified assessment, honed over time based on best practices, to understand your client's specific challenges.
  • Diagnosis: With the assessment results, you diagnose the root causes of their problems and propose solutions. This gives clients a clear understanding of what needs to be done.
  • Structured Process: Then, you guide your clients through a step-by-step process (it could be three, five, or seven steps) to help them reach their desired goals. This process is adapted to their unique situation.

The beauty of productized consulting is that it's not one-size-fits-all. Instead, it's a standardized method customized for individual clients. You're essentially taking them from their current, often less-than-ideal state, to a state where they meet specific goals, whether that's achieving industry best practices or even pushing beyond those norms in a particular area.


The benefits? Efficiency, consistency, and the ability to help your clients achieve their goals effectively while maintaining a flexible approach tailored to their needs.

How to productize a solo consulting business?


Productizing your solo consulting business involves three key steps:


Step 1: Define Your Ideal Client and Problem

Start by clearly identifying your ideal client and the specific challenges they face, as well as the outcomes they want to achieve. Avoid broad statements and get granular. For example, if you work with healthcare organizations struggling with technology upgrades, create a productized approach like a three-year roadmap to meet regulatory requirements. This narrows down the problem and solution, making it easier to repeat.


Step 2: Define a Baseline Methodology

Create a baseline of processes and steps to guide clients from their current state to their desired state. Recognize that there will be variations, and capture those as well. Documenting this baseline helps inform project plans, marketing materials, and client proposals. It's your starting point for improvement.


Step 3: Continuously Improve for Delivery and Marketing

Establish a routine to update and refine your productized consulting framework based on real-life client experiences. Remember, this doesn't happen automatically in your day-to-day work; you need to prioritize it. Regularly capture new learnings and use them to enhance both your marketing approach and how you deliver your services. This ensures your offering remains effective and adaptable. 

By following these steps, you'll transform your solo consulting business into a more efficient, repeatable, and valuable service for your clients and your business growth.

Key benefits of productized consulting

Implementing a productized consulting approach offers a range of benefits, both in the short and long term.


Short-term Benefits:


  1. Efficiency: Productized consulting makes your work more efficient. By creating repeatable processes and approaches, you can deliver services to your clients more effectively, saving time and effort.


  1. Profitability: Increased efficiency leads to higher profitability. When you can consistently deliver using a standardized method, you maximize your earnings while maintaining quality.


  1. Impact: Using the same approach repeatedly allows you to continuously learn and improve. You discover more effective ways to deliver value to your clients, enhancing the impact of your consulting services.


Long-term Benefits:


  1. Intellectual Property: Over time, your productized consulting approach becomes valuable intellectual property. You can leverage it to expand your business by bringing in subcontractors or consultants, increasing your capacity, and income without working more hours.


  1. Licensing Opportunity: Your unique approach can also be licensed to other consultants, creating a new income stream. You earn money from their work without being directly involved, adding passive income to your business.


In summary, a productized consulting approach not only benefits your business in terms of efficiency, profitability, and impact but also enables you to build valuable intellectual property and income-generating opportunities for the long term. It's a win-win for both you and your clients, enhancing the value you provide.

Now, let’s dive into more specifics related to the benefits of productized consulting.


Improved client experience


One significant benefit of productized consulting is an improved client experience. Here's how: 

When you tailor your approach for each client while maintaining a systematic and step-by-step structure, you create a flexible yet thorough process. This flexibility allows you to adapt to specific client needs, nuances, environments, and internal dynamics.

By following a structured approach, you become proactive instead of reactive. You guide your clients from their current state to their desired outcome in a streamlined, efficient, and predictable manner. This means you can help them avoid common mistakes and pitfalls that others might stumble into without your expertise.

In essence, productized consulting ensures your clients receive a high-quality, customized experience. You're there to support them every step of the way, making their journey smoother and more successful. This improved client experience is a win-win, benefiting both your consulting business and your clients.

Predictable profit margins​​​​


Productizing your consulting services not only brings efficiency but also predictability to your profit margins. Here's how:


  1. Established Baseline: With a well-defined approach, you understand the nature of your work, the level of effort required, and the scope variations. This forms a baseline for your services.


  1. Smart Pricing: Armed with this baseline, you can strategically set prices. Consider factors like the complexity of client requirements, the ease of getting the client on board, and the number of stakeholders involved. Your productized consulting offering accounts for all these factors.


  1. Optimized Resource Allocation: You can delegate less complex tasks to other consultants, freeing up your time for higher-value contributions. This allows you to justify higher fees for your specialized expertise.


  1. Continuous Improvement: Productization empowers you to continually assess and adjust your pricing. You can identify where your assumptions were off or where you're delivering more value than expected, making pricing more precise.


In essence, productized consulting provides a reliable foundation for pricing and allows you to fine-tune it over time. This predictability in profit margins not only benefits your bottom line but also helps you deliver consistent value to your clients, enhancing your reputation and business success.

Simplifies your consulting marketing, sales, and pricing approaches


Productizing your consulting services simplifies your business in several crucial ways: 


  1. Consistent Messaging: It ensures a clear and consistent message about the problems you solve and the ideal clients you serve. This clarity helps in crafting effective marketing and sales strategies.


  1. Streamlined Pricing: By having a standardized approach, you gain a deeper understanding of the variables involved in your work. This knowledge makes pricing more straightforward and accurate.


  1. Efficient Business Development: Productization streamlines your consulting business development process. It becomes easier to attract new clients because you have a well-defined offering to showcase. 


  1. Enhanced Client Relationships: Once you've delivered your initial productized solution, you can follow up with additional tailored offerings. This strengthens client relationships and opens the door for more work.


In summary, productizing your consulting services simplifies marketing, sales, and pricing, making it easier to attract and retain clients. It offers a clearer path to business growth, allowing you to provide consistent value and expand your services efficiently.

Consulting business scaling 


Productizing your consulting services brings the significant benefit of scaling your consulting business. Scaling means expanding your business in a cost-effective way to handle increased sales, work, or output without compromising quality. Here's how it works:


  1. Smart Growth: Scaling focuses on strategic growth that enhances profitability, not just increasing size.


  1. Effective Planning: To scale successfully, you need a well-thought-out plan.


  1. Right Team: Having the right team or resources in place is crucial.


Productization plays a key role in this process. By creating a standardized approach, you can bring in additional resources to deliver services at the same or even higher quality than you provide. These resources don't necessarily have to be employees; they can be contractors or collaborators. This way, you increase your capacity while maintaining profitability and quality.

In essence, productizing your consulting services empowers you to grow your business strategically, handle more clients, and deliver outstanding results, all while maintaining efficiency and profitability. It's a win-win for your consulting business and your clients.


Managing scope creep


Productizing your consulting services offers a valuable tool for managing scope creep effectively. Here's how it works:


  1. Repeatable Framework: When you have a productized service with a framework you follow, it's easier to identify nuances between clients. You learn what makes projects simpler or more complex.


  1. Improved Scoping: With this knowledge, you become better at scoping out work and creating clear proposals. You set boundaries and deliverables more effectively.


  1. Proactive Scope Management: You can proactively spot situations where clients might request work outside the scope. You're equipped to address these issues before they become problems.


  1. Informed Client Conversations: Your productized approach enables you to have informed discussions with clients. You can suggest supplemental work when necessary or guide clients away from unnecessary scope changes.


In essence, productized consulting services provide a clear understanding of project scope. This helps you manage scope creep efficiently, advise clients proactively, and maintain a successful consulting relationship. It's a win-win for both you and your clients.


Better work-life balance


Productizing your consulting services offers a final, crucial benefit: improved work-life balance. 


More specifically, the benefits are:


  1. Predictability: Productized services are predictable, with well-defined processes. This predictability helps you plan your workload more efficiently.


  1. Resource Management: You can easily bring in additional resources when needed or delegate specific tasks. This flexibility prevents you from feeling overwhelmed.


  1. Repeatable Efficiency: Your business operates like a well-oiled machine, saving you time and effort. You can accurately estimate project durations and allocate resources accordingly.


  1. Personalized Scheduling: With control over your business calendar, you can balance work commitments with personal life. This aligns with the work-life balance you initially envisioned when starting your consulting business.


By productizing your consulting services, you gain not only business efficiency but also the freedom to enjoy a balanced life. It empowers you to deliver high-quality service while still having time for personal pursuits. Achieving this balance is a rewarding aspect of productizing your consulting services, benefiting both you and your clients.


Which independent consulting services are most suitable for productization?


When considering which independent consulting services are suitable for productization, it's essential to broaden your perspective. Many consultants often limit their view of productized services to specific examples, like setting up websites or delivering HR assessments. However, this narrow view can lead to the exclusion of many valuable services tailored to each client's unique situation.

In reality, there are very few services that cannot be productized in some way. Instead of asking which services are suitable for productization, it's more productive to ask, "How can my services be productized?" Start by breaking down your consulting work into manageable pieces and identify aspects that can be standardized into a framework applicable to various clients.

Consider questions like, "What parts of my process can be productized? What aspects are the easiest to standardize, and which ones would have the most significant impact when productized?"

The goal is to find elements within your consulting services that can be transformed into productized offerings. Even if you can't productize your entire service spectrum, there are certainly components that can be. The key is to identify these pieces and begin the process of productization step by step. By asking the right questions and approaching it systematically, you can unlock the potential for productizing your consulting services effectively.


Top 6 strategies for productizing your consulting services


There are various approaches to productizing your consulting services.

I am going to cover the top four in this article to help you get started thinking about the way you could productize the services for your business.


Strategy 1: Using small consulting service segments as individual products​​


One effective strategy for productinzing your consulting service is to break down your services into smaller, individual products. Take, for instance, your work in implementing HR systems for midsize financial services companies. Instead of thinking of these as steps, consider them as examples of services you can offer:


  1. Strategy Development: You can productize the strategy phase, where you work with clients to define high-level requirements for their HR technical ecosystem.


  1. Vendor Selection: Offer a productized service to help clients choose the right HR system or vendor.


  1. Deployment Planning: Create productized rollout and deployment plans tailored to the specific tools clients select.


  1. Module Implementation: Provide separate productized services for each module of the HR system you're rolling out.


  1. Change Management: Productize the change management aspect, which can be sold separately from the tool configuration and process design.


By breaking your work into these distinct products, clients can choose the specific services they need. They may start with one product and add on others as required. This approach provides flexibility and allows you to sell follow-on work to clients over time. Using small consulting service segments as individual products simplifies your offerings and makes it easier for clients to understand and engage with your services.


Strategy 2: Creating fixed scope and price consulting packages​​


The next strategy for productizing your consulting services involves creating fixed-scope packages that you can offer to your clients. For instance, let's say you're an HR consultant specializing in assessing and addressing retention issues within companies. You can create a specific product by defining a fixed scope, such as conducting an assessment with up to 25 participants. Your deliverables would include synthesizing the interview and survey results into an executive summary and a detailed report, complete with recommendations for the client.

By structuring your services in this way, you establish a clear scope, quantities, and pricing for your package. Additionally, you can account for variations in complexity among different clients by introducing multipliers into your pricing strategy. These multipliers can address challenges like internal conflicts or highly politicized environments that some clients may present.

Creating fixed-scope packages is particularly effective for entry-level projects with new clients. It allows you to address a specific problem, clearly communicate the expected outcomes, and demonstrate the value you provide. Moreover, it sets the stage for better understanding the client's business and proposing additional, follow-up work. This strategy enhances efficiency in your consulting business and facilitates initial engagements with new clients.


Strategy 3: Setting up a retainer model for ongoing consulting services with a fixed scope


Another effective strategy for productizing your consulting services involves setting up a retainer model for ongoing consulting services with a fixed scope. Let's explore a couple of examples to illustrate this approach.

First, consider offering advisory services with a productized approach. You could start the year with a two-day planning session with your clients and follow it up with monthly meetings to track progress against the plans. Clients can also contact you between scheduled calls. This structured approach turns your advisory services into a productized offering.

Another example is providing repeatable processes on a monthly or recurring basis. Suppose you're a fractional CFO. Each month, you offer the same set of services, including forecasting, analyzing actuals, updating budgets, and aligning financials with the client's strategies. This approach creates a productized consulting service within a retainer model.

By setting up fixed scopes and predictable deliverables at regular intervals, you establish a foundation for recurring and predictable revenue. Moreover, this structure allows you to plan for additional support resources as needed, enhancing efficiency and scalability in your consulting business.


Strategy 4: Add-on service


A valuable strategy for productizing your consulting services is to consider add-on services as potential productized offerings. Let's break down this approach with an example.

Imagine you specialize in highly customized implementations for clients, such as handling mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the insurance industry. These projects are often unique and tailored to each client's situation, making them challenging to productize entirely. However, you can still apply a productization strategy.

In this scenario, you can create an add-on service that complements your customized approach. For instance, you may offer clients a specific, repeatable, industry-appropriate roadmap process. While your core M&A work remains highly customized, you present this roadmap process as an additional productized service.

Clients facing an M&A situation can benefit from this roadmap process, which you've honed through your extensive experience. By offering it as an add-on, you help clients minimize blind spots and navigate common obstacles associated with M&A activities.

This approach allows you to maintain your highly tailored consulting services while introducing a complementary productized service that enhances your offerings and adds value to your clients. It's a practical way to strike a balance between customization and productization in your consulting business.


Strategy 5: Convert your consulting methodology into a course your clients can follow for a DIY approach


Another valuable strategy for productizing your consulting services involves transforming your specific approach or methodology into a DIY-style course. This approach offers several advantages.

First, it allows you to sell services that demand very little, if any, of your direct involvement in delivery. Creating and offering a course means clients can access your expertise and guidance without requiring your attention for each engagement.

Second, when you develop, teach, and support a course, you have the opportunity to continually refine and improve your methodology. This iterative process not only benefits your clients but also helps you enhance the quality and effectiveness of your consulting services.

Moreover, courses can serve as a tool for transferring your expertise to clients, empowering them to implement your strategies or solutions independently. It's a scalable way to disseminate your knowledge and extend your impact.

Furthermore, you can explore partnerships with other consultants who can support you in delivering these courses or refer clients to them, knowing they can maintain a high level of quality and consistency.

This approach can also set you up to monetize your business when you’re ready to exit. For more on this, read the article on Business Exit Strategies for Solo & Boutique Consultancies.

In summary, turning your consulting methodology into a course is a powerful strategy that not only generates passive income but also allows you to refine your approach, empower clients, and expand your consulting business's reach and impact.


Strategy 6: License your consulting products to internal client teams and/or other consultants


Another effective strategy for productizing your consulting services is to consider licensing your consulting products to internal client teams or other consultants. This approach allows you to expand the reach and impact of your proven methodologies.

By converting your expertise into a well-structured product, such as a course, you create something that can be easily shared and adopted by different teams or consultants. These internal client teams within organizations may find value in implementing your strategies independently.

Additionally, you can collaborate with other consultants and offer them the opportunity to use your product as part of their services. This can be a win-win arrangement, as they can provide their clients with proven solutions while you earn royalties or fees for the licensing.

In essence, licensing your consulting products broadens your influence, extends your reach, and establishes an additional stream of income. It allows others to leverage your expertise, benefiting both you and those who adopt your methodologies.

How to productize a consulting service: My 7-step process


There is a seven-step process that you can leverage to productize your consulting services to get them established and then to continuously add value to your consulting services so that they're easier to deliver more profitable and create more predictable results for your end clients.


Step 1: Cultivate a productive mindset


The first essential step in your journey to productize your consulting service is to develop a productive mindset. This mindset serves as the foundation for the entire process, guiding your innovation and the effective development of your productized consulting services.

Consider this scenario: You're faced with the task of productizing your consulting services. If you approach it with a mindset that says, "This is too difficult," "It's not feasible for my type of consulting," or "No one would want a productized service when clients have unique needs," you're setting yourself up for two potential outcomes:


  1. Never Starting: You might never embark on the journey of productizing your consulting services because you've already convinced yourself that it's impossible.


  1. Blocked Creativity: Alternatively, you might start but find that this mindset creates a mental block, hindering your creativity and progress. You won't think as expansively or achieve as much as you could with an open, curious, and audacious mindset.


To overcome these hurdles, focus on cultivating a productive mindset that is characterized by:

- Belief in Possibility: Maintain a belief that you can find a way to productize your services. This mindset opens doors to creative problem-solving and innovative thinking.

- Curiosity: Approach the task with a deep sense of curiosity. Instead of worrying about being right or wrong or whether your work is perfect, nurture a sense of wonder about how you can productize your consulting services.

Redirect your thoughts away from negativity and back into the realms of possibility and curiosity. This productive mindset will guide you towards creating something new and valuable—your productized consulting service.

Step 2: Get clear on the problem you solve and the outcomes you create for a specific ideal client


The next crucial step in the journey to productize your consulting service is to gain absolute clarity about the problems you solve and who you're solving them for. It's common for independent consultants to see themselves as generalists, possessing a broad range of skills that could apply to various clients and situations.

However, when transitioning to productized consulting services, it's essential to narrow your focus and become highly specific. This involves pinpointing:


  1. The Problem: Define the exact problem you solve. What issue are your services addressing?


  1. Target Client: Determine for whom you're solving this problem. Be precise about your ideal client.


  1. Desired Outcomes: Identify the specific results or outcomes your clients seek to achieve by solving this problem.


  1. Value Proposition: Understand why your clients value these outcomes and why they're important to them.


By breaking down your specialization into granular details, you simplify the productization process. A narrower focus reduces the variables and "what if" scenarios, making it easier to develop a clear and effective productized solution.

Take the time to outline these aspects thoroughly. Understand the problem's significance, the ideal outcome, and which clients prioritize this outcome the most. This clarity empowers you to create a productized solution that resonates with your ideal clients, making them eager to invest in your services.


Step 3: Define your productized services - what’s in scope and what’s out of scope


Now that you've identified the problem you solve and the outcomes you create for your specific ideal client, it's time to take those insights and use them to define your productized services. This step is all about getting crystal clear and specific about what you're offering.

For instance, imagine you're offering a productized service that includes:


  1. Three half-day facilitated strategy sessions with your client's C-suite executives.
  2. A comprehensive strategy document with an executive summary.
  3. A prioritized action plan based on clearly defined criteria.
  4. A high-level implementation roadmap.


What's equally important is what your service does not include. In this case, it doesn't involve the actual execution or implementation of the plan. This level of specificity and clarity regarding what's in scope and what's out of scope instills confidence in your clients. It shows them that you have a well-defined process and approach, positioning you as a trusted leader who can guide them toward their desired results. 

As a consultant, your role involves not only delivering solutions but also demonstrating your expertise and leadership throughout the process. By defining your productized services clearly, you build trust and credibility with your clients, ensuring a more effective implementation of your services.


Step 4: Build your go-to-market strategy


Now that you've defined your productized consulting services, it's time to craft your go-to-market strategy. This involves aligning your ideal clients, their problems, desired outcomes, and your solution with the most effective approach to reach your audience.

Your go-to-market strategy could take various forms. One option is to adapt your existing strategy but with greater precision. This means focusing on finding the right clients, understanding their specific challenges, and communicating how your productized services can help them achieve their desired results.

Alternatively, you might opt for a more scaled marketing approach, depending on your service offering. For instance, consider mass marketing or speaking engagements at relevant conferences. Let's say you're offering fractional CFO services. You could become a sought-after speaker on topics like "Effective Fractional CFO Relationships" at events attended by small to medium-sized companies without CFOs. By sharing best practices, you naturally lead discussions that can lead potential clients to explore your productized CFO services.

Finding the perfect go-to-market strategy might require experimentation, and that's okay. It may take a few tries to refine your approach. The key is to match your strategy to your target audience and ensure it aligns with your service's unique value proposition. Don't be discouraged by initial setbacks. Over time, you'll fine-tune your strategy and connect with clients interested in evaluating how your services can address their specific needs.


Step 5: Reverse engineer a sales process centered around your productized service


In the next step of your journey towards productizing your consulting services, you'll need to reverse engineer a sales process that centers around the productized service you've carefully defined in the previous steps.

Now that you have a clear grasp of what your productized service entails and why it's valuable to your potential clients, it's time to focus on how you're going to sell it to them. This involves understanding the specific pieces of information you'll need to gather in order to determine whether a client is an ideal fit for your service.

You'll want to identify the questions you need to ask potential clients to evaluate their suitability. Some of these questions will help you identify whether a client aligns with your productized service, while others will help potential clients recognize the gaps or blind spots they might have.

By asking these questions during the sales process, you not only qualify clients but also demonstrate the value proposition of your consulting service. You provide a glimpse into what your productized service offers and how it can address their specific needs.

Your next task is to outline your sales process, including the steps involved and which key stakeholders from the client's side should be engaged. By asking the right questions during these interactions, you guide potential clients to a deeper understanding of the value you bring and why partnering with you is the best choice for addressing their challenges effectively. This clarity and guidance will be instrumental in closing the deal for your productized consulting service.


Step 6: Implement and test your productized service process


The next crucial step in the process of productizing your consulting services is to implement and test everything you've meticulously crafted in the first five steps.

As consultants, we often strive for the perfect solution, but when it comes to your productized services, there's no single right or perfect answer. Instead, focus on creating a productized consulting service that works effectively for your ideal clients most of the time. The key here is speed. You want to reach step number six quickly to avoid overthinking the previous steps in a lab-like environment.

By now, you should have a clear understanding of the problem your ideal clients face, what they aim to achieve, and how your offering can help them efficiently attain those outcomes. You've also developed a go-to-market strategy and identified your initial clients. Now, view your productized service as a living, evolving entity that continuously improves over time.

Implement it, even if you don't feel entirely ready. Approach it with the mindset that you can figure it out step by step, delivering value to your clients while learning and iterating to enhance your service. Don't aim for perfection from the start; instead, embrace a minimum viable product (MVP) approach. You are the expert they've hired, and you can help them achieve their desired results.

Start with the MVP, offer high-touch support, and gather feedback to refine and improve your productized service. Over time, it may become so efficient that it requires less direct involvement from you. But at the outset, prioritize getting results for your clients and continuously enhancing your service based on real-world experience. This approach will lead to a higher-quality offering in the long run.


Step 7: Develop systems to consistently improve your productized service


In the final step of productizing your consulting services, it's crucial to establish systems for consistent improvement. These systems will empower you to enhance your productized services continuously.

First, create an internal process within your own company, even if it's just you, to periodically assess the effectiveness of your productized service. Based on your evaluations, make necessary adjustments to its scope, positioning, go-to-market strategy, sales process, and marketing messaging. This internal evaluation mechanism ensures your service stays aligned with your clients' evolving needs.

Second, implement an external evaluation process by having checkpoints with your ideal clients during the sales and delivery stages. Gather feedback on what's working and what's not. Identify specific client-related adjustments and determine whether they should remain unique to that client or become part of your productized service. This ongoing feedback loop allows you to continuously enhance your service to better meet your clients' needs.

Consistently refining your productized consulting offering ensures it remains relevant, effective, and valuable to your clients. By incorporating these systematic evaluation and improvement processes, you'll create a service that evolves alongside your clients' requirements, fostering long-term success for your consulting business.


7 examples of successful productized consulting offers


Next slides bring this topic of productized consulting offerings to life by walking through six examples of how you could implement productized consulting offerings in your independent consulting business.


Example 1: Strategy services


An excellent example of a successful productized consulting service is to offer strategy services. This type of offering is effective because it's highly focused, efficient to deliver, and provides significant value to your clients in guiding their business objectives.

Here's a breakdown of how your strategy-type productized consulting service might work:


  1. Begin with a half-day facilitated workshop involving your clients.


  1. Follow up with individual meetings with each stakeholder to gather insights.


  1. Create a draft report based on the workshop and individual meetings.


  1. Review the draft report with all stakeholders, incorporating their input.


  1. Finally, conduct a strategy alignment session to present the final report, along with an executive summary and high-level implementation plans and priorities.


This approach provides your clients with a clear roadmap for success, whether it's for the upcoming year, quarter, or a more extended time frame. 

What makes this productized service attractive is that it leverages your expertise, is swift to execute, and can command a higher price due to the substantial value it delivers. As a result, it can be a profitable addition to your consulting offerings.

Example 2: Fractional services


Another excellent example of a productized consulting service is offering fractional work. Fractional work can take various forms, such as serving as a CFO, CEO, or Chief Product Officer for your clients. This type of consulting service can be relatively straightforward to deliver, especially when you define precisely what's included and what's not.  

Your clients typically hire you for fractional roles because they lack the expertise in that specific area. While they may have ideas, they rely on your expertise to run the function effectively. This makes offering fractional services a valuable productized offering. 

You step in, take over a specific function within your client's business for a set period, and set up and run the organization based on best practices. This approach ensures that your clients achieve their desired outcomes.  

By productizing your fractional services, you can clearly define your deliverables, topics, and outcomes, making it easier to market and sell your expertise. This approach allows you to focus on a specific area where you excel and offers clear value to your clients.

Example 3: Assessments


Another valuable productized consulting offering is offering assessments tailored to your ideal clients' needs. These assessments are designed to help your clients evaluate various aspects of their business, such as their processes, organizational approach, leadership, or KPIs.

As an independent consultant, offering tailored assessments provides several benefits. Firstly, it allows you to create a repeatable service that you can offer to clients consistently. Additionally, it enables you to develop and expand your own intellectual property uniquely.

One advantage of using assessments as a productized service is that they serve as an entry point to engage with potential clients. Assessments typically have lower fees compared to more extensive consulting engagements. This makes it easier to establish trust and credibility with clients quickly.

By helping your clients benchmark their company against industry best practices using your customized assessments, you offer them tangible insights and value. This approach not only benefits your clients but also positions you as an expert in your field, making it easier to win new business.


Example 4: Facilitation services


Facilitation services are another valuable addition to your productized consulting offerings. Many clients seek unbiased third-party experts to facilitate critical processes like strategic planning, goal setting, and KPI definition. They want someone who can guide discussions without any vested interest other than the client's success.

As a facilitation expert, you bring your industry knowledge and the ability to ask the right questions, challenging assumptions and stimulating productive dialogue. Your role is to help clients reach a shared understanding and consensus on their priorities and organizational direction.

Offering facilitation services can be highly beneficial for your clients as it leads them to become best practice-based organizations. It's a simple, repeatable, and profitable addition to your service portfolio. Facilitation not only delivers immediate value but also serves as an entry point to build trust and relationships with clients. This can open doors to additional consulting opportunities in the future.

By providing facilitation services, you position yourself as a trusted advisor who can guide organizations toward success through effective collaboration and strategic alignment.


Example 5: Executive coaching services


The next example of a common productized consulting offering is executive coaching. Executive coaching services are a common but highly valuable addition to your consulting offerings. Even if you don't have formal coaching certification, you likely provide informal coaching to clients regularly. Consider packaging your coaching expertise as a productized service.

Think of executive coaching as a formalized support system for your clients' leadership needs. Leaders often require an external sounding board and guidance to uncover blind spots. By offering coaching as a standalone productized service, you create a structured coaching relationship with your clients. They engage with you to achieve specific outcomes, and this becomes an integral part of the solution they've agreed upon.

Executive coaching is lightweight for you to provide, given your existing expertise, while delivering high-impact results for your clients. It's a win-win scenario, enhancing your service portfolio and offering clients the structured support they need to excel in their leadership roles.


Example 6: Implementation services


Another valuable productized consulting offering is implementation services. For instance, if you specialize in technical implementation, you can create a standardized approach to implementing specific software products. This approach distinguishes you from software companies and other integrators, providing a well-defined scope, deliverables, and a repeatable process.

Consider your expertise in execution or implementation and the work you've done in the past. Explore how you can package your skills into a contained, productized service. This enables you to offer, scope, price, and deliver results more efficiently to your clients. Focusing on implementation allows you to provide a valuable service that streamlines your clients' processes and helps them make the most of the software products they use.


Example 7: Vendor selection


Another compelling productized consulting offering is vendor selection services. As a solo consultant, you can provide specialized guidance in selecting the right vendors, whether they offer software solutions or services.

In this service, you streamline the vendor selection process for your clients. You establish clear criteria, evaluate potential vendors, and provide recommendations based on your expertise and their specific needs. By offering this as a productized service, you simplify what can be a complex and time-consuming task for your clients.

Your clients benefit from your in-depth knowledge and experience, ensuring they make informed decisions when choosing vendors. Simultaneously, you, as a consultant, gain the advantage of a repeatable process that you can continuously improve. This iterative approach makes your service easier to deliver, more predictable, and based on best practices and learnings from previous engagements.

This offering allows you to define a structured approach, pricing model, and deliverables, making it easier for clients to understand and engage with your services. Whether it's software providers or service providers, your vendor selection service can save clients time and resources while helping them make confident choices.

How to price your productized consulting offers


When determining the pricing for your productized consulting offers, consider the substantial value and impact you bring to your clients, rather than simply counting hours.

For instance, let's take the example of a fractional CFO. Instead of just calculating hours worked, think about the years you've spent honing your expertise. Consider the value you provide in terms of shortcuts, risk mitigation, and a clear roadmap for establishing a best-in-class finance organization. This encompasses everything from defining KPIs to optimizing processes. Your contribution isn't limited to hours; it's about delivering quantifiable results.

Productized consulting services should be priced to reflect the significant impacts you generate for your clients. The more streamlined, innovative, and industry-aligned your approach, the higher the fees can be justified. Your pricing should be directly tied to the tangible outcomes you help clients achieve, such as improved KPIs, optimized processes, and enhanced financial performance.

So, as you determine the pricing for your productized consulting services, remember to consider the bigger picture—the actual results you deliver. Clearly convey this value in your marketing and sales efforts, emphasizing how your services lead to measurable benefits and a substantial return on investment for your clients. This shift in perspective can result in both increased profitability for you and greater satisfaction for your clients.

For more on pricing your consulting services in general, read: How Independent Consultant Rates and Retainer Fees Work.


Get the help you need to develop a productized consulting offer and grow your independent consulting business 


Developing productized services for your consulting business can significantly enhance its long-term success and profitability. However, it's not always easy, especially when you're deeply involved in your own services. I faced the same challenge when starting as a consultant. What came naturally to me, I was undervalued, thinking anyone could do it. 

I specialized in helping startups scale their organizations efficiently. Initially, I didn't recognize the unique value in what I did. It was only when I stepped back and realized that my ability to create repeatable processes and align teams was a valuable skill that I could productize.

By transforming my expertise into a systematic approach, I could consistently deliver results, even for diverse clients. This productization enabled me to charge higher fees confidently, maintain control over the consulting process, and work efficiently, rather than as an always-on startup employee.

Creating productized consulting services can be challenging on your own. I understand this firsthand, and that's why I recommend seeking coaching assistance. With the right guidance, you can unlock the potential in what you do naturally, recognize its value, and productize it effectively.

I've been through this journey, and I'm here to help you navigate it too. Book a strategy call with me, and let's explore how working together can accelerate your progress, whether it's creating productized consulting offerings or achieving your business goals. 

Click here to book your call and take the next step toward a more efficient, impactful, and profitable consulting business.

Take the Independent Consultant's Pricing Assessment

Most independent consultants have hidden pricing opportunities just waiting to be discovered.

Let's see where your opportunities to make more money are hiding...

Start the Assessment