What is the best structure for consulting?

The main partners usually have an ownership interest in the company. They have usually been with the company for a longer period of time and are the ones with the most experience. As primary partners, they help the CEO make leadership decisions for the company. Core partners care about the company's vision, future and overall strategy. They will also have long-lasting relationships with key partners, making them incredibly valuable for core operations and business development.

Usually, core partners aren't working hard on their computers, working on customer projects. On a daily basis, they may attend a conference or even be on the golf course. Not only to improve your swing, but also to build relationships and business flow. You'll notice that the higher you go up the organization chart, the fewer people are involved in delivering the work. At this level, the organization focuses on relationships, partnerships, intellectual leadership, vision, and strategy.

Partners are there to support the company's vision. They are also involved in customer projects, but not as directly. They are usually more responsible for oversight, relationship management, and some presentations. Partners are also involved in creating new businesses. However, they may participate in other aspects of the business depending on their specific area of expertise (such as technology).

In larger companies, partners can also organize their teams in specific industrial areas, such as technology, the environment, manufacturing, etc. Junior partners are much more involved in customer work and delivery. You won't always find them rolling up their sleeves crammed into data and research. But don't be surprised if it does. They actively participate in conversations and presentations with customers. They receive guidance and training from senior partners, and most of them aim to move up the organization.

They monitor deadlines and schedule. They ensure that everyone is on track to successfully deliver the project to the client. In this position, you'll often find people with project management experience. However, they don't make key decisions without talking to partners who are related to the project. Consultants and analysts are the ones who delve into the data.

They are collecting the slides and all the information needed to analyze the customer situation. They will present this information to the partners involved in the project, hold discussions, and then decide what are the recommendations for the client and what are the optimal next steps. Sales are often a key role played by partners at all levels of the company. It is an integrated function led by the company's key partners, due to the importance of relationships in the consulting industry. Many partners, especially the more experienced ones, have an assistant or support staff to help them keep abreast of business development (think follow-up).

In boutique firms, the CEO is usually responsible for most sales and business development. Eventually, they could hire a person dedicated to sales and business development and form a team for that. As a result, single-member LLCs are often the best option for individual consultants. The work you are going to do for other companies is directly related to you, and can easily be attributed to an error on your part. Not having your personal assets involved will make the job less stressful. But either way, consider buying professional liability insurance to protect yourself in the event of legal liability.

You can be the sole owner or you can have partners. As in the case of a sole proprietorship, taxes are processed on Schedule C of your personal tax return. Your personal assets are protected against creditors or in the event of a lawsuit. Understand that you have a variety of options for your business when it comes to choosing your structure; choosing the structure of your business comes down to what works best for you.

There are no complex legal requirements for setting up a sole proprietorship, but this type of company also doesn't offer the same protections that an LLC or other formal business structure can provide. While these four options are the main types of business structures that will apply to you, trust structures and not-for-profit organizations also exist, but consultants don't usually use them.

Dominic Mccoard
Dominic Mccoard

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