I have been doing Fractional COO work for the past few years. Throughout this time I deliver operational excellent to companies that need to avoid mistakes, see around corners, and efficiently run their business. These consulting projects have led me to a system that I use will almost every client in Notion. For the first time I am giving it away through Gumroad – here is a link to my Fractional Consulting Project Template in Notion. Its 100% free unless you want to buy me a coffee by paying what you want in the link.
I now also run a Fractional Consulting platform for those looking to become fractional operators and those companies looking for fractional help. Putting out more content like this is a great way to help those consultants I work with on my platform, as well as future consultants who might want to start doing fractional work.
Why am I giving this away? I really believe in paying it forward to all the consultants and operators out there who might benefit from a template like this. It has everything you need to get started if you are just beginning your consulting journey, and it has advanced workflows and toggles for those who have been consulting for awhile. I break down section by section what is included below, and have callout guides marked in blue throughout the Notion Template.
Interestingly I choose to keep my proposal and agreed upon terms at the bottom of every template. This ensure that there is alignment on what is being done and what was agreed too every step of the way. It also introduces clients to my workflow very early on into the process which is helpful for those who are new to Notion or any other kind of project management system.
Title & Overview
Obviously you should name your document accordingly – most of mine are ClientName x Building The Machine or SpecialSituations – my two consulting entities.
This section is a Toggle for tracking todos – both for YOU the consultant, and the client. Ideally you have shared this document with all key stakeholders and can @ message them to they know you have tracked an item. This keeps everyone aligned on WHO is doing the task, WHEN it will be completed by and WHAT the details of the task are. Blocked on a task? There is a place for that. Delayed on a task? Everyone should know why. Not sure what to do with idle time? This is the place for you.
The Workstream is the heart of the template and work you do together. It is made up of 2 parts; Dates and Bullets. My personal preference is to call out Discussion Items, Blockers, and ToDos so that you can always add to an agenda through the week, in an asynchronous way. Most of the time spent in synchronous meetings is spent in the workstream. The Todos section is a duplicate of todos above and should be brought up to the top section for everyone each time there are items. They can be moved or copied so you already have a record.
Deliverables are the agreed upon items that when looking back in 1 month, 3 months or a year they can clearly see that they are complete. My rule of thumb is to underpromise and overdeliver. It sounds so simple, but its incredible how many people can’t align and deliver on what was promised. This is an integral part of the negotiation process and once completed, should be turned into a table like below. You can see the designations of each Deliverable in the Status column which are Red = not done/started, Yellow = in progress, and Green = Done. The dates show the last time this item was updated. The Detail outlines what the material details are for that project.
Collateral is where all the “stuff” goes and gets linked. If you think you will need it again, bookmark it here. Presentations, images, documents, video files, audio files, links to pages – really anything you need to reference. Over time I end up creating pages within this section that even link out to previous versions. Dropbox is a great repository for this info and you can link to the item and then link it in Notion. Sometimes teams like using Notion itself to house these files. This library of things becomes very helpful when you are looking on the fly for the latest version or file.
Proposal Overview is a living breathing part of the document through the sales process. I outline the steps, the timing, and even add and edit proposals as they evolve. This means that you could go into a sales call with a client and outline the things you heard, what needs to be done, and when, the create this summary. They may have a chance to read it, add their comments, and make changes – this then becomes your 2nd Proposal and so on. This allows you to really show an evolution of the project and what you heard through the time together.
Outline of Services Is a complete overview of what I offer. Its completely optional, but I find it helpful. There may be other stakeholders looking at this document. There may be other executives that need to sign off on this budget or projects. This allows someone who is coming in without a lot of context a chance to see who you are, what you are capable of, and what your services actually are. For me this is an exhaustive list that never gets every item in a proposal but its a great way to show off.
The Overview and Engagement are the critical piece of the puzzle that highlight what you will be doing, how long it will take, and a list of deliverables you will achieve. The Engagement portion clearly calls out the time of the contract, the details of the contract, and the price. In my case most engagements are monthly retainers. This is a excellent way to avoid talking past each other with a client and aligning on exactly what is happening, when, and for how much. It also lets your champion take this information to their boss or CEO and align on what this is. The key to many of these situations is making the person look great, showing that you are a key part of the puzzle to gain success, and to get alignment and sign off. I can’t tell you how many stories I hear about misalignment of deliverables or price – even after folks have been talking for months together.
Tactical Next Steps are critical to successfully going from proposal to signed contract. After reading through a lengthy proposal, its amazingly clear to have a set of next steps. These can outline the procurement procedures necessary with large companies, the accounting practices of a startup, or anything in between. For me this clearly spells out that the engagement will be governed by a MSA, the timing of the project, and how payment terms work. There might be things here that you thing are “obvious” or “we already know that” but that is hardly ever the case. Clients appreciate attention to detail and a clear set of next steps. Chances are they are busy, and this is a great chance to pick up the slack.
I hope this has been helpful – creating this Fractional Consulting Template was a work of love and a culmination of all my work for the past few years. It is 100% free, but there is a pay what you want option in case someone finds value and wants to buy me a cup of coffee 😊
If you end up using this template or have suggestions I would love to hear from you – contact me at @ericfriedman