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Why work with a small consulting firm?

When your company begins looking into consulting services, the first thing you may be considering is whether you should hire a small consulting firm or a well-known large consulting firm. You may be asking yourself or your team:

  1. Does a small consulting firm have enough knowledge?

  2. Do they have enough man-power to work with us?

  3. If there are only 2-5 people in the company, how are they going to finish the work we need them to finish in a short amount of time?

  4. How much more is a large consulting firm going to cost me?

  5. What are the benefits of working with a large firm vs a small firm?

  6. Does a small firm have enough time for us?

  7. How long will it take a small firm to solve my problems versus a large firm?

Of course you may have several more questions, but these most certainly should be questions you ask when you start looking for a consulting firm.

When I first began consulting, I worked as an individual. I chose not to go work for a large consulting firm. I have nothing against them, but I felt that I had values and a passion that so many other people in those companies did not posses. I felt that those companies overcharged other businesses and it was almost like an assembly line. You work with one company for three months, you don't get to really build a relationship with them, and then you just move on to the next one. I personally believe the consulting experience should be more personal than that.

A company and the people that I am helping should be able to form a great relationship with me. This experience is very valuable and important to them. I believe in being transparent and being able to include them every step of the way. It's important to everyone because it is, ultimately, their business on the line. They hired me to help them with their business, and as a business owner myself, I understand how they feel.

I can only answer the above questions from my perspective and experience and as a small consulting firm, I feel that I should answer them.

  1. A small consulting firm certainly does have enough knowledge. The process of hiring/choosing clients we work with is a little different. Because we are a small firm, we specialize in certain industries, we only take on clients that we believe we can truly help. If a company outside of the industry would like to work with us, I am open to looking into the company information and seeing if it is possible for us to help them. The reason I am willing to do this is because I love helping people and I love learning about new industries. Ultimately, even if we already specialize in your industries, we do the research all over again -- we do not copy and paste from another company in the same industry. Every industry is constantly changing and it would not be fair of us to copy, paste knowing that something could have changed between the time we worked with the other company and your company. Also, every decision we make is data-driven, so we do not go into a company and tell them to change something without proof that this could be beneficial for them. However, if we find that we cannot benefit each other, I would not take them on as a client.

  2. Do we have enough manpower? Absolutely. As a small firm, we take on less clients than a large firm to ensure that every company gets the attention they need.

  3. How do we finish the work? As I answered in number 2, we do not take on more than we can handle. We always finish our work according to the timeline we give you.

  4. This is almost laughable to me. It was a big reason why I chose not to work with a large firm. The amount they charge is ridiculously high and while we have to ensure that we also charge for our time and value, we absolutely do not railroad people with expenses and charge far less than a large firm.

  5. One of the biggest things that small firms do is take on clients they have genuine interests in. We do not take cases that we don't feel any interest for. In a large consulting firm, the consultants working most closely with your company isn't given a choice. They are merely given an assignment and have to complete it. Additionally, small firms, like ours have smaller overhead and can offer better deals per project.

  6. Do we, as a small consulting firm, have enough time for you? Yes we do. I would give the same answer as I did in number 2 and 3. We don't take on more than we can manage.

  7. Just because a firm is small doesn't mean we take longer to complete tasks. Sometimes having a small team actually gets the work done quicker because you don't have a bunch of people trying to get on the same page daily and complete different tasks yet still present something cohesive. For my company, most projects are completed in 3-6 months. With implementation, some may extend to a year depending on the complexity of the project.

So there are many benefits to working with a small firm and whether you choose to work with a large firm or small firm is really dependent on what you're looking for. Are you looking for a close relationship with your consultant and someone who is passionate about the work or are you just looking for someone to come in, get the work done, and get out?

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