When your company begins looking into consulting services, the first thing you may be considering is whether you should hire a boutique consulting firm or a well-known large consulting firm. You may be asking yourself or your team:
Does a small consulting firm have enough knowledge?
Do they have enough man-power to work with us?
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?
What are the costs of working with a boutique firm?
What are the benefits of working with a large firm vs a small firm?
Does a small firm have enough time for us?
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 independently. I chose not to go work for a large consulting firm. I felt that I had values and a passion that wouldn't align with those companies. I wanted my consulting experience to be more personable.
I believe in forming a close relationship with my clients. 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.
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 boutique function focused firm, we specialize in corporate, product, and CX strategy within different industries. 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 industry, we do the research all over again -- we do not copy and paste from another company in the same industry. The economic landscape is constantly changing. Acknowledging, researching, and understanding the changes within the economy is what helps us drive our clients success.
Do we have enough manpower? Absolutely. As a boutique firm, we take on fewer clients to ensure that every company gets the attention they need.
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.
As a boutique firm, we are much more cost effective for small and mid size businesses. Since our services are aligned to our clients' unique problems, there is no set costs. Many factors need to be considered, for example, size of the clients' company, number of employees, the services provided.
One of the biggest things that we as a boutique firm do is take on clients we have genuine interests in. With fewer clients at any given time, we are able to prioritize all our clients, simultaneously, and we are much more heavily invested in their outcome. We have the flexibility to extend our time with our clients when needed and provide a more intimate, collaborative approach.
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.
Small firms are known to complete projects quicker and provide a quicker time-to-value (TTV). Sometimes having a smaller team actually gets the work done quicker because less time is spent completing tedious tasks like coordinating assignment to different team member, notifying each person of changes related to their assignment, collaborating between many team members to compile a cohesive deck, etc. For my company, most projects are completed in 3-6 months. With implementation, some may extend to a year depending on the complexity and scope of the project.
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?