Are McKinsey, BCG, Bain, and Co. Worth Their Money?
Yes, you, the person reading this article.
You’re being seduced right now.
Seduced by the branding and market positioning of giant corporations. But does better branding mean better service? What does it really take to solve a business problem? The right brand or the right consultant? Should you hire a freelance consultant or a famous consultancy?
Well, that’s a lot of question marks. Rest assured, you’ll find the answers to all these questions in this article. So without further ado, let’s discuss if the big consulting firms are really worth it.
Freelance Consultants Can Offer Undivided Attention to Your Project
Big consulting firms have hundreds of clients at the same time. That’s why the consultants who are employed by these consultancies might work on different projects with various clients simultaneously. On the other hand, if you hire a consultant from a freelance consultant platform, you’ll almost certainly get their full attention. It’s been proven from time to time that multitasking might not be the best way to gain maximum results.
Consultants with a singular focus on one client are bound to be more efficient as they can devote all their work hours to that one particular client. Also, the consultants who work for big consultancies might work crazy hours. Freelance consultants, on the other hand, usually have a better work-life balance and can solve your problems with a relaxed head.
Now it’s up to you to decide which type of consultant is better suited for your business needs. Would you onboard a consultant who’s working on multiple projects at a time? Or would you rather have someone who’s fully devoted to your organizational goals? The choice is yours.
The Organizational Structure of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Suits Well With Freelance Consultants
SMEs have a small group of employees who work as a family. There is less bureaucracy and hierarchy is almost invisible. However, it’s a well-known fact that there are strong hierarchies and competition in big corporations. Of course, it’s necessary to have hierarchies in big companies to ensure that the whole ecosystem functions properly.
But there’s a fundamental difference between the working styles of freelance consultants and the ones from the big consultancies. Freelance consultants work independently and mix well with tightly-knit teams in small to medium-sized businesses. The latter, on the other hand, are part of a strict hierarchy that might affect their creativity and independent decision-making.
Fortunately, the consulting marketplace in this day and age has lots of freelance consultants who can mix well with the internal culture of SMEs. And freelance consultant platforms have made it so easy for businesses to find and hire top-tier consultants who work on a freelance basis. Remember, culture is really important in small teams and it helps when a consultant can gel up with your internal team easily.
Freelance Consultants Can Offer a Niche-Specific Solution
There’s way more to consulting than just strategy and accounting. You can find a consultant for almost all your business-related problems using a freelance consultant platform. For example, if a vast majority of your customers belong to a particular neighborhood in one city, an SEO consultant can help you improve your local search rankings.
Similarly, you can also scour the consulting marketplace to find yourself an HR consultant, an Agile coach and inbound marketing expert, etc. Some of these consulting niches are completely unheard of in the mainstream, but they do exist and can be extremely helpful to SMEs. Hiring a freelance expert in a specific niche is way more beneficial than hiring a generalist who works for a big consulting firm.
The consulting marketplace is not like it used to be before. The advent of online consulting platform is disrupting the industry and business owners, especially from small to medium-sized businesses, have a lot more options than before.
Corporations’ Priority Is Profit, but a Freelancer’s Priority Is Personal Relationships
Corporations are good. They create thousands of jobs around the world and fill gaps in the market. However, they’re always under immense pressure to make sure they survive and stay ahead of the competition. For this reason, corporations, even the ones in the consulting industry, focus on profit first.
Don’t Judge a Consultant’s Competency by the Brand Name
Psychologically speaking, most of us tend to judge the value of a product or service by its price. When the price is low, it might seem too good to be true. And when it’s high, it’s easy to assume that there must be something special about the product or service. The freelance consultants you find from the online consulting marketplace will most likely not have the fame or price tags of a big consulting firm. But that has nothing to do with their competency. This is the biggest mental block that SMEs need to get rid of.
So if not the brand name, then on what factors should a consultant’s competency be judged on? Well, you can always read testimonials of their previous clients. You can ask the consultant for case studies that show exactly how they helped a client in the past. Stalk on their LinkedIn profile and see what sort of endorsements and recommendations they have.
The internet has made things so easy. Now you can know almost everything about someone’s professional past with a few clicks. Gone are the days when a famous brand name was the only means to gain trust. Now, decision-makers from SMEs can do their own research and find a top-tier consultant from the consulting marketplace.
There’s no denying that big consulting firms are capable of producing exceptional results. Of course, they can. However, they’re not the only ones who can. In some cases, hiring a freelance consultant is the right decision to make. For example, if you run a small or medium-sized business and want to solve a very specific problem, hiring a freelance consultant makes sense. As compared to a generalist consultant from a big consulting firm, a freelance consultant is likely to merge with your internal team better and provide you a niche-specific solution.