The top tier management consulting firms like McKinsey, BCG and Bain, among others do great work. These firms have smart, talented consultants and tried and tested methodologies, frameworks and processes that allow them to deliver consistently good work that delivers results for their clients. Yes, we’ve all heard the jokes and negatives about consultants, but these firms endure and that’s because of the consistent value they deliver to their clients.
Talent like that doesn’t come cheap. It’s hard bringing in top tier consulting firms for less than &150K-$200K a week. So it isn’t surprising that this is a case of haves and have-nots, with the large Fortune 500 being able to bring in the top tier and smaller companies looking for a more affordable solution or not even entertaining the idea of hiring consultants due to the costs.
There are small boutique firms out there that do good work and are more affordable, but there’s an alternative that allows companies to get talent from McKinsey, Bain, BCG and not pay for the overhead associated with these firms. Not only can you bring this level of talent in for projects, but you can also have them play interim roles to take an idea to execution, giving them more of a vested interest in your success.
Over the last few years, the market for independent consultants has exploded, driven in part by the recession and in part by former consultants and executives looking for a better work life balance. A large number of these independent consultants were schooled at firms like BCG, Bain and McKinsey so they bring the methodologies, approaches and knowledge base of the big firms without all the overhead. And in many cases, you end up with a consultant who has deeper experience in the specific issues you are dealing with, rather than a team of junior consultants who are learning on the job.
Networks and marketplaces of Independent Consultants have started to develop. These networks vet, list and do all the “legwork” associated with finding the consultants. Companies can then look for the consultant that has the best fit, along both objective factors, such as experience, cost and softer factors, such as, cultural fit to find the consultant that can deliver top tier consulting at a fraction of the cost.
With the expansion of the On-demand economy, we expect to see continued expansion in the market for Independent Consultants, a phenomena we call The Uberization of Talent.