The Death of Consulting As We Know It
Did you know that the consulting industry is going through massive changes right now?
Things aren’t as they used to be a few years ago. And the way things are going, it’s likely that consulting will look completely different from what it used to be before.
So what are these changes? Who will benefit from it? And are these changes good or bad?
Let’s find out.
How the Big Players Have Played the Consulting Game Until Recent Years
The 20th century was the era in which there were no renowned business schools or MBA programs. Business owners lacked access to expert advice. They couldn’t hire someone who knew how to grow and sustain businesses because the ones who were good at running businesses were business owners themselves. They had to trust their own instincts, which didn’t always point them in the right direction.
Business owners wanted someone to look up to for getting advice. To fill this gap, consulting firms came into existence. James McKinsey was the pioneer who started McKinsey & Company in 1926. Other consulting firms followed the lead, and a handful of these top firms dominated the consulting industry by the end of the 20th century.
Their job was mainly to collect data, analyze it, and provide recommendations to the business. To actually take the recommendations seriously and implement them was the responsibility of the business owners and/or decision-makers. This was the era in which the internet was still in its early stages and online consulting marketplaces were unheard of. That’s why businesses only had a limited number of options. Bain & Company went one step further to make their services rare by onboarding only one client from any given industry.
Some of these big consultancies focused on ‘cash cows’, meaning big businesses with big budgets. Hence, small and medium-sized businesses really didn’t have many options.
A Focus on Implementation Will Increase in the Future
Consulting is more than just recommendations. It’s a very well-known fact that there is a huge difference between knowing what to do in business and actually doing it. Sometimes, a consultant’s recommendations never get implemented. There could be many reasons behind this: procrastination, lacking faith in a consultant’s recommendations, or ego clashes at a senior level.
And sometimes, companies aren’t really sure about how to actually implement the recommendations. For example, if a consultant recommends a company to launch a social media campaign to target its millennial customers. Int his case, the company might need to brainstorm on how to create and execute a social media strategy—and probably hire some more people and spend more money in doing so.
That’s the reason a lot of business owners are hesitant to work with some big consultancies. A lot of them are looking for an expert to be with them from the very beginning of the problem and stay all the way till the end. The future consultants will need to make sure that their recommendations are on point and are implemented efficiently in a timely manner. They should be willing to walk the extra mile and help their clients with implementation.
The Best Freelance Consultants Can Be Hired Without Approaching the Top Consultancies Gone are the days when businesses only had a few options on the table. In this day and age, many businesses prefer to use a freelance consultant platform to hire consultants. Some top consultants, who don’t work for top consulting firms, now work on a freelance basis and are easily reachable using online consulting marketplaces. The process is very similar to hiring employees using a recruitment agency.
This is how it goes: You scour various online consulting marketplaces and find a suitable freelance consultant platform. Then you describe what type of consultant you want to their representative, and they’ll provide you with different options. You can then go through the profile of each potential consultant and choose the best one for your company. It’s so simple, isn’t it? And guess what—you don’t even need to approach the big consultancies throughout the process, yet you can get a top consultant.
Furthermore, you get to choose a top consultant of your choice. Someone who you have personally interviewed before hiring—not the one that big consultancies assign to you without necessarily letting you talk to them beforehand. You have more control over who works with you as a consultant and this can substantially increase the chances of success in a consulting engagement.
The Consulting Industry Is on the Verge of a Massive Disruption
Consulting is not like it used to be decades ago in the 20th century. Today, business owners can visit freelance consultant platforms and find consultants for almost any business problem—whether it’s marketing, operations, organizational culture, human resources, sales, or any other niche. These freelance consultant platforms give access to hundreds of consultants from different niches and can sometimes staff your project within a couple of days.
A few years ago, passengers had to walk a little to find a taxi and travel with an unknown driver. Then platforms for mobility services arose which enabled them to order a cab to their doorstep and choose a driver with 5-star ratings. Also, customers had to personally visit takeaways to get food. Then online food- ordering apps disrupted the industry and now customers can read reviews before ordering and select restaurants with top ratings.
You kind of know where this is going, right? Industries go through massive changes from time to time, just like the consulting industry is going through right now. A lot of companies are no longer attracted to brand names of big consultancies. They rather go for a freelance consultant with 5-star ratings whom they have personally chosen.
Online consulting platforms have made finding these freelance consultants even easier. A top consultant could be working with you in the next few days—you might just be a few clicks and a couple of phone calls away.