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5 Things Independent Consultants Will Do That Big Firms Can't

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October 9, 2020
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4 minutes
Bernadette enjoys working with innovative companies to help them communicate their value to a global audience. She's an avid ice hockey fan and balcony gardener.

When it comes to hiring a consultant, the big question is: Do I hire a big-name consulting firm or an independent consultant? Before you decide on an option, you will need to look at a variety of factors. For example, the type of project, the skillset(s) needed, how much time you have to complete the project, and your budget for the project.

Ultimately, to find the right consultant, you have to keep in mind that your decision should be centered on the option that is best suited for the specific project at-hand. In this article, we’ll take a look at five things that might tip the scales in favor of choosing an independent consultant to work on your project. We’ll also explain how a consulting marketplace can support you when you opt to use a freelance consultant.

But first, let’s look at the term “independent consultant” and explain what we mean by it.

What Do We Mean by “Independent Consultants”?

The one thing that all independent consultants have in common is that they are outside the typical “firm” structure. They work primarily as freelancers or contractors. Other than that, independent consultants really can vary in background and skills from person to person.

Some freelance consultants will have gained their experience at a big consulting firm before setting out on their own. Some will have worked for smaller boutique firms. And others will have decided right from the start that they wanted to remain independent, gaining their experience working on a contract basis with a variety of clients.

Independent consultants can be generalists or specialists. Specialists have a wide variety of skills at your disposal. Whether you need someone for a digitization project, someone to help you automate your business, a specialist in supply chains, or a multitude of other categories of expertise.

One thing to remember is that it’s normal for big firms to also make use of independent consultants to strengthen their pitches for projects. The projects where they are lacking someone on-staff with a specific talent. So, just because you’ve hired a big firm in the past, doesn’t necessarily mean that your project was handled by one of their in-house consultants.

He who buys what he does not need steals from himself. – Swedish Proverb

5 Things Independent Consultants Do that Big Firms Can’t

They Save You Money

Big consulting firms are well-suited to specific roles in supporting businesses that need their services. However, not every situation calls for working with a big firm. Many companies understand that when they work with a big firm. They are paying a premium for the brand name and for the bureaucracy. When you work with an independent consultant, you pay only for the talent and expertise that the consultant brings to your project. They do not pay for the overhead for a large corporate headquarters, sales team salaries, or corporate marketing campaigns.

They Don’t Ask for a Long-Term Commitment

Typically, when you work with a big consulting firm, you will sign a long-term contract with them for their services, or to keep them on retainer. An independent management consultant doesn’t ask for a long-term commitment. You hire them only when you need their support, and only for as long as you need it.

They Reduce Your Time-to-Start

Signing a contract for services from a big firm – no matter what the industry – can be a lengthy process. It includes putting out a call for proposals, followed by presentations, deliberations, and negotiations. By using consulting platforms, you dramatically reduce your time-to-start. For quick-turnaround projects, where every lost day results in lost revenue, you don’t have any time to waste.

They Make You More Agile

Successful companies are agile companies that can adjust to business cycle fluctuations and that can quickly adapt to whatever the market throws at them. Whether a company faces changes in demand, changes in customer priorities, or changes in the types of project work at hand, the ease of using independent consultants can help them react swiftly. As mentioned above, being able to reduce your time-to-start for new projects – by bringing on-board a freelance consultant with the precise skills you need – is crucial in the modern business environment.

They Bring a Specialist’s Perspective

When you want someone who has a deep understanding about a very specialist topic, using an independent consultant is the best way to go. Even big firms and boutique consultants will hire an independent consultant with a specialist skill to round out their own pitches for projects. If you are wondering where to turn to find a consultant with a very specific expertise, read on.

Where Do You Go to Find Independent Consultants?

Many independent consultants will have their own website to showcase their services and skills. But it could take you quite some time to search the internet to find the right consultants for your project. A consulting marketplace is a good option to find the right fit.

Using a platform for consultants, such as Consultport , saves you time, because the platform already has a database filled with highly-skilled talents and is able to offer you a selection of consultants that perfectly match your project needs.

Consider Your Needs

Every project is different, so before you decide between use of a big firm or an independent consultant, consider what specific skills you need for the project. And if you realize that a freelance consultant is exactly what you need, save yourself some time by making use of a consulting marketplace.