This article points out several ADVANTAGES to hiring an independent consultant, but let me also contend that independent practitioners are often more cost effective and produce as good or better products than large consulting firms.
- We work quickly and efficiently because we don’t have the myriad of layers you’ll find in large firms (partners, senior VPs, VPs, account managers, supervisors, etc.). That saves you money and time.
- We don’t sell you a service then move on to the next client while we farm out the work to the junior consultants. You get your work completed by experienced, senior professionals. We’re good at what we do or we couldn’t make a living at it. There’s no place to hide in a small firm if you don’t make the grade.
- We have an extensive network of other senior professionals like us. We all work together to fill any gaps in skills and knowledge so that you get a top-notch team who can meet every need.
- We’re nimble enough to immerse ourselves into your culture. We never act like an outside firm — we consider ourselves to be part of your team for the duration of the project (and maybe longer).
- We don’t sell you an off-the-shelf solution. Everything is developed just for you, based on our experience and knowledge. When I worked in corporate, I remember hiring a firm that charged me thousands for a strategy that they had developed months before for other clients. Their practice was to do a search-and-replace within the document, then send it off to the next client. Too bad that the search-and-replace they did on the strategy they sold me didn’t catch every reference to the last client. Yes, I fired them.
My passion for independent practitioners isn’t because I am one. It’s because when I worked in corporate, it was my practice to hire independent practitioners. My colleagues blew their budgets on elite firms, arguing that a one-stop shop was more efficient than managing one-off writers, designers, videographers, etc. They were lazy and wrong — once I found the best in the business in every tactical and strategic area of communications, it took very little time to explain to each what I needed and even less time to hold their hands as they did it. First drafts were often final drafts. We came together as our own little firm, making big things happen for my company.
They saved me money, they produced great communications, and they made me look good.