A recent article in Consultancy UK highlighted the growing rise of practical consultancy, offering a third option for (SMEs) Small and Medium Businesses instead of “expensive high-end strategy consultants, and larger, more multidisciplinary alternatives”.
“Hands-on subject matter expertise and complete knowledge transfer back to the business are two of the most common unmet needs.”
Attributes ranked ‘most important’ when engaging a consulting firm were; Subject matter expertise; Specific industry skills; Project management & execution; and Attentive client service. As a result, the report concludes that there is a real need for new, innovative consultancies to fill the gap, with a model that is better. They call this “Third Category consulting.”
The Third Category exists in state of symbiosis between consulting companies and the organisations they serve. Rather than simply providing recommendations, this new frontier will see firms engaging with clients by helping and training their personnel, while strategising a long term model to leverage. The closer ties between client and consultancy are partially the result of a more refined, individualised process for hiring consultants, with a greater emphasis on the depth of subject matter expertise and the transfer of that knowledge being the top attractions for clients to Third Category firms.
Elephants Child has been offering this service for a number of years before these findings were published. We offer a flexible approach to working with businesses that meet their needs. Our clients range from manufacturing companies to bakers with staff from 10 upwards who all have different aspirations. What we need to make sure of before we even start is that leaders have the drive and passion to really want to grow their businesses through our guidance.
The report also notes that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UK admitted to wasting a grand total of £12.6 billion on external assistance in professional services, which they felt failed to improve the performance of their companies.
This is a frightening statistic and businesses need to know that both their time and money is spent wisely. So how do you decide on a consultancy firm to work with and how do you know you’ll be receiving advise that also gets results and has an impact on ROI?
We think our results speak for themselves and our clients have also given some sound advice for businesses who are looking to work with coaches or consultants.
Ian Mallalue is absolutely right, the cultural fit with a consultant is hugely important as is the brief. If you haven’t got a clear idea of what you want to get out of the arrangement, then it will be hard to demonstrate results or value for money in the long term. The Elephants Child offering is tailored to your organisation, using the skills and expertise of whichever of our 14-strong herd you work with.
If you’d like to talk to any of our previous clients or read more case studies about some of the companies we’ve worked with, please get in touch.