The Difference Between Big Consulting Firms and Small Consulting Firms
Updated: Jul 15
I own a small consulting firm and it will probably always be small. But is a small solution always better? You might think I’d suggest yes given the previous statement, but truthfully, that’s not always the case.
In my time in Corporate America, I sometimes was tasked with working with the big guys. There may have been a problem and the board decided to call in one of the Big 8 (or 6 or 4 or whatever the right number was at the time) because “No one gets fired for using (fill in the blank of the big consultancy).” I would work with the team that was deployed, my team and I would prep them with the situation, alternatives and what we believed was the best solution. They would nod wisely, disappear with our work and, presto-changeo, deliver a solution to the board that looked eerily familiar. We would implement it under the cover that the consultancy offered, and the day would be saved.
Sometimes, you need a lot of bodies to wrestle a big alligator to the ground. Some challenges require a team of specialists and a team of generalists, and you may even need to deploy teams of folks all over the geographies in question. If you need that, a small solution is probably not going to serve you well.
On the other hand, if you are a small enterprise or have a large enterprise but are wrestling with a very specific, well-defined problem, smaller might be smarter and better.
CSR exists to create greater happiness and wealth for businesses and their owners. We get into the specifics of each business or client’s current strategic plan and then work ‘from the inside’ to make meaningful and financially rewarding improvements. This requires passion, camaraderie, insightfulness, tenacity, versatility, and hard (hands-on) work, all of which are hallmarks of CSR’s approach.
I don’t know of any big consulting firm that does it for the client population we serve, in the way we do it, and with our compensation model.
Big is great; we think small is better.