As you may know, May is National Small Business Month. As the founder of a boutique, woman-owned business, I love taking this time to celebrate small business owners, who help drive our country’s entrepreneurial culture and economic health. In fact, as we continue to face challenges posed by the global pandemic, small consulting firms are poised to deliver big results for Fortune 500 executives looking to forge a path to recovery for their companies.
Here are 7 ways small firms are uniquely positioned to bring big value to the C-suite:
- Absence of red tape. Typically designed with a flatter organizational structure and a simpler hierarchy, small firms are free of the bureaucracy, layers of approval, lag times, and endless red tape that can burden larger companies. And, because they don’t operate with a gatekeeper mentality, small agencies can take advantage of cross-team collaboration to leverage the very best ideas their people have to offer.
- Greater risk-taking and innovation. Unlike large firms, which tend to deploy familiar, long-standing methodologies, small firms aren’t afraid to break from the herd and try something new. This swing-for-the-fences mentality makes small consulting firms a valuable resource for fresh, original solutions that are so critical to winning clients and earning their loyalty.
- Speed. Small firms can mobilize and pivot quickly in response to changing client needs — think fleet catamaran versus massive freight liner. Nimble and flexible, small consultancies can generally outpace and outmaneuver bigger competitors — a distinct advantage when the project on hand requires a tight schedule and quick turnarounds.
- Value. Adept at rooting out unnecessary work and obsolete processes, small firms are capable of designing and deploying strategic solutions in a fraction of the time (and at a fraction of the fees) required by their big-company counterparts. The ability to deliver a great return on investment gives small firms a distinct advantage, especially during uncertain economic times when clients are spending cautiously and zealously watching their budgets.
- No bait-and-switch. Small firms generally eschew the traditional consulting model, in which senior people sell and junior people deliver. Running with a leaner staff, small firms tend to hire senior, high-caliber consultants to serve as hands-on project leads. This operating model gives clients day-to-day access to seasoned professionals who can provide deeper expertise, keener insights, and greater transparency into what the team is doing.
- Penchant for keeping it real. Unfettered by large-agency politics, small-firm consultants are more willing to challenge clients’ ways of thinking in sincere and trustworthy ways. This fearless approach to partnership allows small firms to forge client relationships built on trust, integrity and mutual respect.
- Diversity in their DNA. Small consulting firms, many of which are women- or minority-owned businesses, bring a fresh, valuable perspective to the C-suite during a time when diversity, equity and social justice are becoming top-of-mind issues for more and more corporate boardrooms.
As we seize the occasion to honor and recognize small businesses in our communities, across the country, and around the world, please join me in applauding these small-but-mighty enterprises that serve as a critical cornerstone and driving force for their nation’s economies.
And, if you are a small-business owner yourself, be proud and heartened that your company enjoys many advantages that the big behemoths down the block will never have. Whether you are a boutique firm, a gritty startup ready to make your mark, or a multigenerational family-run enterprise, embrace the unique strengths your business has to offer and be confident in pursuing new opportunities, regardless of the size of your competition.
Written by Christine Andrukonis.