Choosing a competent consultant from a sea of management consulting firms is like finding a needle in a haystack – especially if you haven’t worked with one before. Every management consulting firm claims to have a competitive advantage over their peers and extensive expertise in their service areas.
So, how do you assess which management consulting firm is the right fit for your business?
First things First, do your homework.
Management consulting firms don’t have a business directory. However, there are several credible sources where you can look up organizations that list these firms on the basis of quality and their track record. Some of these are FECAO and Management Consultancies Association (MCA) in the UK and Europe.
The other way to go about this is through referrals. Referrals are great sources of qualified recommendations – you get to know about the first-hand experiences of former clients so that you can adjust your expectations accordingly.
Next order of business, find out the profile of the management consulting firm.
According to MCA, there are around 63,000 management consultants in the UK’s consulting industry. Naturally, all of them have their own area of expertise and strengths. Here are some examples:
- Firms with the widest range of competencies, e.g. PwC
- Firms involved in management consulting, e.g. Bain & Company
- Firms with a stronghold in markets and products, e.g. PMR
- Specialized companies, e.g. environmental consulting.
Before you pick up a firm based on its popularity, analyze if their competency matches the requirement for your project.
Moving on, shortlist the company based on services offered.
You might have a technical business, but maybe your current project requires a consultant with hands-on experience from the finance sector. In such a case, although you might be tempted to work with a technical consultant, the best fit for your project would be a financial management consultant. Before you sign the contract with one firm, define clear objectives that you want to achieve from your project, and then choose accordingly.
Other than these three points, it is also important to take note of the basic selection criteria, viz.:
- What countries does the firm operate in?
- What communication method does it follow?
- What is their business model?
- Who are their previous clients?
At the end of the day, your management consulting investments must pay off. When you interview your potential advisors, don’t settle for how they will solve your problems. Request statistics regarding their existing solutions. Your time and money are as important as their skills and solutions, so do your due diligence beforehand.