There exists a common thread among the best consulting firms that has propelled them to the top of their fields. By analyzing the characteristics of these firms, you can garner valuable insight into their success strategies and incorporate them in your own business model. You can learn from these organizations to build your own thriving consulting business to any level that you choose.
So, what are the characteristics that distinguish these top tier management consulting firms from the competition? What can you emulate that will give you the same edge? How can you learn from them?
Let's have a look and go beyond the logos, tag lines, and press releases. Let's delve right into the depths of what makes them better so that you can apply these learnings to your career and your consulting business. I've made it easy for you with links to twenty of the best consulting firms that are listed at the bottom of this page.
Some of the key characteristics of management consulting groups are briefly described below and are given as a guide for you to get a better understanding of what to look for in the best consulting firms in your own industry. Then see how they apply to your particular circumstances and objectives and incorporate them into your business plans.
Consider these characteristics for your own consulting business:
Find A Niche And Fill It
You may have heard it many times before, but it rings true. Don't try to compete with the big boys or try to be everything to everybody. Specialization is the strategy of top performers. Positioning yourself as the expert in a narrowed field is the key to being the go-to consultant. Most of the large firms started out small in a niche market first and then expanded into other areas as created by demand.
If you are an accountant, a niche would be specializing in tax accounting for pediatricians, for example. A financial consultant might concentrate on retiring executives. You get the idea. The important thing is to pick any area where the competition and expertise are scarce. You will be the top dog in that group, if you have the right training and knowledge. Imagine the reputation that you can develop and watch your business take off.
Couple High Professional Skills With Excellent Customer Service
The best consulting firms are staffed with skilled professionals who deliver better service to their clients than anyone else in their fields. This includes precise industry knowledge, effective and timely communication, and offering solutions, among others. Top firms know that they are judged by their performance on each and every project and their results determine whether they are awarded future projects. Give your clients the best every time and they will reward you with more business.
There is nothing more that will make your business grow than being a top performer. Excellent performance and service is noticed, appreciated, and communicated by those who receive it. Many will trumpet that sentiment, but few actually practice it and that makes it easier for you to stand out.
It's the razor's edge - you only need to do just a little more than anyone else to get noticed; just one more phone call when everyone else has called it a day or waiting just five more minutes to talk with someone important when everyone else has given up. Be that person and you will shine.
Embrace technology or get left behind. The old way of doing business has been augmented by the computer and the internet and some methods have been totally supplanted by the information age. Although personal referrals are still on top of the management consultant's list of marketing strategies, computer proficiency and using the internet for promotion are becoming the most powerful weapon in the independent consultant's arsenal.
By using the latest technology in their business, top consulting firms stay ahead of the pack. Technology is what drives the business of management consulting groups in today's global economy. Just think how technology will extend your reach. The world is your market. Through the internet, you can be anything that you want to portray to potential clients.
The internet is a powerful marketing tool. And just think about the new industries that technology has opened for consultants. Information technology has created hundreds of new opportunities that didn't exist just a decade ago. If you are an IT professional, you know what I'm talking about.
Not only does technology help the best consulting firms manage their business and clients more efficiently and more effectively, it also accelerates the gathering of information and allows for dissemination of that information into an understandable and useable format. Information is knowledge and use of that knowledge is power, the power to be the best.
Continuous training is a mainstay of staying on top in the consulting profession. Successful management consulting groups offer substantial learning opportunities and resources for staff members. These firms know the importance of building knowledge in their industry and those that they serve.
In this ever-changing world that continues to shrink, keeping abreast of new and better ways of doing things becomes paramount. The best consulting firms commit significant resources into training and developing innovative uses of existing technologies. This makes them the experts, same as you can be.
So, a good strategy for breaking into the independent consulting field is to use the experience and expertise that you currently have and offer your services to one of these top management consulting groups, either as an employee or on a freelance basis. Look for the characteristics mentioned above. There are others that become apparent as you view a firm's website.
Just think of the tremendous amount of training that you will receive. You will be exposed to a plethora of resources that would otherwise be out of your reach or cost you a fortune. Not only will you build your knowledge, you will build a nice portfolio of experience that will become beneficial when you go solo.
Take a trip through the websites of the consulting firms listed below - based on my experience and knowledge of the industry, this sub-set represents the Cream of the Crop - the definitive list of the Best consulting firms.
You can learn a lot from the information that is packed on their pages. You will find the characteristics that make them the tops in their industries and professions. Become the expert. Learn from the best.
A List Of The Best Consulting Firms
There are many thousands of consulting firms globally, so how do you differentiate between them and identify the best consulting firms?
I've researched many, worked with quite a few and been in competition with many of them at some point in my career. So I have set out below an alphabetical list of my Top Twenty. The selection is based on my view, albeit subjective, of the 'Best of the Best'.
A T Kearney A T Kearney
Aon Corporation provides consulting services in the areas of insurance and risk management, human capital, and insurance underwriting. Aon has a worldwide presence and is recognized for consistent excellence across the spectrum of risk management disciplines; undoubtedly one of the best consulting firms in their field. Find out more at their website: Aon Consulting
Bain & Company Bain & Company
Booz Allen Hamilton
Booz Allen Hamilton is a global consulting firm providing government and commercial clients with insightful problem solving services. They have a solid reputation for innovative solutions in the areas of strategy, operations, organization and change, and information technology. Get more information at their website: Booz Allen Hamilton
Boston Consulting Group
With more than 60 office locations worldwide, BCG provides management consulting services that help world organizations make sound business decisions. BCG has a reputation for developing unique and effective strategies in solving business problems. Get the scoop on these exciting concepts at their website: Boston Consulting Group
Catalise is a refreshingly innovative and relatively young UK based consulting firm. Within a relatively short period since 2001 they have built a substantial business and have earned an enviable reputation for consistently delivering high value outcomes for clients. They are rapidly expanding beyond Europe in to Asia Pacific and the Americas and have realistic ambitions to be right up there with the best consulting firms. What is particularly interesting is the straightforward and direct style which shines through when you meet their people and is reflected in their website. Catalise plc
Deloitte Consulting LLP offers an array of financial, tax, and audit services to clients worldwide. They have established a number of enduring strategic alliances and developed broad capabilities that have placed them among the top in their field, including proven and substantial capabilities mergers and acquisitions. Find out more about Deloitte at: Deloitte
Ernst & Young Ernst & Young
Hewitt Associates Hewitt Associates
In terms of sheer scale, reach, longevity and track record for innovation, IBM really cannot be matched in the professional services arena. Central to the foundation of the organization is a deep understanding of technology and business systems. Key offerings include customer relationship management, financial and supply chain management and much more besides. The organisation is so vast that many people work their whole careers with IBM and yet enjoy huge variety and regular fresh challenge. IBM Consulting provides it's renowned expertise to fortune 500 companies across the globe. Find out more about the IBM Group at: IBM BCS
McKinsey & Company
McKinsey & Company is a global management consulting firm with thousands of employees worldwide who provide solutions to organizational and operational problems for fortune 500 companies. Their expertise extends to most sectors from automotive to telecommunications. The McKinsey name and brand are known the World over; the company is undisputably one of the best consulting firms. Learn more about what differentiates McKinsey at: McKinsey
Mercer Management Consulting Mercer Management Consulting
NERA Economic Consulting NERA Economic Consulting
PA Consulting PA Consulting
Price Waterhouse Coopers
Price Waterhouse Coopers Consulting Group is a worldwide consulting power house. Their services are concentrated in the fields of assurance, tax, human resources, transactions, performance improvement and crisis management. They have developed some very interesting concepts and, compelling offerings in the consulting market, which you can read about at their website: PWC Consulting
Roland Berger Strategy Consultants
Having established 34 offices in 23 countries, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants are well positioned to provide management solutions to their clients in a broad range of industries from automation to travel and tourism. The company is comprised of top-level strategists and has a justly deserved reputation for excellence in its field. Get all the details about Roland Berger at: Roland Berger Strategy Consultants
Watson Wyatt (now merged with Towers Perrin)
Watson Wyatt is a global consulting firm specializing in employee benefits (reward), human capital strategies, technology solutions, insurance and financial services. They have established themselves as leaders in the HR consulting arena and the associated technologies. Learn more about what makes Watson Wyatt one of the best consulting firms at: Watson Wyatt
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