The Consultant Engagement Experience
So you get an external consultant in, either because you think your efforts could do with a fresh perspective or because senior management has decided it’s a good idea. You spend hours explaining your business and they listen intently, taking notes and asking questions, possibly nodding a lot and making noises of affirmation. Then they come back with a ‘big idea’. The ‘big idea’ will detail every thing you’re doing wrong, every micro detail in your offering, be it service or product. The ‘big idea’ will, in a very nicely designed document or power point presentation, make recommendations – they might even cite lessons that could be learned from company X, Y or Z (“Look at the BBC website” is always a popular one). The ‘big idea’ is more often than not something you’ve thought about and discarded because it seems impractical: either because of industry mandates or common sense, budget, or skills-set available to you. If it’s the first, the consultant may just walk away. If it’s the money the consultant may advise on other areas you can save on to find the money to continue to engage them. If it’s the skills-set the consultant might just be able to extend their services to provide the missing expertise for you. But more often than not, the consultant’s job is done when the information gathering has happened, the report has been delivered and the invoice has been paid.
Bewick Consulting is different
I’ve been there.
The above scenario is all too familiar after 25 years in corporate business. I’ve worked with some good, but mostly bad, consultants who have been brought in with a ‘better outside’ approach from the budget spender engaging them. I’ve managed the teams who are bemused at best, highly demotivated at worst following this external ‘expertise’. I believe the consultant’s role is to understand and help the company they are working with, not to build their own ego or invoice for as much as possible, whether it is needed or not.
I don’t believe a consultant is always necessary.
Is that heretical to say when I’m trying to suggest my services? Maybe, but life’s too short. The late great William Goldman was one of the finest screenwriters in the history of cinema. In later years he was hired for big studio projects as a ‘script doctor’: that is, he’d come in and pep up a script for less experienced writers or projects deemed to be ‘in trouble’. He got paid millions for doing so. When he was asked to read ‘Good Will Hunting’ and make some suggestions to the movie’s young, unknown writers Matt Damon and Ben Affleck on how to improve it, he spent one afternoon chatting with them. His advice? “You don’t need me. Don’t change a thing”. Sometimes that’s the case: you’re right. Keep doing what you’re doing. If it’s merely confirmation you need for that then I believe it should be free or of minimal cost. And if there are fine touches needed – then it might well help to have an external view. But that doesn’t need to be a whole project. But hey, that’s just my view on it and the way I will work with you.
I won’t take on every project.
I don’t need the money enough to work on something which I don’t genuinely think I can help with, or that interests me.
That might sound arrogant, or bad business-sense, but would you rather work with someone who will take on any job for the money, or someone who will engage (really engage, rather than the apparently trained platitude giving I’ve seen too much of) and help because they believe in your offering and that they can do something to assist with?
It’s for this reason I dedicate 10% of my time to work on projects for free.
There are ifs, of course, and I don’t want to sound like the A team (Those of an age might remember them – “If you have a problem… if no one else can help… and if you can find them… maybe you can hire… The A-Team“)
My ifs are – if it appeals to me – whether through subject, industry, or the ethos and passion of the requester, if the company can’t afford consultancy fees…and if I have availability, I’ll do it for free.
Yep; Free. Complimentary. Gratis. On the house.
That’s why I’ve done free consultancy for innovation start-ups, small tech businesses, would-be writers looking to publish, designers looking to expand their offerings, independent companies ranging from restaurants to support looking to promote their offering which I think will benefit people, and occasionally just copy checking and editing on individual projects.
Can I promise you this free offer? No. It’s neither a gimmick nor a guarantee. I’m a one-person-band and can only realistically dedicate the 10%…but contact me and let me know what you need, and we can talk.
And if you can pay, do I promise you a different type of consultancy?
Yes, I think I can guarantee that.
To find out more, take a look at the services I offer on this site. Have a look at the testimonials from those I’ve worked with. Peruse the ‘About Me’ section to find out a bit more about why I think I’m in any way remotely qualified to be making these claims and offers.
And then contact me. Regardless of your budget capabilities, the first one hour consultation/ discussion is free. And that IS a promise.