The Power of the Middle Path

Ever heard of this saying?
“Nobody ever got fired for hiring McKinsey”
Consulting buyers don’t always have the same motivation.
Sometimes consulting firms are used by buyers as personal risk mitigation tools. With a big strategic decision or a large-scale implementation at stake, it makes sense to bring in a big name consulting firm as insurance.
This is common among consulting buyers at large corporations (say, 10,000+ employees) – the ones who can afford to hire big name consultants.
I’m not saying this happens all the time, but it does happen.
When this dynamic is at play, it often becomes a futile exercise for boutique consulting firms to compete for business at large corporations.
At the other end of the spectrum, small businesses (say, under 1,000 employees) provide plenty of consulting opportunities.
However, small businesses may not have the biggest budgets to purchase consulting, so they’re not always the most profitable for consultants. Plus, it can get very competitive with many firms competing for the same business.
But when you look in the middle…that’s where it gets interesting.
Mid-sized or mid-market companies (1,000 – 10,000 employees) generally find big name consulting firms too expensive, so they tend to avoid them.
They still want experience and expertise. They hire consultants to solve problems and not for optics. And they pay better than small businesses.
I know I’ve generalized a lot in this post. But my point is that the mid-market represents a tremendous opportunity for boutique consulting firms and independents.
Many consultants stick to targeting the small business segment because it’s their comfort zone. Some others aggressively go after Fortune 500 companies because they think that’s where the money is.
But they may be missing a trick here.
If you haven’t yet considered going the mid-market route, it may be worth your time to start now.
It could open up a whole new world of organizations that urgently need your firm’s help.

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Image credit: Australian Institute of International Affairs