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Beyond the Buzzwords, how do you know you’re getting your money’s worth?

Updated: Feb 6

Consultancy firms have long been regarded as the go-to solution for businesses seeking external expertise. There is a growing need to challenge the traditional assumptions surrounding consultancy, particularly when it comes to the assumed high fees charged and the actual value they bring to the table. We aim to encourage a fresh perspective on how businesses can make the most out of their consultancy investment.

Whilst consultancy firms are known for their impressive array of buzzwords and promising pitches, what really matters is the tangible value they can bring. How to move beyond the jargon and assess the true impact of consultancy services on businesses, and insights on how to measure the value.

The truth is, most businesses don’t know what they need to improve, or have any intent to measure the outcomes or value of the service.

Call it a cost conundrum. 

Consultancy fees have often been a point of contention, leaving many businesses questioning their justification. What factors contribute to high consultancy costs? Expertise, experience, and the resources required to deliver quality solutions. Let’s shed light on the value behind the seemingly steep price tags and help businesses make more informed decisions when engaging with consultancy firms.

Efficiency vs bespoke.

A common criticism of consultancy firms is the lack of customized solutions. Many businesses feel like they are offered one-size-fits-all strategies that fail to address their unique challenges. The truth is, it’s a balance. Efficiency is critical in the time frames and let’s be real, majority of business face very similar problems. It’s the It’s the essence of the business and its context that needs to be bespoke and built into the solution. When this approach is taken, magic happens, and outcomes are very visible. As a business its important to be specific when it comes to what the business needs and ditch the generalities. The clearer the business need is the more a solution can be tailored.

Create an engagement model that works.

The traditional consultancy model is not the only option available to businesses seeking external expertise. Collaborative models, such as partnerships, co-creation, and knowledge-sharing networks, are gaining traction as viable alternatives. The advantages of these innovative approaches, including cost-effectiveness, access to diverse expertise, and a stronger focus on long-term relationships. By challenging the status quo, businesses can tap into a broader range of options that provide exceptional value for money. Dare to set the expectations on engagement that bring the most value, even if it’s not the norm.

Value of trust and relationships that matter.

Consultancy engagements are most successful when they are built on trust, transparency, and a shared commitment to achieving tangible results. The importance of establishing strong relationships with consultancy firms and fostering open communication channels. By nurturing long-term partnerships, businesses can unlock continuous value, leverage industry insights, access to industry research and create a collaborative environment that fosters growth and innovation.


What can businesses do to sharpen the consultancy proposal and visibility of value it seeks to gain?

  • Your requirement pitch should be dummy proof. Avoid ambiguity in the ask.

  • For areas that require a niche expertise, specify what you want this niche expertise to deliver.

  • If there are areas of scope that are ambiguous, define these to the extent possible and state the areas of ambiguity as known by your business.

  • Always imbed knowledge transfer into the outputs required.

  • Be upfront about your expectations of the engagement and choose a model that best suites the targeted outcome.

  • Strike the balance between defining clear tangible outputs/ deliverables whilst allowing room for the consultants to bring their knowledge power to the work.

  • Factor in the intangible deliverables that add value.

  • Think beyond generalities and embed business context and essence into the design concepts and implementation.

  • Too many times businesses are left with “pretty picture” strategies that are too difficult or even impossible to action or implement, not to mention cost or resources. Include in the ask that implementation be demonstrated.

  • Agree a set of measures that fairly assess achievement of outcomes.

So what does that all mean

Challenging the status quo of consultancy firms is an important step towards ensuring businesses receive true value for money spent. By questioning the fees, assessing tangible outcomes, embracing business context, exploring nonstandard models of engagement, and nurturing long-term relationships, you can unlock the full potential of consultancy services. Let us challenge the norms, and value proposition, change the way businesses engage with consultancy firms and ultimately redefining future success.

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