September 3, 2019 |
We live in a brave new world of people sitting in their rooms, offices or co-working spaces looking at industries that they feel need disrupting. The low cost of technology, availability of investors and a general desire to change the world are feeding a new climate of ingenuity.
From biotechnology to food production, visionaries have looked at a real or perceived problem and set about applying a solution. You can’t go to a dinner party now without meeting someone who is Uber-fying the fitness industry or creating the Air BnB for pets.
Whatever industry you are in, you can take any of the widely accepted business models for the digital age and try to apply it to your own area of expertise. The outcomes can be surprisingly lucrative.
The consultancy business is no exception. For years, consultants have charged fees for varying levels of service and knowledge and clients have agreed to pay this fee regardless of whether they have received any value or not. The whole game appears to be to charge a fee you think you can get away with it and make sure you receive over 80% of it within 6 months.
So, given that we live a in world of transparency and data and that the consultancy world is one that is more cloaked in vagueness and educational qualifications than openness and fact, it must be ripe for disruption.
But what model to apply? We could try some of the unicorn examples and see how we get on:
Uber-fying the consultancy industry
Uber saw the issue with black cabs and how difficult it was to get one, especially at busy times. Solution was a car hailing service.
Consultant X saw the issue with clients not being able to get the consultant with the specific skill to solve their problem. Solution is a consultant hailing service. Conber, for example.
Air BnB-ing the consultancy industry
Air BnB saw the opportunity in renting out spare beds in other people’s houses. Solution was a spare bed, room, house(boat) marketplace.
Consultant Y saw the issue with excess capacity in the consultancy business as ex-corporate carnivores were made redundant and became consultants overnight to keep their Crown Jewels intact. Solution is a consultant matching service. NoHair CnC for example.
Netflix-ing the consultancy industry
Netflix saw that people didn’t like walking in the rain to Blockbusters to rent a video for the night. Solution is a streaming service.
Consultant Z saw that he didn’t like driving 2 hours for a 20 minute meeting that could have been done online. Solution is an online consultancy that streams to the client. Notflox for example.
Whatever the example, the relationship between consultants and their clients needs rebalancing. Consultants need to regain some level of integrity and authority in the client relationship. For far too long clients have been able to wave a cheque book in the consultant’s face and demand services way above the contractual agreement whilst simultaneously finding ways in which they can not pay the full amount. This can’t be a way to conduct business in today’s transparent world.
So, all attempts at sarcasm aside, an equal relationship between the client and the consultant will generate better outcomes. However, the narrative is firmly set in favour of the client that the consultant is the only person who can redress the balance.
The lack of transparency in pricing, the lack of ethics in payment and a general mistrust of the situation is no way in which the best outcomes for the end user can be achieved. And surely that is all that matters?