Q&A: What is a boutique consulting firm? (With FAQs)
Updated 8 August 2022
A consulting firm is a business that offers consultation services for a variety of professional occupations. There are plenty of business consulting firms out there, yet finding your ideal one is quite a challenging process. Compared to bigger companies, boutique consulting firms are small companies that offer a limited number of services for local clients only. In this article, we cover what boutique consulting firms are and what a position within such a firm requires, from daily duties and needed skills to necessary qualifications.
What is a boutique consulting firm?
A boutique consulting firm is a small consulting firm that specialises in highly specific categories of consulting, such as healthcare, transportation and human resources. Boutique consulting firms offer businesses and corporations highly specialised advice that addresses specific issues and aspects of a business. The goal of these smaller consulting firms is to help all of their clients improve their company's efficiency and profits.
What do boutique consulting firms do?
Boutique consulting firms provide just a few services. They generally prioritise industries in which their staff members have experience. Boutique consulting firms don't normally make big promises to their clients, as not all issues are easy to handle. Some boutique consulting firms offer services to very specific types of businesses, such as technology or health companies.
Since they deal with fewer branches, they're highly valuable, as their insight can be more detailed. As a result, government agencies often turn to boutique consulting firms when the small firms specialise in a field in which larger agencies don't. Boutique consulting firms are also responsible for matters regarding business operations, such as invoicing or logistics.
Benefits of boutique consulting firms
Here are some benefits of opting for boutique firms:
There is a great deal of consulting firms, which challenges new firms to think and act differently. That's why boutique consulting firms use entrepreneurial thinking before taking action. Boutique consulting firms show more flexibility when it comes to their strategies. Bigger companies find it more challenging to reach novelty since they make use of traditional approaches. That's because it's more difficult to propose and implement change within the entirety of a large organisation.
Boutique consulting firms normally have more senior staff who possess great expertise in their field. This helps the consulting firm provide all of their clients with excellent advice, as the employees have lots of experience. Because of this, clients can benefit from great implementation support and enjoy the services the firm offers.
Boutique consulting firms have fewer employees, which means they have fewer people to handle all the projects that clients bring them. Because of this, small firms require efficiency concerning their resources. By working more efficiently than bigger companies, boutique consulting firms save both time and money. A small boutique consultancy firm can't afford to waste any resources. This makes it highly efficient for the firm's employees to finish all the projects they take on faster than larger companies.
An entrepreneurial culture
The founders of boutique consulting firms usually leave high profile companies to become independent. They possess an entrepreneurial instinct and seek people who have a similar spirit to work for them. This entrepreneurial approach helps the consulting firm establish and maintain a culture that's based on bravery and daring ideas.
Firm consultant duties
If you're considering working as a consultant for a boutique consulting firm, you might find it useful to learn what duties this position includes by exploring the following responsibilities:
having meetings with clients
researching the client's business
gathering and analysing data
writing reports based on the collected data
determining what areas need improvement
developing computer models to see if your suggestion succeeds
making proposals to clients
providing constant support to clients
Consider all the responsibilities mentioned above and think about whether you've dealt with some of them in the past, or in any previous roles you might've had. Noting these could be vital in the application or interviewing process when you're asked about your skill set and how you've exercised it in previous positions.
Categories of firm consultants
Management consultant positions vary a lot based on their specialisation and the company. Learn about what specific roles are available to you by exploring the following list:
human resource (HR) consultant
information technology (IT) consultant
As there are several categories of consultants for you to choose from, take your time to make this decision. It might benefit you to ask people you know in these positions what they enjoy about them and if they think it would suit you.
How to become a firm consultant
Becoming a business consultant depends on your education level and qualifications, previous work experience and what category of consultant you wish to be. As a result, there's no specific path for you to take to become a management consultant since these routes vary a lot. That doesn't mean there aren't certain steps you can choose to follow to secure a business consultant job. They are:
1. Acquire a bachelor's degree
Bachelor's degrees represent the minimum educational requirement most employers seek. They assess that qualification before they consider you for a management consultancy position. With such a degree, you have the freedom to pick a degree in a subject that interests you and then choose modules, and possibly other educational courses, to enrich your knowledge base.
You can opt to study something that applies to the type of consulting you want to do in the future. You can take into consideration subjects such as business administration, accounting, financial management, commerce and project management. This degree can help you earn the academic skills and abilities that are necessary for understanding organisational management. It can also develop or improve your ability to find creative solutions to various issues that arise in a business.
2. Obtain a professional certification or a postgraduate degree
Even though there are no specific rules concerning the required academic qualifications to work in management consulting, you might find it useful to apply for postgraduate study. This secures you an MBA or a master's degree. In this way, your chances of securing a consultant job and working for your dream company are higher. This also grants you a significant advantage, as the consulting world challenges you to face serious competition.
There is also the option of attaining advanced education or professional certification. By pursuing those, you can prove that you possess high-level skills. With professional accreditation, you can opt to enrol in a professional body like the Institute of Consulting (IC). Choosing to become a member with them is a smart career move, as you come across as more responsible and professional to your clients.
3. Gain relevant experience
Securing a management consultancy job usually requires around two to three years of experience. You can gain this expertise during your graduate programme by doing an internship or getting a part-time job. These opportunities provide a chance for you to experience what your future position could involve.
You can also find great connections and network with professionals from the industry through these opportunities, which can help you later in your career. There is always the possibility of joining a company as a junior employee and then slowly working your way up to a consultancy position. You might benefit from checking for graduate training schemes provided by top companies in the field.
FAQs about working as a consultant
Below are some frequently asked questions about working as a consultant and their answers:
What is the national average salary?
The salary of a business consultant begins at £25,000 per year and goes up to £90,000 per year if you're an experienced consultant. The national average salary is £55,412 per year. It's important to keep in mind that a salary can vary depending on the size of the business, the seniority of your position and your location.
What are the typical working hours per week?
The average working hours for a management consultant are between 37 and 39 hours per week. Your working hours could depend on client deadlines and the size of your business. If you're part of a small boutique firm with encroaching deadlines, then your employer might expect you to work overtime.
What does the work environment look like?
You could either work in an office or at a client's business. This entirely depends on the size and location of your employer. If you're a remote team, you may spend more of your time travelling to clients whilst consultants who work in an office could spend that time commuting and hosting clients.
Please note that none of the organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.
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