We are a small consultancy and we don’t pretend otherwise. However, the relationships we have with people across business mean that we work for some very big companies. How is this possible?

Before talking about collaboration, our experience has been that organisations use big consultancies to do the strategy work. The board needs to see the name of someone they have heard of on the presentation. But when it comes to delivery, many people choose smaller businesses. They are less costly and have lots of experience of the specific change that needs to be implemented.

Punching above our weight is also possible because of the relationships we have with people ‘like us’. People who work in a similar way and have similar values. For example, thebigteam, programmexpress, CMI Synergy and Akeno. Between us, we have great networks of contacts at senior level and can work on projects together.

We also explore Associate arrangements with larger consultancies, or in some cases, start up businesses. Again, the most important ingredient is shared values.

One example is becoming an Associate for Gobeyond Partners, a mid sized consultancy that was formed from two merged companies. For us, it provides a potential source of business. For them, it provides knowledge of sectors they are targeting.

We are also working with Elevenci which is a new consultancy set up by White Clarke Technologies. We are helping them identify potential Associates via our network of like minded people. Again, a quid pro quo at work because it becomes another potential source of business.

It takes a lot of work to maintain these collaborations but it pays off for a business like ours. We’re 20 years old next May so we’ve just about got the hang of it now.