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Why big doesn’t always mean better

By Naomi Saragoussi, Partner
Andrew Supple

What are the benefits of a boutique employee benefit consultancy to a large employee benefit consultancy?

Boutique consultancies tend to be smaller and more specialised and offer several benefits compared to larger consultancies. These benefits can make them an attractive choice for certain clients or specific situations:

  • Specialised Expertise: Boutique consultancies are run by very experienced advisers who very often have worked in the large consultancies and have set up on their own to ensure that best advice is paramount over sales and sales targets. Boutique consultancies have deep, specialised knowledge and expertise and offer highly specialised solutions and advice.
  • Personalised Service: Smaller firms can provide more personalised and tailored services. Clients often work closely with the senior consultants or partners, which can lead to a more hands-on, customised approach to problem-solving.
  • Agility and Flexibility: Boutique consultancies are typically more agile and flexible in adapting to changing client needs and priorities. They can quickly pivot to address new challenges and/or seize opportunities.
  • Lower Costs: Boutique firms generally have lower overhead costs than larger consultancies, which can translate to more competitive pricing for their services.
  • Access to Senior Talent: Clients of boutique consultancies often have direct access to senior consultants and experts, which can lead to a closer client-consultant relationship and faster decision-making.
  • Client-Centric Approach: Smaller consultancies prioritise the client's goals and needs above all else. This can lead to a high level of client satisfaction and a strong focus on delivering value.
  • Niche Problem Solving: Boutique consultancies are particularly well-suited to solving specific, niche problems where a deep understanding of the subject matter is essential.
  • Innovative Solutions: Smaller firms may be more innovative and creative in their problem-solving approaches, as they are not bound by the same processes and templates that large consultancies may use.
  • Client Loyalty: Clients who choose boutique consultancies often build strong, long-term relationships with the firm, benefiting from the continuity and trust that such relationships can foster.

It's important to note that the choice between a boutique consultancy and a large consultancy depends on the specific needs of the client and the nature of the project. Large consultancies do offer a global presence but companies should carefully consider their goals, the complexity of the project, and the industry context when making decisions and not assume that big is best.

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