Traditional management consultancy firms certainly have their place in the business world – but they just can’t compete with independent consultants when it comes to the personal touch. It’s for this reason that large organisations are following the lead of small businesses and seeking out the more personalised support of independent consultants, new findings show.

The research, which considered the views of 250 business leaders in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland, revealed how 37% of retailers are turning to independent consultants over the big boys, for a number of different reasons.

Although the survey, conducted by Odgers Connect, only looked at retail sector, the reasons given suggest that the shift is not unique to the industry.

Almost half (48%) of the respondents cited flexibility as the primary reason they would choose an independent consultant over a traditional management consultancy firm. Another reason for retailers moving away from the top firms is their lack of specific expertise, with 81% of respondents saying they would seek out critical skills from independent consultants.

The findings suggest that business leaders are also seeing a higher quality output from independent consultants than they are from well-established firms. Across the sector, independent professionals delivered a better standard of work than their corporate peers in financial management (64%), risk and regulation (61%) and technology (61%).

When it comes to refining business strategy, however, only 6% of respondents said they would use an independent consultant, while 38% are still turning to the ‘big four’ to lead business transformation projects. These figures would be very different if it was SME business leaders who were questioned in the survey.

The research reinforces lots of what I’ve been saying since I started Agnentis – traditional consultancy firms are not built to see beyond the project in front of them. That’s no criticism of them, it’s just the nature of the beast.

While we would consider ourselves an independent consultancy, we can offer our clients the best of both worlds: the personal touch of an independent consultant and the range of skills that you’d expect from a large firm. How so? By getting small business owners to work together, for the purpose of each other’s success and happiness.

We create an environment where business owners are supporting each other through a shared purpose, strategy and passion. It leads to outcomes that just wouldn’t be possible alone or indeed when working with a larger organisation.

Click here to read more about the power of community partnerships in business.