“Why would they hire you instead of one of the big firms?”

Today i was reading “The Bootstrapper’s Bible” by Seth Godin and there was one section that caught my eye. “What’s a Big Company Got that You Haven’t Got?”

That’s a pretty good question and Seth lays it out pretty well, four of which are most relevant to the consulting universe (Seth’s numbering):

#2: Access to Capital – Big companies can outspend little ones and seize investment opportunities.
#3: Brand Equity – As the saying goes “No one ever got fired for hiring IBM”.
#4: Access to Customers – They know more people.
#5: Great Employees – Big companies can easily attract diverse talent and skill sets.

But Seth also outlines a few compelling reasons to go with the little guys:

#1: Nothing to Lose – Small guys will fight harder because you mean more to them.
#2: Happy with Small Fish – We can work with smaller budgets on smaller projects.
#3: Presidential Input – Reading a CEOs bio versus working with him/her.
#4: Rapid R&D – Less Admin = More Agility
#5: Low Overhead – No office buildings or NFL Sponsorships mean we pass the savings on to clients.

One I would add:

#6: Know what you’re getting – If you work with a small firm you are probably working with the same person who made the sales pitch. You know what you’re getting. With the big guys sometimes you get great marketing material and a few solid resumes on the proposal – but that’s not who shows up to do the work.