by Charlotte Gregson, Managing Director UK & Ireland, COMATCH

Industry View from


Independent consultants and SMEs: the perfect match

Management consultancy was created for the big corporates and for many years they were the biggest beneficiaries. Not any more.


The SME sector in the UK includes dynamic and innovative companies with big ambitions. Over the past few years at COMATCH we have worked on almost 1000 projects with SMEs to get their businesses ready for the future.


As SMEs look for sustained growth, for example through embracing digital and other new technologies, getting the right expertise at the right time is critical in ensuring they grasp the full potential of these opportunities. Whether it’s exploring new projects, finding greater efficiencies and growth opportunities, managing major change or just a fresh set of eyes, management consultants who have direct experience of similar projects elsewhere, can quickly identify and deliver ways for organisations to create more value and improve how they work.


In the past SMEs have often not been able to benefit from this insight and support. Traditional management consultancy cost structures were beyond the budget of many SMEs, and the lower cost alternative of finding independent professionals in a timely manner was hard if not impossible, dependent as it was on personal networks.


At long last this is changing, driven by technology that enables brand new markets for consultancy and industry expertise pioneered by platforms like COMATCH. The skills and benefits of management consultancy are finally available to all SMEs, of any size and in any sector.


COMATCH’s global network of over 9,000 vetted independent professionals is ideally suited to SMEs looking for additional capacity and capability that can be deployed in a timely, flexible and cost-effective manner. We carefully screen all the professionals in our network and work closely with clients to ensure that for each project we find the best suited professional, from single consultants to entire teams.


Every organisation and workplace has its own ways of doing things. Since we closely vet everyone in our network, we find clients the people who have both the right expertise and who will fit into a company’s culture. 


This flexible, technology-driven, approach makes management consultancy truly available to SMEs for the first time. You don’t have to be a huge multinational with a budget of millions or fortunate enough to know people with the exact skills. The marketplace finds them for you.


Now that these structural problems have finally been removed, we’re seeing a step change in SMEs taking advantage of newly available expertise in order to grow and develop. Since 2015 we’ve observed 150% growth in consulting spend by our European SME clients  (those with under 3000 employees). Among these firms, the biggest share is from those with 500 or fewer employees, the very SMEs who previously struggled the most to find, or indeed afford, high quality consultancy services.


The areas these SMEs are working with our consultants in are exactly the same as those you’d expect in companies of any size – due diligence, business unit strategy, PMO and IT project management, supply chain & procurement optimisation, for example.


The demand for consulting has always been there for smaller companies, it’s just taken a while for the technology to facilitate access. Independent consulting is now an essential resource for enabling SMEs to accelerate faster towards their ambitions.

If you’d like to know more please get in touch. 

Image provided by COMATCH

Charlotte Gregson, Managing Director UK & Ireland, COMATCH

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