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Communications of the ACM

ACM CareerNews

Eight Things You Need to Know About Joining a Boutique Consulting Firm

Given the layoffs at many large companies, many tech workers will likely consider joining or forming small boutique consulting firms with 50 or fewer employees. Boutiques, particularly those with only a handful of employees, can offer tremendous opportunities for IT professionals, but they also present unique challenges. For example, they may not have established clients, methodologies or administrative processes in place. Moreover, they may not have the resources to train new employees who have limited consulting experience. With that in mind, tech workers should consider the challenges and opportunities associated with joining or creating a boutique consulting firm.

Since successful boutiques typically deliver a small number of very high-quality services, workers should look for ones that adhere to their specialties. Focus on the firms that have expertise within industries relevant to a specific background and with clients for whom that expertise can add value. Most boutiques struggle to build enough market awareness so that potential clients know they exist, so it is important that a firm can identify potential business opportunities and close deals with new clients. Boutique consultants can't force clients to implement their ideas


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