Is Working with Familiar Consultants a Good Move?

by | Jan 5, 2023

Ah, the age-old question in the business realm: when confronted with a new project, should you waltz with the devil you know (work with familiar consultants) or tango with the devil you don’t?

Metaphors aside, the quandary of whether to stick with familiar consultants or venture into the wild and seek a fresh face is as perplexing as deciding whether to reuse that slightly crinkled gift bag for the fifth time.

Yes, you’ve read that right – consulting decisions and gift bag re-use, both life’s most existential debates.

When you’re on the brink of a new venture, it’s tempting to retreat to the safety of working with familiar consultants you’ve worked with before. In all honesty, it’s a comforting embrace of the consultant who already knows you spill coffee every Monday team meeting, yeah?

However, change might beckon with the allure of new insights and energy. But, as with all things, there are pros and cons to both paths.

Whether you’re leaning towards revisiting old relationships or are ready to swipe right on a new consultant, there are some vital questions and considerations to bear in mind.

Do You Want with Familiar Consultants Who Already Know Your Business and Style?

Consultants with whom you’ve worked in the past has already done the necessary research to understand your company. They will understand your values, your core beliefs, and the fundamental information that shapes your company.

This means that they will already have a solid understanding of how all of those things will shape the project that you want done, which makes them more likely to be successful the first time.

They also will have existing relationships with the members of your company, which will make working with them easier.

Working with familiar consultants on a regular basis will improve your ability to effectively communicate what you want from them. The individual relationship with each consultant isn’t cultivated overnight.

Work with familiar consultants

In fact, you’ll start working on this relationship when you hire a consultant for the first time. If you like a consultant’s style, you can cultivate them into a fully informed and regular consultant for your business with a minimum of effort.

On the other hand, a consultant who is familiar with your business and your style won’t necessarily bring the fresh new ideas to the table that you’re looking for.

After all, taking a chance on a different consultant will give you the opportunity to interact with someone new and benefit from the talent that he or she brings to the table.

What Is the Consultant’s Area of Expertise?

As with any other profession, there will be consultants who are more skilled in some areas than others. When you work closely with consultants, you’ll learn quickly where their specific skills lie.

Over time, you will learn when it’s best to call in a particular consultant who has the skills necessary for the task at hand and when it’s better to look to a different consultant.

You should always choose the consultant with the best skills for the job, rather than allowing yourself to stay with the old and familiar, simply to avoid needing to go through the proposal process.

A returning consultant will need less input from you, but a new consultant will be more likely to come back to you for feedback.

After the job has been outlined, a returning consultant will be able to get down to it. This means that your time is freed to deal with other issues, while the consultants take care of the job that you hired them for.

There might be less frequent communication as you hire the same consultant more often, which can be both good and bad.

Moreover, as you develop a relationship with consultants, you’ll learn what information they need to work, without quite as much supervision.

On the other hand, this does mean that they are more likely to assume that they know what you want, right up until the final product is handed over.

If you’re not satisfied, it may mean that you have a delay while you wait to see the changes.

Is Your Business Edging Close to Becoming Overly Dependent on a Specific Consultant?

While there’s undeniable value in a trusted advisor who knows your operations inside out, it’s worth pausing to consider the potential risks.

Operating on the whims of one consultant can create vulnerabilities, especially if they realize the sway they hold.

Diversifying your consultant base can act as a safeguard against sudden price surges or unforeseen drops in service quality.

Moreover, while your familiar consultants can bring known advantages, new consultants offer fresh insights, approaches, and expertise.

Entertaining the idea of occasionally broadening your consulting circle can introduce you to a wider range of beneficial perspectives, ensuring your business remains adaptive and forward-thinking.

Look for new consultants

In most situations, it’s wise to request quotes from multiple consultants before committing to one. This not only guarantees you a competitive price but also a broader perspective on potential solutions.

However, certain circumstances—like a follow-up project, a niche skill requirement, a minor task, or pressing timelines—might warrant a direct go-to with a trusted consultant you’ve previously worked with.

The key is discerning the right circumstances for each approach, ensuring that your company remains both strategic and flexible in its decisions.


In the vast landscape of consultancy choices, there’s no universal “right” or “wrong”—only what’s right for your unique needs at a given time.

Reverting to familiar consultants can certainly offer comfort and ease, but consistently doing so may hint at a reluctance to venture out or an inclination to take the path of least resistance.

The essential point is to discern the situations where familiar faces truly serve your best interests. Pitting them against new entrants isn’t discourteous; in fact, with their deeper understanding of your business, they already have a head start.

Ultimately, the aim is to ensure your company selects consultants with both intent and insight, rather than out of mere habit.

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Is Working with Familiar Consultants a Good Move?

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