Small Management Consulting Businesses—Coping with Coronavirus

Photo Credit: Gerd Altmann

March 16, 2020

Being a relatively new company (we’re just over one year old), at Clear Outcomes we don’t have many of the trappings of classic management consulting firms.  For example, we don’t have an office; we work completely virtually. We have set up systems that allow us to communicate quickly across our different time zones. Maybe most importantly, we like working with each other and mutual trust is high. 

However, the COVID-19 outbreak will still have an impact on how we do our work. Here are some of the steps we are taking to address what comes next for us.

  • Update Business Continuity Plans:  Any small business has likely thought of contingency and continuity plans, but office they’re just a series of notes. Sometimes, these plans live in the heads of the founder and key partners.  What if someone had to pick up the reins quickly? Where would they start? How would they know what to do? At Clear Outcomes, we’re updating our plans and sharing it with the core team so that we can ensure seamless operations, from client engagements, to human resources, to finances. Here’s a handy guide that might be able to help—Business Continuity Plan Template.
  • Seek inventive ways to re-think fieldwork and travel:  At Clear Outcomes, as often as possible, we identify and work to build local capacity—and that includes working with local consultants. Sometimes, though, our core team might default to travel, because it can be a seemingly easier and faster way to get things done.  It is a reflex. But if we take some time to suggest what can be done with local consultants, with secondary data analysis, and with remote interviews, we may find we’ve been adding a lot of carbon to the atmosphere for not that much value add. We are thinking of more efficient ways of working—with less travel, which could be good for the health and welfare of our staff and consultants. And, ultimately, it’s a more sustainable way to work.
  • Use this opportunity to renew thinking on what is next:  It looks like we are all going to have some quality time in our home offices.  This is an opportunity to reflect on partnerships, new business opportunities, and innovations that we may not have time to address with busy travel and meeting schedules. We will use this time to document some future plans, renew conversations with partners, and think in new ways about how we are doing business.