“Why you need to think outside the box: For one thing, not every solution comes in a box.”
– Timothy Sykes, Entrepreneur Magazine[1]

You likely already have the necessary experience, skill, and expertise to run a successful business. But that doesn’t mean you have the answer to address every operational, sales, and financial challenge or opportunity. Many businesses struggling with issues they can’t seem to solve, turn to outside help. That’s why the global management consulting services market was valued at $316.5 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow to $811.3 billion by 2031.[2]

Why is there such a reliance on advisors – outside thinking – in business? Search Google for “how does an outside perspective benefit a company” and you get 1.2 billion results, showing that you are not the only company pondering the use of an outside advisor.  Some of the quotes coming from the results highlight the reasons so many businesses are turning to outside-in thinking:

  • “Research shows that it’s often easier for outsiders to connect disparate thoughts because they come to the table with fewer preconceptions than insiders”[3]
  • “Projecting your problems on someone else is an incredibly efficient way to solve them”[4]
  • “You can’t read the label from inside the jar”[5]
  • “Companies that embrace outside-in thinking engage in constant dialogue with their customers make data-driven decisions, learn from their competitors, and seek new ways to solve problems………turn to mentors, consultants, and other third parties for insight, which allows them to see things from a different perspective”[6]
  • “Want to make smarter decisions and be a better leader? Get an outside opinion. The best answers often come from outside of your current paradigm”[7]

If you decide to take advantage of outside thinking to help you with your business, you need to make sure you select the right advisor. Here are seven key things you should consider when thinking about partnering with an outside consultant.

  1. Understand your objective: Are you looking to bring in resources to “lead and do” the work, or are you seeking outside insights/advice/validation to “guide” the work? Your answer will help inform your choice of the most appropriate resource.
  2. Internal Alignment: A critical step is to make sure you first have internal alignment on the value of bringing in an “outsider.” While there are clear benefits derived from an outside point of view, there can also be resistance from your in-house staff. On a few engagements, we have run into either overt blocking or passive aggressive behavior – either of which makes success in the engagement more difficult.  Make sure your team is up for new opinions and approaches.
  3. Know who will do the work: Typical consultants utilize a pyramid model. A seasoned leader at the top makes the sale and “owns” the project. Mid-level associates and less expensive juniors show up and do most of the work and bill hours on a project. Some advisors (like Get-to-Market Health) generally operate on a Fixed Scope Fixed Price contract or a Fixed Retainer.  This approach provides fewer surprises, less fee-fatigue, and clarity about what you are getting for your money.
  4. Need for brand: Decide up front whether you are looking for a well-known name behind the recommendations or if you are prioritizing agility and insights. Having a big brand consultant could be a prerequisite for your board. Determining that ahead of time will narrow the field for your search and help establish your budget.
  5. Focus: Give a great deal of thought to where you want the outside resource deployed. Focus on your key challenges and where an outsider can leverage their experience to overcome them.
  6. Scope: Keep things small to start. Get to know your advisor and get a feel for your appetite to consume an outside perspective. More importantly, determine your willingness to act on the outside advice you are receiving.
  7. Approach: Given the pressures on the health technology market today, it is reasonable and appropriate to be firm with your potential advisor to ensure the engagement is tied to your specific sales/revenue goals. Your advisor should be able to point to the specifics of how your investment in their services will benefit your company’s bottom line.

Ultimately, you don’t want someone else to drive the decisions on your organization’s challenges and opportunities. What you can do is bring in outside advisors to broaden your data inputs and improve your decision-making. Finding an effective outside advisor for a discrete engagement can save you time and money and eliminate wasted resources.

At Get-to-Market Health, we continually ask for feedback on the effectiveness of our engagements. One of the things our clients tell us is how much they value an outside point-of-view to help them solve a problem or take advantage of an opportunity. We consistently get positive reactions on the insights we provide and work we deliver because of our many successful experiences.

Click here to learn more about how we can help you with your business challenges and opportunities.


[1] Entrepreneur Magazine, Jan 10, 2019. Click Here.
[2] Management Consulting Services Market Research, 2013. Allied Market Research. Click Here.
[3] MIT Sloan Management Review. Click Here.
[4] AM Agency. Click Here.
[5] Kerry Fleiser, Marketing VP. Click Here.
[6] CEO Hangout. Click Here.
[7] Inc. Magazine. Click Here.



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