Fertile Ground

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"Seattle's Consulting Nexus"

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A cadre of Seattle-based
management consulting firms have landed national recognition for their rapid
growth and role as industry innovators.

In addition to Slalom Consulting,
three local firms—Point B, Revel Consulting and Lenati—were founded on similar
tenets, took aim at local markets and figured out how to solve the industry’s
No. 1 challenge—creating a work-life balance for consultants.

Each company’s founders came from
the ranks of the nation’s largest consulting firms, bringing with them deep
experience and offering customers a close, long-term relationship at lower
prices than the Big Five consulting firms. By doing so, these local firms are
posting growth rates of 15 percent or more at a time when the industry is
stagnating, says Jess Scheer, senior editor of Consulting Magazine.

So why are Seattle firms so
successful and creative? Certainly, Seattle’s entrepreneurial spirit and
unwritten focus on balancing work and leisure play a role. Couple that approach
with the fact that many of our pioneering companies—Microsoft Corp., AT&T
Wireless Services, Costco, Amazon, Starbucks, T-Mobile and Nordstrom—have grown
to such a size, national stature and prominence that purchasing such management
consulting services is a normal part of doing business. And throw in that many
of these founders realize that success at home can be replicated in other
areas.

Fifteen-year-old Point B is the
oldest of the Seattle firms and considered the pioneer in helping consultants
achieve a work-life balance. Consultants work virtually, tackling projects for
large companies as well as startups and smaller firms. A third of its business
helps health care companies, with the balance of specialty in retail and
technology consulting.

Lenati, just four years old, is a
boutique firm focused on helping West Coast companies solve their sales and
marketing challenges, launch products, and differentiate their brands and new
products by taking fresh approaches.

Kirkland’s Revel Consulting
launched as a customer relationship management (CRM) implementation firm in
2005. It later expanded into management consulting, including project and
change management, process engineering and strategy development. The company is
broadening its high-tech customer base, adding telecommunications and health
care practices this year.

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