Consultants from the “Big Four” consultancy firms very rarely stoop to assisting startups, given the lack of budget of smaller companies.
That being the case, Nigerian startup TBCA.ng is looking to bridge the gap, connecting on-demand independent consultants with clients that need projects completed.
All its independent consultants have experience at Big Four firms as well as the likes of Accenture and McKinsey, and TBCA encourages them to work with businesses they ordinarily would not serve.
“It dawned on me that SMEs – and some startups – need quality business advice and skills the most, but yet cannot afford it,” said project manager Jide Rotilu.
“At the same time, I had family members with startups who always asked me for assistance with strategy or business Processes transformation. In cases, where they needed tax advisory or accounting, I would ask friends in my office for their expertise. I saw that I could provide advisory services to them, and also connect them to other consultants that had skills which I did not have.”
The concept of TBCA was thus born, to help startups connect with professional consultants with real consulting experience.
“The goal has evolved to cater to SMEs and larger enterprises,” Rotilu said.
The company ran its first pilot project in 2016, and has since then completed a number of jobs for startups. Rotilu says startups have for too long lacked access to quality and affordable professional advice.
“Many SMEs are put off by the fees of consulting in general, or don’t even know they need it. Many of them go under because of problems that could easily have been solved,” he said.
There are benefits for consultants too.
“Due to seasonal projects, downtime, and staff attrition, many consulting firms find themselves in a position of running payroll even if there were no billable hours,” Rotilu said.
“This happens at every consulting firm, leading to wastage of both talent and resources.”
Both of these issues are addressed by TBCA, which is self-funded and charges a service fee for every job booked through the platform. Rotilu said revenues are growing as more clients use the platform and enjoy the service.
“Uptake has been great amongst our independent consultants. We have about 10 different core skills currently represented on the platform,” he said.
“The value proposition has been very persuasive to independent consultants and that has translated into high number of signups. These are quality signups. The independent consultants also go through a rigorous screening process before they are accepted and onboarded on the platform.”
He said uptake from clients has been a bit slower, primarily due to expected culture changes in how they relate to consulting services.
“But new clients are super-pumped about the idea and we have referral rewards also to attract more clients,” said Rotilu.
TBCA is currently operating in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt, but plans to “conquer Africa”.
“Our short expansion plan is set for Nairobi, Johannesburg and Accra by the fourth quarter of 2018. We should expand continent-wide within the next 10 years,” said Rotilu.
“We just want to provide project-based jobs for as many African independent consultants as possible and ensure African clients have access to quality and affordable professional advisory services.”