The Consultants Have Arrived

consulting cartoon

I’ll admit I don’t know much about consulting. Only one of the companies I ever worked for ever hired one, and I’m sure they’re in general quite helpful, but not this one guy.

Every suggestion he made, I swear, was the most basic, self-evident, common-sense idea I’d ever heard.

“You know what would help? If sales could sell more.” You think?!

So the idea that a company would pay for the most basic assistance inspired this cartoon. Drawing anthropomorphic math symbols was just the icing on the cake.


Mark Anderson Mark Anderson's cartoons appear in publications including Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review. His business cartoons are available for licensing at his website,

7 Reactions
  1. Isn’t one of the definitions of ‘consultant’ – a person who borrows your watch to tell you what time it is and charges for the privilege?

  2. Haha nice one Kurt 🙂 here’s my take on it:

    I think a bad consultant takes your watch and tells you the time.

    An average consultant takes your watch, tells you the time, and gives it back to you.

    A good consultant teaches you how to tell the time.

    A really, really good consultant asks you why you’re wearing a watch if you don’t know how to use it!! 😉

    My point is there are good and bad consultants! I hope you guys get to experience the good ones, they do exist!

    • I find there’s just such a difference from the corporate world to the small-business world, when it comes to consultants.

      In the corporate world, half the time you hire a consultant to train staff and bring their knowledge up to speed. You may not call it training, but in effect, that’s why you’re bringing in a consultant. And yes, sometimes saying what seems obvious is an important contribution, if the staff isn’t adequately trained or lacks experience.

      On the other hand, in the small business world, you can’t afford many talkers. You really need do-ers. And that’s part of the reason that small businesses can have a tough time dealing with consultants, especially when the consultant charges by the hour and you see the bills just going up up up while the consultant talks on on on.

  3. The example of the consultant suggesting more sales to cure the problem definitely comes from a bad consultant. Most companies that I consult are losing money, and the last they need is more revenue. More revenue will only cause them to lose more money. Before anyone hires a consultant, please perform your due diligence. There are some very good consultants out there, and conversely some pretty bad ones.

  4. Anita – I completely agree and given the very competitive consulting market at the moment, most of the consultants I know are making sure they deliver excellent value for money in order to establish that business relationship and trust with customers. Integrity and honesty is very important here, they can only get away with so much talk and talk until they get figured out, whereas the do-ers are getting more work!

    My advice in those situations? Get a scope defined up front and ask for project plans before you sign contracts with consultants. Project plans will give you an idea of where within the project the consultant will ‘do’ and where they won’t and you can collaboratively agree on a plan that is suitable for both. Some talk is good because the consultant will be your adviser and will give pros and cons of situations instead of picking up something and doing it, they will need guidance from the business and will need feedback on ideas they give.

    I developed to connect small businesses to consultants globally.