Independent Thought - It’s Rarer Than You Think

How do you know you are getting independent advice. Plus get three pieces of practical advice from Prospero.


David Worby

4/3/20233 min read

As the consulting industry continues to grow, it’s likely you’ve worked with a consultant (or will soon). You could be collaborating with them on anything from digital transformation and retail performance to culture and process management.

If you’ve worked with consultants before then you may already know, outside contractors can be a great way to solve business problems in your organization. Expert consultants can help you accelerate your path to digital maturity and see things from a new perspective. Not to mention saving you some serious money.

Dirty Deeds, Done Dirt Cheaply

Another thing you may or may not know—one of the oldest tricks in the consulting industry book is to recommend third party services based on commissions or kickbacks.

Taking a page out of the investment advisor’s book, some retail, digital, and management consulting firms have built payout relationships with certain tech companies. A quid pro quo system built on kickbacks for referrals must certainly work for them, but not necessarily for the customer.

Our Motto: Objective Advice Only

At Prospero Commerce we are 100% independent—we’re not beholden to any technology or other vendors. We value this independence fiercely because it means we can offer genuinely independent advice.

We’re not just telling you this to brag, though of course we’re proud of our “objective advice only” motto. We’re telling you because there’s value in having an objective external perspective, especially when it forces you to question the way you’ve always done things.

Objective advice, though not always fun to hear, is usually the type of advice that moves you forward.

So, here are three pieces of honest advice you may not hear from other digital retail consultants.

1. Ask them point blank: how do you get paid?

Before working with any consultant or consulting firm to help with your digital transformation, we recommend asking them exactly how they get paid. So that you clearly understand their incentives, ask them - is it billable hours only, or are there commissions involved?

2. Maybe, you actually don’t need it.

When we make tech recommendations to our clients, it’s because we think it’s the best solution for the job. Not because it’s the shiny new thing, or because it’s the one we’re paid to say is the best.

Sometimes simpler is better. Which is why before encouraging you to buy anything, we always ask “Does the company need this and will it push their objectives forward? Can the team even handle it?” No offense…but if you can’t make the best of a tool for whatever reason, we’re prepared to tell you you shouldn’t buy it

3. The hard questions are often the ones most worth asking.

We’re not easy and cheap consultants. We’re known for our curiosity and challenging our clients with questions they don’t get asked every day.

From “What does the future look like for the brand?” to “What does ‘more successful’ actually mean? And the classic, yet feared “What if we tried it another way?” and “Why?”

Some questions are not easily answered. But that usually means they are the most important.

Put another way, concepts like success, brand tone of voice, and brand ethos are not always easy to define. But the brands who truly understand them are the ones that win.

Independent Thought - How Do You Know You Are Getting It

Consulting - helping you turn ideas into reality
Consulting - helping you turn ideas into reality

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Also in this series:

How to maintain great Consulting standards when working remotely

How to Bust through Information Silos in the new-hybrid-world-of-work-pt-2

Prospero Commerce is a UK-based independent consulting firm. With over 60 years of combined experience, we help ambitious companies make smarter digital decisions. To explore what’s possible in digital commerce—get in touch.