Top 20 Innovators in BC, Annex Consulting Group
Congratulations to Annex Consulting Group, #14 in 2011's Most Innovative Companies in B.C.
It’s the dream of hunched cubicle-dwellers everywhere to break that corporate ball-and-chain and earn their own way as an independent consultant. Nice idea, but the challenge of drumming up all your own business can be daunting. Annex Consulting, however, might have hit upon the solution.
The premise is as simple as it is innovative: consultants should help each other find good jobs. And Annex has an equally simple way of encouraging people to pass on choice opportunities to their peers: it pays them. Someone who refers a project to Annex that is filled by its member consultants gets $2 for every hour worked on the project by each consultant. Similarly, someone who refers a consultant to the Annex group gets $1 for every hour they work on any Annex contracts. These awards can add up to some pretty hefty cheques, considering that in 2010 the average contract ran for 2,000 hours. That year Annex paid out about $150,000 in referral fees.
The proof of the model’s success is in its popularity. Starting with 10 consultants in 1997, Annex now counts 6,900 consultants in its alliance. It has expanded its business into Washington and Alberta and moved into full-time staffing services.
Everyone knows that networking is key to generating new business, and, by bringing independent consultants together in a rewarding way, Annex has exponentially increased their networking power. One panellist agrees: “They’ve completely turned the consulting system on its head.”