Making a Point
The consulting industry has a reputation for long hours,
extensive travel and high employee burnout. Point B is doing its
best to change that equation-according to the firm, its focus on
achieving outcomes for clients and encouraging associates to be "as
busy as you want to be" helps keep hours under control. And the
firm's model of "local people serving local clients" keeps
associates working near their homes and devoting their time to
Point B completes over 800 engagements each year. Clients range
from startups to Fortune 100 companies, and have included Alaska
Airlines, Microsoft, PetSmart, Starbucks Coffee Company, Cigna,
Providence Healthcare System, Expedia and Walgreen Co. The firm's
work has spanned a number of industries, including healthcare,
banking and financial services, government, telecommunications,
software and technology, manufacturing, retail, and media and
$200 went so much further in the
Point B was founded in early 1995 by Jim Hodge, Tim Jenkins and
Darran Littlefield, three Seattle-area entrepreneurs and former
Accenture managers. Beginning with an initial investment of $200
and one client at launch, their decision to establish the firm was
built on a belief that most organizations were being underserved by
traditional consulting firms. The biggest issues, as far as the
founders saw it, were that traditional consulting firms often sent
inexperienced work teams to clients, spent too much time drafting
methodologies rather than effecting change, and were plagued by
potential conflicts of interest and an inability to
Accordingly, Hodge, Jenkins and Littlefield started Point B with
the aim of doing things differently. Among other things, the firm
believes that "different " involves focusing specifically on
execution and actually getting projects done; providing flexible
access to leaders; eliminating "big firm " overhead; and avoiding
alliances, reseller agreements or other pairings-up that could
compromise the company's objectivity.
From 1995 until 2000, Point B established itself by focusing
exclusively on its local Seattle market, but has since expanded
nationally. Despite its expansion into new markets, however, the
firm believes in staying local; when a client calls for help, the
firm appoints a consultant who lives in or near the client's town.
That management philosophy reaps two major benefits: First,
consultants enjoy easier lifestyles and, second, because Point B
consultants hardly ever travel, clients save money by not working
with out-of-market experts. Geographically, Point B currently
serves clients in the Seattle, Phoenix, Portland, Denver, Bay Area,
Chicago and Southern California markets.
Jack of all trades
Point B's competitive advantage is not so much what it does, but
how reaches its end goals. Self-described experts in the "practical
art of getting things done, " the firm works with clients on issues
such as integration following a merger or acquisition; process
improvement; getting new systems up and running (or maximizing the
use of existing systems); decision making; project launch or
turnaround; getting quick wins; recruitment issues and more. It
also works with clients in the areas of recruiting, business and
technical analysis and business case development.
Generally, Point B serves in a consultative role, but it is also
frequently asked to fill an interim leadership position and help
hire a replacement. Its consultants are selectively hired based on
their prior experience; new hires typically carry between seven and
15 years of experience in the business, and come from settings that
include successful startups, large corporations and leading
professional service firms.
Swimming with the big fish
While Point B claims to differentiate itself from the bigger
consulting shops through its unique and exclusive focus on bringing
the experience and unbiased consulting to help their clients
achieve their strategy, that doesn't stop it from butting heads
with some of the titans in the field. The likes of Accenture and
Deloitte offer similar consulting services as part of their menu of
services, a fact that occasionally leads them into competition with
Point B for contracts. The firm also faces competition from local
or specific industry-focused consultancies, but claims to have to
compete on less than 10 percent of its opportunities.
IN THE NEWS
Top 25 Consultants
Ben Burke was named one of the top 25 consultants in the nation
by Consulting magazine.
Power of Employee
Founder Tim Jenkins talks about how an employee stock ownership plan can
strengthen a company.
Impacts of ICD-10
Point B healthcare experts talk specifics around the impacts of the shift
around this key legislation date.
Point B is now employee-owned, and the company plans to use the
proceeds from the transaction to expand and diversify, as reported
in the Puget Sound Business Journal.
Top "35 under 35 " Consultants in the
Point B's Garrett Kephart named tops in the nation in Energy.
Tops in Oregon
Point B was named the second best place to work in Oregon by Oregon Business Magazine in its "100 Best Companies to Work For" competition.
The annual awards are based on the results of surveys completed by
over 240 companies and nearly 11,000 employees across the