The 2016 Seven Small Jewels: Lyons Consulting Group

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It’s been quite a few months for Lyons Consulting Group, a Chicago-based e-commerce firm. In December, the firm placed at No. 9 on Consulting magazine’s inaugural list of the profession’s Fastest Growing Firms with a three-year growth rate of 275 percent. Last year, the firm grew 54 percent and this year, it’s projecting a more modest 25 percent growth.

Rich Lyons, CEO and president of Lyons Consulting Group, launched the firm in 2003 as more of a traditional IT implementation firm and then he started to transition it into the e-commerce space. When the market bottomed out in 2008 and 2009, Lyons says he saw the opportunity to shift gears and focus solely on the more lucrative e-commerce space. The rest, he says, was history.

“During that time, we dipped down at one point to just six employees, if you can believe that,” Lyons says. “We’ve seen tremendous growth over the last few years.”

In 2014, Lyons hired more than 100 people. Last year, the firm hired 50 people. What happened? “Well, the e-commerce space took off and that certainly helped drive the growth,” he says. “The other thing that happened was that we started to gain a reputation in the e-commerce space, and people started to see the difference in us versus the bigger firms we competed with everyday.”

Those differences, Lyons says, included factors such as Lyons being more nimble, more entrepreneurial and more customer focused. “We’re really focused on being one team with our client, and an extension of their teams. Our delivery model is a little different. We don’t have that off-shore model that a lot of our bigger competitors have. We are our clients’ partner; we can bring a whole suite of services. It’s all focused on the customer and making sure that customer is successful.”

Lyons Consulting Group’s tagline is “e-commerce realized,” but Lyons says the firm mission is to not only “help clients realize their potential online but to maximize their potential online.”

Lyons Consulting Group counts among its clients: Allen Edmonds, Wilton, Patagonia, True Religion, Tourneau, and Hotel Chocolat.

As far as the market opportunities, Lyons says there are a lot of disruptive technologies in the marketplace, and they will continue to come. So, the challenge for clients is to stay ahead of the curve.

“On the horizon, we see omni-channel—the customer expects you to be the same across all of your channels,” Lyons says. “They don’t care if they buy it online or on the store, customers expect that you’ll recognize them and personalize the retail experience to them.”

Another area of growth for Lyons, he says, is the business-to-business space. “The B-to-B space is huge and this idea of the consumerization of B-to-B is an idea that is really starting to gain momentum,” he says. “Clients with a heavy focus in the business world still want the same functionality you’d see on a retail web site.”

In addition to the B-to-B environment driving growth, Lyons says a new office that opened in London last year is starting to gain momentum, as well. “We opened an office in London last year and we’re really looking for that market to grow. I see a huge opportunity and big expansion of our business in London.”

 

Headquarters: Chicago

Additional Offices: Rockford, Ill.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Richardson, Texas; London, UK

Service Lines: Strategy

Client Industries: Retail, Packaged Goods

Billable Consultants
2014: 176
2015: 226
2016: 240(projected)

Revenue (in millions)
2014: $25.1
2015: $38.7
2016: $45 (projected)

 

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