The New York Times article Goldman, Citi, UBS ... and a Guy in an Office describes a successful one man firm that is currently the world's 11th ranked merger and acquisition adviser.
The article describes this as the "trend toward merger and acquisition microfirms, or, as in his case, sole practitioners." Key quote:
Bankers have already coined a new catchword for such small firms: “kiosks,” as opposed to the somewhat larger “boutiques,” ... Such arrangements can be fabulously lucrative, since kiosks have little or no overhead but are still paid as a percentage of the total cost of a successful deal. Clients receive the benefit of the undiluted attention of a top merger and acquisition strategist.
This trend - small, micro and even solo businesses successfully competing head to head with large corporations - is happening across the economy.
The business models used by small firms to compete with industry giants are often similar. They leverage specialized skills and knowledge, attack niche markets, provide high levels of service and use technology once only available to larger firms.
This recipe is working in a number of service businesses such as consulting, legal services and financial services.
It's also starting to spread to product businesses as small and micro manufacturing companies take advantage of new and cheaper ways of making products such as 3D printers.
We're not suggesting this trend will result in the end of big corporations, at least not anytime soon.
But industry structures comprised of a small number of global giants and a growing number of small and micro businesses (we call these barbell industry structures) are becoming increasingly common.