Imagine a situation where you are running a small business with a website, but it is hardly gaining any traction. You might not have a lot of grasp on how the entire digital media works, but you surely need to take quick action.
This is precisely where you need to understand what strategy consulting is. There are solid reasons why the global consulting market has reached a value of 160 billion USD in 2021.
Strategy consulting has a place in virtually every industry. A strategy consultant is someone with an expert perspective on the typical challenges your business is facing. They offer objective takes on complex issues and ensure that your business considers every angle while making a significant decision.
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What is Strategy Consulting?
Strategy consulting is a niche promising strategic advice and guidance to organizations across domains. The purpose of seeking strategy consulting is to solve complex problems and achieve the desired goals.
The process of strategy consulting involves analyzing the issues at hand through research. Depending on the area of expertise, a strategy consultant or a digital marketing consultant identifies the current and future opportunities and challenges before making recommendations.
Strategy Consulting is rightfully considered a subset of management consulting. However, while management consulting emphasizes the health and performance of the company, strategy consulting has to do more with specific goals.
Strategy consulting is way more detail-oriented in that way.
What is the Need for Strategy Consulting?
The concept of strategy consulting raises a few questions, such as:
- Why do organizations need strategy consulting from external industry experts?
- Should the management and executives of an organization be experts themselves?
The answers to these questions would require an honest approach and focus. The apparent need for strategy consulting lies in the fact that strategy consultants have the time and the ability to focus on the core issues a company is facing. This is not possible with the internal executives of the organization.
Strategy consultants are indispensable for their level-headedness. Unlike the board members, managers and executives do not have personal stakes in the business. This implies that they are free from any preconceptions and biases that can cloud their judgment on specific issues.
Strategy consulting allows a business to get an outside perspective, free from a personal investment in the organization. Devoid of emotion and personal sensitivity, strategy consultants put their best foot forward in getting an organization out of an impending crisis in the most strategic way.
What is a Strategy Consultant, and What Are His Responsibilities?
Now that we understand the concept of strategy consulting and its importance, let’s delve into how a strategy consultant works and what his primary responsibilities are.
When starting a new project, a strategy consultant would first engage in in-depth research and analysis of the goals and objectives of the client’s business. The primary purpose of this thorough analysis is to determine whether the organizations' existing practices align with what they want to achieve.
Based on this analysis, the consultants offer strategic recommendations that the organization can implement to achieve better outcomes in the near future.
Apart from this detailed business analysis, strategy consultants are responsible for providing their expertise on the competitive landscape and market research. This helps the client make well-informed decisions that ultimately promise the sound health of the organization.
Strategy consultants offer the client company:
- Opportunity Management, which is pointing out the new opportunities for revenue and product offerings
- Budgeting advice comprising inputs on best practices to drive more revenue by cutting down costs
- Production strategy recommendations to enhance efficiency in creating products
- Strategy consultants, especially those in public relations strategy, also have the opportunity to implement the recommendations after offering them.
Steps to Preparing for Offering Strategy Consulting Services
Strategy consulting is a booming area in business today; hence, many professionals like to prepare themselves to work as strategy consultants in the industry. Here are the steps to becoming a strategy consultant:
Step 1: Getting the Appropriate Degree
This goes without saying, but one will need at least a bachelor’s degree to step into strategy consulting. It is better if one has a degree in Business Administration or similar. But this degree is just a basic one, and it does not guarantee whether he will be able to make it as a strategy consultant.
In reality, the boards of the consulting firms do not have definitive education standards for hiring strategy consultants or web consultants, and they often prefer graduates with MBAs. Candidates with a solid understanding of business management, strong analytical skills along, and an inherent knack for problem-solving get preferences.
As a beginner in strategy consulting, one can choose to work as an intern, preferably within an in-demand industry. An internship is an excellent way of gaining the experience that you eventually need to land a job in the field shortly.
Step 2: Gaining a Lot of Experience
A lot goes into strategy consulting, and a strategy consultant must indeed have substantial business and consulting understanding to be successful.
Apart from industry and business knowledge, one must know the right ways of conducting himself in the boardroom. As you will be collaborating closely with the executives, you should have excellent communication skills to make your views understandable.
Strategy consultants need to make difficult decisions on a regular basis. So, if you are interested in a particular field, you must be confident to ensure that your advice is actionable and sensible. A good ability to explain the rationale behind your judgment and decision at any time is also crucial.
It is not expected for a person to have these skills without exposure and experience in the field. You will need a few years of experience working in business and consulting to develop these skills. Gaining expertise in one of the specific business subjects is also much needed.
With experience, strategy consultants learn how to make the executives trust their decision and advice. Suppose you have not spent a few years in a particular industry, especially in a niche like healthcare, you cannot expect the management of a healthcare company to take you seriously. This is true for professionals in all fields, especially strategy consulting.
Step 3: Understanding the Landscape
Before entering a full-time strategy consultant field, it is essential to know the landscape, that is, where consulting has been and how exponentially it has been growing. From the year 2008 to 2019, the strategy consulting field has seen tremendous and unprecedented growth.
However, the COVID 19 pandemic has put a stop to its growth, and there has been a reduction of 19% of its value globally. Soon after, there was a surge in demand for strategy consultants as businesses and organizations devised strategies to approach work on a long-term basis.
Today, there is an increased opportunity for consultants to support companies and industries in innovating and creating a new vision for the future of business. No wonder the job growth rate for strategy consultants has risen by 14% in the current year.
Step 4: Familiarizing with the Industry
As a potential strategy consultant, you must know that there are two buckets into which most strategy consulting firms fall. Either they offer strategy consulting as one of the services, or they offer strategy consulting exclusively and are known as pure-play firms.
Among the pure-play firms, Boston Consulting Group, Bain & Company, & McKinsey & Company are the most notable ones. Others known for quickly growing their strategy consulting practices are Deloitte, Accenture, CapGemini, and Ernst & Young.
Considering strategy consulting as a potential career, it is vital to keep these names in mind. They are good starting points for networking and getting a foot in the door.
What is Strategy Consulting Takeaways
Strategy consulting, apart from its apparent benefits for an organization, is also a fantastic network builder. A professional strategy consultant can gain a lot of new contacts in various industries and specialties.
Strategy consulting is high-profile work on the one hand, and a matter of great help for an organization, on the other. Strategy consulting is all about critical thinking; the best strategy consultants emerge winners even in the most complex business transitional periods.
Each strategy consulting project comes with unique challenges, opportunities for an individual, and an organization’s growth.
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