It’s easy to grow cynical about consultants: when they work well they’re almost invisible. It’s the stories of failure and excess that grab the imagination. The truth is that there are lots of ways management consultants can help even a small business – it’s simply asking for help from experts. The key to success is to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve, and how different consultants operate so you can seek the right help from the right people.
Today we’re taking a look at a specific kind of consultant, what they do and how they might be able to help you. Introducing the Strategy Consultant.
The Importance of Strategy
It’s easy to overlook the importance of a business strategy when you’re caught up in the day to day tactics of running a business – securing products, raw materials or talent, and getting the public in to spend money on them while keeping the lights on. This can mean you accidentally make extremely influential decisions about your business without thinking about the long term implications.
A strategy is a guide to your decision making so you can make sure that long term thinking is baked in – it’s a vision of the business you want to built, the red lines you don’t want to cross, the values you want to express as you work so you don’t accidentally take yourself down a path you regret while caught up in the day to day urgency of running your business.
Why Ask a Consultant?
If creating a strategy is all about the business you want to build, why ask a consultant for help? It’s a good question. Before you dive into discussions with business strategy consulting firms, it’s well worth considering if this would be a good use of your money.
Consultants exist to supply expertise and experience that you don’t have, and creating a strategy that will stand the test of time needs a lot of different kinds of expertise. A good strategy can look ahead ten years or more – pending a change in your own circumstances or ambitions – and to do that effectively you need to be able to make some predictions about financial conditions that far into the future, see customer trends coming and guess at what your opponents may be doing as well so you can do it first, different or better.
Trying to stretch yourself across all these disciplines may not leave you the concentration to focus on running your actual business, so it may well be a wise decision for you to pay for experts to deliver a solution.