Strategy consulting and business strategy go hand in glove. Let me sketch a scenario: you are a CEO of a medium-size company in South Africa. For a variety of reasons, your company is beginning to lose market share on your key products and in key market segments. The Marketing Department urges you to increase marketing and advertising and at the same time, reduce prices to win back customers and market share. Your Research & Development Department has just developed a new product line and wants more money to fund further development. The Finance Department is knocking daily on your door asking for more cash to service accounts and pay debts and creditors. The Human Resource Department can hire some great people to grow the business but the business cannot afford to hire them. And by the way, a new competitor has just entered the market with a substitute product to yours intent on winning more market share away from you.
The key question running through your mind is: what do you do? First, you’ll have to make choices. Once the choice is made, these choices need to be weighed up against each other to determine which of them is going to provide the best competitive advantage and then these choices need to be implemented. Some of the key questions could be:
- What costs do you cut?
- Where do you optimise?
- Where do you scale back?
- Where can resources be shared?
- Where can the business innovate?
What has been sketched above is business strategy.
Where Strategy Consulting comes in is where qualified, seasoned and experienced business strategy professionals’ come in and assist the business in providing advice on the strategy, choices, direction and proposed actions to be taken to deliver the strategy.
Typically, a business strategist will consult at the senior most level in the organisation, typically at Board and CEO level. Business strategy consulting will then provide custom-made advisory thinking based on that specific industry. The quality of the strategic consulting team is critical and the tools that they bring provide added clout to their thinking, approach and solution delivery. Strategy consulting and business strategy is really about dealing with facts. A true strategist deploys a common-sense approach with a fair dose of articulating a reachable and implementable vision.
Strategy Consulting at the end of the day, is getting a company using fact-based analyses to make the best strategic choices to leverage and optimise its capabilities and resources and package this into an implementable strategic roadmap, so that the business creates value for its customers, stakeholders and ultimately, for itself.