Put yourself in the shoes of an executive at a prominent magazine, and you’ll find yourself in a challenging situation. You’ve observed a significant surge in your website’s popularity, but on the flip side, the sales of your physical copies are dwindling. The digital landscape is somewhat alien to you, and this sudden transformation has thrown you into a quandary. You’re urgently seeking a way forward but feeling a bit lost about where to begin.
If you were in this scenario, your thoughts would likely turn to enlisting the services of a strategy consultant. Strategy consultants are ubiquitous across industries and bring an invaluable external, expert perspective to the table when it comes to tackling complex business dilemmas. They offer fresh, unbiased insights into formidable issues, ensuring that every possible angle is considered in making substantial decisions. In the following paragraphs, I will elucidate what strategy consulting entails, why it’s a compelling option for business owners, and how one can venture into this field.
Typically, strategy consultants operate within a defined timeframe during which they commit their full attention, effort, and expertise to a specific problem.
So, what exactly does a strategy consultant do?
When embarking on a new project, a strategy consultant initiates with a comprehensive analysis of their client’s business objectives and aspirations. This analysis seeks to ascertain whether the current practices align with the desired outcomes. Subsequently, the consultant formulates strategic recommendations that the company can implement to enhance its performance.
In addition to scrutinizing the client’s business, strategy consultants bring their expertise to the table in areas like market research and competitive analysis. This enables the client to make informed decisions that best serve the health of their enterprise.
When partnering with a strategy consultant, a company can expect guidance on various fronts:
Budgeting Advice: Insights on cost-cutting measures and revenue enhancement best practices.
Production Strategies: Recommendations for streamlining product creation processes to improve efficiency.
Opportunity Management: Identification of new revenue streams and potential product offerings. Following the provision of sound recommendations, consultants may also play a role in implementing these strategies.
Let’s illustrate this with an example:
In our case, a strategy consultant, well-versed in digital transformation, could assist the magazine in making critical decisions about its future direction.
Upon joining the team, the consultant would delve deep into the magazine’s operations, analyze web traffic and sources, scrutinize trends in physical magazine sales, and conduct a thorough competitive analysis of both print and web editions in comparison to key competitors.
Important questions would be addressed, such as whether the revenue from online advertising could offset the decline in print subscriptions. An evaluation of the company’s IT infrastructure would be undertaken to assess its capacity to handle increased web traffic. Furthermore, the consultant would make informed projections regarding the future demand for printed magazines.
With this wealth of information, the consultant would propose a two-pronged strategy: first, enhancing the website’s user experience and search engine visibility through a redesign. Then, implementing a gated content system allowing loyal readers to access premium content for a monthly fee.
These recommendations would be presented to the publishing company’s executives, accompanied by data illustrating the potential revenue gains and alignment with the company’s growth strategy. Once the executive team endorses the strategy, the consultant would collaborate with management on the execution plan.
Now, you might wonder, why opt for strategy consulting? Don’t companies have internal experts and resources to address such issues?
The answer lies in the consultants’ focus and impartiality.
Consider the previous example. A strategy consultant concentrates solely on the magazine’s transition from print to digital and its implications. In contrast, the company’s executives are responsible for overseeing the entire organization. They lack the time and bandwidth to delve deeply into a single issue.
Furthermore, strategy consultants offer an objectivity that may be challenging to find within the company. Board members, executives, and managers often have personal stakes and biases that can cloud their judgment on specific matters. A strategy consultant, being an external entity, brings a clear and impartial perspective to the table. This ensures that executives receive opinions free from emotional attachments and personal sensitivities, allowing for more objective decision-making.