What is a Business Strategy Consultant? Do I Need One?

Are you uncertain about the potential benefits of hiring a business strategy consultant for your business? While they are sometimes confused with strategic planning facilitators, there are key differences between these roles and other consulting positions.

In this blog post, we will delve into the role of business strategy consultants, the benefits of partnering with one, and how they differ from other consulting roles and strategic planning services. If you want to align your team, gain clarity on your mission and vision, and make informed decisions for your company, this post will assist you in determining whether hiring a business strategy consultant is the right decision for you.

If you’ve recently browsed through social media, you might have come across some amusing videos poking fun at the vague job descriptions of business consultants. It’s time to shed some light on this matter. With extensive experience in providing strategic planning services, we are enthusiastic about providing insights into the world of business strategy consultants.

So, what does a business strategy consultant actually do?

Put simply, a business strategy consultant is a professional who helps business owners and organizational leaders make informed decisions and develop effective business strategies. They specialize in strategy, focusing on areas like strategic planning, analysis, and decision-making.

When you hire a business strategy consultant, they integrate into your organization and work closely with you. Their primary goal is to identify strategic initiatives that align with your desired outcomes and current capabilities. They collaborate with you and your team, using tools such as market research, competitive analysis, scenario planning, and change management to pinpoint the best options and assist you in making strategic choices.

What Makes a Business Strategy Consultant Different from Other Consulting Roles?

The main distinction between a business strategy consultant and other roles involved in strategic planning lies in their level of influence.

A business strategy consultant typically has significant input into your organization’s decisions and offers guidance on actions to take. When hiring a consultant, they bring specialized expertise and often suggest strategic goals and actions for your team and organization to prioritize. However, this influence can manifest in various ways.

One approach is the “expert model of consultation,” where you seek a consultant with specialized knowledge in a specific area. They conduct industry surveys and provide recommendations without conducting a comprehensive diagnosis or audit of your organization. This research-based and external perspective typically focuses on data gathering, analysis, and action recommendations.

Organizations operating in this manner include Gartner and McKinsey Solutions, which offer specific consulting solutions and research reports on a transactional basis, allowing clients to access tailored information or services without long-term consulting commitments.

On the other hand, some consultants establish long-term relationships and offer strategic advisory services across various industries. Companies like Bain & Company and Boston Consulting Group provide comprehensive management consulting services covering different aspects of a business. These consultants closely collaborate with organizations, conducting audits and offering recommendations to optimize operations and strategy. They bring valuable industry experience and expertise to uncover inefficiencies and explore new strategic opportunities.

However, being external to the company and not bound by its culture, their focus is primarily on improving success in the specific initiative or project they are assigned. This may sometimes lead to conflicts or disruptions in the current state of affairs, as they may propose significant changes without comprehensive knowledge of the organization.

Exploring Alternatives: When a Business Strategy Consultant Isn’t the Right Fit

If none of the options mentioned above suit your needs, there’s another alternative to consider: strategic planning facilitation. This approach revolves entirely around your requirements and preferences.

A strategic planning facilitator is a professional specializing in aiding organizations with their strategic planning process. Their primary role is to facilitate and guide this process, ensuring it is productive, inclusive, and outcome-oriented. They assist organizations in conducting strategic assessments, defining goals, crafting action plans, and fostering alignment among stakeholders.

The facilitator’s role is to support your leadership team in identifying the appropriate actions and goals. They bring a proven process and employ a behavioral approach to help your team discover its own solutions. Facilitators prioritize aligning your leadership team with the company’s mission and vision and cascading that alignment throughout the organization. They emphasize the process over imposing directives. By addressing behavioral and psychological barriers, they aid in breaking through misalignment and avoiding the trap of divergent objectives. This enables your team to leverage the expertise and knowledge within the organization, promoting effective leadership and performance.

Business strategy consultants and strategic planning facilitators both have significant roles in strategic thinking and planning. However, they differ in focus and approach. A strategic planning facilitator primarily concentrates on guiding the strategic planning process itself, often through offsite facilitation. They stress effective collaboration and alignment among stakeholders, assisting your team in working together to address challenges without imposing their own recommendations.

On the other hand, a business strategy consultant provides strategic recommendations, guidance, and expertise across various areas. They aid organizations in formulating and executing comprehensive business strategies, sometimes challenging preferred actions in the process.

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