Designing business strategy is fundamentally about making choices. Do we emphasize new customers or increased business with current customers ? Do we attack or avoid our competitors’ strengths ? How can we best let potential customers know about our products / services ? And so on. Designing strategy is selecting the path that will best enable an organization to deliver “success”.
Here again, the fundamentals are essential. Our clients can’t choose the best path until they have a clear destination. The best path is meaningless unless everyone follows it. The best path must have mileposts so that progress can be measured. The prime function of a strategy consultant is to keep focus on the fundamentals and to guide the client in asking the essential questions.
STRATEGIES CONSULTING believes that no one can know the in’s and out’s of our clients’ business as well as our clients do. We also believe that we can help them structure their thinking so that the “best-supported” choices reveal themselves. We also believe that outsiders asking naive questions can cause businesses to take a fresh look at why certain choices are made ... and what might happen under other choices. And we believe that the process is as important as the end product. Without appropriate input, buy-in is difficult to achieve ... even if that input is unfamiliar or even unwelcome. And the output must be a usable, “living” reference tool for decision-making -- not flashy “credenza-ware” that consumes a lot of resources and then simply gathers dust.
And then comes the hard part -- executing the strategy flawlessly, staying on strategy as long as appropriate, and keeping the strategy ‘alive’ by adapting to real-life developments.
STRATEGIES CONSULTING provides the experienced guidance that enables our clients to design and flawlessly execute their strategy. First, we meet with you to learn your needs, your unique circumstances, and what you are trying to achieve -- in specific, measurable terms. Then we assemble the appropriate expertise and custom design the steps our experience shows us will most quickly and efficiently deliver :
- the results you seek
- in a time-frame that makes sense
- at a cost that provides you an excellent return on investment.
A CASE STUDY :
The CEO of an industry-leading consumer products manufacturer was struggling with growth projections. The Board was demanding +10% per year in sales and profits. He couldn’t determine whether +10% was realistic or not. Where would it come from ? Their primary market was relatively static, so doing more of what they’d been doing wasn’t the answer. STRATEGIES CONSULTING was commissioned to assist the operating divisions’ planning teams assess market potential opportunities, identify the pro’s and con’s of strategic alternatives (including costs and returns), and recommend strategic priorities.
STRATEGIES CONSULTING clarified that our role was as resource for their efforts. We were not the solution-finders, but we would help them ask the questions that would lead to solutions. The next important step was to involve operating line managers with the planners in the market reviews. As a result of the dialogue, together we constructed a simplified matrix of potential with new vs. existing customers and markets, opportunities to grow demand were balanced with opportunities to grow share. And, by analyzing the category non-users, new product opportunities were identified. The planning teams and operating heads presented the alternative strategy options, with solid logic-based support, and cost/benefit analyses which reflected the steps that would actually be required to implement the strategic components.
Results : The CEO and the company created an actionable, supportable strategy that everyone in the organization understood and believed-in. Additionally, contingencies were developed through ‘what if ?’ discussions. And, review points were set to ensure that the strategy was kept currently relevant to market conditions.
OTHER EXAMPLES OF CLIENT CHALLENGES ADDRESSED :
- “My Finance people tell me to raise prices; my Sales people tell me to lower prices; my Marketing people tell me to spend more in advertising; my Board is telling me to improve profits ...”
- “(A global customer) is the 800# gorilla -- if we don’t do serious business with them, we’re not seriously in business. How do we improve ?”
- “Our advertising wins awards -- so why are we losing market share ?”
- “Our senior VP’s can’t even agree on a business model to serve as a basis for a strategy.”
- “Expanding into the developing Eastern European markets looks tempting, but can we be confident that it will be profitable ?”
- “We have a great story to tell, a real reason to buy ... but we can’t seem to get our message through to buyers.”
(Please also refer to ”What They Say...” under “Clients / Employers”)