A strategy consultant can be a useful asset for your business at many different times during its lifecycle. When you’re first setting up a strategy is an important document to have, both in guiding your business through its initial growth and as a way to instil confidence in potential investors or creditors. At this time, you likely don’t have much experience and the expertise of a consultant will help you punch above your weight.
As your business grows there are various things that might prompt you to reassess your strategy: you might grow beyond its initial remit, your personal ambitions might change as you grow older, changes in the local or global economy might mean you need to update your strategy to be relevant in these different times. While you might have more insight into your industry and the world of business than when you were just starting out, it’s still valuable to get an expert pair of eyes on the situation who have a bit more distance and objectivity.
Whatever your situation, what you get out of a relationship with a consultant depends on what you put into it, so today we’re taking a look at working with a strategy consultant so you can build an effective relationship that leads to success for your business.
Know What You Want
Before you enter into a consulting relationship, you need to put some thought into what you want out of it. When you’re getting advice about strategy, you can’t have a constructive conversation unless you’ve thought about the goals you have for your business, and your personal goals over the next year specifically and more broadly over a five to ten year period. This gives you a clear starting point for a discussion.
Listen to the Experts
Putting this thought into what you want doesn’t mean you should be completely welded to those aims though. You need to be ready to listen to experts if you hire them, and that means potentially hearing things you don’t want to. Be open to finding out that certain goals for growth might not be realistic in the current circumstances, for example, or that some of your ideas conflict with each other and need to be modified or are a poor fit for your business model.
Hiring experts and disregarding their expertise when you don’t like it is how businesses fail!
Do the Work
It’s easy to fall for the illusion that the significant thing, the big boost you can give your business, is talking with the consultants. But unless you also put in the work to put their recommendations into practice, then it’s throwing money away. Even if your strategy consultants write a strategy document for you, you need to do the work of putting it into practice, applying it to your decision making, and hewing to its values even if cheaper and more straightforward options present themselves.
If you search in London strategy consulting firms are quite common so you should be able to find a good option to build a constructive relationship with.