Consulting for Strategy: Is It Right for You?
When you’re running a business, you’ll encounter a lot of different ways to spend money. Each one comes with a promise that it’ll boost your revenue, find you new customers, and send your profits through the roof, but unless you have a very clear idea of what you’re trying to achieve and what’s right for your business, then they can just as easily become a way to spend money without getting anything back.
Today we’re taking a look at consulting – specifically strategy consulting. There are consultants covering all areas of business, from logistics to management styles, and it’s worth considering them all individually, not as a single block.
The Skill Deficit
The key with any consultant, not just strategy consultants, is to task yourself if they effectively supply a skill deficit in your business. Paying extravagant amounts to consultants when you actually have trusted senior staff who could take on the project you’re planning is a recipe not just for wasted money, but low morale and the loss of those key staff. Failing to trust yourself can be just as costly – the attempt to use consultants to avoid the responsibility of your own decisions can hamstring your ability to run a business in the long term.
Fortunately (for consultants, anyway), strategy planning is a skillset you’re unlikely to have within your own business. It requires a different set of skills, and a point of view beyond the day to day running of a business, including market and competitor research, and the insight to predict the overall state of your market into the long term. Even big companies get consulting help when they’re reviewing and setting strategy because it requires such a specific collection of skills and expertise.
Consultants or Hires
If you’re using consultants when you should be making hires, you’re getting a bad deal. Whenever you consider using consultants, consider whether you need a brief, contained injection of their skills, or if it’s something your business may require in the long term. As businesses mature, many switch from occasional use of consultants to staffing up on payroll, with dedicated marketing and legal teams, and fuller executive teams for high level decision making.
Again, strategy consultants do not often fall under this umbrella – strategy is by its nature long term, and reviewed infrequently (though regularly).
If you have the resources, strategy consultants could be a good investment for your business, helping you make decisions that will continue to have a positive impact years into the future.