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In order for businesses to best determine their future direction and give themselves the greatest chance of success, employing a Business Strategist is becoming more and more critical. For those companies that don’t currently have a similar inhouse position, hiring a consultant can be an excellent way for the business to see through a ‘digital lens’. As a result, there are more opportunities in this field than ever. Work with Salt to find your ideal Business Strategy role today.
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Business strategy is the means by which an organisation sets out to achieve its objectives. It is essentially long-term business planning, and encompasses areas like finance, sales, operations models, capabilities, process, technology and marketing.
Those in a Business Strategy role will do as the title suggests: help shape a company’s business strategy. Some of main responsibilities include defining its overall direction, identifying attainable opportunities going forward, and developing plans to enable a business to realise its objectives. All of this will help formulate a corporation’s path to growth, profitability, and ultimately success.
|Associate / Senior Associate||£45,000 - £75,000|
|Consultant||£75,000 - £100,000|
|Head of Strategy||£90,000|
|Project Leader/Engagement Manager||£100,000 - £130,000|
Businesses without a solid strategy can struggle in a number of ways. They may not understand what’s required for future success, have little direction to what they’re doing and where they’re going, and fail to adapt to an ever-changing world. Those with a sound strategy that’s closely tied to their vision are much better placed to thrive. As Corporate Strategists enable companies to achieve this, they are unsurprisingly in high demand.
More and more businesses of all sizes are cottoning on to this need for strategic planning themselves, and for this reason, there are more opportunities than ever for business strategists. Such positions generally go to mid-level personnel or those with significant experience in consulting roles, although more large corporations are now targeting top MBA students, in fact an MBA or high level degree is now almost a prerequisite for a top performing Business Strategy role. Strategic planning roles are often viewed as one of the most desirable jobs in a company, due to the power they give individuals to direct an organisation’s entire vision. It is not uncommon for those in senior strategy roles to eventually take the CEO position.
The majority of companies still struggle to implement their business strategies. A 2016 study found that 67% of well-formulated strategies failed because of substandard execution, with reasons behind this including poor communication of strategy and low receptivity to change from others. Therefore, the demand for those that can not only formulate innovative strategies, but have the ability and personality to get everybody moving in the same direction, is only likely to increase. Strategy is clearly an area businesses still need to improve on, so plenty of companies should be looking to hire talented Corporate Strategists for the foreseeable future, meaning the prospects for those in this field look good.
To flourish in a Business Strategy role, you need a wide range of capabilities. One such capability is outstanding research skills, as these are fundamental in being able to formulate a company’s strategy. Another is strong analytical and problem-solving skills, as you’ll be tasked with reviewing information and developing solutions to various company issues going forward.
You’ll also require exceptional finance skills, as financial planning will be a key element of your role. Strong verbal and written communication skills are necessary, as you’ll need to both effectively communicate with colleagues and write clear and insightful briefs. Finally, as you’ll need to interact with managers and investors, strong interpersonal skills are also extremely important.
Being able to show success in developing strategic plans is a must. If you have a track record of turning business goals into actionable initiatives, you’ll already distinguish yourself as a strong candidate.
You should also have an understanding of business process improvement tools and the ability to update or enhance existing work processes if possible. Knowledge of enterprise software tools like CRM and ERP systems will go a long way, as will experience of creating and optimising customer journeys. An understanding of how to interpret data to improve results will also help you appeal to an employer.
In order to prepare for a Business Strategy interview, it is advisable to research the company you’re interviewing with and learn the ins and outs of its business strategy.
You should also study some of the online articles that detail the most common questions asked at Business Strategy interviews. This will give you a good idea of the type of questions you might have to answer, which you can then prepare for in advance. Common questions you could be asked include:
For those seeking a business strategist role, a bachelor’s degree in business administration, marketing, finance or something similar would be advantageous, whilst an MSc, MA or MBA would be an added bonus. Above all, experience in a Business Strategy role is what employers are looking for. This doesn’t even have to come from a permanent position, and could be from an internship or some form of work experience. Whilst a degree sets the foundations for somebody to take on such a position, experience is definitely more important. This will not only make it easier for a candidate to excel in a Business Strategy role, but also shows employers you are eager to forge a career in this area.
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