A strategic planning consultant is a professional who advises businesses on charting and planning future growth, based on exploiting unique strengths of the business or company and a detailed plan on achieving concrete results within prescribed periods of time.
Most businesses, usually small and medium-sized, fail to set clear goals taking into consideration current scenarios, competition and business trends, coupled with future expectations and desired business objectives. Essentially, strategic planning is about ‘seeing the big picture’ and as a strategic planning consultant, it is your job to evaluate and analyze your clients’ business and provide help in setting up realistic business goals for future growth. To become a strategic planning consultant, here’s what you need to do…
- You cannot become a strategic planning consultant overnight! The typical profile is of an individual who has significant experience in running or managing a successful business or company; or has proven consulting experience in advising clients on strategic planning.
- For an entry-level position, the first step is to get a bachelor (4 years), or even better a master’s degree, in subjects such as business, economics, finance, accounting, etc.
- While studying for your degree look for internship positions in consulting companies, where strategic planning is undertaken.
- Join a consulting company upon the completion of education and training and works as part of teams or groups, which offer strategic planning advice to clients. Finding an experienced consultant who will act as your mentor, is a good idea too.
- Gain experience in successfully advising clients on strategy planning, signing-up new clients on your own, etc, before you can set up your own shingle as an independent strategic planning consultant.
- The second route to becoming a strategic business consultant is to run or manage your own business in a specific industry or segment, where you gather many years of work experience and become qualified to advice other people on how to run their business, backed by proof of the success you’ve had in following your own advice.
It is important to publicize your work and talents before clients start queuing up for your advice; this can be done in a number of ways, such as word-of-mouth, references from satisfied clients, conducting training courses or seminars in strategic planning for companies in your sphere of expertise and so on.
Networking through various media is the key to attracting more clients; hence, you need to make it a point to attend industry gatherings such as trade fairs, trade guild or chamber of commerce meeting, etc.