WHAT’S A BUSINESS STRATEGIST?
If you’re a part of the online small business world you may have heard the title “Business Strategist” thrown around a lot. You may be wondering, what the heck do these people actually do? Can they really help me? And what does strategist even mean? Well if you didn’t know, I’m a Business Strategist. So today I’m going to break down for you: the definition of a strategist, what working with a strategist looks like, and what qualifies someone as one.
Definition of strategy
According to Merriam Webster the definition of strategy is: “a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal usually over a long period of time” or: “the skill of making or carrying out plans to achieve a goal”.
So with that being said, a Strategist is someone who creates the plan for you to follow so that you can achieve a goal. Simple enough, right?
What working with a strategist looks like
So I told you the definition of strategy, and in short what a strategist actually does which is create a plan for you to achieve a goal. But what does that really mean? Why do strategist have sessions, or packages, and what do you actually spend your time together doing?
So while everyone’s process may be a bit different, I’ll give you an inside look at mine! When a client is interested in working with me the first thing I have them do is sign up for a consult call. I recommend that if you are interested in working with anyone for a period of time and for a good amount of money, it’s best to talk with them on the phone or via video chat to make sure you’re a good fit.
On that sign-up page for the consult call there is a short questionnaire for them to fill out so that I can get to know a bit about their business before we get on the phone. The main three questions I have for them are: (1) “What challenges are you currently facing in your business?” (2) “What does your dream business look like?” and (3) “If you could accomplish one thing as a result of investing in strategy sessions, what would it be?”. These three questions give me a clear picture of where this person is, where they want to go, and what is most important for them to solve or reach. So that’s where we start and what I talk to them about on the consult call.
On the call I will honestly tell the person if I’m a good fit for them or not. If I can help them then I will tell them the things we need to work on in order to get them from where they are to where they want to be. That could be: creating a new business model with packages, services, or programs that all work together to bring in money for you seamlessly, or defining who your most valuable clients are, or creating your sales calendar, + marketing plan for the year.
So by now we know what we need to work on and I have a plan for what we need to spend each session doing. At the beginning of each session I ask you what your wins were since our last call and what you were able to accomplish. Then we get into the task at hand for the day, example: creating an autoresponder to nurture your new subscribers into customers. I give you my ideas and suggestions and we come up with what the best fit for you and your customers is. At the end of the session I always give you clear action steps to follow through on before our next call. These are steps to continuously move you closer to your goal.
As I mentioned after sessions you have your action steps, also after sessions I usually have my own homework to do for you! I go to work at researching and creating the plan that we will eventually get to in the end and I am prepping for our next session. So not only do I spend time on the phone with you for our sessions, I also spend time creating the plans and brainstorming ideas for you off of the calls.
At the end of the sessions and our time together we end with a plan. Whether it’s an action plan or a marketing plan, you will have a step by step plan to follow to hit your goal. As I mentioned earlier this is what strategist do: they create plans. And while you may definitely see results while you’re working with a strategist, it’s more likely that you will see greater results in time, as you begin to implement the plan that was created.
So in short a Strategist:
- Creates the plan to get you from where you are to where you want to be
- Is a sounding board to bounce your ideas off of
- Is a guide on what actions to take and when
- Keeps you on track and holds you accountable for what you want to accomplish
What Qualifies Someone As A Strategist
Unfortunately anyone can pretty much call themselves anything these days. So anyone can decide to put the title “Strategist” on their website and instagram bio. But in my opinion what qualifies someone as a strategist is their training, education, and experience.
For me personally, I went to school for Business Management and received my Bachelors of Science Degree. After college while working at a corporate job, I spent all of my free time reading, and taking online courses on all things business. Even now that I have my own business and am a certified strategist I spend minimum 10-15 hours each week reading, learning, and testing new methods and skills.
While education is super valuable and important, I don’t think it is the end-all be-all. So just because a strategist doesn’t have formal education, I wouldn’t qualify that as a reason not to work with them.
Even though I have a bachelor’s degree in Business, once I actually started working with business owners for free to practice my skills I knew that it wasn’t enough. I wanted training from someone who had done this already and been successful at it. That’s when I found Tara Gentile. Tara is a very successful Business Strategist who has now developed a Business Training company (called Quiet Power Strategy) to teach business owners how to successfully grow their businesses. She also trains and certifies people who want to become Business Strategist. So after months of training and mentoring under her I received my certification as a Strategist.
While this certification has played such a HUGE part in my success, and has given me the systems + know how I need to help my clients reach success, again I don’t think it is the end-all be-all to hiring someone as a strategist. Working with someone who is certified is awesome, because you know they have been through training, and have been supervised while working with “test” clients so that they have experience. But the last word here is the most important – experience.
After college I started working with clients for free to practice my skills. Then once I was going through my training to receive my certification I had to work with clients on the systems that I learned. After that is really when my business picked up and I started consistently booking paid clients to help them grow their businesses. In 2015 my friend Heather Crabtree who is a Business Mentor and Founder of the Savvy Business Owner community hired me to be a Team Leader in her group coaching program the “Savvy Business Circle”. Soon after my personal mentor Tara Gentile hired me to be a Strategist for her group mastermind program “Quiet Power Strategy: The Foundation”. Working as a Strategist in these two programs has developed my experience quickly because I was able to work with groups of entrepreneurs at a time instead of my usual 1-1 clients.
To me, experience is the most important factor in qualifying someone as a strategist. Have they created a successful business in the past? Or have they helped others create successful businesses? Is their current business successful? Look at their website, look at their testimonials, and case studies, and reach out to their clients to ask how their experience was!
Whew, that was a long post! I wrote this post because people are always asking me what a Business Strategist does. So I hope that this post helps you understand what Strategist do, how they can help you, and how to know if they are credible. Because there are so many other questions about strategist, I will be following this post up with two others. (1) When to hire a strategist (2) How to find the right strategist for you. So keep an eye out for those!
In the comments below let me know: Do you think you need to hire a strategist?