The Role of the Strategist
Being a business person isn’t easy and being a business person when your focus tends to be your Passion is even harder. Take chefs and fashion designers as an example. Their creativity is sparked by their love for what they do - creating a new recipe and designing a spectacular gown is far more rewarding for them than running the numbers, setting targets, putting together projections for a five year business plan. The joy for the chef and the fashion designer is often not about the foundation of a business, that’s why so many restaurants and fashion businesses often fail. Creators need to be left to their own devices, whilst the “strategic” side of the business is dealt with by someone they can a. Trust and b. Understands the importance of bringing something unique to life.
Not everyone is a born entrepreneur or business aficionado; Yet those people who do have a vision need some guidance on how to fulfil their dream. Alexander McQueen became an apprentice tailor before ending up as a student at St Martins. He used his exceptional skill set to produce his final show which was quickly snapped up Isabella Blow. She knew talent and became one of his greatest advocates. But Alexander McQueen was a creative genius who was genuinely passionate about clothes - not just fashion - not just making outrageous statements- he understood the skill of putting a garment together. But even though he had the backing of someone influential, it took years for him to become a household name and be rewarded accordingly for his success. Nothing about his goals was about money, he just lived what he loved.
The strategist understands the importance of how to raise financial support, what the customer demographic looks like, what the price points should be, what type of specialist support is required- great accountant, great bank, superb marketeers. The strategist takes away the burden of the “mundane” and allows the creator to create. When the strategist sprinkled that fairy dust, great things happen. The business can change overnight and whilst the blood, sweat and tears remain firmly at the core of the business, the benefits of having a strategy in place are present for all to see.
What does the Strategist actually do?
According to the Oxford English Dictionary a strategy is “A plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim. ‘time to develop a coherent economic strategy’" . The business strategist is responsible for giving life to a mere thought - bringing the visions and concepts to life. They are exceptionally good at examining the details and heart of the business, before leaping into action. Looking forward and seeing whether there are obstacles in place that need to be addressed is part of the strategists remit. There is the idea that a strategist is a distant person who pops into a company once in a blue moon then leaves having received a huge pay check. That may happen, yet the excellent strategists ensure that they get to know the company and more importantly, employees very well. The strategist becomes an integral part of the team, ensuring that they get to the heart of what needs to be done.
We are fortunate enough to work with a Digital Strategist who has transformed our business - this article is written in honour of him. Thank you Tony de Palma.