RGS logo


Strategic Advisory 101: Everything You Need To Know

Business Consulting 101

Strategic advisory involves experienced consultants providing businesses with comprehensive guidance throughout the entire business process. By planning ahead and watching for Key Performance indicators (KPIs) to measure success with the support of a strategic advisor, businesses can avoid surprises and distressing situations.

Unfortunately, many businesses attempt to advise themselves, which can be detrimental in today’s fast-paced and competitive business world. In order to achieve success, organizations should seriously consider developing a successful strategy with the support of a third-party advisor. This is because strategic advisory helps businesses navigate challenges, achieve goals, mitigate risks, and stay ahead of the curve, and all from an objective point of view.

Yet, utilizing a professional strategic advisor to do this effectively can be overwhelming for business owners. It is important to understand what strategic advisory will not only do for your business, but which advisor is the right fit for your unique goals. Let’s explore the role of strategic advisors in more detail and uncover the benefits they bring to businesses.

We’re here to help. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover:

What Is Strategic Advisory?

Three people around a table with laptops and coffee and notebooks discussing what strategic advisors do

Strategic advisory is a specialized service provided by experienced professionals who collaborate closely with organizations to help them develop and implement effective strategies. These advisors possess a deep understanding of business management, market dynamics, and strategic planning, enabling them to offer valuable insights and guidance.

One of the key reasons why strategic advisory is essential for businesses is its ability to help organizations avoid getting into stressful scenarios, which can quickly snowball into disaster. By planning ahead and implementing KPIs to measure success, businesses can proactively identify potential challenges and take necessary actions to mitigate risks. Strategic advisors bring their expertise and objective perspective to help businesses navigate complexities, make informed decisions, and stay on track towards their goals.

By leveraging strategic advisory services, organizations not only stay one step ahead, but they are being set-up for long-term success.

The Role of Strategic Advisors

Strategic advisors play a vital role in helping businesses navigate the complex landscape of strategy development and execution. With their expertise and objective perspective, they bring fresh insights and valuable guidance to the table. Though each strategic advisor may operate a little differently depending on their industry experience as well as what each business needs from them, they all share similarities in terms of what they help their clients with:

They’re an objective third-party.

Before looking at the roles and responsibilities of strategic advisors, the important thing to understand is objectivity. This, of course, is also a benefit.

Many businesses struggle with making well-informed decisions because they are subjective, even with the right talent in-house to help them to do. This is especially the case for family businesses. Bringing in a third-party who is experienced in providing strategic advisory for so many different businesses will help you reach your goals because the only skin they have in the game is making sure your business succeeds. That’s a great incentive.

They conduct thorough research and analysis.

To start, strategic advisors delve into market trends, competitive landscapes, and internal factors to gain a comprehensive understanding of the business environment. By conducting thorough research and analysis, they gather data and insights that inform the strategic decision-making process. This includes assessing market dynamics, customer behavior, industry trends, and internal capabilities. They can also help define and set attainable goals to achieve success, and create accountability among the management team.

They identify unique opportunities and challenges.

Through their analysis of data and market dynamics, strategic advisors pinpoint potential growth areas and areas of improvement. They identify opportunities for market expansion, new product development, strategic partnerships, or operational enhancements. At the same time, they also identify potential challenges and risks that your business may face, allowing them to proactively address and mitigate those risks along the way (or, before they happen).

They collaborate with stakeholders.

Strategic advisors work closely with business leaders and key stakeholders to align strategic objectives and ensure buy-in throughout the organization. They facilitate collaborative workshops and discussions to gather insights, perspectives, and feedback from those stakeholders. By involving relevant parties in the strategic planning process, advisors ensure a sense of ownership and commitment to the strategic initiatives, while keeping everyone on the same page.

They develop actionable and strategic plans.

One of the core responsibilities of strategic advisors is to assist in crafting comprehensive and tailored strategies that align with the organization’s vision, mission, and goals. Based on the research and analysis conducted, advisors develop strategic plans that outline clear objectives, initiatives, and action steps. These plans provide a roadmap for the organization to follow, guiding decision-making and resource allocation.

They provide continuous support.

Throughout the implementation phase, strategic advisors offer guidance, monitor progress, and provide ongoing support to the organization. They act as a resource for business leaders and teams, addressing any challenges or roadblocks that may arise during the execution of the strategic plan. By offering their expertise and guidance, they help ensure the smooth implementation of the strategies and make necessary adjustments as needed.

They analyze and evaluate performance.

Strategic advisors play a crucial role in evaluating the performance of implemented strategies. They establish metrics and KPIs to measure the success of the strategies and track progress towards the defined objectives. Through regular performance evaluations, advisors provide businesses with valuable insights into how effective those strategies have been, allowing for data-driven decision-making and continuous improvement.

What Are The Benefits of Strategic Advisory?

A group of colleagues happily gathered around a workspace

We know that strategic advisory offers numerous benefits for organizations looking to make data-driven decisions and strategic plans to execute those decisions. But, when you really break it down, these advisors do so much more for their clients, not just long-term, but on an everyday basis (depending on how you utilize them and how their business model works, of course.)

By leveraging the expertise and insights of strategic advisors, businesses can gain a competitive edge by staying one step ahead not just of the challenges that may come their way, but by anticipating where their market and industry is headed.

Let’s explore some key advantages of strategic advisory in a nutshell:

  • Informed decision-making: First and foremost, strategic advisors provide objective insights and expertise, minimizing biases and enabling informed choices.
  • Resource allocation: Strategic advisors optimize resource allocation, aligning investments with strategic priorities for maximum returns.
  • Competitive advantage: Strategic advisors monitor market trends, identify opportunities, and help businesses stay ahead of competitors.
  • Risk mitigation: Advisors identify and address potential risks, developing contingency plans to navigate challenges proactively.
  • Specialized knowledge: Strategic advisors bring industry-specific expertise, enriching strategic planning processes.
  • Fresh Perspective: Advisors offer an external viewpoint, identifying blind spots and strengthening strategies.
  • Market share growth: Strategic advisory aids in identifying growth opportunities and implementing effective strategies.
  • Long-term sustainability: Advisors assist in developing sustainable strategies that adapt to changing market conditions.
  • Collaboration and alignment: Strategic advisors foster collaboration and stakeholder alignment for successful strategy implementation.
  • Continuous improvement: Advisors evaluate strategy performance in order to make improvements going forward.

The Strategic Advisory Process

A group of colleagues sitting around a conference table, with laptops out

When it comes to developing and executing effective strategies, organizations often turn to strategic advisory services for guidance and expertise. But, any business may have some doubts when it comes to allocating these big decisions and plans to a third-party, no matter how sure they are about bringing on a professional. This is why it’s helpful for businesses to understand what the strategic advisory process will look like, so they can manage their own expectations and feel comfortable with how it will all play out.

Of course, each strategic advisor may have their own unique process, and it’s important to ask about it when you meet. But, in general, here’s how you can expect it to look:

Step 1: Assessment and Analysis

Businesses usually seek out strategic advisory for a few reasons, and these are usually made known to an advisor before even beginning work together. Once it’s clear that the business would benefit from a strategic advisory, work begins.

The initial stage of strategic advisory involves conducting a thorough assessment of the organization’s internal and external environments. Strategic advisors gather data, research market trends, and perform a comprehensive SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats). This analysis helps them gain a holistic understanding of the organization’s current state and identify key areas for improvement.

Step 2: Defining Goals and Objectives

Once the assessment is complete, strategic advisors collaborate closely with the organization’s leadership team to define clear and measurable goals, and they may also spend time with stakeholders. These goals are aligned with the organization’s mission, vision, and values, but also, any data that’s able to be collected up to this point (more on that below). Through workshops and discussions, strategic advisors actively involve stakeholders to ensure their participation and commitment to the goal-setting process.

The Role of KPIs

KPIs play a critical role in strategic advisory, and it’s important to look for advisors who use them and talk about them. They are used to measure success and proactively identify performance gaps. Monitoring KPIs enables organizations to anticipate issues, avoid unexpected challenges, and make data-driven decisions, taking the guessing game out of planning. KPIs also assist in identifying and mitigating potential risks before they escalate, enabling organizations to build resilience and stability.

NYC Advisors will work with a company to define its unique KPIs, and create insightful management reports tracking each KPIs on a weekly/monthly basis going forward.

Step 3: Crafting the Strategic Plan

Based on the assessment and defined goals, strategic advisors develop a comprehensive strategic plan. This plan encompasses various elements, and is generally put together in a presentation that makes next steps easy to visualize:

  • Target market analysis: Identifying the most lucrative market segments and understanding customer needs and preferences.
  • Competitive analysis: Assessing competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, and market positioning to identify opportunities for differentiation.
  • Value proposition: Crafting a compelling value proposition that sets the organization apart from competitors and resonates with the target audience.
  • Actionable initiatives: Defining specific initiatives with timelines, responsibilities, and metrics.
  • Resource allocation: Determining the necessary resources, such as budget, human capital, and technology, for effective execution of the strategic plan.

Step 4: Implementation and Execution

Once the strategic plan is finalized, strategic advisors work closely with the organization’s leadership team and relevant stakeholders to ensure smooth implementation. This is a very important step, because a strategic plan can only be effective if it is implemented in an organized fashion.

This involves:

  • Establishing clear communication channels: Ensuring that all employees are aware of the strategic objectives and their roles in executing the plan.
  • Fostering a supportive culture: Promoting accountability, collaboration, and adaptability to drive successful implementation.
  • Providing guidance and support: Offering ongoing guidance, addressing implementation challenges, and supporting teams.
  • Monitoring progress: Regularly tracking milestones and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to ensure alignment with the strategic plan.

At NYC Advisors, we stay with you all the way from assessment to implementation. With regular check-ins along the way. And, once the plan is executed, we follow-up with monitoring the efforts of the strategic plan (again, with those KPIs) to help you continuously improve.

How Much Does Strategic Advisory Cost?

Two people exchanging cash, each holding a side of a bill with their hands

One common question that arises when considering strategic advisory services is the cost involved. After all, strategic advisors do a lot of work for your business.This can be a concern for businesses who may recognize that they need the support, but because they may be struggling financially, may feel conflicted about making the investment.

The good news is strategic advisors are aware of this, and the price of these services can vary depending on various factors, including the scope and complexity of the project, the expertise and reputation of the strategic advisor, and the duration of the engagement.

The pricing models for strategic advisory services can differ based on the preferences and practices of individual advisors or consulting firms. Here are a few common pricing structures you may come across:

  • Hourly rate: Some strategic advisors charge an hourly rate for their services. This approach is suitable for smaller projects or organizations that require specific expertise or ad-hoc advice. The hourly rate can vary based on the experience and specialization of the advisor.
  • Project-based fee: For larger-scale strategic advisory engagements, advisors may propose a project-based fee. This fee structure provides a fixed cost for the entire project, taking into account the scope, complexity, and expected deliverables. It allows organizations to have a clear understanding of the financial commitment upfront.
  • Retainer fee: In certain cases, organizations may opt for a retainer fee arrangement with a strategic advisor. This involves paying a recurring monthly or quarterly fee to retain the advisor’s services on an ongoing basis. This arrangement ensures continuous access to strategic advice and support whenever needed.

Be sure to have transparent discussions with potential strategic advisors regarding their fee structures and the value they bring to the table. Remember that the cost of strategic advisory should be considered in the context of the potential benefits and impact on the organization’s growth, profitability, and long-term success. Ultimately, this is an investment in the future success of your organization, and the value it provides often outweighs the upfront cost.

Choosing the Right Strategic Advisory Professional

A woman standing in an office, advising a man sitting down across from her at a table

When it comes to selecting the right strategic advisory person or platform, it’s important to ask the right questions in order to ensure they’re a good fit for your organization. It may be that the person doesn’t necessarily check off all the boxes, but the ones that are most important to you.

Here are some essential considerations to guide your decision-making process:

  • Expertise and industry knowledge: Does the advisory platform have deep expertise and knowledge in your specific industry or relevant sectors? Have they worked with organizations similar to yours and demonstrated an understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities within your industry?
  • Track record of success: Can they provide case studies or client testimonials that showcase their ability to deliver results? Have they helped other organizations achieve their strategic goals and overcome complex business challenges? Take a look at NYC Advisors’ case studies to learn more about ours.
  • Customization and flexibility: Does the advisory platform offer customized solutions tailored to your organization’s specific needs? Are they able to adapt their methodologies and approaches to address your unique requirements? Can they scale their services based on the size and scope of your organization, whether you are a small startup or a large enterprise?
  • Collaboration and communication: How does the advisory platform approach collaboration and communication? Do they prioritize open and transparent communication with your organization’s leadership and stakeholders? Are they willing to work closely with your team, actively involving you and them in the strategic planning and execution processes?
  • Innovative thinking: Does the strategic advisor demonstrate a forward-thinking mindset and a willingness to embrace innovation? Can they provide examples of how they have helped organizations stay ahead of the curve and capitalize on emerging trends and technologies?
  • Value-added services: What additional services does the advisory platform offer beyond strategic planning? Do they provide ongoing support, performance monitoring, or coaching to ensure successful implementation? Can they help your organization develop the necessary capabilities and competencies to sustain long-term strategic success?
  • Cultural fit: Consider the cultural fit between your organization and the strategy consultant. Are their values, work ethic, and approach aligned with your organization’s culture and values? Will there be a good rapport and synergy between their team and your organization’s leadership?

At NYC Advisors, we have 30 years of experience as strategic advisors and understand that this is a big decision. Learn more about us.

How To Know It’s Time for Strategic Advisory?: A Checklist

A man and woman looking at post notes on a glass window, discussing business strategy

There’s no question what a strategic advisory can do for your business. But, even after understanding their role, what they help you achieve, and how to find the right one for your business, are you sure it’s a good time for you? Though there’s never really a wrong time to hire a strategy consultant — as they can help your business even if things are going well — asking yourself some of the following questions may help you recognize if there’s urgency:

  • Crisis or distress situations: Is your organization in the midst of a crisis, financial distress, or significant operational challenges? Don’t wait. Investing in strategic advisory may be hard to come to terms with, but they can help stabilize the situation, develop turnaround strategies, and implement measures to ensure the long-term viability and success of your business.
  • Lack of strategic clarity: Is your organization is struggling to define clear goals and objectives? Or, is there  a lack of alignment and consensus among stakeholders regarding the strategic direction? No worries; a strategic advisor can help facilitate the strategic planning process and bring clarity to your organization’s vision.
  • Limited internal resources: Does your organization seem to lack the necessary expertise, resources, or capacity to develop and execute strategies effectively? A strategic advisor can provide the specialized knowledge, skills, and support required to drive strategic initiatives forward.
  • External market changes: Is your industry or market undergoing significant shifts, such as technological advancements, regulatory changes, or disruptive competition? Then a strategic advisor can help you navigate these challenges and identify new opportunities for growth and innovation.
  • Stagnant growth or declining performance: Has your organization has been experiencing stagnant growth, declining performance, and/or challenges in adapting to changing market conditions? Strategic advisory involves conducting a comprehensive assessment, identifying areas of improvement, and developing strategies to revitalize your business.
  • Need for objective insights: Sometimes, internal biases and groupthink can hinder strategic decision-making. A strategic advisor brings an external and objective perspective, challenging assumptions, identifying blind spots, and providing fresh insights to drive more effective decision-making processes.

It’s also important to recognize that you don’t need hire a strategic advisor only to avoid stressors. A strategic advisor can also help with mergers and acquisitions, as well as for innovation and improvement. Engaging a strategic advisor can help you evaluate your current strategies, identify areas for enhancement, and develop a roadmap for continuous improvement and sustained success.

Here at NYC Advisors, we offer support with any of the above. And, in order to ensure optimal time for strategy implementation, we recommend that businesses have to operate based on a 3-5 year business plan. That’s because the market can change drastically in three years, and we want you to be ahead of the game!

Strategic Advisory: Making a Worthwhile Investment

A group of colleagues putting hands in the middle

In an unpredictable business landscape, avoiding distress situations is vital for the long-term success of any organization. Strategic advisory can be a powerful tool to help businesses long-term. By planning ahead and implementing KPIs to measure success, businesses can proactively identify potential challenges, make data-driven decisions, and take corrective actions before problems escalate.

But, that’s not all they do.

Even businesses who are doing well and understand what challenges may await them can look to strategic advisory to stay competitive, be innovative, and stay lean in terms of budgeting.

But, this can only be done with an objective expert. Strategic advisors bring a fresh perspective and expertise, helping businesses navigate complexities and stay on track. That being said, it’s important to know what to expect when you hire one, what the process will look like, and how to ensure that you find the right strategy consultant for your business.

At NYC Advisors, we offer strategic advisory services to help you stay ahead of the curve and attain your business goals. Ready to learn more? Let’s talk!