The Ultimate Guide to Corporate Strategy

Learn everything you need to know about what a corporate strategy is, how to create one, and why your organization should leverage independent consultants.

No matter the size of your company or which industry you’re in, establishing a strong corporate strategy is key to reaching your goals and building long-term success. At its core, a corporate strategy entails reviewing past, current, and potential processes and strategies to determine which path the organization needs to take to accomplish its goals.

Corporate Strategy Definition

A corporate strategy is a thoughtful approach to making business decisions. It takes into account your organization’s structure, resources, people, and goals to help develop a realistic and effective plan that moves the business toward its goals and targets. 

What is a corporate strategy?

A corporate strategy is a framework that details how your organization will achieve its company-wide goals and objectives and develop or maintain a competitive advantage. A corporate strategy should be unique to your organization — it isn’t one size fits all.

For example, imagine a business that sells a social media platform. This business has three arms including a social media publishing tool, a social media consulting arm, and a data analytics platform. Each of the three parts of the business has its own responsibilities, goals, and KPIs. However, the corporate strategy should be the connective tissue between all three arms — it should explain how each part of the business will work together to create the most value and achieve the overarching goals.

What are the benefits of a corporate strategy? 

As market segments continue to become more saturated and as sustainable growth becomes more difficult to achieve, your organization must establish and maintain a competitive edge. A well-defined corporate strategy is often the key to successful entry into a new or existing market, and/or your ability to stand out in a crowded market. 

The core benefit of a corporate strategy is that it can increase your organization’s overall value. Here are some more benefits: 

  • Company’s goals and objectives that are clearly defined
  • Effective allocation of resources
  • Thoughtful prioritization for work to be done
  • Streamlined and thoughtful decision-making processes across all business functions
  • A competitive edge

What are the qualities of a successful corporate strategy? 

Next, let’s review the qualities of a successful corporate strategy. 

A successful corporate strategy: 

  • Is backed by senior leadership and key stakeholder
  • Ties in your company’s vision, value proposition, and mission statement
  • Defines your strategic objectives and goals (e.g. financial, technological, marketing)
  • Is focused and realistic (i.e. what can you likely achieve in your allotted timeframe?)
  • Explains how you’ll track and define the success of those goals 
  • Is dynamic and can be adapted if and when needed to keep you agile
  • Leverages your resources wisely and efficiently
  • Lists the stakeholders that will be executing the strategies
  • States your competitive advantage

4 Steps to Creating a Successful Corporate Strategy

four steps to creating a corporate strategy

1. Establish a vision for your strategy.

Start by establishing a vision for the growth of your business. What do you want to accomplish in the upcoming year and why?

Take your mission statement, company vision, and value proposition into account when establishing your vision.  

2. Set your goals and objectives.

Next, think about the goals and objectives that you need to set in order to make your vision a reality. Your objectives, or goals, can span between one and five years into the future and should be purpose-driven, actionable, and measurable. 

For example, rather than saying “We’ll increase profits by X in the next two years,” explain how the organization aims to achieve that increase. Will you launch a new product, sign five new enterprise clients, cut costs, or expand to a new region? And what are the steps required for each of those objectives?

Consider using the SMART framework to ensure objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based.

3. Allocate your resources.

Review all necessary resources to help you achieve your objectives and vision. You may determine you need to redistribute current resources to make more effective use of them or make an investment to fill an outstanding need.

4. Prioritize your strategies.

It’s not always possible to spend the same amount of time, resources, and energy on each of your objectives. That’s why it’s important to prioritize them. Review each goal’s risk and potential reward to determine how to balance those forces and establish an order of operations. When prioritizing your objectives, get an understanding of the full scope of work each objective requires. This may entail getting input from those who will execute the work (e.g. department leaders, and managers). 

Independent Corporate Strategy Consultant

Creating a corporate strategy is a large undertaking. It may be difficult to handle the process entirely in-house if you don’t have a strategy team in place. And depending on hiring freezes, capacity constraints, and budget, hiring full-time or bringing on a traditional consulting firm may not be viable options.

Hire independent corporate strategy consultants to increase operational efficiency across your organization — you’ll have the ability to hand-select the independent consultant or consultants who you believe have the precise work experience and background to manage your corporate strategy planning and rollout. Even if your organization has the funds to manage a full-time, in-house strategy team, hiring an independent corporate strategy consultant can provide niche industry and sector expertise as well as offer a valuable, unbiased, and outside perspective.

How to Hire the Right Corporate Strategy Consultant 

How do you find the right independent corporate strategy consultant? These steps will help.

1. Select a consultant who knows your market.

One of the greatest benefits of hiring an independent corporate strategy consultant is the fact that you can bring on an individual who has years of industry knowledge and experience in your field of work. Depending on what your organization values when it comes to hiring, you may even hire an independent strategy consultant who is specialized in your field and previously worked at a high-end firm. 

 2. Request case studies and referrals.

During the interview process for your corporate strategy consultant, ask for case studies, referrals, and reviews from past their clients. This will help you better understand their working style and the quality of work that they deliver. It will also help you determine whether their communication style is appropriate for your team. 

3. Learn about their process and how they measure success. 

An experienced strategy consultant should provide a preliminary list of resources they will need to deliver value to your organization (e.g., resources lists, P&L sheets, past strategies information about who they will be working with). They should also offer insight into their process including how they will manage planning, execution, and reporting (e.g., which KPIs they’ll use and how they’ll measure success).

4. Understand what deliverables you can expect from the consultant. 

After learning about their process, ensure you have a good grasp of the exact deliverables the consultant is promising to provide your organization. This is a good time to chat through project start and end times, deliverable format, payment, and any other legal documents all parties will need to agree to. 

Increase Your Market Share and Drive Long-Term Growth With Corporate Strategy Consultants 

Planning and managing a corporate strategy is a significant undertaking. Working with independent consultants can provide access to a deep industry and sector expertise as well as offer a fresh perspective to help your team plan and execute winning strategies. 

Want to learn how Catalant can help you find the perfect independent consultant to manage your corporate strategy?

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