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subu@subuvenkataraman.in

How does a Strategy Advisor or Consultant add value to my business?

An external Strategy Advisor / Consultant brings with him the knowledge of best demonstrated practices across other industries and organisations. Though each industry and organization is operating in different environments, basic aspects of running a business successfully are fairly similar.

Since the Strategy Advisor / Consultant is not as close to your business as you are, he is not colored with pre-conceived ideas and can bring a fresh perspective to many critical issues.

Since he is not close to your business, he should be a very good listener to understand your business model well, before he can offer his views.

Does a Strategy Advisor or Consultant add value in measurable terms?

A study sponsored by World Bank in a control group of organisations in India quantified the benefits of management consulting. It concluded that the benefits in the first year itself exceeded the cost of consulting, with the benefits in subsequent years totally going to the bottom-line.

Therefore, the benefits are not just abstract but can be quantified and cost-benefit analysis performed.

Why me?

As a finance and general management professional with 30 years’ international business experience, I have been exposed to various business situations and challenges first hand. The value of such experience is the equivalent of “what they don’t teach you in Harvard Business School”!

Which are the industries you specialize in?

A major part of my experience is in the manufacturing industry. It includes B2B as well as B2 models. Having said that, I can virtually learn and understand any industry or technology quickly. This comes out of the fact that basic elements and principles of all businesses are very similar.

What I bring to the table is not the industry expertise, as you already possess it. My expertise will be to bring further efficiencies in your business and an understanding of what investors look as value in any business.

Can you help us raise funds?

I can assess your business model, provide constructive suggestions and make an effective business plan. With a professional business plan you can approach specialized agencies including investors for raising funding. I can provide handholding support during the entire process.

The fund-raising by itself will be handled by specialized service providers like investment bankers.

Should we engage you only if we need to raise funds?

No. My contributions can go far beyond just fund raising. Please visit my Services page and click on each of the links to see the broad portfolio of my services. If something you are specifically looking for is not mentioned contact me.

Why is a business plan so important?

You may have a clear idea about your business model and convinced that you have a winning proposition. However, only when your ideas are subjected to rigorous analysis, you can conclude whether you have sustainable and profitable business model. A professional business plan will subject your ideas to such rigorous testing.

The investors will also be willing look at your business only when they are convinced that you have a business plan, which indicates that you are clear about where you want to go.

How will the process of developing a business plan work?

Broadly it will involve the following phases:

Phase 1
Understanding your business model and value proposition. At this stage I will be a keen listener butting in with a few questions.

Phase 2
Review and challenge the business model, either parts of it or the entire plan. This will put your business model through rigorous analysis and smoothen the rough edges, if any. I will challenge your ideas and assumption, not to be critical, but to ensure that you have taken care of all possible scenarios.

Phase 3
With a rigorously tested business model with us, the next level of developing the business plan will commence. Depending upon the nature of industry this will include building up human resources, market entry strategies, financial forecasts, supply chain strategies, brand building, funding need analysis etc. This phase will culminate with a professional business plan and an investor presentation.

Critical extracts from this plan will be the pitch deck presentation which is required to give any potential investor a quick look into your value proposition without getting into all details.

Will there be a non-disclosure agreement between us?

Of course. I will insist on signing a confidentiality agreement before we start Phase 1 as detailed above.

How long will the process take?

This will depend upon the project under discussion.

Can funding be guaranteed by you?

No one can provide such a guarantee.

Can you advise me on market entry strategies?

Yes, I can. Jointly we can assess all possible options available for market entry and distribution.

Can you advise me on human resources related issues?

Yes, I can. Human resources will be the most critical factor for success. Your HR strategies will have to address all issues from attraction to retention to inspiration. As a matter of fact, as a leader, a major portion of your time and energy will be spent on human resources.

Can you act as our sparring partner challenging our ideas and assumptions?

That is basic role. Normally, we cannot see what is wrong with our ideas. An external entity like me will look at the idea from a non-emotional point of view and smoothen the rough edges. It is better that an advisor challenge you rather than the market rejecting your offering.

Are you worth the money that we have to pay as your fee?

I believe I am. Normally, to get the same deliverable which a good advisor or consultant can provide, an entrepreneur will have to spend 4 to 5 times more number of hours. You have a value for your time as you have multiple responsibilities.

Professionalism pays multiple times over.

Do you have a refund policy?

The initial payment is not refundable, as I would have already committed spend many hours on the assignment. However, in the most unlikely event of you deciding to not to proceed with the assignment the subsequent milestone payments are not payable.

In each project we can agree on clear payment schedule linked to milestones to avoid any misunderstanding.

Where are you located?

I am based out of Bangalore. For clients based out of Bangalore, face-to-face interactions are easy. For other customers we can use technology heavily and mutually decide how much of the interactions will need travel to facilitate face-to-face sessions.