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Business strategists keep their companies on track. They determine targets for their organization, and prepare strategies to make sure their company meets those targets. This work involves analysis of existing practices and strategies to identify which areas need improvement, and the development of innovative methods to help establish and achieve company goals. Business strategists may focus on a specific area, such as product development or marketing, or specific targets, such as expanding revenue sources for their organization.
These professionals often work to prepare documentation related to company goals, to help communicate these goals throughout the organization and keep those targets organized. Business strategists draw up and document plans to achieve the goals they set, and provide instruction and motivation to staff in the implementation of new strategies and projects. A business development activities list might also include reporting to management staff and making presentations to corporate investors.
Business strategists often work as contract employees, meaning they work for themselves. Some may also work with consulting services – either way, few business strategies are employed full-time by individual companies. Self-employment requires strategists to build and maintain a client base, though it also allows for more autonomy and a more flexible schedule. Prospective business strategists should expect to work office settings, splitting their time between their home office or consulting office and clients' business locations.
Education and Skill Requirements
These professionals must communicate clearly and effectively with staff at various companies in order to implement plans and reach goals. This requires leadership and motivational skills. Business strategists must also feel comfortable interacting with managers and investors. The best business strategist candidates possess the following skill set:
- Communication skills.
- Computer skills.
- PowerPoint and Microsoft Word proficiency.
- Leadership ability.
- Interpersonal skills.
- Analytical skills.
- Public speaking skills.
Most employers require business strategist applicants to hold at least a bachelor's degree, preferably in business, management or a related discipline. Some companies might prefer candidates with a master's in business administration (MBA).
Experience and Certification Requirements
Bachelor's programs in business teach students to use business terminology to communicate and use technology to analyze computer systems. Business majors often take courses in business communication, operations management, statistics for strategy problems and computer analysis. MBA students, on the other hand, gain analytical expertise and proficiency in business management, planning for long-term growth and problem-solving.
Usually, successful business strategists have several years of prior professional experience in business and consulting, preferably in the field in which they aim to provide consulting services, such as in healthcare or information technology. Some professionals might also pursue certification through the Institute of Management Consultants U.S.A. Employers rarely require candidates to hold certification, but some prefer it, and the designation can set certain job applicants apart from the rest.
Business development strategists enjoy a median annual salary of $71,000, according to PayScale. This breaks down to an hourly wage of about $19.50. High-earning strategists in the 90th percentile of the pay scale can make up to $124,000 per year, while those in the lowest 10th percentile earn about $40,000 annually.
Brenna Swanston is a freelance writer, editor and journalist. She previously reported for the Sun newspaper in Santa Maria, California, and she holds a bachelor's in journalism from California Polytechnic State University.