Often the phrase “business strategy” feels awkward to those of us in the social sciences. Perhaps this comes from the association to the word businesslike, which means focused on the success of the business, applying skills but without enthusiasm, and goals oriented towards achieving results through systematic, rational, and practical means. This seems to counteract many of the ways I want to think of my future interactions with clients and what I do, for example, an emphasis on the process, utilizing emotions, driven by passion and purpose, and authentic. However, I would conjecture that a business strategy does make sense for our approach to clients in that having a plan enables us to (1) access those that would benefit from our services, (2) connect with a wider customer base so we have the opportunity to select clients that are a better fit for our skills and expertise, and finally, (3) make a living so we can continue to practice what we love and contribute to the world in a unique way.
Consulting expects, Bain & Co., offer insight into why they have been successful and show the process they use to build long-term relationships. At the core of the Bain’s culture, which in turn is at the center of what they want to cultivate in clients is “The great repeatable business model.” This article published by Harvard Business Online demonstrates that differentiation is at the soul of an effective strategy. This comes back to knowing what I do best and how I uniquely distinguish what I do from other sport & performance psychology consultants, coaches, or even clinical psychologists. Once I establish such an identity, the derivative should be value-driven strategies for how I want to serve my clients, for example, athlete centered, performance focused, and personal growth and development driven. To take it a step further, specific strategies like assessment, use of best practices, the relationship and boundaries with the client, and perhaps even particular interventions such as running therapy may differentiate me from other consultants. Ultimately, once these business strategies and plans have been delineated, a similar approach similar to the skills we aim cultivate in athletes and other performers, that is concentration, confidence, and commitment, holds the key to our own success.