Website – The Strategy Boutique
Founder – Abhinav Srivastava
Entrepreneurship today is pretty different from what it looked like earlier. The complexity and new technology emerging every day have decreed business processes sophisticated. And so has the scope of professional consulting risen with the growing complexities in the business and commerce. And one of the stories we have here to share with you on one of the prosperous and still emerging startups called The Strategy Boutique.
Back in 2013, Abhinav Srivastava, the originator of The Strategy Boutique, and his friend, now a partner, came up with the notion of The Strategy Boutique. With an ample amount of exposure into both consulting and the industry, the two did apprehend the gap between consultants and clients. They concluded that consulting was of much importance with the growing economy and complex-emerging start-ups. And here they conspired the idea of pragmatic solutions to small and mid-sized companies. The two friends decided to focus on two major factors to fill the gap between consultants and the clients, i.e., affordability and pragmatic services.
The idea that came up over a coffee did not die there. The friends continued their advanced discussions for another 6 months, this time involving their mentors, friends, families, ex-bosses, etc. Everyone contributed them with learning that got them to the foundation of The Strategy Boutique.
The Strategy Boutique
Launched back in 2014, The Strategy Boutique started with two partners, two interns and one client. While the initial months were challenging because of the expenses and payroll being higher compared to the returns, the team kept working hard.
6 years later, the team found itself becoming successful and continually recorded double-digit revenue growths. The company expanded its offices to the UAE (Emerald Group) and UK (Blue Cloud Health), inscribing wider MENA and European markets through their offices. The venture stands proud to say they have helped launch FMCG brands, set up Angola’s first super speciality hospital, constructed a chain of dialysis centres in Africa and Nepal and do much more. They have managed to create new product lines for F&B giants in Asia and also forayed into the mining sector in Oman. They proudly stand forward to all those into real estate firms in Delhi and Dubai!
Today, the projects of The Strategy Boutique are spread across 25 countries. They have developed into a successful venture generating a turnover of more than 1.5 crores rupees from India alone.
Challenges faced by The Strategy Boutique
Abhinav shares a few challenges that the team overcame with time and hard work. Vulnerability triggered them hard due to the ongoing pandemic. Even today, the venture seems to face its biggest challenge of acclimating to these unusual times and adjusting to the new normal.
What success means to The Strategy Boutique
The Strategy Boutique started back in 2014 with just 1 client. Today they sustain with over 50 clients, most of them being their long term clients. Having started with a small idea of the service industry, they kept expanding across various industries. Likewise, they expanded across geographies and have been successful in places like Delhi, UK and UAE. Success to this company has been all about growth and hard work rendering legit and helpful services to their customers.
Today, The Strategy Boutique stands as an inspiration to many young entrepreneurs seeking to start their ventures and take risk of growing over the years.
What made you strike this business idea? What inspired you to start this company?
Abhinav – On an autumn morning back in October 2013, a friend (and now, Partner) and I started thinking about TSB for the first time. Having worked in both industry and consulting, we understood the nuances and unique pain points felt by consultants and clients. With growing economies and entrepreneurship at its peak, more and more businesses need consulting to help them achieve the mission and vision they seek. However, back in the early 2000s, with a handful of big consulting firms, one was left with little choice – that is, to either spend a bomb hiring one of them or working with individual consultants. While this was prevalent and the out was decent, these arrangements were rarely sustainable. We were eager to fill this void and provide cutting edge and more importantly, pragmatic solutions to small and mid-sized companies. And all this, without the massive overheads of the bigger consulting firms. Affordable and pragmatic were our two driving forces, at the time, and gladly, we have remained true to them all these years.
An idea that germinated over a cup of coffee took another 6 months of advanced discussions with various stakeholders, internal and external. This involved going back to some of our mentors, ex-bosses, friends, families, everyone. We had our fair share of sceptics, and also people extremely positive about what we were seeking to achieve. Each of them taught us something new, something to take with us in what was going to be an arduous, but exciting journey of creating and establishing a brand, running a business, acquiring clients and providing the kind of solutions we always backed ourselves to provide. This laid the foundation of The Strategy Boutique.
The idea was, and still is, to make unique, pragmatic and professional consulting services available and affordable for all.
When did you start your business?
Abhinav – 31st March, 2014
What does success mean to your company?
Abhinav – Success to us is not just limited to what our company achieves, but also by the business growth of our stakeholders while ensuring that we stay true to our founding beliefs. We constantly strive to create a positive impact on both, our internal and external stakeholders and use that as our yardstick to measure success.
How are you performing currently?
Abhinav – It all started in 2014 with two partners, two interns and one client, and barely any money to pay our bills! It started with our office expenses being more than our fee! It started with a struggle to make payroll every month. But it also started with us having a plan, and believing in it, and backing ourselves to pull it off. It started with us cutting out all background noise and focussing on the task at hand.
6 years later, we have consistently recorded double digit revenue growths over the years. Our offices have expanded to the UAE (Emerald Group) and UK (Blue Cloud Health), addressing the wider MENA and European markets through these offices. And the milestones have been heart-warming. We have helped launch FMCG brands. We have set up Angola’s first super speciality hospital. We have constructed a chain of dialyses centres in Africa and Nepal. We have orchestrated efficient supply chains of quality medicines across 3 continents. We have created new product lines for F&B giants in Asia. We have forayed into the mining sector in Oman. Whether you are a real estate firm in Dubai or a chemical factory in Delhi, we have you covered!
Our projects have spanned over 25 countries . We have partnered with key stakeholders in these countries. We have worked with governments and semi government institutions. Our consulting teams have grown, and we have optimized internal processes to provide sustainable career paths for everyone choosing to work with us. This, and so much more.
The dream has developed into a successful venture with a turnover of over Rs.1.5 crore from our India businesses alone, and the team has grown across geographies and sectors.
What is the biggest risk to your company?
Abhinav – Instability triggered by the ongoing pandemic has thrown multiple challenges at us and at firms world-wide. I would say, currently, that is the biggest risk – adapting to these unprecedented times and adjusting to the new normal.
What are your plans for the funding?
Abhinav – We largely depend on reinvesting revenue from our projects into the business to drive growth.
What is the biggest challenge you faced during your start-up setup?
Abhinav – The beginning was not easy. Convincing people to hire consultants from a small firm than going to a big 4 was one of the biggest challenges we faced. However, hard work never goes waste. With dedication and seamless service, The Strategy Boutique eventually gained respect and a reputation and we have been scaling up ever since.
What does growth mean to you and your business?
Abhinav – Constantly scaling new heights while reinventing our approach and methodologies has been a defining aspect of our growth. We started with 1 client back in 2014, the number today is in excess of 50, most of whom are long term clients for us. What started with a rather limited idea to service one industry, now has transcended across multiple industries. What started with a small office in Delhi, has expanded to the UAE and UK, and to other countries through our partner firms. It has been some journey, indeed.
How does your product stand different from others in the market?
Abhinav – Our approach involves hand holding through implementation and trouble shooting.
Each assignment, irrespective of the client being a fortune 100 company, or a young start-up, is bespoke and handled keeping in mind the unique nuances of the client. Our work doesn’t end there, as we then roll our sleeves and implement those recommendations for them. We offer end to end services, from forensics and marketing to market studies and financial planning. It is truly satisfying to see our recommendations turn in to implementable solutions, touching thousands of lives directly, and many more indirectly. Additionally, with a firm belief in the concept of ‘built to change’, we use agile approaches to stay on top of the change constant.
Where are your start-up services spread?
Abhinav – We have domain expertise in analytics & research, business advisory, marketing, public sector, forensics, financial advisory and risk management with clients spread across 25 countries. Our offices are located in Delhi, Dubai and London with clients in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
What does it feel to be the founder of your start-up? How does it feel getting up every morning and getting on to work?
Abhinav – Heading a startup, every day is different and holds something new and exciting. We are constantly brainstorming on what new avenue to explore next and how to continue to adopt, align, reinvent and grow. Knowing that your decisions will not only affect you but many others is a weight that has to be carried as a founder. Some people prefer to look at this as a burden. I view this as an opportunity to create a positive impact on the people around me.
Where do you see your business standing in the next 5 years?
Abhinav – At TSB, we believe there is only one way forward, and that is to continue to adapt, align, grow and reinvent. We are excited at the possibility of entering new sectors and geographies and are already in advanced talks with clients and partners to aid this objective. Spin-off products are constantly being brainstormed on and are in in different stages of curation. TSB Insights has been our latest launch. It is a truly innovative product with cutting edge research and analyses by TSB’s best and brightest, that serves a unique trifecta of objectives for us – build internal knowledge repositories, explore forays in to new sectors and eventually become a profit-centre for the company, going forward. Watch our website for more updates on this!
Who support you to stand this business and how?
Abhinav – Support through continuous guidance from long term clients, advisors and mentors has helped us grow and open up new areas of work. Financially, since we aim to work long term with clients, we develop constant revenue generating streams through them as we add value over the years.