Message from Partner

2013 - Creating China's Greatest Consulting Company

We recently lost a consulting project for a client that we desperately wanted to continue working for; our competitors were Deloitte, Bain, AT Kearney and another local consulting company.  The client company chose Kearney.  This was disappointing because we worked very hard on our proposal, and our pricing was very competitive.  But we know why we lost: we didn't have a strong enough reputation and we didn't demonstrate our industry experience (although we had a good amount of it, we did not show this in our proposal.)  The first issue is a long-term issue that we need to continue to address through better public relations, marketing, and knowledge-sharing.  The second issue is a short-term issue that was caused by not thinking hard enough and carelessness.  We need to put our best foot forward.

Why am I talking about our losses instead of our wins?  Why don't I talk about the work that we are doing to bring one of the largest US women's fashion brands into the China market?  Or the cutting edge work we are doing in e-commerce for one of the coolest and fastest-growing UK firms in the clothing brand industry right now?  I can also talk about how we beat out IMS Health on a medical devices value-chain strategy engagement, or the work that we recently did on determining customer and product strategy for the world's leading nutritional supplements brands.  Why don't I talk about all the good things we are doing? Because it is not good enough, and we are not good enough.

We founded SmithStreet five and a half years ago because we believe there is a different and better way to do consulting to address growth strategies in China.  To be honest, it has been harder than I thought it would be.  We started from nothing: no clients, not an experienced team, and no reputation.  And we are facing competitors that do good work and have 81 more years of experience than us.  To compete, we have to do better work at a more competitive price.  It is an uphill battle, but we want to be the greatest consulting company in China.  If this is not our ambition then what is the point?  I am not saying the world (just do the best work in China). As a graduating student who has your whole career in front of you, you need to have more ambition.  If you want to do consulting, apply to McKinsey, Bain, or BCG.  Otherwise, work fora company like SmithStreet and help to topple giants.  Don't bother with the Big Four.

If you join SmithStreet, you should be ambitious. Every day you should think about how you can make Partner: how to be a Trusted Advisor to your clients, how to lead a team, and how to break new ground and find new solutions to business problems through your consulting work.  We will teach you and help you along this path.  Your personal ambition is only good for SmithStreet, it is the only way we can grow.  If you don't want to do consulting, be ambitious in whatever field you choose.  Your ambition is only good for China.

It must all be done one step at a time though, starting with this: the next time we compete for work with that client, we will win.
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