Steady as she goes

SATOV Team Zoom Photo

Blog post by Mark Satov

Today marks 18 years since I started my own management consulting company. I often use our company anniversaries as a time to reflect on where we have been as an organization and where we are going. For me, consulting is at least as much a career as it is a business, so I can’t help but use the time to reflect on my own career as well.

This year, our ‘special day’ lands amidst a time we are all calling unprecedented. To some degree, the pandemic and the related lifestyle changes force us all to ask questions about what will change in the world in a way that never changes back, and maybe what about our life we would like to change with a similar no-return policy.

I will tell you that as much as I think about a new career, a different company, a reinvented model, I always land in the same place: what I do today feels right. I love giving advice, and I love helping people and organizations decide what to do and then get it done. My partner Sam and the people around us are similarly motivated.

Since our very first day, we have strived to be THE mid-market alternative to big strategy consulting in North America, with a set of services, style and fee model to match. Over the years we have emphasized different industries or specific analytical tools, and some great talent has come through our doors and gone on to do great things. We are happy about the current state of our business, especially our continued advancement in the North American Private Equity world and our ability to attract some exciting new talent to help us get deeper on several verticals. But the core of what we are has not changed. Not one bit.

A lot is being said about the way the world is changing. If retail was not dead before it certainly will be now. Who would ever take a cruise? One family member recently told me they hope to never be on a plane again. Why do we shake hands anyway… hugging friends? Never. Concerts are a thing of the past. The local restaurant is dead. The list goes on… All of it completely absurd.

For sure, many of us will have a very tough go for the next year or two. We don’t know yet how or how quickly to best restart the economy. Many industries will go through upheaval and ownership changes. Some goods and services will now be bought or delivered online more than before, probably because that is either the best experience or because the digital channel drives efficiency, and it needed a catalyst to drive an adoption inflection. Telemedicine will finally become more mainstream, driving efficiency and improving our ability to care for more people in more situations.

But, our society is not, in my opinion, on the verge of any permanent seismic shifts. Every culture on earth has social interaction at its core. Global trade is a ship that sailed long ago and cutting China out of that ecosystem now would deliver a shock from which I am not sure we would recover. People like to go out and shop and see concerts and eat in restaurants together. And hugging releases oxytocin (look it up).

I hope the next year or so is a bit less painful than we predict. I hope we don’t lose too many more people to this scary virus. And I hope our economy comes back as quickly as possible. Eventually, life will get back to normal, and that normal will by and large look similar to today. And we’ll still be here… happy to help.

All the best,
Mark