You're Not Alone: 5 Tips for Women Leaders In Digital Strategy Consulting
As managing director of Career Builder India, Arti Bedi Pullins learned lessons on startups and decision-making that helped make her the independent leader and digital strategy consultant she is today.
Pullins, founder and managing partner of Pundit Consultantz in Chicago, says she learned a great deal from a decade of working at Career Builder, and also from earning her MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in the executive program in 2013.
She found herself at a “fork in the road” on the marketing path after her oldest son was born in 2010.
“I had an idea for a digital startup,” Pullins says, so she launched Aidan’s Corner, an app for events and resources. That worked for a time and while the app is no longer is in the marketplace, she is pleased with what she started and what she learned.
While Chicago is a tech hub growing exponentially in the last few years, Pullins says, there are drawbacks, particularly for women entrepreneurs.
“Chicago has grown tremendously, but some of the hardship, harassment and bullying come with it. Fundraising in Chicago is so much harder; I feel if you can make it in Chicago, you can make it on either coast.”
Pullins’ business is growing in clients, as the digital strategy consulting business is booming globally.
“In line with the electrified U.S. market, digital consulting has become a global force in terms of big business. It is estimated that $1 in every $6 budgeted for professional service consultation is spent on digitization, as the trend continues to envelope traditional consulting services of all varieties,” according to Consultancy.uk.
“In the U.S., digital has subsequently grown to be a big portion of the industry, with a seismic shift in attitudes toward digital transformation playing a big role in wider consulting market growth. As the U.S. walks on forefront of economic changes in the globe, American consultants are generally the most exposed to the winds of change blowing through the market. In the case of digital transformation, it remains a key force in the U.S. professional services market, with value-driven clients taking increasing interest in front-office and back-office improvements that could be delivered through leveraging new technologies,” Consultancy reports.
“The U.S. consulting industry is the globe’s largest and most mature market of its kind, as well as the largest, accounting for nearly half of the world’s consulting economy, according to an examination by Source Global Research as well as Consultancy.uk analysis. The US industry has seen sustained expansion over the past five years particularly, however 2016 was an especially strong year for the segment, which saw growth of 7.7 percent, as it reached a value of $58.72 billion,” Consultancy reports.
At Pundit, Pullins says her team “helps clients compete and make data bound decisions in this digital world. Together with Design HMI, Pundit provides digital and mobile marketing solutions, along with products and business growth strategies for domestic or international expansion.”
She adds, “Our expertise focuses on market experience, data, plus technology innovation, to foster the right solutions and tactical execution strategies to solve the challenges at hand.”
This is crucial for small businesses and start-ups, according to Business2 Community.
“First-time entrepreneurs and company owners with no practical expertise online have to cover all areas of the digital landscape in order to generate traffic and sales. Digital Consulting is on the rise. Working with digital consultants is an efficient way to grow your business by following a proven strategy in less time and on a budget,” writes Mario Peshev at Business2Community.
Pullins says she has learned five key takeaways for starting a business and shares them with other entrepreneurs and women leaders looking for advice on startups.
Keep your connections and know who are the right decision makers. No matter where you are working or networking, stay up with those people who may be able to assist you and make decisions in your favor. Do not waste your time with someone who is not in a position to offer the funding or make the final decision.
Find out who you can trust as advisors and mentors. “Starting out you have to put the screws to them, and decide if they are a right fit to challenge, support and back you up,” Pullins says. Her husband and parents are that support system for her, as well as other former colleagues and professional advisors.
Learn to say no. “Sometimes when you start your own business, you are hungry. You will say yes to a lot. But it’s a it’s a skill to say no,” Pullins says. If you are not equipped to deliver something, say so. Be honest.
It’s through learning through trial and error. “You have to look in the mirror and say. ‘I’m an expert here, not so much here, so I will bring in someone to partner with and develop this piece. That’s the learning. I have to know areas where I can provide value and I know areas where I am struggling,” Pullins says.
Rely on your closest allies. You can grow as a business and as a leader if you are able to trust useful information and advice that is honest and unfiltered. You may be the founder of the startup and it may be your idea, but you cannot go through everything alone.
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About the Author
Michele Weldon is editorial director of Take The Lead, an award-winning author, journalist, emerita faculty in journalism at Northwestern University and a senior leader with The OpEd Project. @micheleweldon www.micheleweldon.com