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Business Unit Strategy

Business unit strategy involves making proprietary decisions on where to play and how to win. Our goal is to help our clients drive their businesses to full economic potential.


What makes a good strategy?

What We Do

Our business unit strategy approach focuses on driving a specific business to full economic potential–whether through an annual planning process, a transformation effort or full turnaround. Such efforts are all about making strategic choices and driving change. The ultimate goal is to rapidly create a proprietary set of actions that serve customers better than the competition.

Only 1 in 9 companies achieves sustainable profitable growth. And of those sustained value creators, 90% lead in their core business. Our business unit strategy approach focuses on achieving full economic potential of the core business and pursuing adjacencies with ruthless discipline, with an eye toward mobilization from Day 1 to ensure our clients convert their strategy into realized results. We work with clients to develop a robust strategic foundation, make choices on where to play and how to build a competitive advantage, and establish flexible priorities that drive results at the front line.

A bold, inspiring, full potential ambition that drives to sustained profitable growth.

Strategic foundation 
A robust fact base that drives to strategic insights and builds the case for change.

Where to Play 
Clear choices on where to play: which markets and segments the company will pursue (and which it will not).

How to Win 
Clear choices on how to win: which differentiated capabilities and assets the company will leverage.

Results at the front line 
Flexible priorities that follow the money even in turbulence and go beyond "just initiatives". Mobilization of the front-line to embed the change and creation of feedback loops to monitor and adapt.

Our Approach

Bain’s unique approach to business unit strategy overcomes the shortfalls of the typical strategy development process, which focuses on getting to recommendations more than results. In the typical process, substantial time and effort are invested in developing a static fact base and recommendations, with relatively less emphasis on dynamic action planning and execution. The outcome is a strategy that falls into one or more classic strategy pitfalls: it’s not tailored to a company’s specific capabilities and position; it’s too incremental; it’s not scalable; it’s not implementable; it’s not durable; or it’s just plain wrong.

We use several lenses to help our clients develop creative and innovative strategies. Ideas may be generated from an assessment of changes in the "rules of the game," differentiation via new competitive models, new trends, deep consumer insight, the application of sustainable business practices, the expansion of repeatable models and the mining of underutilized assets or platforms, or "hidden assets." To foster creativity further, Bain uses its BothBrain® approach, which helps clients harness the creative and analytical capabilities within a business to revolutionize the ideation process. Our deep industry and functional expertise give us valuable insight into the critical issues our clients are facing. At the same time, our ability to share situational expertise across industry and functional boundaries creates significant value for our clients.

Bain's approach is geared to rapid results by considering options and mobilization efforts early in the process, and leveraging quick wins to build momentum. Critical to this process is communicating early to key stakeholders to ensure buy-in and effective feedback loops that allow management to monitor execution. Mobilization efforts include evaluating challenges to implementation and results by addressing risks, constraints, people and capability gaps from the beginning of the strategy process.

We help clients develop dynamic decision-making capabilities, which aid strategy development during uncertainty. Scenarios are developed by extrapolating macro, industry and competitive trends to determine likely end states. However, since the expected scenario may not be the one that plays out, organizations also need a process to develop robust and adaptable strategies, to monitor actual scenario outcomes and to accommodate course corrections as needed


Client Results

Our Team


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We help global leaders with their organization's most critical issues and opportunities. Together, we create enduring change and results.