Twitter: @stratabilityco


Julie is a business strategist and techpreneur. She specializes in fintech and strategy journey. Former clients include GE, and many banks large and small globally. She is passionate about helping people to build strategic capabilities that empower them to create success stories in their personal lives, careers and businesses.

She has spent the past 15 years working with C-level executives and directors of banks and large corporates as well as many start-ups to plan and execute their strategies by designing target operating model solutions focused on the customer/client experience.

Julie is currently writing 2 books on building capabilities to support strategy end-to-end, and operating model design in practice. She is also busy expanding her company, Stratability which she launched in 2014 through strategic alliances and partnerships as well as supporting start-ups and small businesses through a number of accelerator programs in the UK and Silicon Valley.

In her spare time, Julie enjoys following Formula One (F1) and her football teams Arsenal and Liverpool, learning Latin dancing, shopping and fashion. She also loves to spend time with her dog especially around the parks in Wimbledon and being a foodie, trying out new restaurants as well as recipes at home.


 

What does your company do?

Stratability is a business consultancy and learning academy focused on helping the people who drive businesses to build the capabilities required for long-term success.

All businesses can improve their strategy execution success rates with our 8 end-to-end strategic capabilities: Motivation, Innovation, Architecture, Planning, Financing, Insight, Marketing and Expansion.

We deliver to our clients in 3 ways:

  • We run design thinking sessions with leadership teams to define new business models, innovations and operating model strategies
  • Though our education workshops and tools
  • Our alliance of experts review and monitor progress at appropriate intervals to help businesses stay on track with their strategy execution

 

Why did you decide to leave the corporate world to start your own business?

Leaving the corporate world was a very difficult decision for me, because it provided security in the form of a very good salary. Like everyone, I have the usual responsibilities of mortgage, bills, etc… and my banking salary was by appearance providing me with a really good lifestyle. It was a golden handcuff.

However, deep down I was extremely unhappy and unfulfilled because I felt like I wasn’t able to make a difference in spite of everything I was doing at work. I was deeply frustrated to see and experience many of colleagues get into routines like drones, while others chose to play the political game to advance sometimes with questionable ethics. And in the meantime, the projects we worked on were not achieving any positive results because they were short sighted rather than future focused despite them costing 100s of millions.

 

You specialise in business strategies, what do you think are some of the common pitfalls by new businesses in executing their strategies?

It’s sad but statistics show that at least 8 in 10 new businesses fail within their first 5 years. The most common reasons and hence pitfalls in no particular order include:

  • The founder, leaders and people are in business for the wrong reasons – its all about the money and the fame, rather than the offering and what problem is it solving for customers – WHY you are in business, and the values of the business are actually the most important.
  • Too much focus on the product or service and not enough on the customer wants and needs.
  • Not enough testing and prototyping of the business model to see if its viable Will the business make money and more importantly profit? Costs are very important.
  • Poor planning and taking on too much too soon. There must be multiple phases in every project and a new business is a big project.
  • Lack of emphasis on people and leadership and developing capabilities and skills. Businesses only succeed with people, even highly digital offerings. Having a clearly stated mission and vision, goals and objectives that people at all levels can not only follow but also strive to achieve is key.
  • Lack of resources, money to finance the project, the right people with the right skills, technology, processes

All of the above point to the need for end-to-end strategy that is executable by people alongside supporting resources.

 

What do you think of the UK as a place to set up a new business?

The UK and especially London is probably one of the best places in the world right now to set up a new business. We should call it “The British Dream”. I believe the results of the last election came about because all the entrepreneurs in Britain came out in droves to vote.

There are just so many opportunities to innovate and the government is certainly very supportive, setting the right policies and building up the infrastructure to encourage entrepreneurship.

Most important, the mix of cultures from people, be they migrants or born in Britain is fostering early adoption of new innovations making the UK more dynamic than ever to live in and naturally a playground for new businesses to learn and blossom.

 

Are there any individuals that you look up to in terms of work ethos?

Funny, I just wrote a blog about why I admire Steve Jobs so feel free to read that at

www.stratability.co/blog. Besides being the one of the founders of modern computing and the innovator of the smartphones many of us cannot live without, Steve Jobs was also an intelligent strategist and business architect who stuck to his beliefs when others doubted them. He architected Apple from near bankruptcy back into profitability and a world leader with his vision, strategies and goals that were executed to perfection by the people who worked with him in Apple under a highly innovative culture.