What We Do
1. Business Analysis & Planning
If you don’t know how you’re doing now, how will you know the impact of any changes you make?
Where is your business right now? How resilient is it in the face of changing economic circumstances? How profitable are different business segments, products or contracts? What’s your cash-to-cash cycle?
Understanding where your business is at any one time and its ability to sustain itself are essential before you can plan changes or expansion. Establishing a baseline is a first step in developing any strategy for improved performance.
I work with business owners and leaders to identify their organisation’s current status (profitability, cash, quality, customer service, employee satisfaction and performance for stakeholders) and its immediate outlook if it continues as is.
A business plan is not just a document to secure funding from an investor or bank. It should be the roadmap setting out how the organisation will achieve its goals and how it will measure progress along the way.
The next step is to develop a robust Business Plan built on well thought out strategies…
2. Strategy Development
Many strategies fail because they’re not actually strategies
The strategy consultants come in, do their work, and document the new strategy in a PowerPoint presentation and a weighty report. Staff meetings are organised, employees are told to change their behaviour, balanced scorecards are reformulated, and budgets are set aside to support initiatives that fit the new strategy. And then nothing happens.
Many so-called strategies are in fact goals. “We want to be the number one or number two in all the markets in which we operate” is one of those. It does not tell you what you are going to do; all it does is tell you what you hope the outcome will be. But you’ll still need a strategy to achieve it.
I work with organisations to define a real strategy which aligns the big picture with the day-to-day.
Starting with where the business is now before articulating where it wants to be – the vision – then identifying how it will get there.
The ‘How’ is the strategy! It involves a clear set of choices that define what the organisation is going to do and what it’s not going to do. It must encompass all parts of the business from Sales & Marketing, to Customer Service; Production to Quality; and Technology to Finance.
A vital part of any strategy is the ability to be able to tell – quickly – how it’s progressing, whether it’s on track or not. If you can’t monitor progress and make changes along the way, most strategies will fail.
3. Financial Planning & Management
No matter how good the strategy and how great the people, it all comes to nothing without cash.
Why do so many businesses fail between two and eight years after starting? It’s almost always about cash!
Financial and business planning is a process, like walking or steering, that involves constant corrections. The plan sets a marker. Without it we can’t track how we were wrong, in what way or by how much.
Dealing with financials can be a nightmare for many business leaders. They started their business because they’re great engineers, IT experts or fantastic at customer service. They are fully aware of the importance of financial planning but don’t always feel confident dealing with accounts, projections or cash flows.
Knowing how long a business can perform at a certain level of weekly revenue before it hits cash flow problems, should be meat and drink to our business owners. But it’s not.
Certainly, most businesses are more complex than this. But complexity can be hard to measure and take time to analyse – time which many business owners feel they can’t commit.
It’s a major concern to banks and funding agencies, which expect business owners to be ‘on top of the numbers’.
I work with businesses to develop financial plans which ‘tell the monetary story’ underlying their strategies and business plans. The financial plan is an integral part of the business plan – and is essential if financing is required.
The business plan and financial plan must tell the same story and show the same resilience, the same ability to adapt to changing economic circumstances, timelines as well as all the other obstacles it will meet.
Because business plans will always need to change leaders need to be able to monitor progress, including financial performance, easily and quickly.