For entrepreneurs, managers, directors, angel investors.
Business is common sense: "Buy low, sell high."
But it's not as easy as it sounds. And it is a big commitment to run a business, whether as owner or manager. It matters whether it works or not.
There are stories of people who had a new idea that took off, or started a craze, or won the lotto, but those events are exceptions. But if you start your own business, expect to have to work hard for little pay. You should do it because you enjoy the work and are competent to do it, not because it looks sexy or enriching. Those motivators are misdirected. Greed for money will distract you from nurturing the team and other stakeholders, from delivering the best product at the best value, from caring about the business. Greed for money might work for a while, but it will not last. Instead, do the business because it is fun and you can make a difference.
- Be organised, plan, schedule, list.
- Research, analyse, question, then decide.
- Avoid complacency, conceit and corruption - they will kill your business.
How we help you.
Business planning. Read business plan guides. Read our business planning guides. Do your own business plan. Use someone else to pick holes in your plan. Plans should be revised anually and getting feedback on the annual plan is valuable, in particular for reality checks.
We can review you plan and offer feedback. We charge for the time it takes to do the work. Reading the plan takes up to half an hour. Analysing the plan takes longer. Written feedback takes from half an hour. A conversation is likely to take longer. And depending on your experience with plans you may want to revise your plan and ask us to give further feedback.
Financial Analysis and Planning. The business plan is comprised of words and numbers. The numbers quantify your expectations and are critical to implementing your plans.
The numbers are essential. If you need to raise money, the financial plan will be required by providers of money, whether banks or investors. If you don't need to raise money, trying to raise money is a good test of your business plan which can help avoid wasting money on deluded projections.
We can help you with the numbers. We offer guidance on assumptions, structure and formulae, including scenario planning and sensitivity planning. We can help you understand the numbers and teach you how to develop projections. We can train you in the basics of accounting and analysis.
Mentoring and coaching. Runnning a business or being responsible for managing assets or a team can be an isolated experience. It is helpful to be able to critically discuss issues or develop management skills, but often you are the only person with relevant experience or perspective.
Talking to us gives entrepreneurs and managers valuable insight and feedback on problems and potential. We have seen and analysed hundreds of different businesses and have hands-on experience of the problems of management in many industries, from farming to PCB fabrication, from education to investment banking.
Beyond mentor feedback, coaching sessions can nurture specific management skills that enable you to use your time, assets, team and professional service providers effectively.
Family Issues. Life is not all about work. You work to live, but beyond basic sustencance other motivations must be served. Most entrepreneurs and managers have families and their relationships are put under pressure by the demands of business. It is essential to keep perspective and maintain family objectives even when under extreme pressure of change in business, such as start-up, turn-around, capital expansion or business development. And once the gritty phase of change has been managed, the relationship of the manager to business and family can be cause for distraction and disruption if not managed.
Successful businesses always face the problem of management and ownership succession which, if not recognised, can wreck business and/or family. Beyond the integration of family and business, many successful business operators become philanthropists and this adds another dimension to the complexity of managing relationships and succession.
We help you recognise and address family issues, mitigating problems, smoothing transitions and helping you to clarify strategic options.
System Design and Implementation. We use anthropomorphic analogy to analyse business. In fact, biomimicry is a foundation of system analysis and design at all levels from the individual to the enterprise to the world. This approach recognises the intedependence of systems within and without an enterprise and it underpins a sustainable design approach which respects natural, universal laws. Priorities change as an organisation grows from an idea to a one man show to a small or medium enterprise to an extended conglomerate.
We help you understand strategic issues of whole system design so that your enterprise can change and evolve with flexibility and efficiency, adapting to changing market conditions.