Business Support Services
Finding effective business support services that are focussed on helping you grow your business can be a challenge.
Does the following sound familiar?
- Increasing competition.
- Continual pressure on costs.
- Difficult to increase prices.
- Difficult to keep good staff.
- Continual pressure to improve products and services.
- Technology is increasing the different ways customers want to communicate with you.
- You don’t understand the Internet yet more business is being done using the Internet.
- Customers demand faster and better service.
- Your internal processes are error-prone and mistakes are made costing you time and money.
As you are already acutely aware, change is the only constant in the world today. And if you continue to do what you have always done you will actually get less, not the same as the saying goes.
What business support services do you need to help you grow?
After you have read a number of books on management a lot of it seems like common sense. It is also the case that a variety of management tools and techniques available to you that will help you gain a better understanding of the issues.
However, after analysing a variety of tools and techniques the following basic principles emerge:
- Clear achievable measurable objectives need to be set.
- There needs to be excellent communication with all stakeholders (customers, employees, shareholders, external organisations that have an interest in your business).
- You really need to understand your market and communicate regularly with customers.
- Set clear roles and responsibilities for your team.
- Ensure ongoing and sustained training and development of you and your team.
- Good fiscal control. (You produce monthly management accounts and the business generates cash.)
- You need to find time and space to be creative and to work ON your business.
So what do you need from a business support service, a consultant or an outside facilitator? What is going to make a difference to your business, to the way you and your team do things?
For a lot of organisations, change can be implemented in an evolutionary way, one step at a time to get your team used to the idea that change is here to stay, that is necessary and that they need to get good at it. The goal for you the business owner or senior manager is to create an agile organisation capable of changing and adapting as your external environment changes. That way, what you do matches what the world outside wants and will pay for.
If change is to be evolutionary then simply writing a report and letting you get on with it is not going to work as the change required is iterative and it doesn’t take many small iterative steps for the proposals suggested by a consultant to be out of date. This probably explains why most reports from consultants end up in the bottom drawer (never the round receptacle in the corner because you have spent too much money on it). Also, most consultants like to work with top management only. However, for change to be effective, an outside facilitator needs to work with all your team from the chief executive to the cleaner.
So how do you meet your goals?
Over the years Peter Dickinson, Director, KUB Ltd has completed a Masters in Business Administration, has delivered business support services to hundreds of businesses and brought together a range of business tools. He has accumulated a range of academically proven tools, methodologies and approaches that can help you and your business grow and be more profitable.
The following are approaches, tools and methodologies that can be used to systematically analyse and develop your business.
- Visioning (What you do you really want to do? How can your business deliver it?)
- Board meeting facilitation
- Sounding board, somebody to be there, provides alternative ideas.
- Financial and non-financial key performance indicators
- Balanced Scorecard (Dashboard to drive the company)
- Customer Pull (Do what the customers want and will pay for.)
- Steps to improving profit checklist.
- Understanding the external pressures on your business
- Understanding your market and stages of growth
- Understanding your competitors and your place in the market place
- Product life cycle and the need for innovation
- Product Analysis – Cash cow or Dog?
- Future growth – Diversification, Product or Market Development?
- FAB analysis – Features, Attributes, Benefits
- Professional selling
- The Sales Funnel or Customer Journey
- Sales and gross profit sensitivity analysis – Thinking of discounts?
- Customer Services for strategic advantage
- Lean office tools – Daily workgroup meetings, flow, layout, diagnostics, process mapping, key performance indicators, primary visual display, leadership
Internal including Operations and Production
- Lean manufacturing/operations – Value stream/process mapping, 5S (sort, sweep, straighten, standardise, sustain), daily stand up meetings, place of everything, everything in its place, visual displays, shadow boards, flow, customer pull etc.
- Improvement cycle – Plan, Do, Review, Act
- Management Accounting
- Financial modelling
- Financial diagnostics
- Shared plans & goals
- Problem Solving Techniques
- Time Management & project planning
With these business support services, the learning and development process for you, as owner/manager can be kept very simple.
Your time is very valuable and although Peter meets many owner/managers who would like to do a formal course they are unable to do so because they cannot spare the time away from the business. The other challenge is that formal courses often require an academic approach that doesn’t always fit well with putting the theory into practice.
Therefore, from years of working with businesses, Peter has devised a simple approach to delivering business support services for the training and development of business owners and managers.
Depending on how busy you are, business support, training and development sessions are generally held monthly and last about 3 hours. This allows enough time for ideas to be discussed and enough actions to be identified to make sure that enough business development activities can be undertaken before meeting again.
The structure of typical business support, training and development session is:
- Review progress to date (or, if the first time, carry out a review to find the strengths and weaknesses of the business).
- Identify key issues to work on.
- Apply the right tool or method to analyse the situation.
- From the analysis, find actions for you to complete.
- A normal 3-hour session will cover a number of areas.
- At the end of the meeting, photocopy the list of actions for you to carry out.
This approach to business support means that work on the identified actions can start immediately.
This approach means that the time and money that you invest in the process is more than paid back through improvements in business performance.
Normally, working with a business coach is very expensive but with you doing all the work and with the need for reports removed means that the cost is kept to £400 plus VAT per month. This includes a 3-hour face to face training and development session per month and unlimited telephone and email support. Up to 6 people can attend a session at a time. The business support is appropriate to senior management teams although it can be amended to suit any member of your team at no extra charge. There is no minimum contract period so that you can stop and start the process to fit in with your workload.
The benefits of this kind of business support are that you:
- Spend quality time on resolving the challenges faced by your business.
- Learn proven approaches to the challenges that you face.
- Learn how to apply the approaches in your business.
- Learn at your pace.
- Can choose to pay a fixed cost per month or you can pay as you go.
- Identify actions that will make immediate improvements to your business.
- All areas of the business are covered including sales, marketing, operations/manufacturing, process, IT, accounts and finance.
- There are no reports, just an agreed list of actions.
- Peter can work with your management team or just you.
- The process is like a mini-board meeting but without the formality.
- You are in control; you can cancel at any time.
- Free email/telephone support between meetings.
This is the business support service that Peter Dickinson delivers. The business support service is a straight forward, facilitative approach so that you only pay for what you need to make your business more successful (by whichever measure you define as success).
Business Support Services for High Growth
There is no sales pitch. If you are based in the North West, employ between 2 and 249 employees would like to try a 2-hour business support session free of charge and without obligation, call 0345 053 7417 or email: [email protected] to arrange a mutually convenient time or simply book in for a free 30-minute digital marketing review.
MSc(Eng), MBCS, CEng, CITP, MBA, MIoD