Business Development Service

The Business Development Programme is designed to develop a competitive strategy and action plan for your business. The programme is tailored based on the outcomes of our planning session with you, bearing in mind the level of Profit Improvement Potential identified and your own personal and business goals. This guide contains outlines of each stage of the business development programme we follow with you over the next 12 months.  

We will start that process by running a half day workshop for you and your team called Making Your Business Really Fly.

The first step is to carry out a Financial Performance Review, preferably covering a four-year period. This will show the key ratios and trends in your business in an easy to understand graphical format and using established analytical procedures. It will cover issues such as turnover growth, gross profit margin, sales/wages, overheads/sales, debtor days and so on.

We will carry out a benchmarking exercise using the largest database of companies’ financial results in the United Kingdom so we can compare your results, ratios and trends with similar companies in the UK. This will help us determine the amount of profit improvement potential that there is in your business and should allow us to recommend changes which will have an immediate impact on your profit and cash flow.

This involves a review of your gas and electricity supplies, telephone and data, water and business rates, vehicles, finance, green services and staff. We will then tender your accounts to our wide network of suppliers and partners. We will negotiate on your behalf to ensure that you have access to the best tariffs available. We will send you a report showing your potential savings and organise all of necessary paperwork with your suppliers. All of the savings will be passed on to you.

This stage, like the first stage, should also generate additional profits for you. Our aim is to raise your monthly profits by more than our fee for facilitating your Business Development Programme so that the programme itself generates the money that is required to pay for it.

To assist in the facilitation of this you will complete a detailed Business Development Questionnaire which will prompt you to take a look at your business from the perspective of customers, team members, suppliers and owners.  The Business Development Questionnaire will be the basis of the discussions we will have at the Strategic Planning Day which starts with reviewing that information.

During the Strategic Planning Day we will help identify and record the owners’ goals; your Vision of what the company will be like when you have completed it; the Mission of the business (in other words what value the business brings to the market); and your Unique Core Differentiators which compel customers to buy from you.

We do this through a process called a Customer Advisory Board, where we arrange an online meeting with around twelve of your key customers and facilitate a discussion of one to two hours. We ask pre-prepared questions to disclose  those things your business does really well, things that you could do better, the main frustrations customers have in doing business with providers in your business sector and what additional services or products they would buy from you if you provided them and so on.

This is accomplished by a meeting of a number of team members from all areas in the business including for example, production, marketing and sales, administration and finance and human resources. Like the Customer Advisory Board, the Team Advisory Board is run from a pre-prepared set of questions and examines the results of the Customer Advisory Board.

We will follow up the workshop by assisting you to implement a team communication and feedback system.  This will ensure that all team members have the big picture of what is happening in the business, and (more importantly) they will be motivated to take responsibility and accountability in areas where previously only the business owners have tread.

We now have the information we need to start to draw up a business model based around what your customers want, what your team has told us AND what you as owners of your business want out of the business.

During this stage we will map out with you the model of your future business. By the end of this step, you will be clear as to how you’ll be positioning your business in the future.  As importantly, you’ll be certain that the business we are designing together fits with your customers’ and team’s needs and your own goals.  

We use two special video-based training programmes to guide your team in a systematised way towards developing customer-focussed standards.  The training focuses on the real purpose of your business; areas of perceived indifference; the difference between satisfaction and delight, and developing performance standards. The programme will assist you to differentiate your business through service excellence and create awareness among team members about customers and their absolute importance to the ongoing success of the business.

A business is nothing more than a bunch of activities performed by people — team members and managers — to meet the needs of other people: clients and customers.  Some of these activities are visible to the client.  Some are not. The visible activities are the ones the client sees or experiences — these are the points of contact, or the “moments of truth”.  These are the moments when your customer decides how you score on the service spectrum. Our work with you at this stage of the programme is to identify the moments of truth in your business, and to draw up policies, procedures and practices to ensure that the systems surrounding each moment of truth are systematised and focused on ensuring customers are delighted with each one.

The marketing plan is an integral part of business.  We’ll start off by reviewing each of your existing product and service lines. Then we’ll move onto profiling your ideal customers and establishing precisely why they buy from you.

Most businesses don’t have any sort of Unique Core Differentiator.  This is the specialness about you which compels people to buy from you instead of from your competitors.  It must be at the core of your business and your clients.  It must be a fundamental focal point, and it must be articulated at every opportunity. We’ll brainstorm how you can make advantage of that.

Many businesses could do so much more with guarantees and waste countless business opportunities because they don’t understand this. We will work with you to discover whether market share could be increased and profitability improved by the use of a guarantee in your business. 

Finally, we’ll help you draft your marketing plan, including a clearly defined marketing strategy for your business which is in alignment with the business model identified in the earlier stages of our programme.

The purpose of this stage is to identify those areas of your business where systems are failing, so that we can help you improve business performance by addressing those failure points. We do this by observation and by talking with your team in both a structured and an unstructured way. This will help us to understand those processes in your business on which we need to focus.  It will also help us to attain productivity gains by addressing the key frustrations of your team members.

We will then facilitate a workshop with representatives from each department in your business to brainstorm where improvements can be made to your systems. Our work in this area will give us invaluable pointers to help you redesign some of the critical systems in the business so as to improve productivity.

Now you’ve established your direction and your outline plan, we’ll draw up a revenue and business model. We will meet with you to complete a ‘what-if’ analysis to discover the optimum targets to aim for. Once we have the preferred scenario, we will prepare a five year financial plan together with a twelve month cash flow and profit forecast on a monthly basis. 

Now we have a financial plan for your business, we will work together with you to determine your Critical Success Factors  - those things you absolutely must get right for the business to achieve your goals. Then we will define Key Performance Indicators which measure your business’s performance against these Critical Success Factors. The beauty of Key Performance Indicators is that they allow management to manage the business proactively.  They often measure non-financial matters and can cover any time frame of your choosing from hourly to monthly.

An integral part of your business development programmes is to find ways to allow the owners to spend more time working ON your business rather than IN your business.  One key to achieving that is to train and empower your team members so that they can start to do the things you have traditionally done.

Working with you and your team we will design a People Development System which will ensure that your team are properly trained and have a structured programme of personal enhancement which will increase their loyalty to your business. We’ll wrap up this stage by holding a full team meeting to update everyone on our progress and where we go from here.

We consider the use of a Management Control Plan to run a business as one of the most important things most business owners need to do - but so few actually do. This stage starts with us agreeing on an agenda for monthly monitoring meetings at which we will include monitoring all of your Key Performance Indicators on a regular basis.

The key to the Management Control Plan is to have a regular agenda of items which we’ll cover with you each month.  Each of those items is formalised in the Management Control Plan, and supported by systems which ensure that the information is readily available at the right time, and acted upon. To finalise this system, we will sit in on your monthly Board Meetings, where the progress with the financial plan and your Key Performance Indicators will be a standard item on the agenda.