Showing posts with label Business Strategies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Business Strategies. Show all posts

Friday, 28 April 2017

Non Executive Directors - What you need to know?

As levels of boardroom regulation have increased, more and more businesses are appointing Non Executive Directors (NEDs) to their boards in order to assist the management team with risk management, compliance and governance.

While executive directors help to run a company’s business, NEDs don’t have daily management responsibilities. As a result, they have the time to contribute to the development of the firm’s strategy, monitor the performance of the management team and ensure that appropriate risk management processes are in place.

Whereas executive directors can be too busy with day to day duties, NEDs are there to point out what the management team doesn’t know. They also help to ensure that a small group of individuals can’t dominate the board’s decision-taking.

So where do you find a NED for your board? NEDs tend to be people with extensive managerial experience in areas such as finance, marketing, sales or legal. Many businesses find their NEDs through word of mouth or business contacts. An alternative is to use an executive recruitment agency.

In order to get the most out of having a NED on your board, you should create a clearly defined job description with a strong letter of appointment, setting out exactly what is expected of them.  NEDs should operate at more of a strategic level, challenging executives and providing the board with an independent perspective. It’s not just the business that needs to be careful, as NEDs face considerable personal risks in terms of personal liabilities if a business were to fail. They are as accountable as other directors to the regulators and shareholders of the business.

NEDs are not necessarily as important to the success of a business as a chief executive or management team but they can provide expertise, guidance and perspective which can help to pave the way to success for the firm.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

How to Manage Business Mistakes?

No matter what type of business you run, mistakes will happen. All employees make mistakes. However, the key to resolving the situation when things don’t go to plan is to manage your team and the actions they take, effectively.

When things go wrong, stop and analyse the situation. How big is the mistake? Is it one that should not have been made but can be rectified? Or did it cost your company hundreds of thousands of pounds?

If a team member makes a mistake, hopefully they will own up to it. If not, you may have to raise the issue with them. The key at this point is to communicate clearly and in a professional manner. There is no point getting angry and shouting at people. Instead you should outline your expectations.

Discuss the mistake with your team member and ask them what they think they can do to rectify the situation. Outline that the most important thing right now is to come up with an effective remedy rather than pointing out whose fault it was.

If the mistake is a one-off occurrence, you should outline to your team member that the main thing is to learn from the experience in order to avoid it happening again. If the team member in question has made various mistakes in the past and it is becoming a regular issue, then perhaps it is time to consider getting HR involved. Maybe the individual is making regular mistakes because they aren’t properly qualified for their job or perhaps they just aren’t suited to their current role.

As a manager, you should think about what type of leader you are and what you want to accomplish. Do you want your team members to be scared of you or do you want to encourage them and support their actions? As a manager you can’t be their friend but you can be supportive. A supportive manager will use mistakes as a learning opportunity for the team.

If your firm's current culture for handling mistakes is not one that encourages learning or growth, it might be time to update your strategy. The best modern businesses use mistakes as an opportunity to step back, look at a process and find a better way of doing things. This type of approach helps to identify best practice, minimise the chances of similar mistakes happening again and may even create a better, more efficient way of managing parts of the business.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Developing A Culture Of Accountability

One of the toughest balances to achieve within any business is between building a culture that gives people the autonomy to get on with their job while maintaining an environment of accountability.

There is a fine line between managing and micromanaging  and it tends to be quite subjective. Some team members will welcome day to day management and guidance while others might rather be left alone to get on with their job. As such, it is necessary to create systems and processes which allow the management team to maintain awareness of what is going on across the business without people feeling like someone is constantly checking on them.

Everyone in the firm should have annual goals which align with the overall objectives of the firm and are communicated to everyone across the business at the start of the year. Each individual should then be tasked with agreeing what their personal goals should be with their manager. These should cascade down from the overall objectives of the business. Ideally you should aim to agree between five and eight goals for each team member.

Once everyone’s objectives have been set, you and your management team should set up quarterly meetings with each of your staff to discuss progress towards achieving each objective. You should let your team member lead the meeting, explaining the progress they have made towards each goal and what they intend to do in the next quarter in order to keep moving forward. As a manager you should ask open questions such as “What went well? Which areas could be improved upon?” or “Do you need any additional resources in order to achieve your goals?” This will provide the opportunity to assist the individual towards successfully achieving their goals but in a way that doesn’t feel like they are being micro managed.

Finally, each team in your business should have a weekly meeting with an agenda designed to allow everyone to update what happened last week and what is planned for the next week. This provides an opportunity for managers / team leaders to drive objectives forward. In order to encourage accountability, at each weekly meeting, every team member should be required to give a 3-minute update on where they are against their objectives.

In order to make this approach work, the managers in your firm should be accountable for the objectives and their teams should be responsible for delivering them. In order to communicate progress across the business and increase transparency, each manager should produce a quarterly update, which can be shared across the firm. This could take the form of a simple email to all staff. This type of communication also allows the managers to outline what is coming up in the next quarter and solicit help / resources if required.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

What to consider while scaling up your small business?

Increasing the scale of a business is easier said than done. If your business objective is to scale up, you need to consider the people aspects, strategy and financials.

People make the firm

People determine a company’s success, and hiring the right people is critical. Hiring a team of great people will help to solve most of the problems the business encounters as it increases in scale. As such, you should invest time and money into the hiring process to find the best professionals to take the company to the next level. Screen candidates not only for their skills and knowledge, but also for their personality and how well they fit the mission, values and culture of the firm.

Once you have hired the best team, you need to make sure that you keep them. You and your management team should communicate openly, recognise and reward their achievements, and give them the tools and training they need to succeed.

Follow a simple strategy

In the words of Albert Einstein, “Everything should be made as simple as possible - but not simpler.” Businesses need a strategy to succeed, but it shouldn’t be complicated. The very best strategic plans are 1 page of A4.

The strategy should include the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the business, the company’s core values and mission. As the focus is to scale up and grown the firm, the strategy should include high-level goals for each quarter, and year. Once you have finalised the strategy, ensure that you communicate it effectively so that everyone in the firm understands what the objectives of the firm are and what they need to do to achieve the overall goal of growing the business.

Manage risk (and cashflow)

Like anything in life, businesses encounter unexpected storms from time to time. As such, the management team should manage risk effectively in order to ensure that the firm’s growth strategy isn’t derailed by unforeseen market forces.

Cashflow is very important when trying to increase the scale of a business. As such, unnecessary outlay should be avoided. Instead, the firm should focus on building up cash reserves which can be used from time to time to assist the business in achieving its growth strategy.

Contact us if you have any questions or need business help:
PJ | ☎ 020 89310165 | ☏ 07900537459 | ✉

Friday, 20 January 2017

Wearable technology - What you need to know!

Wearable technology is one of the biggest trends in IT and tech at the moment. The consumer market has embraced wearables such as smart watches and virtual reality headsets. However most businesses are still developing their strategies for making the most of the wearable technology trend.

While attention to wearables is widespread, adoption is not. From Google to Fitbit, Jawbone and Apple, wearables are garnering plenty of interest. Some early adopters in businesses are using the Apple Watch or Samsung Gear to monitor emails or manage their calendar while on the go. Others are using it to remind them to move about or to walk around the office throughout the day in order to burn a few calories.

Wearables are far from ubiquitous in the workplace just yet though. While the technology has developed quickly, businesses remain hesitant to integrate the devices into their everyday operations.

One of the reasons for businesses to consider adopting wearable tech is its ability to streamline normal business operations and improve a company's productivity. Whether it's a pair of smart glasses that help to guide a warehouse employee along the most efficient route or sensors that help employees more quickly reference needed information to complete a task, wearables allow businesses to improve efficiency in task management.

On the health and wellness side of things, many companies are now offering employees fitness trackers, coupled with incentive programmes, to encourage healthier lifestyles both in and out of the workplace. Healthier employees are often more productive and less frequently absent, and can save their employers on health care costs. For example, Fitbit offers a corporate wellness program to partner with companies trying to promote employee well-being.

Wearable tech is also changing how consumers interact with businesses. Some firms are exploring wearables in the form of targeted advertising and simplified payment services through the use of "near-field communication" (NFC) chips. This encourages improved communication with customers and also makes consumer data easier for businesses to gather.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Knowledge Management - Importance & Strategy!

Knowledge management in business is all about identifying and developing critical technical and management knowledge and deploying it across the firm in a way that adds value.

Importance of Knowledge Management:

Most businesses will have considered the risk of losing valuable knowledge to the extent that when talent walks out the door, the prime concern is losing the technical know-how which those people possess. Exit interviews are reactive, somewhat ineffective and instead managers should adopt more proactive practices.

Knowledge Management Strategy:

Collaboration Systems

Collaboration systems such as internal forums can be useful in encouraging teams to share know-how across the firm. Some firms even create wiki sites which can be searched by staff who need to access important knowledge or information quickly and easily.

Central Repository

The firm should have a central repository, with policies and procedures as well as relevant know-how documents and guides. The majority of this knowledge will be internal and the focus should be on documenting and sharing know-how around operational efficiency and effectiveness.

Customer Focused

Your knowledge management strategy can also be customer focused. The key here is to create and share know-how that helps to ensure that customer relationships are maintained, service levels are high and sales volumes are increased. The crucial knowledge is centered around the products or services that the business offers, as well as knowledge about the customers themselves, the market, competitors and other firms in the sector. The majority of this knowledge will be internal with some external knowledge (such as market information) being needed to fully understand the client, your competitors and the sector in which you operate.

Innovation Focused

Your knowledge management strategy could also have an innovation focus. This involves the creation and utilisation of new and existing knowledge in order to create new products and services. Much of this knowledge will be external and may include market research, analysing client data, etc.

A successful management strategy must identify the key needs and issues within the firm, and provide a framework for addressing these.

Contact us for your business help requirement:
PJ | ☎ 020 89310165 | ☏ 07900537459 | ✉

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

What Does Your Strategy Say To Your Customers?

Your business’s strategy says a lot about what you and your firm believe in and where you are going to invest your resources. But what does your strategy say about your firm from your customer’s perspective?

Your customers want to know that you and your business care about them. They want to feel important and that they are at the centre of your universe. Without your customers, your business wouldn’t exist. As such, it is important to build your firm’s strategy around your customers.

The very best businesses build every process and interaction around creating a great experience for their customers. Businesses such as Amazon and Netflix are well known for their customer centric business strategies, but you don’t need to be a global enterprise in order to create a strategy that puts customers first.

The next time you and your management team sit down to review your strategy, start with your customers. Think about who they are, the problems they face and what your business can do to help them. Maybe they are time poor so your strategy could be to save them time by offering the most efficient service in your market sector. Perhaps your customers want better value for money so maybe a strategy that focuses on delivering a low cost product or service would be more relevant to them.  

Regardless of the strategy that you choose to implement, make sure that it sends the right message to your target audience. That message should be bold and it should tell your customers (and target customers) that they are at the centre of everything your business does.

PJ☎ 020 89310165☏ 07900537459✉

Monday, 8 August 2016

How to manage business information overload?

Today's hyper-connected business people are bombarded with more information than ever before. We are all faced with information overload.

Many businesses have tried to encourage their offices to go paperless. However, people still have stacks of paper, magazines, articles and reference materials all around their desks. Inboxes are overflowing with ever increasing volumes of emails. Businesses are spending more and more on digital storage (and physical storage). So how do you manage information overload?

Identify sources and create filters

Consider where your information comes from. You probably receive email, newsletters, industry publications, etc. Consider what information you really need then set up email filters which cut out the rubbish and only allow the relevant information through to your inbox. In terms of physical information – create a rule. If you don’t read an industry publication within a week you should pass it on or bin it (in the recycling of course).

Allocate time to review it

Put some time in your diary to go through all the data that you are collating. Go through those email folders. Review documents that you have stored away. Book a meeting with yourself to do this so that you’ve got some structured time in your diary each week to deal with information. If you use a mind map to organise your data sources into categories you could set up time to deal with each category one by one and therefore avoid jumping around from one topic to the next.

Act on it or delete / recycle it

During your review time your plan should be to act on information or delete it. Your options should be something along the lines of the following:

  • Deal with it now
  • Deal with it later - only if it’s going to take more than 5 minutes to do.
  • Add it to your To Do list or mind map of tasks.
  • Pass it on to someone else to action.
  • File it away as information that is useful to know.
  • Delete it.

Friday, 5 August 2016

4 simple & easy tips for Change Management!

In light of the recent Brexit decision, one thing is inevitable in business in the coming months and years and that is change.

Whichever way you decided to vote, the result of the referendum means that you and your business must be prepared to change and adapt to a new business environment.

Here are a few change management tips for your business:

Create a plan and set realistic goals

People tend to resist change so create a plan that outlines each step of the change process, the key stakeholders, the timeline and the deliverables. Ask different staff members from across the business to feed into this plan. Someone might have a great idea to contribute to the plan – sometimes all you need to do is ask.


Communicate your vision clearly to your team. Identify what it is that you are trying to achieve through the change process. What is in it for your team? The best managers can explain this in a way that inspires the team to get involved and move forward with the plan.

Maintaining momentum

Your employees may agree with your vision initially, but they're likely to become frustrated or disillusioned along the way, especially if they don't see immediate progress. Find ways to keep the conversation going through short town hall meetings, staff surveys and casual conversation. Ask the team for their honest feedback regularly and be willing to listen. Be honest about what you don't know, and commit to updating employees when those details are finalised.

Get the team on board

Getting the senior management team on board is relatively easy. They should be able to see “what’s in it for them.” However to succeed in managing change in your business you need to get your middle management and your junior staff members on board too. Ask representatives from different groups across your business to get involved, share their views and take ownership of different aspects of the change process.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

How to Reduce Business Costs to Increase Profits?

Competition in business is more intense than ever before, with tough economic conditions in most sectors and rival firms battling harder than ever for market share. There are new threats from online providers, new business models and global competitors. As a result, increasing profit levels is quite a challenge. If you can’t increase your sales volumes, consider how to reduce costs in order to increase profits.

Build a culture of cost saving

Everyone can and should take some level of responsibility for the costs related to their work. One way is to involve more people in the budgeting process. All employees could be partially accountable for the costs that affect them.

Negotiate with your suppliers

Renegotiating contracts with suppliers may bring surprising results. Every service provider will be keen to retain your business. As such, they may be open to renegotiating contracts. If you are in a position to negotiate a volume discount in return for another 6 to 12 months of loyalty, you may be able to benefit from some substantial savings.

Decrease waste

Depending on your business, this could be wasted materials, time, effort, money or team members. Everyone in your business should learn to identify and take steps to reduce or eliminate waste. Decrease waste further by “going green” to reduce utility bills by becoming more energy efficient.

Decrease stock levels

Stock is a dead cost and soaks up cash. Decreasing stock levels may require the streamlining of some of your business systems but it may produce some significant cost savings. If you carry excess stock / inventory you should be able to free up some cash flow in the business by reducing stock levels.


Overtime is expensive, but a little preplanning of your work schedules will go a long way to helping reduce overtime costs. If you have more demand than you can handle, it might be cheaper to outsource some of the extra capacity.

Reduce debtor’s days

Cash flow tied up on the debtor’s ledger is effectively costing the business money. Reducing the average time it takes to collect outstanding debts from say, 60 to 30 days, can increase cash flow, reducing the need for expensive overdrafts and bank credit.

Check whether you are making these financial and marketing mistakes that costs you hundreds, or EVEN thousands of Pounds. Click to Download the book below!

Contact us if you need help to increase your business profits:

PJ | ☎ 020 89310165 | ☏ 07900537459 | ✉

4 tips to help Strategic Thinking for your business!

The business environment has been quite volatile since the financial crash of 2008. Strategic thinking is an area of focus for senior managers to navigate a way forward for their businesses, despite the challenges they face in the current market.

The benefit of strategic thinking is clear – competitive advantage. For most business managers, the first reaction is to deal with what’s directly in front of us (in our inbox). Maybe this is because it always seems more urgent and tangible. Unfortunately, while you concentrate on overcoming obstacles, you could miss opportunities, not to mention missing the signs that indicate the direction you are going is taking you off track.

Here are a few tips to help you to think more strategically about your business.

1. Ask questions

Ask questions that encourage new ways of thinking. One of the first questions to ask is “Why are we a good business?”  For the best answer, ask your customers. Find out why they use your products or services.  If you disappeared tomorrow, what would they miss the most about what you do for them? Another good question to ask could be, “How do I get my competitor’s customers to buy from me instead of them?” These questions will help you to think more strategically about the direction your business should take in the next few years.

2. Think critically

A critical thinker will question everything.  This means getting comfortable with challenging beliefs and approaches, even your own. Many business people will often respond to questions with answers like “we always do it this way”. You should ask, “Is there a better way to do it?” Following conventional wisdom is often considered to be a safe bet. However questioning convention is what creates new, disruptive business models such as Uber and Spotify. If you always take the safe option, your business could lose its competitive advantage.

3. Industry context

When thinking about your business it’s important to understand what strategy means in the context of your industry sector. In the accounting sector for example, it is important to understand contextual issues such as economics, key competitors, legal frameworks, technology and so on. Before developing the strategy for your own business, it’s important to understand what strategies work for your competitors and why. This can help you to create a very different, and hopefully more effective, strategy.

4. Create thinking space

Set aside time alone for strategic thinking/planning at least monthly, if not weekly. Use this time to reflect, research, consider ideas and dream. The focus should not be to “do” things. Getting outside or into a new physical space can make this time more effective. Try to get away from your desk and switch off your smartphone so that you can avoid distractions and think properly.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

What to learn from your Business Mistakes?

Some of the world’s most successful business people have one thing in common, they celebrate failure and learn from it. James Dyson famously said, "Enjoy failure and learn from it. You can never learn from success." James Dyson is no stranger to the power of prototypes and learning from mistakes. He made more than 5,100 prototypes of the Dyson Vacuum Cleaner before getting it right.

Albert Einstein said, “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new”. Wherever we look in the world of business, the most successful and innovative leaders have been the ones who weren’t afraid to fail and if they did, they learned from it.

In most businesses, even if management encourages experimentation, budgeting and risk management processes tend to promote predictability and efficiency. This leads people to do everything possible to avoid mistakes. Attitude to failure differs considerably from one country to the next.

The best and hardest work is often done in a spirit of adventure and challenge. Mistakes are an inevitable consequence of doing something new. As such, there is a tremendous source of value in determining if your people have the right attitude to failure. Here are a few ways to learn from mistakes in your business. 

Study unsuccessful projects

Document the lessons learned about clients, market trends, your firm, your processes, your team and yourself. This is likely to be a painful exercise until it becomes fully embedded in the culture of your business.

Make an impact

The management team should gather frequently to discuss their own failures, and then share the lessons learned with everyone in the wider firm. This builds trust and goodwill, and encourages future experiments across the business. Parameters should be set and communicated across the team - it is not okay to be reckless, but trying something new should be encouraged.

Identify trends

Conduct a firm-wide review to identify patterns. If failure rates are too high, you may need to tighten up systems and controls across the business. However, if they are too low, consider encouraging your people to be more willing to experiment.

Friday, 1 July 2016

3 Effective Tips for Successful Cross-Selling!

Customer retention and cross-selling is important in any industry, yet it's frequently overlooked. Here are a few tips to help you to cross-sell more products and services to your existing customers.

The cross-sell attributes up to 35% of its revenue to cross-selling. When purchasing you will see both the “frequently bought together” and “customers who bought this item also bought” sections, promoting related products. The key is to illustrate the value to the client of purchasing a complimentary product or service. For example, an accountant may wish to communicate to clients that in addition to audit and tax services, their clients can also benefit from payroll or business advisory services. There is a “value add” in that the client is buying all of these services from one accounting firm.

Data driven campaigns

The firms that are most successful at cross-selling unite insights driven by data with focused marketing campaigns. There is a fine line between timely offers and annoying spam, and understanding buyer timing is critical. Your marketing content strategy is key to cross selling to existing customers, but you also need to understand how you will measure success. Use a CRM system to record customer data including which clients bought what service. Use this database to identify clients who have not yet been cross sold to and create a campaign which focuses on creating a value proposition in the mind of those clients. Ensure your sales or business development people engage with the target clients at the appropriate time.

Listen to your customers

You can’t sell additional products or services to your customers if you don’t understand what they actually want or need. If for example, you are selling business services, ask your customer about their business plan. Where are they going in the next 3 to 5 years and how do they hope to get there? Consider some of the challenges that they will face and identify where your services will be able to make their life better in some way.

Listen and respond to each client and every interaction. This two-way conversation should extend to your own internal teams, as you ask questions and measure outcomes to continuously improve the customer experience.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Incorporating Your Business? 2016 Updates!

Where a sole trader, partnership or LLP has established a significant value for the goodwill of their business, it was possible, up until 3 December 2014, to transfer that goodwill to a limited company and pay just 10% capital gains tax by claiming entrepreneurs’ relief.

The former owner(s) could then draw down on the loan account created with the transferee company over time as future cash was generated by the business. This tax planning strategy became less attractive when entrepreneurs relief was denied where the transferor and transferee were related parties, although the latest Finance Act has relaxed this rule where the former owner receives less than 5% of the acquiring company’s shares.

Now that the top rate of CGT has been reduced to 20% from 6 April 2016 for such transfers, rather than 28%, it may be worth reconsidering this strategy.

For example where an individual’s share of goodwill is worth £500,000 the CGT due would be £100,000 leaving £400,000 net of tax.

Note that for a transfer in June 2016 the CGT would not be due until 31January 2018.

Consider charging interest to the company on the loan account balance as that is now more tax efficient than dividends for higher rate taxpayers.

Note that although the goodwill would generally need to be written off against the company’s profits, there is no longer a tax deduction for the amortisation resulting in higher taxable profits.

Know more about Capital Gains Tax: changes to rules

Contact us if you need help while incorporating your business:

PJ | ☎ 020 89310165 | ☏ 07900537459 | ✉

Thursday, 23 June 2016

5 tips to build an effective talent management strategy!

A good talent management strategy is all about acquiring, hiring and retaining talented employees. It involves linking various components of the business together to develop those people likely to drive future business growth.

The responsibilities should be spread throughout human resources, training, and selected management sponsors. Talent Management requires a mindset that goes beyond just talk, and moves the focus towards a holistic and integrated approach to leveraging the greatest competitive advantage from your firm’s people. It is about those thoughts and actions that, consistently, over time, become part of your firm’s organisational culture.

Managers should drive talent management

The cultural fit between an employee and manager is critical to the employee's job satisfaction. In a world where up-and-coming generations consider three years with a company a serious commitment, line managers, supported by the expertise of HR professionals, can enhance employee retention by ensuring cultural matches at both firm-wide and workgroup levels.

The best and brightest talent have technical competence, marketing savvy, passion, energy and drive. They also have the "soft" people skills that help motivate others and ensure effective execution of their roles. Line managers understand the particular skills and competencies they need to accomplish their business goals. They should drive the firm’s talent practices, working closely with HR, to recruit talented people, manage performance, provide career guidance and serve as role models. Line managers are also ideally positioned to identify and develop current employees with leadership potential.

Life long learning should become a cultural norm and expectation

When you think about the pace of change around businesses today, many traditional talent management processes are less relevant than they used to be. Some areas of expertise are changing every year, leaving many skilled employees struggling to stay relevant. And while competency management systems, career path planning, and multi-year development cycles made sense in yesterday's work environment, they are no longer enough. Employee development begins with an effective onboarding program. Competent, competitive firms take time to educate every employee about their products, customers, industry, market and competition. Annual talent reviews should be a core business process, as important as annual strategic business and operational reviews. Accelerated leadership development is now a business imperative and the role of succession planning is essential in ensuring a sustainable, competitive business.

Agile talent management strategy

It used to be that entrepreneurial businesses had to be nimble, and they often lost that agility as they grew into larger firms full of processes and bureaucracy. These days, competitive firms of every size need strategic flexibility to react rapidly to change. That means creating an agile talent management strategy that makes a multitude of solutions available in short timeframes.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Business Strategy: How High Should You Aim & How To Accomplish Objectives?

Every business owner or manager knows that in order to succeed and grow the business, some big thinking is often required. But how high should you aim?

The process of setting strategic business objectives is harder than it looks. It takes a lot more than setting stretched goals to actually see any real achievement, and there are often hidden challenges, particularly when it comes down to the execution.

Aiming high helps

If you aim high in business, even if you don't quite make it, you will inevitably end up doing much better than you would have otherwise done. When setting your strategic objectives, thinking differently about goal setting can be a real game changer.

For example, setting a goal to double the size of the business versus one to increase in size by 10%, will push your business much harder. The 10% goal drives thinking about how to stretch the current business, using the existing tools and assumptions. It is merely building on an existing solution that many people have already spent a lot of time thinking about. In contrast, doubling the size of the firm requires a different mindset; one that moves away from the tendency to think in an incremental and linear manner. This opens up new possibilities that would never have been considered otherwise as the business must focus on creativity and innovation - the kind that, literally and metaphorically, can push the business to the next level.

Making strategic goals manageable

Stretched goals or targets are by definition very big. They are risky and can take several years to achieve. The details of how to accomplish these objectives will not be known when they are set.

Odds of success can be improved with a disciplined strategy execution, and a 'small wins' framework can often help. The objective is to break a larger goal down into smaller, manageable but interlinked parts. For each sub-goal, the team must define the various streams of work required, explicit outcomes, key deliverables, due dates, and a single owner for each component. As such, it will allow for visible and measured progress towards the completion of the larger goal while generating consistent action. Regular updates and team meetings will encourage people to be accountable for their part of the project. This will help drive consistent execution of tasks.

What separates great businesses from those that are merely good are not just the stretched target and strategic goals they set themselves to achieve but also the way they think differently about setting those objectives, and the discipline with which they implement them.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Key Account Management Strategy!

Anyone in business will tell you that it is easier and cheaper to sell more products and services to an existing client than it is to go out and find a new client.

Key Account Management or “KAM” is all about focusing on your key existing clients – your very best customers. In theory, this is the perfect way to increase your profits and develop better relationships with your most valuable clients. If we apply the 80:20 rule then, in an average business, 80% of profits tend to be generated by the top 20% of the clients. So, these key accounts are the most valued customers of a business.

KAM strategy

A KAM strategy is a marketing and business development approach which focuses on taking special care of these customers. Each key account should have a business plan, dedicated resources (such as an account manager or single point of contact in your firm) and should be identified throughout your business as being a strategically important relationship.

Choosing Key Client

The most important thing here is to select the right customers for investment. Many businesses tend to underestimate the importance of this step and often show a casual attitude when it comes to selecting the right clients to develop. Some firms simply select all their big clients. There is nothing wrong with that strategy; however, they often fail to consider the potential to grow those particular relationships. After all, just because a client is big doesn’t necessarily mean it is particularly profitable.

Key Client Relationship Plan

In creating a KAM strategy you should also consider resources. There is no point in creating a strategy to develop 60 key clients if you only have the resources to actively manage 10 key clients. These key client accounts will need to be managed in an active way and this will require time and effort. Ideally, you will want to create a specific business plan for each key client relationship and you will need to dedicate some financial and people resources in order to execute these business plans.

Key account management, if executed well, can be a very effective marketing strategy in that it focuses your firm’s business development and marketing resources on the targets where you are likely to make the biggest impact.

Are you looking to develop your business but struggling to find the key client and manage them? 
To know how we can help you, please contact us at:
☎ 020 89310165 ☏ 07900537459 

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Tips While Planning Your Business's Exit Strategy!

Building a good business is one thing. Knowing when it is time to sell it is an entirely different matter. For many entrepreneurs it's not enough to build a business, they have to make sure to have an exit strategy, a way to get the money back out.

Depending on who you are and what kind of business you have, an exit strategy may mean something completely different to you compared to somebody else. Is it a retirement plan or are you ready to move on to your next venture?

Without a proper exit strategy, you risk losing some of the value that you have created. You could miss the perfect opportunity to sell your business as a result of being unprepared.

Here are a few things to consider when creating your exit strategy:


Consider the various options that will be available to you.

You can

  1. Sell the business outright and move on. 
  2. List the business on the stock exchange through an Initial Public Offering (IPO). This would allow ownership of the business to transfer to shareholders but you probably wouldn’t be able to walk away immediately. 
  3. Perhaps you want to pass your business on to the next generation. In order to do this you may need to set up a family trust so that you can structure the transfer of ownership to your children in an appropriate manner.
  4. Wind the business down, extracting cash over a period of time and eventually just close the doors.


Only you will really know when it is time to exit your business. You may feel you have had enough, are too old or perhaps or are ready for your next challenge. You may see the potential to expand into other markets and need to find a way to fund that opportunity. Regardless of when you are ready to sell, make sure that the timing of the sale is right for the market. You should also build enough time into your plan to allow for professional advisors to complete due diligence, etc.

The Right Team

Consider the team of advisors that you will need to successfully complete the transaction. The business will need to be valued, you will need tax and legal advice. There will be lots of administration required and you may also need to consider financial planning to create appropriate structures to manage your wealth as a result of the sale.


Regardless of the type of exit strategy you choose to develop, there will be an element of cost to consider. Whether professional advisor fees, tax bills or transaction fees, make sure that you have enough cash provisions to cover the exit costs.

We'll help you exit the business in the best possible way!
Contact us via:
☎ 020 89310165 ☏ 07900537459 

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Business Process Outsourcing - Yes or No?

Are you looking to outsource any of your business's processes? Read this before making a decision.

Social selling 

Outsourcing is not just a strategic option for large international corporations, small and medium sized firms can benefit too from the efficiency, functionality and cost savings of outsourcing. Outsourcing simply means "contracting out" various functions of your business. A common misconception is that outsourcing is always done overseas. Moving your IT help desk to India can save a lot of money, but there are many providers in the UK that can provide an IT help desk that is cheaper than having an in-house support function.

Cost Savings

By outsourcing functions that were previously performed in-house, businesses can reduce their employee levels and related costs such as recruitment, salaries and benefits. By outsourcing a capital intensive function, you can also reduce the costs of equipment obsolescence and depreciation.

Quality of Service

Because your firm is the outsourcer's customer, they will want to keep you happy. You can therefore benefit from a more “can-do” approach, which may not always be what you get from an in-house team.

State-of-the-art Technology

Outsourcers have to spend time and money on the most up to date equipment and on employee training to remain competitive. By outsourcing certain areas like website hosting, virtual desktops, social media or email, you are ensuring that your firm will always have access to the latest technology platforms. Taking IT as an example, an outsourcer is likely to have more up to date technology such as the latest servers and software.

Price Stability

By signing a contract to outsource, you will be able to lock the supplier in to a pricing agreement. This gives the business certainty in terms of costs. As a result, the firm will be able to budget operating expenses and capital purchases more accurately, while reducing the likelihood of unforeseen costs.

More Time to Focus on Core Business Activities

If your firm is to be successful and profitable, the management team needs to spend time planning and directing the company's business strategy and not wasting time worrying about managing administration, payroll, IT or HR. Outsourcing these functions allows the business to focus its management resources on driving the business forward.

Business Builder NewsletterOutsourcing isn’t for Everyone

Some might argue that outsourcing creates loss of control, less flexibility, questionable savings and the risk of over dependence on external vendors.

  • Signing up to and implementing an outsourcing arrangement takes considerable management time. 
  • Finding and selecting the right outsourcing company can even take months. 
  • Outsourcing companies need to be given overall direction and guidelines in terms of what needs to be done, and therefore, some level of supervision by management will ultimately be needed. 

It is important to be careful when deciding what business functions to outsource and to whom. The management team needs to be clear in terms of its expectations and the cost savings must be attractive and worthwhile for the business.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

How to build an Ethical Business?

The new generation of professionals is concerned about corporate social responsibility (CSR) and wants to work for ethical businesses. 

The ethics of any firm are determined by its actions. If bending the rules results in rewards for some people as a result of increased short term revenue, or other perceived benefit, then many in the business will rightly believe that ethics don't matter, performance does. In other words, the end justifies the means. There will almost always be a tension between doing the right thing versus prioritising short term gains.  

Here are some tips to help you to build a more ethical business.

1. Be someone who you would want to discuss business with

If someone has a history of unethical behaviour, you will probably decline the opportunity of doing business with them. Sacrificing ethics usually means that someone (a supplier, for example) is getting a rough deal. Do you want your firm to be associated with this type of behaviour? Is it worth the potential reputational damage?

2. Accountability

Everyone in the business should be accountable for their actions. Management should lead by example and should own their mistakes as well as their successes, earning the respect of staff. Unethical behaviour should not be tolerated.

3. Values

Business leaders must take time to understand their own personal values and those of the team, what the value statements of the firm should be and identify gaps that exist between aspirational goals and current behaviour. To ensure buy-in and commitment from the whole firm, try to include members from various levels across the business to help create a "Code of Conduct" that is aligned with the firm’s ethical vision.

4. Establish Trust

Build an environment of trust with employees in order to create a business culture where employees feel free to discuss ethical dilemmas and issues with management.

5. Communicate 

The management team should ensure that the vision and code of conduct are communicated to everyone within the business. This can be done through policy manuals, training, internal newsletters, team meetings, etc. Efforts must be made to gather feedback from across the business in order to identify employee concerns regarding the ethical environment within the firm. This should be a continuous improvement process to identify concerns and improve the overall ethical direction of the firm.

APJ Accountancy
☎ 020 89310165 ☏ 07900537459