Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Work?
In the beginning, we talk about your predicament and your aspirations for the business. We find out what you want, and what is stopping you from achieving it, and we work to sort it out.
You can expect us to question or clarify your business strategy - a clear business strategy is a prerequisite for you to create value and reduce risk.
What is expected of me?
The main thing is to turn up and be truthful. We provide the structure, questions, tools and techniques that lead you to a solution. You talk; we listen - and amplify the words you can no longer hear. And we resolve seemingly intractable issues.
Is it painful?
No, primarily it is a graceful experience. But, there are difficult moments.
Why should I use you?
We have a proven track record in building sustainable long-term business value in micro start-up, SME and corporate businesses - delivering top and bottom line results at the same time. Typically, you can evidence progress in the numbers, your customer reputation, brand share, brand distribution, your sales, key accounts, gross margin, cost of sale, cash flow, management accounts, supplier relations, research criteria, and the year-end P&L and balance sheet.
How do you measure results?
We analyse and establish priority targets for management reporting and decision making – typically in a dashboard format for ease of use. And we use your monthly management reports, cash, and profit and loss account to track progress.
Do you make recommendations?
We find it almost impossible not to have an opinion. But, there is no value to you in that direction. We often say that our opinion does not count as we are developing your capabilities and decision-making capacity – we are helping you to clarify your thinking, transform your performance.
You will hear an opinion only when you are not paying attention to your own intelligence – for counterpoint, provocation or emphasis. Our job is to find out what you want and help you to get it.
We support your capability with the right environment and tools that allow you to arrive at solutions and strategies founded on your values, ethics and professional responsibilities.
We don’t speculate on the issue of strategy. We work it out, and assess the risk and return. We have a safe way of developing a business strategy proven to create value and reduce risk.
What experience do you have in our industry?
You have experience in your industry.
We have specialist experience in working with the CEO, business owners and micro start-ups. We know how to work with your experience and develop a strategy that builds sustainable long-term business value.
And yes, we do have specialist experience in specific markets but it is unlikely to match your knowledge of your customers, your staff, supply chain, and your workforce.
If there is an information gap, we can find out.
Do you work with start-ups?
Yes, we do. But start-ups are normally short of money so we negotiate rates for different stages of development that also include sales commissions - payable according to the results - bonus, and equity. For example, the hourly rate may be reduced in the early months to allow you to get started – but, we add a contractual commission arrangement and higher hourly rates at later stages or negotiate equity to protect our investment of time or capital. Some of the stages are Clarification of Idea (vision; purpose; values; commercial value proposition); Prototype (product or service design); Proof of Concept (does it work); Start-Up (proof of trade); Build (people, management structures and control, key performance indicators, and scale); Sale (profitability, client list, key management personnel, balance sheet assets, the net present value of future cash flows, IP, culture, and exit terms.
Do you work with corporates?
Yes, we do. Our strategy process and deliverables will match the rigour of any boardroom and provide a platform for long-term sustainable business value. For example, we conducted a market entry exercise for a global pharma business and provided the country management board with a system to evaluate the financial, market and reputational risk. Evidence can be provided.
Do you work with Individuals?
Yes, we do – primarily the CEO, because strategy is a core part of their job brief.
How do you contract?
Our contracts are designed to protect you as the client and protect our IP. We use a confidentiality and non-disclosure document alongside more expansive terms and conditions, agreed with you.
What about confidentiality?
Yes, we use confidentiality and non-disclosure documentation from the outset until the contract is agreed upon.
How do you price the job?
As we have a proven ability to create wealth (value/reputation/money) for our clients, we have different arrangements for Start-Up/SME/Corporate, which include a combination of flat fee rates, commission, bonus, and shareholding arrangements.
What are your payment terms?
We ask for staged payments in advance, with the exception of performance-related elements. Why? Because we offer an intangible service which cannot be withheld or reclaimed once consumed. And, we are a small business that cannot carry the cash flow policies of a larger enterprise.
Why are the rates for SMEs different from Corporates?
In absolute terms, we add more wealth – value/reputation/money – to a corporate enterprise.
In the SME environment, it is not unusual for us to double sales, revenue, and net profits.
This double scale is unlikely – although not unheard of – in a corporate enterprise, where the percentage gains tend to be smaller against significantly larger volumes of cash.
So, we charge a different rate to corporates because we add more wealth in absolute terms.
What do your prices not include?
There are invisible costs associated with any client work. We charge these invisible costs to the client These include but are not limited to, background research, critical thinking, programme design, internal progress meetings, travel time, transport-accommodation-food, letter or email writing, report writing, transcribing phone calls, and virtual meetings.
Do you have any other questions that we can help with?
If you do, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call his mobile at +44 7887 513369 and he will be pleased to help.
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