Saturday, May 31, 2014

Why do you need a consultant for your business?

While business people typically have a broad range of skills, with perhaps some specialties; changes within the business, in the broader economic climate, or other unforeseen circumstances, can create a need that can't be met with the existing skills within the business. When that occurs, employing a specialist consultant can provide the skills necessary to deal with the situation as well as an objective viewpoint that can help to effectively focus the team.
What could a consultant do for you?
There are nine main things:
    1.Provide information
    2.Solve problems / issues / challenges
    3.Realise latent opportunities
    4.Diagnose, and redefine problems / issues / challenges &                opportunities
    7.Build consensus and commitment around corrective action
    8.Facilitate client learning
    9.Permanently improve organisational effectiveness.
And the last three, are the mark of the ‘better’ and more effective consultant.
Why does an organisation engage a consultant?
These are the 12 most common needs for consulting help:
    01.Temporary assistance
    02.Objective review
    03.Third-party request for problem / opportunity identification & resolution / realisation
    04.Surviving a crisis
    05.Initiating change
    06.Obtaining funding
    07.Selecting key personnel
    08.In-house education
    09.Conflict resolution
    10.Executive assistance
    11.Government regulatory assistance
    12.Socio-economic and political change.

And of these each needs, can be broken down into six parts:
  • We must have specific skills
  • We require knowledge
  • We demand experience
  • We will set a timeframe
  • It’s necessary for the consultant to have frequently addressed our needs
  • Objectivity is a necessity.
What’s the role of the consultant?
Having defined a need for consulting help, we then consider the consultant’s role in addressing these needs, and there are five:
In practice, the consultant’s project role is typically a combination of #2 (the Expert in the room) plus one of the others.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Why Does a Company Undergo Corporate Restructuring?

Corporate restructuring is the concept of reorganizing a company's internal structure for the sake of some purpose, such as greater profit or greater organizational control and efficiency. The internal structure which is modified in corporate restructuring could include the structure of the company in terms of ownership, as the actual ownership of the company might shift between different individuals to greater or lesser extents, or it could include the legal nature of the company.

For example, corporate restructuring might actually cover the shift from a partnership to a corporation, or vice versa. Corporate restructuring might also cover the shift from a partnership to a limited liability partnership.

Corporate restructuring, as mentioned above, might be performed by a company at any given time for the sake of a particular goal, but it might also be necessitated by other factors, such as a merger or demerger, or a buyout. Bankruptcy is also a common source of the need for corporate restructuring, as a company will likely have to perform corporate restructuring in order to make sure that it can best pay off its debts.

Corporate restructuring might sometimes involve modification of corporate identity, but not always. Corporate identity is the term most commonly assigned to a company's branding and logo and similar elements of a company.

Growing Your Business? Evaluate The Risks First

Sometimes business growth happens naturally. Other times, you have to take a big risk to make it happen. But how do you know if your risk will pay off?

We took a risk recently—after working from home for 10 years, my husband and I just opened a brick-and-mortar shop in an office building. I know—most book stores are closing their doors instead of opening new locations. But we decided to buck the trend, and are very happy that we did.

Before taking this risk, we evaluated why we wanted to grow, how it would affect our current situation, and how it relates to our long term vision for our business. There’s no foolproof way to know, but here are some things to consider when analyzing the risks of growth:

1) Potential to Meet New Customers

Will you have the opportunity to tap into a new or expanding market that you are not currently reaching? Taking on more overhead is always risky, but your revenue will increase if you can grow your customer base. You have to spend more to make more, right? But taking on too much too soon can also be disastrous. Assess your current overhead and how easily you can cover it. How much do you think you could increase your expenses if the new customers never materialize? This will be the hardest thing to predict, so a contingency plan could save you if what happens is your worst-case scenario.

2) Experimenting

It’s often less risky to “spread the risk out” over several different operations rather than one big (expensive) one. You can experiment with different types of growth– offering new products, expanding into a new market (see above), networking with other businesses, traveling to meet new customers, or hiring new employees. It’s not all about revenue– these are ways that your company can grow in size, power, and stability.

How to turn around a failing company

Four businesses which have streered their way through troubled times share their turnaround tips.


Many small businesses that fall on hard times can’t work their way out of the mire simply because they’re not sure how they fell into it in the first place.

That’s the view of William Kendall, who sold Green & Black’s to Cadbury. The organic chocolate maker, and the New Covent Garden Soup Co, which he ran for nine years, both “look like growth stories”, he says, but were, in fact, turnarounds.

“In both cases, we needed to dramatically change how we were operating. The classic is the business that has done the sustainable stage and lost its way.”

The soup business “almost went bust” because it achieved ambitious sales goals the wider company wasn’t prepared for, he recalls. “Running a company is like map reading. The business is lost if it doesn’t know where it’s going, but, equally, where it is.”

 Kendall, who now invests in start-ups through his Nemadi fund, says struggling small companies often have a theoretical margin they should be achieving, and can’t work out which everyday factors are to blame when they’re nowhere near it and performance starts slipping.

Most entrepreneurs are “enthusiasts”, he says, who need assistance from someone with an eye for prosaic detail, particularly when in a turnaround situation.

“I can do the enthusiasm bit. Anyone coming in saying, 'I’m fixing this’ will get goodwill from suppliers, staff and the bank, but you need a cynical navigator keeping score, someone to tell me that idea I had last week isn’t working.”

In other words, “pilots need navigators”. For entrepreneurs, that often means a decent financial controller. “It’s someone who doesn’t give you the theoretical margin from three-month-old financial accounts, but the daily reality. The two are often miles apart.”

The crucial ingredient in successful business turnaround

All business turnaround situations are different, however, there are one element that always have to be on top of the agenda: Employee buy-in.

Any manager who has struggled through a turnaround knows how crucial employee buy-in is – they also know how time-consuming and difficult it can be to secure. Management need to be able to tell a compelling change story that motivate employees.

Here are three ways to gain buy-in from your people during a turnaround:

Create a dialog 

Too many managers assume that communications is a staff function, something for human resources or public relations to take care of. In fact, communications must be a priority for every manager at every level of the company.

By organizing discussions throughout the organization, spreads the company‘s vision and competitive situation so that individuals and teams can accurately align their own activities with the company‘s new overall direction. Storytelling can be a powerful tool.

Consequently, organizing early conversations between different parts of the company and making those conversations an important, sanctioned part of the change process is a critical task. Early, open-ended conversations often result in the most productive outcomes.

Managers at all levels must learn to see things differently. They must put themselves in their employees’ shoes to understand how change looks from that perspective. People aren’t going to consider anything until they are convinced there is a problem that truly needs to be addressed.

Create targets 

Break down the main targets into sub-targets and communicate these. People need to see who the can contribute to the overall targets. By sharing numbers with employees, you can increase employees’ sense of ownership. But you need to make sure your employees are trained to understand financial statements and have enough insight into their own jobs to know how to affect the numbers.