01

Planning & Strategy

Adventure or a Journey?

This is a question that all business owners need to ask of themselves and their business. Most people start up a business based upon a skill or interest and all too often the business develops into something that they never envisaged or at times recognise. We speak from experience ourselves, we were there once, which way do you turn and to whom? There doesn’t need to be a huge upheaval in the business some simple tools can be adopted.

If you’re on an ‘Adventure’ then you will probably end reading our web site here however if you wish to change and focus on a ‘Journey’ you may wish to consider some basic tools:

 

‘Roadmap’ – this can be a timeline with objectives pre-determined along its path it any vary in time length: 12months/24months/36months. The key for the business owner / management team is to learn to jump into the future looking at their key objective or goal, identify how it looks / feels, what’s needed to get/be there, money/ premises / tools / sales (to name a few). Then working back along the timeline, identify triggers / points that are critical to the delivery of a strategic planned timeline.

 

‘SWOT’ Analysis – a very simple tool to get you thinking about your business / department / staff. A simple chart with some thought provoking titles can aid focus your thinking: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

 

‘Life Cycling’ – this often is applied to sales/customers, a good insight and awareness of this can aid managers/business owners to address and identify in a proactive manner customers spend, undertake a swot of the customer/sale, anticipate when clients become needy and when the opportunity has become exhausted. The business can then grow and harvest new clients/sales and turns others (The needy one’s) off, strategically allowing our competition to pick them up and become distracted.

 

‘Consequences’ – as the title suggests we should encourage all our managers / systems to challenge this, to every action there is a consequence…’cause and effect’, we want your business to own this and challenge all actions.

 

‘Contingency Planning’ – again as part of the ‘business journeys’ strategy and indeed with everyday projects, what are/can we do to implement /anticipate the consequences of ‘change management’. All businesses need to anticipate this and implement new thinking, some businesses have it written in to systems often referred to as ‘disaster planning’ but a wider approach / change in thinking will aid different tiers of management thinking.

02

Understanding Your Business

Objectivity

Often it is found through support that there will be, to some, a requirement of either you the leader and/or your senior team to ‘stop’ what we call; ‘hugging the tree’. Inevitably as businesses grow and various demands increase, it’s not unusual to find that your business has developed into a ‘galloping horse’, demanding all of your time and attention. Indeed this can spill over to co-owners/ senior managers / home life – it’s happened to us in our previous SME businesses. Being pulled away from the front line of business, allows you a fresh perspective to look into your business from the outside. If you’re reading this then there is a good likelihood that you’re willing to do this and somewhat relax your natural resistance.

 

Our approach is to aid you do this, grow to become comfortable with it, adopting tools and skills for implementation ….. we like to call it adding a CONSCIENCE to what you do. Often the solutions are within your sight but sometimes the ‘hamster wheel of business’ keeps you engaged….we want to show you how to gradually step off and implement change.

 

Through this support slowly encouraging you and removing you from the front line, we’re aiming to re-engage you back into the business, to re-apply the energy and vision that somewhat become’ s blurry over time and equip you for the journey ahead.

Gain the competitive advantage

To achieve your vision

03

Streamlined Processes

KISS Technique

In the ever increasing age of technology and fast pace of life there is never quite enough time, there is a lot to be said for trying to maintain simple processes. Whether intellectual or technological these are often adopted quickly and are pushed to within an inch of their lives as our SME grows. Often most SME’s start out in life leaning on Microsoft products, I know mine did, they are relatively cheap, easily accessible and in those early days suit the problem and provide a solution.

 

Four MIME through spending time with you and your team will want to get under the skin of the business and understand what you do, whilst we are not software experts often fresh eyes can sometimes ask the most obvious questions.

 

The challenge we make (question) may lead to change, it may require small fixes/ experiences or indeed bespoke software. It may be that we may know who / where to turn and may be able to make an introduction of a person / software or indeed a company to aid.

04

Business Solutions

Hands on solutions

Our aim is to challenge you through the initial consultation process to assess what your needs are, to grow an understanding of your wants, aims and objectives. Indeed in reverse, you need to assess us and decide whether we can help which will be driven by either your ‘Head’, Heart or indeed the ‘Gut’ instinct whether we can work together. We can then consider the needs of you, the business and/or your team to decide what form of engagement will add value for spend. Being SME business owners ourselves prior to this enterprise, we appreciate that parting with money, especially to ‘consultants’ is a sensitive step so we like to be flexible:

 

Non-Executive Director Engagement: Often this is a yearly agreement with specific wants and needs; the engagement can be anything from 1 day/month to 1 day/fortnight or 1 day/week. Often all aspects of what we have discussed / highlighted on our web page is constantly shared with the business / owner and team. The role is and should remain objective, it will also reassure internal stakeholders such as staff, accountants and indeed financial institutions, along with external stakeholders that you are focused, well disciplined and organised to deliver products and/or services.

 

Mentoring/Coaching/Sound boarding: Again trying to stay true to our beliefs, engagement can be more informal and relaxed being mindful of business spend, we’re flexible to talk about wants and needs of individuals and/or teams. We often undertake specific structured staff mentoring via SKYPE sessions typically lasting 1 hour and setting objectives and this is headed by our Ian Bell. ‘Sound boarding’ – often less disciplined than the offer above as to when its wanted and/or needed, we offer support to undertake this ‘as and when’ its needed. Delivery actioned via an office visit, off site meetings or simply telephone calls/conferencing. Again to facilitate this type of support to individuals or business, we would initially need meet in your business to ‘get under its skin’ as to understanding wants and needs.

 

Project Work…..a business may wish to employ our services to deliver a fixed project such as: Acquisitions, Operation change, Integration of new business models, Structural Management Changes. As it can be varied we’d welcome discussing your exact needs further.

 

Networking – sometimes due to the demands of everyday business you haven’t got the time to reach out and find partners/ specialist / funding lines for your plans. At fourmime we’re using our objectivity to find funding routes, meeting banks, accountants, wealth managers or ‘other’ specialists who might be able to support you.

Are you ready to take your business to the next level?