Our goal in counseling your business is to maximize your profits. Increased profit is achieved through business skill development and efficiency in systems. You may be attempting an expansion, implementing a contraction, or simply enhancing an already profitable business. You may be facing new competition or encountering a loss of key personnel. What ever issue you are facing, it is your problem solving skill that determines the outcome.
Business problems can be categorized into six functional areas: Management, marketing, finance, operations (systems), personnel, and legal issues. Even with years of experience every manager finds themselves facing a gap in their knowledge in one or more of these critical areas. The deficit in skill is not always an immediate threat to the health of the business, but the longer it is left unaddressed, the more likely it is to cause profit robbing inefficiencies. When several deficits combine, it is likely to cause a crisis.
Business Counseling focuses on assisting you with improving your skill in the five functional areas of business and providing you with advice on critical business decisions. We provide the counseling but you, the client, complete the work.
Business Consulting focuses on accomplishing some of the work for you. With advanced academic skills and real world experience, we complete the work quickly and solve lingering problems efficiently. A combination of business counseling and consulting is available to all clients. All counseling and consulting is confidential.
In a larger framework, businesses go through phases of development, each with unique problems to solve. We identify them as:
- The Entrepreneurial Phase
- The Management Phase
- The Strategic Planning Phase
- The Mature Phase
In the Entrepreneurial Phase a dynamic visionary person gets the business off the ground by the force of their own will and a combination of personal finance and debt. The entrepreneur typically has a skill or interest in a technical area but little management experience. In most cases there has been minimal planning and the business succeeds or fails based on the strength of the market opportunity. The entrepreneur spends excess hours solving problems that could have been eliminated earlier by better planning.
In the Management Phase decision making and systems are refined through the manager’s skill development and/or hiring employees with specialized expertise. Planning and forecasting is improved and the company becomes a controlled rather than reactive business. Many business failures occur because the entrepreneur fails to become a skillful manager.
In the Strategic Planning Phase major expansions are planned and implemented. A formal Strategic Plan is developed that outlines all the relevant actions necessary for success and the company actively tracks its progress against its plan. All areas of the business are placed under stress by the burden of new growth activities. Without effective planning, an expansion can quickly become a turnaround (see Turnarounds and Expansions, following page.)
In the Mature Phase innovation in products and services, and maintaining market share become the critical issues as competitors establish their own spheres of influence. Though market research is necessary in every phase, it becomes critical in the Mature Phase to continually satisfy your customers and keep the competition from stealing market share.
We counsel/consult with a wide variety of businesses, both large and small, in all four phases of business development.