Challenge: 10-year old London-based business providing one-off boutique services went through a year-on-year growth of between 10%-20% per annum in its first 5 years. Then, for no reason that the senior management could understand, revenues dropped by 50% and EBITDA fell from close to £1M to under £100K.
A benchmark review revealed a lack of a business strategy other than to hit sales targets, which also had no basis behind why they were set. The senior management had a short-term gains/transactional approach, which translated into quick wins wherever these were available. As market conditions changed, the industry matured and new players entered the market, senior management continued to act as if they were still the only player in an untapped market.
Following dozens of meetings with key intermediaries in the City; such as banks, law firms, tax and consultancy firms and private wealth managers, a picture emerged of a business that was perhaps known by name in some circles, but remained on the fringe of the City as the “odd kid on the block”. The senior management, focused on the short-term gains had done nothing to build the relationships which would have facilitated its income stream.
Solutions: launched several initiatives in parallel: redesigned the back and middle office functions so that these could effectively and efficiently support the business development team. This included a revamping of service rendition and billing processes. At the end of the first year following these changes, EBIT rose by 40%. Development and training of all staff on these processes, which had inbuilt controls, to reduce the risks associated with one person creating and approving his own work, particularly around billing and payments. Introduced a commissions-based scheme to incentivize the sales team and developed an employee induction programme for all new joiners, which included an overview of the business strategy.
Defined and introduced a 1-2-3 year strategy, which took into account the trends and forecasts for the UK and EMEA markets. Launched a series of key client and partner events to revitalize and relaunch the business which met with immediate success, resulting in direct referrals, new partnerships and invitations to speak and collaborate on new projects. Provided a much-needed tool to the business development team in its meetings with key intermediaries and clients.
These changes lead to a significant boost in morale as the team was given a common and clear purpose that went beyond the transactional side so they found themselves collaborating on large-scale development projects. . This was reflected in the year-over-year increase in sales of 10% by the end of year 2.
Challenge: Indian industrial patriarch wanted to focus on his legacy and what he would leave behind.
Solutions: established arts foundation, built international philanthropic partnerships, developed CSR programme for aligning operating companies with family vision.
Engaged 2nd generation in strategy and their support of philanthropy and how this effected the focus of the family businesses.
Supported production of book on philanthropy and associated movie.
JV with film production firm which acted as executive producer whilst developing financing model that ensured 96% ROI before going into production.
Opportunity: Family principal saw opportunity in UK consumer credit space – including guarantor loan space, e-money and debt management sector.
Advisory: completed valuation of firms, acquisition and execution including; marketing, sales, operations, IT/CRM, compliance and regulation.
Entire new systems installed to make businesses fit-for-purpose whilst marketing the new combined business as a reforming sub-prime finance offer.
Exited sector with 3.4 foldreturn.
Structured to ensure income and capital preservation for third generation in partnership with wealth managers and trust lawyers.
Challenge: A multinational family business found itself failing at the client on-boarding stage of it is key service offering, with significant losses incurred during the critical transition and set-up phase.
Solutions: developed and implemented a harmonized on-boarding process across the firm’s 50+ offices. Immediately provided transparency to a previously confusing and misunderstood process, giving the regional sales teams the tools and confidence to sell the services leading to a previously unknown harmonization in service rendition across different country teams.
Advice led directly to multi-million sale wins within three months of roll-out. First questions often asked by senior client executives, irrespective of their industry, during the first sales presentation are: “what is your on-boarding process? How are you planning to manage and keep track of so many moving parts in so many countries at once? How can you guarantee that the transition will be efficient and pain free?”
Regardless of the industry, if a business hasn’t defined this for themselves, it will lose opportunities.
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