Why is it a good idea to have a Business Review?
Most large companies frequently carry out strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis of their company. In this way they can grow the company, improve profits, improve production and stay ahead of their competitors. It is essential that managing directors or owners (MDO’s) of small and medium sized companies (SMEs) do the same.
The Business Review is similar to a SWOT analysis, but much more in depth, informative and useful to a managing director. The Business Review is carried out by an ibd advisor and at the end of the review he/she will be able to identify money losses, weaknesses within the company, and opportunities for growing your business and how to withstand threats. The advisor will then be able to inform a company of how to maintain its strengths, improve weaknesses, take advantage of opportunities, and curb money loss. The advisor will also be able to provide some idea of the cost of this work so that a company can compare the savings made to the cost of engaging an advisor.
How much will it cost?
The Business Review is free of charge for qualifying companies. It is conducted at a company’s premises at a convenient time. Occasionally, the advisor will return to his/her office and prepare a short one-page summary of the weaknesses, the money losses and other suggestions to improve productivity and profitability. The advisor will then return to discuss the findings. This summary and discussion is also free of charge.
If I need to employ an advisor will it disrupt my company?
No. The specialist advisor will work independently in your company or other places such as an office, meeting with banks, or potential clients. He/she will act as an employee of the company (without of course being employed by you). An advisor will make sure that the workforce, senior management and junior management are aware of what they are doing and may choose to interview the senior and junior management. However this would only be undertaken at convenient times without disrupting the operations of the company.
What happens if I don’t agree with the advisor’s findings?
In the unlikely event that you do not agree with an advisor’s findings he/she will discuss the reasons why and will always leave the final decision to you.
How will it affect my workforce?
The objective of ibd advisors is to improve the company, grow the company, eliminate money losses and make the company much more profitable and secure. When this message is conveyed correctly to the workforce, they usually want to co-operate in any way they can. They view it as an exercise in protecting the company and therefore protecting their jobs.
Will the Business Review and associated work be strictly confidential?
Absolutely. The ibd Code of Ethics strictly forbids any of our advisors to discuss your business with anyone. This also applies to any specialists who are engaged to work in the company. We are very proud that we have never ever had a complaint about any of advisors regarding client confidentiality. If an advisor feels it is necessary to brainstorm with other advisors to gain greater insight to a particular situation, or find alternative solutions to a difficult problem, the company name or other identifying information would not be divulged.
When a specialist is appointed will it cost more money?
Not when it is part of an agreed Business Development Programme. The daily fee quoted by your project manager will be exactly the same no matter what specialist is selected for your company.
What happens if I cannot afford the fees for an advisor to work with my company?
This is the very reason an advisor should work with the company. If cash flow is so tight that a company cannot afford a small amount of money for the daily fee, then it is essential that an ibd advisor is engaged. An advisor will find ways of solving cash flow problems so that a company can afford their fees. They will not do anything that might jeopardise the future of the company. If the situation is very bad, a director may need advice regarding how to get out of the company, but usually our advisors can find ways to stop this happening.
Is it a ‘hard sell’ by the advisor carrying out the Business Review?
Absolutely not. The advisor will tell you what may be wrong with the company and what is the cause. He/she will also tell you up front the costs likely to be incurred in solving the company’s problems. You will then have a decision to make regarding how much the company can be improved vs the cost of the advisor. Usually, the advisor’s fees are returned to you three times over. But rather than ‘sell’ to you an advisor will be looking to form a partnership. If there is a partnership the objectives will be achieved. If it has been a ‘hard sell’ there is no partnership and therefore unlikely to be a successful outcome.
How will it differ from advice from my accountant or bank manager?
Your accountant is working for himself or his company and the bank manager is working for the bank. Therefore their advice will be geared to ensure they make a profit for their enterprises. Our advisors are working for you, and will be paid only on the success that they bring to your company. Neither your accountant nor your bank manager can give you this type of advice, support and assistance.
Unique to ibd is the Professional Certificate in Business Advice, which is a course run by The University of Chester. This qualification can only be obtained by successfully completing a course and having the work assessed not just by The University of Chester’s Business School, but also by an outside adjudicator. The gaining of the PCBA proves to any prospective client that our advisors are extremely well qualified to do their jobs. No other company in the management consultancy/business advisory business has this type of qualification for their advisors.
How do I know I am getting the right specialist?
This is the responsibility of your project manger. He will source the appropriate specialist(s) from the ibd advisors list. He/she may appoint someone they have worked with previously or bring a specialist in from another part of the country. Usually however, the right specialist can be found within easy travelling distance of your premises. The choice will be discussed with you before the work is confirmed. In this way you will have some idea of the type of person and their experience before they start work in your company.
How is ibd different from management consultancy organisations?
The main difference is the price we charge for our work.
Many management consultancy/business advisory companies charge between £2000 and £3500 per day for their services. Most SME’s cannot afford this type of fee. Because of the way ibd is structured, our advisors can afford to charge a fraction of those fees. We do not have large offices in each of the major cities in the UK, our advisors work from their own premises. We can also ensure that our advisors are busy and this eliminates peaks and troughs whereby an advisor charges extra fees for ‘downtime’. Added to that is the quality of our advisors. Our advisors are ex-directors, many of them ex-managing directors with a minimum of seven years experience acting as a director of a substantial company. Some of our advisors still do or have run their own companies. Therefore you can rest assured that all of our advisors have ‘been there and done it’.
What will happen if my suppliers find out I have engaged a business advisor? Will they think I am in trouble?
Your suppliers will not find out about our involvement unless you inform them. If it occurs that an employee speaks to a supplier, then the advisor will meet with them and go through the same procedures he would with your employees, detailed above. Calling in advisors or consultants to help is something large corporations and government departments do all the time – there is no shame in this. It is good practice to get specialist help in areas where you are under-resourced.
How long will ibd’s involvement take?
This will vary according to the nature of the company and the specific issues to be resolved. Advisors will endeavour to plan their work with you to suit your circumstances and cashflow. The project manager will assess the situation and provide an estimate of the number of days required to implement the necessary solutions. Following that estimate, you and the advisor agree on the best programme for your company. This may result in a specialist, or a team working with the company for an agreed number of days per month.
How much will I be expected to do?
Our advisor will expect you to assist him in as many ways as is necessary to implement the solutions to the problems that have been identified. The relationship between you and the advisor is a partnership where you work together to make sure that the solutions to the company’s problems are implemented fully. If you do this, it will ensure that the company gains the most from this exercise. Obviously the advisor will not ask you to do anything unplanned or put pressure on the time you spend running the company.
Will it mean redundancies?
On very rare occasions, yes. This will always be the last thing our advisors will recommend but sometimes redundancies have to be made to protect the company. A few redundancies in the early days may well mean the difference to a company’s survival. However, it is important that redundancies are handled by an expert in HR to protect you from claims to a tribunal that could cost the company many thousands of pounds. A proper selection process must be used so that any tribunal or similar body can see that you were entirely fair in your redundancy decisions. An HR specialist will avoid all of these pitfalls and will protect the company from any claims.