Survive and Prosper or in this context put simply – management consultancy and marketing.
Over the past few years we’ve been finding a growing trend amongst customers that during our initial conversations with them about marketing development, we have identified more deep-seated concerns for the business owners. In each case the companies vary in size and structure, always in private ownership, some have only been in existence for just a few short years, whereas others have run ‘successfully’ for over thirty-five years and in one case over 100 years.
However, they all have several things in common. Firstly the main directors all know their areas of expertise exceptionally well, working their way up from modest beginnings (even in the case of the oldest of these companies). These men and women have learnt their craft and can talk about it to their domestic and international customers with a real passion.
The second thing they all share is a respect for time. They know that regardless of how many years their businesses have been in operation, how many accolades they can collectively pool together, how many generations have gone before, their success is not a divine right…times have changed.
The third thing each of these businesses share is a desire to satisfy every request they receive from a customer, new or old. In trying so hard to satisfy their paymasters they inadvertently place undue pressure on themselves, their staff and their infrastructure, with only one consequence – a disappointed customer. In business, one of the biggest lesson we have to accept is that we cannot be all things to all men and every business, regardless which business that is, has its limitations. McKinsey referred to these main business areas or limitations within a model he termed ‘Seven S’ (see below). Together these elements combine to form the single operational view.
By placing structure and process, like that rationalised in McKinsey’s model helps senior management teams apportion responsibility for clarification of the businesses true strengths and weaknesses so they can embrace them, fulfilling their customers expectations accurately within a clearly balanced and honest relationship.
Of course, as a consultancy business we don’t have the same pressures that our manufacturing clients do, but I suspect that’s what gives us the clarity to make unbiased objective observations. These Directors, many who have become friends, rely on us to help them steer their ship through what is for them uncharted waters, but what sets them apart from others that fail, they are not beyond asking for help. To their credit they can see changes are needed, they simply need the reassurance to help take those steps whilst they focus on the day-to-day challenges. Taking often quite difficult decisions to not only help them survive, but indeed to prosper, proving partnerships are necessary to make any small business fit for todays modern times.