Case Studies of recent work done:

Professional Services Business (4 outlets, 20 staff):

Problem: Loss making in tough external market with little financial control or understanding of performance. Generally good staff but some performing below what was expected. One major loss making unit

Solution and Support: Addressed under-performing outlet (manager replaced), identified major product line that was key to future and put in place practical performance measures along with support to staff on sales skills and incentives introduced to involve staff. Monthly financial controls introduced which allowed meaningful monthly reviews with each office. Rehearsed directors’ personal objectives and agreed achievable 3 year exit plan

Result: Now profitable and all staff aware of priorities and expectations. Directors increasingly able to stand back and play to their strengths on major contracts while budgets help monitor and control performance (year to date ahead of target). On track for three year exit plan.

Manufacturer of Garden Equipment (50 staff):

Problem: While long established and with an extensive customer base, profitability declining from increasing competition and the business not changing with the times (little sales activity or contact with existing customers, inefficient operations, no new blood or ideas, and resistance to change). MD recognised need for change

Solution and Support: Business needed 'overhaul' in terms of how it grew and operated along with establishing an accountable and able top management team to help MD lead the business forward. Involved team at outset to understand the challenge (and the need to take action), established clear accountabilities and provided individual support where required. Agreed realistic annual target and actions to correct previous year's loss, including basic sales plan (where priority was protecting and developing existing clients) along with other practical actions which would quickly bring improvements (eg improved purchasing, following up quotes, etc). Some staff changes

Result: Ahead of revised profit target with significantly improved control, accountability and ownership with management team. In addition to improving sales (new web, recruited first salesperson, proactive local plan, etc), MD now has time to plan and progress some major investment projects. Lots more to do but there is a clear direction and the management team is fully aware of where further improvements will be made.

Electrical Contractor Business (7 people):

Problem: Effectively a one man band electrical contractor with small team but owner doing everything. Wanted to grow but didn't know how - needed to find right deputy but also personally needed to 'let go'. Equally as business grew needed to have a better and structured approach to market and control over profitability

Solution and Support: Honest discussion about growth pains and need to both tightly control growth while also trusting new deputy. Systems put in place to better understand job costings (previously nothing written down). Took some time through contacts to identify suitable deputy and then helped the owner to delegate and develop him. Carefully controlled cashflow, costs and spend through the transition

Result: Business has now achieved the step up to the new level with owner now leading a team with steady profitability and clear identification of the main markets and turning away low margin business. Owner in control of business with the base to grow.

 

Ken Sankey Associates Ltd - info@kensankeyassociates.co.uk