WE'RE NOT FOR EVERYONE
We are a boutique small project-business advisory ONLY, with a very special focus and skill set.
Unlike most other Business Advisory Firms - we're not trying to be your book-keepers or accountants, your social media marketers, website developers, graphic designers, insurance brokers, IT support or any other specialist technician. They're all important to fix bits on the bus - but not to help you drive it.
We work exclusively with leaders of small architectural, design and project-businesses, to simplify and improve managing the business, so they can focus on their passion for projects, without stressing about the business imploding around them.
We are Pareto Realists that focus on the 20% of time and effort that will deliver 80% of improvements and benefits across all ON-business functions, to take the stress and anxiety out of your business.
It is a holistic approach to seeking success, not perfection.
“There will NEVER be enough time to work ON your business. It has to be prioritised as one of your top jobs. You set it up as a job and schedule it like any other job. It is like a retainer. You have to work on it every month.” Greg Branson
We work with you to...
GET BACK ON TRACK
The BACK ON TRACK Program is delivered in three stages.
1. POSITION - Defines your business’s position now, and what you want it to be in the future.
2. SIMPLIFY - Create the tools and techniques needed to simplify your ON-Business functions.
3. IMPROVE – Take action, using the tools and techniques from Stage 2 to create and implement the improvements that simplify your ON-Business functions.
Each stage is broken into specific Sessions - but it’s not a ‘cookie-cutter’ delivery where one size will fit all. It’s delivered 1:1 because it will be affected by your unique position including: types and scale/complexity of projects, where you sit on the Project-Totem Pole regarding project/client control, your organisational maturity, your need for business scalability and other influences.
Each session in the program consists of:
1. Inputs (pre-workshop tasks),
2. Workshop a one hour 1:1 and
3. Outputs (documentation created either during or post workshop).
4. Review and Revision (outputs will be reviewed for further suggestions/iterative improvements).
NB: If you’ve already implemented a robust solution (and the rigour to make it work) for any item in a Session, we’ll tick-that-box and move on.
To minimise the cost to you, all sessions are delivered through Zoom video conferencing (on-site delivery can be requested, and if mutually agreed, will include travel time and costs), however, Simon is always keen to catch-up socially for a coffee, and chat about what’s happening in your world.
Click here to download our Services Offer and Rates.
POSITION - Stage 1
Define your business's position now, and what you want it to be in the future
SUSTAINABILITY - Session 1.1
Calculate if your business is commercially sustainable – and what to do if it’s not.
Simply surviving requires commercial sustainability - the ability for your project-business to maintain and support itself over the long term.
3 out of small architectural, design and project-businesses are NOT commercially sustainable and 60% of those DON’T know it, because they can disguise it for the short term – but you can’t defy financial gravity for ever.
Outcome: You will have calculated what your charge-out rates must be to achieve commercial sustainability and included it in your revised Fee Agreement. There will also be an accurate calculation of your business’s potential capacity based on realistic and factual parameters.
The TIPPING POINT - Session 1.2
Identify which improvements will significantly change your profitability.
Are you frustrated that having thrown everything you have into your projects, hasn’t converted into the profitability you’d hope to achieve? At what point does striving to succeed transform into thriving with success?
What if you could simply take control of what’s required to make that transformation?
The good news is that small improvements can make a big difference to your profitability.
Outcome: You will identify and set your targets for improvements to the 3 fundamental financial variables that deliver your profitability.
DIRECTION - Session 1.3
What do you want your business to look like once you’ve developed it?
The most common mistake made by leaders of small architectural, design and project-businesses, is failing to define what they want their success to look like in the future - because if it’s not defined, there can’t be a plan to get there.
Did you realise that more than 80% of small project-businesses, like yours, are also crippled by this indecision? Nothing is done about it and the business keeps rolling along, striving to meet short-term objectives – like just staying in business. It’s a hand-to-mouth existence, not a solution.
Direction is more important than speed.
Stop going nowhere fast.
Outcome: You will define and document what your successful future business will be – even if you change it up at a future date, you will have an initial goal(s) and a direction to take you forward, on which you can build an Action Plan.
SIMPLIFY - Stage 2:
Create the tools you need to simplify your business
'Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful' Maeda
ORGANISE - Session 2.1
Organisation makes a system of many appear fewer (J.Maeda).
Would you like to know exactly where and how every function, process, document, file, etc should be categorised and stored - simply and consistently?
For most small project-businesses the creation and development of ON-Business functions has been ad hoc, inconsistent and confused. This confusion creates complexity and inaccuracy, resulting in lost time, anxiety and stress.
Outcome: Identification and a defined scope for each of the ON-Business Functions, to simplify the organisation of activities and information and create consistency, based on the structure of the GAPPSystem.
REDUCE - Session 2.2
The simplest way to achieve SIMPLICITY is through thoughtful reduction (J.Maeda).
Do you and your team know exactly what you have (and how to use it) to manage all the different activities in your business? Or have people been creating, naming and storing stuff “their way” or worse – wasting time re-creating something that already exists.
Thoughtful reduction is the removal of the unnecessary and the non-contributing, to be determined by testing it against the values of relevance and the G.A.P.P. disciplines of Governance, Assurance, Performance and Prosperity. If it’s not contributing, then archive or delete it.
Outcome: Based on the GAPPSystem Audit, the documentation your existing baseline of existing content and its adequacy, the removal the redundant and irrelevant information, as well as identifying what’s missing.
SYNERGIES - Session 2.3
Integrating systems create synergies that simplify the whole and create a value which is greater than the sum of its parts.
Are you frustrated with your team not doing things the way you want them done, and then having to re-do it? Are you fed-up with the time and energy lost, having to re-enter, double handle or track down/transfer/compile existing information?
Systems integration involves integrating existing, often disparate systems in such a way "that focuses on increasing value to the client" (e.g., improved service/product quality and performance) while at the same time providing value to the company (e.g., reducing operational costs and improving response time).
Outcome: This session compares any systems (both manual or automated) currently used and how/if they integrate, against under-performance or opportunities identified in the GAPP Audit, using a cost/benefit analysis.
PRIORITISE - Session 2.4
Priorities simplify the process of delivering the greatest value from the finite resources available.
The one thing you know for certain is that the non-chargeable time allocated to managing your business needs to be minimised - but productive.
Seek success, not perfection. Applying Pareto's Principle, focus on the 20% of the effort required to deliver 80% of your defined success. Grab the low hanging fruit!
Outcome: You will identify and document the priority of improvements required for ON-Business functions (based on your baseline established in Session 2.2) that will maximise the return on investment, within your framework of commercial sustainability.
TIME MANAGEMENT - Session 2.5
Savings in time feel like SIMPLICITY (J.Maeda).
Do you feel overwhelmed that there's never enough time to get everything done? If you're providing a service, then time IS money.
Yours is an infinite job, but you only have finite time available. You can’t manage an infinite job by just adding more and more hours. You need to change the way you think about and manage your time and your work.
Outcome: This session focuses on tools and techniques of managing your time and the inclusion of all ON-business activity within a standard week for commercial sustainability, therefore making ‘overtime’ a chargeable/recoverable cost that significantly improves your Tipping Point.
LEARN - Session 2.6
Knowledge makes everything simpler.
Any new activity, either IN or ON the business, requires planning and execution of an unknown/untested process or procedure, usually resulting in iterative trial and error – initially requiring a disproportionate investment in time and resources to complete the activity.
Without capturing that knowledge and ‘lessons learnt’, those losses will be repeated the next time that activity is undertaken.
Capturing that knowledge for re-use, establishes the time and resources baseline for the activity, avoids lost time in the future and allows for continuous improvement, when better ways are developed. Continuous improvement is a key principle to the Quality Management System.
Outcome: It’s the difference between delegation and abdication.
IMPROVE- Stage 3
This Stage is based on your GAPPSystem baseline and is provided as a ‘developed-with-you’ process, using the Outputs from Stage 2, to create and implement the requirements needed for each ON-Business function. The scope of each session will be customised after Stage 2 is completed.
IMPROVE BUSINESS MANAGEMENT - Session 3.1
Business Management, Leadership and Culture are overarching functions for the entire organisation and business, setting the mission, vision and values that will be used to test all initiatives and actions. It’s responsible for top-down strategy and responsive to bottom-up tactical outcomes. This is where all other functions are integrated with weighted importance.
IMPROVE QUALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS - Session 3.2
Quality Management Systems are a collection of business processes focused on consistently meeting client requirements and enhancing their satisfaction. It is aligned with an organisation's purpose and strategic direction (ISO9001:2015). It is expressed as the organisational goals and aspirations, policies, processes, documented information and resources needed to implement and maintain it, converging with sustainability and transparency initiatives.
IMPROVE FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT - Session 3.3
The efficient and effective management of money (funds) both income and expenses, in such a manner as to accomplish the objectives of the organisation. It is the specialised function directly associated with the top management, monitored and controlled on a weekly basis with specific Management Accounts including Earned Value Management and cashflow projections.
IMPROVE MARKETING MANAGEMENT - Session 3.4
Marketing management is the process of developing strategies and planning for a product or services, to reach the desired customer segment, to create awareness of what is offered and bring the client to you and engage your sales process. Marketing is not sales.
IMPROVE RESOURCES MANAGEMENT - Session 3.5
The efficient and effective development of an organisation's resources when they are needed. Such resources may include human skills, facilities, support services and information technology (IT).
IMPROVE KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT - Session 3.6
The process of creating, sharing, using and managing the knowledge and information of an organisation. It refers to a multidisciplinary approach to achieving organisational objectives by making the best use of knowledge. Knowledge management efforts typically focus on organisational objectives such as improved performance, competitive advantage, innovation, the sharing of lessons learned, integration and continuous improvement of the organisation.
IMPROVE PMO and SALES - Session 3.7
The Project Management Office (PMO) is required if you're intending to do more than one project. It's a management structure that standardises the project-related governance processes and facilitates the sharing of resources, methodologies, tools and techniques. As the PMO controls the availability and allocation of resources across all projects, as well as meeting the obligations of any project-related contracts/agreements, it is appropriate for the PMO to prepare and submit any RFP for new projects.