Perfect your business, then grow…

In my last engagement, I was commissioned by the managing director to find new pockets of opportunity to expand the organization and by default the revenue. It was an interesting request as the organization was doing well, actually very well and had grown from a million dirham business to a multimillion dollar business. The results spoke for themselves. The problem was that he feared stagnation, he feared disappointment, and he feared regression the most. These fears are common and often linger in the back of most leaders’ minds as they fight to stay relevant in today’s world where competition is fierce, and opportunities become limited. So, once we went past the emotional gut instinct, we began to ask questions, the powerful kind of questions that would validate a premonition.

The context:

ABC Corp was a medium sized services provider so imagine a consultancy with just under 20 employees. The company would receive requests for specific services like a marketing strategy or a feasibility study. After the business development manager scopes the project and seeks client approval, it would be relayed to operations for execution. Internally, it was organized where different resources would execute specific tasks under the guidance of a centralized project manager who would collate the information and ensure cohesiveness of end product.

The analysis:

So, the real question is how do you grow your service business with the same resources? At one point, the Director asked if we should start buying other businesses. I asked him what kind of businesses he had in mind, to which he responded with brick-and-mortar businesses. I started wondering how those businesses could fit within his current business and how he can leverage the developed competencies into these acquired businesses. The truth was that just because your personal investment strategy was in real estate, it doesn’t just translate into an application into your business. We migrated from that idea and explored concepts closer within his business realm.

After conducting an assessment to uncover productivity and competency levels of employees, we quickly realized that there was a significant scope for doing more with less. The productivity exercise leveraged the quality of deliverables and the timesheets employees used to start and stop a task along the value chain. The competency exercise sheds light on their knowledge in core business acumen. We realized that employees had on average 30% capacity in time and had competencies that were extendable into other areas of the business.

The outcome:

We focused on those two segments to drive incremental efficiency in service delivery, which just means we were able to churn out more deliverables as previously done. But that wasn’t enough. We developed new efficiencies where the same resource could execute the same tasks that had previously been done by two separate people. This could not have been unearthed without a structured competency assessment. This allowed us to strategically modify the organizational structure and nominate more project managers who are accountable for increased revenue targets.

Furthermore, new firm products were formulated and packaged and delivered to clientele. Those clients who had a higher volume of requests were early adopters of a retainer scheme which granted them a certain number of hours of a dedicated resource on a weekly basis. While, on average this scheme was less profitable for the firm, it allowed them to leverage that relationship and capture more referral business from industry similar businesses. Furthermore, it primed the organization to start building products for clients and with client’s satisfaction in mind, with the revenue as a subsequent byproduct of a great product.

Next steps:

The client was extremely satisfied with the results of the engagement. We had addressed both concerns on expanded operations and increased revenue. But it didn’t stop there. It seemed that their compensation and benefits were misaligned. So our job wasn’t quite done. To avert a HR turnover disaster, we quickly refined the scope of the new project and began immediately.

Stay tuned for the next management consulting adventure…

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