Clients' details have been changed to protect their confidentiality.

Scaling up

An IT services company needed support to scale up. A RealityCheck® revealed that their product and proposition had not been well-defined, making it challenging for their sales people to compete in the marketplace. I helped them clarify their existing offering, introduce new ones, resulting in a substantial and sustained increase in revenues.

Aligning the board

The board of a leading food distribution company were not aligned around a new, radical strategy their CEO had set for the business. I ran a workshop to tease out and discuss differences in a constructive way, leading to broad agreement and commitment to the new strategy. The company increased its market share in exceptionally competitive trading conditions.

Succession

The owners of a long-established professional services business were finding it difficult to agree a succession strategy, causing internal tensions and hampering the growth of the company. I mediated between the owners over an extended period, and helped them to arrange funding to buy out one of the partners, thus avoiding a potentially damaging split. The company has since gone on to thrive, winning multiple industry awards.

Getting to the next stage

The CEO of a leading professional services company needed support to get to the next stage. I coached and advised the CEO to create a new strategy, and a revised organisation structure to support the strategy. The company went on to double its turnover and profits over the subsequent period.

Unsticking

A leading video production company with household name clients had become “stuck in a wall”. Turnover and profits had remained the same for a number of years. I carried out a RealityCheck® and helped the CEO develop a strategy to drive the business “through the wall”. The company went on to grow substantially over many years.

 

Recipe for success

A premium restaurant group wanted to improve its back office efficiency in order to increase profits during challenging market conditions. After a thorough analysis I helped them develop improved operating procedures which led to a significant and sustainable increase in net margin.

 

Partneritis

The 50/50 partners of a long-established recruitment business decided to part company. Their working relationship had become strained and they were finding it impossible to negotiate amicably and objectively. Over six months I helped them source neutral company valuations (including giving my own opinion), an amicable exit of one of the partners, and funding to pay for the exiting partner’s shares and hiring of their replacement. I still have good relations with both partners!

Increasing customer loyalty = increased profits

A well-known, long-established premium hotel was experiencing below sector-average guest loyalty rates (measured by percentage of returning guests). I conducted a thorough analysis of the business, including the use of a mystery guest programme that measured customer service quantitatively and qualitatively (a first in the sector at that time). I led an Investors in People (IIP) project and a training programme. After a year’s work this resulted in increased guest loyalty rates, which in turn brought an increase in operating margin.

Reboot

A long-established family-owned 1,000 seat weddings and entertainment venue, the first of its kind in its field, was “stuck”, in terms of sales and profits, and in danger of decline. Competitors had entered the market undercutting them and/or offering newer, fresher ideas. Behind the scenes the family disagreed on the best way forward. Sticking firmly to what I believed to be best for the business, irrespective of loyalty to any particular family member (including the person who commissioned me), I carried out a RealityCheck®, then supported them over two years while they refreshed their offer, made key decisions over which services to offer/drop (thus rebooting their distribution relationships), and reorganised the “back office”. I also mediated between family members to keep things on track. The revitalised business has since gone from strength to strength, regaining its place as the leader in its field.

 

Tastes good

An early-stage specialist food manufacturing company that had boot-strapped itself since startup, and was therefore highly resilient, was ready to scale. As it was the owners’ first business, they needed support to get their business to the next stage. After an initial RealityCheck®, over several years I helped them quadruple the size of their business in tough market conditions; this included the setting up from scratch their own factory and hiring senior management.

Writer’s block

A leading award-winning journalist was at a crossroads: personal circumstances had unexpectedly changed; confusion and self-doubt clouded the choices available, and decision-making had become impossible. At the end of a three month coaching programme, the journalist “rediscovered their mojo”, and had has since gone on to greater success and recognition in their field.

First round funding

An early-stage SaaS (Software as a Service) business was ready for first round funding. I supported the business by advising on the creation of its first Investment Memorandum, including clarifying its proposition and explaining what was required from potential investors’ points of view. This resulted in a crowdfunding round which beat its targets. The company is continuing to grow significantly, disrupting the sector in which it operates.

Lower sales, higher profits

A long-established, leading family-owned consulting company unanimously decided to wind the business down gradually, ready for retirement of the principal, rather than build it up to exit, which had been the plan for a number of years. Over a two year period I guided the business through a challenging transition, including a substantial reduction in management and staff. I helped create a refreshed proposition, the repositioning of the principal, and the sourcing of new subcontractors and distributors. This resulted in a 75% reduction in revenues and a doubling of operating profits (now there’s an interesting lesson!), thus allowing the family to “turn off the lights” whenever they are ready.

Sudden windfall

An experienced entrepreneur with a well-established business received a multi-million pound inheritance on the death of a parent, decades earlier than expected. Faced with choices that could significantly affect their business, family and life generally, I provided a three-month coaching programme to support my client in making big decisions calmly and rationally. After a thorough analysis and exploration of their options, including suggesting some ideas not previously thought of, my client created a clear vision and plan, to their own and their family’s long-term benefit.

War war to jaw jaw to tears of joy

The 50/50 founding partners of a 25 year-old medical practice had, over many years drifted apart in terms of vision, strategy and day-to-day working practices. This to the extent that half of their team were loyal to one partner, the other half to the other, some barely on speaking terms. Morale was rock bottom, staff turnover was off the scale (any wonder?); the practice was stuck. One of the partners invited me in to see what I could do. After carrying out a RealityCheck®, I recommended that one partner buy the other out. Over a nine-month period, I mediated between the partners, helped them negotiate an amicable split, which included advising them both up to and including Heads of Terms ready to hand to their respective lawyers. During this time, I regularly assured the team that all would be well, which had a positive effect on staff turnover. The most satisfying - and touching - part of this project occurred after the partners had signed their agreement. I suggested they hold a whole team meeting to announce their agreement. As they were speaking, one of the partners started sobbing (previously unimaginable), then the other. They hugged, the team applauded; there were even tears in the eyes of some of the most “seen-it-all-before” team members! The practice has since gone from strength to strength.

Learning to scale

The husband and wife owners of a six-year old online learning and development company with household name clients had founded and grown their company successfully, and were ready to scale up. There were key decisions to make around assessing funding requirements, capability gaps, resourcing developers, and refining their proposition. Over a six month period I helped the owners write a vision and direction paper, which tackled the challenges they had identified, advising them throughout. The company went on to double its turnover and profits and continues to grow strongly.

Founderitis

A well-established successful mortgage broking business was suffering from above-average staff turnover rates. A RealityCheck® revealed that the business relied almost entirely on the founder’s involvement in virtually every decision. I designed a comprehensive programme for the company to move gradually over an 18 month period to a more devolved structure, giving management and staff more freedom to make decisions, reducing pressure on the founder, thus reducing staff turnover and allowing the company room to grow.

 

Eminence grise (wise man with grey hair)

The owners of an established application development business with household name clients decided to start another company, which would need all of their time. They promoted one of their senior management team to lead the company in their absence. This was the individual’s first experience in this position. I was hired to act as a sounding board and advisor over a two year period while the owners established their new business. The company continued to thrive under the new management, increasing sales and profits despite the owners absence.

 

Lost mojo

A 25 year old contract hire business was stuck in terms of sales and profits. The founder had “lost their mojo”, and the business was in danger of going into decline. After conducting a RealityCheck® and commissioning market and competitor research, I recommended a series of projects over an 18 month period: (a) create a new vision for the company to revitalise the founder and the team, (b) revise the organisational structure and (c) carry out a brand repositioning project. The company has since turned the corner and is growing well.

 

Energetic growth

A new entrant to the utilities sector offering consumers a fresh proposition needed to put in place organisational structures, a fully functioning board and robust corporate governance, in order to create a solid foundation for rapid growth. Over 18 months, a colleague and I supported the founder in creating a clear vision and strategy for the business; we also delivered a comprehensive training and coaching programme for the senior team, introduced processes and procedures, and advised on the structure of the board. The business has gone on to achieve huge success, setting new standards in customer service, winning multiple industry and consumer awards, sourcing substantial funding, disrupting the market in which it operates.

 

Reinvigoration

A board Director of a high street bank was unexpectedly made redundant as part of a restructure. This caused the individual a major loss of confidence, affecting their ability to seek new employment. A three month coaching programme helped to restore my client’s confidence, while identifying new avenues to consider. This led to the individual actively and enthusiastically seeking new employment. With my assistance throughout the process, my client eventually joined a FinTech startup as an equity partner, bringing decades of knowledge and experience of the sector to a young, relatively inexperienced team. The company is enjoying rapid growth.

RealityCheck® is a registered trademark of Alan Wick Associates.

01342 889488

realbusiness@alanwick.com

Forest Row, Sussex, United Kingdom.

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