We work with a wide range of businesses, many of them owner-managed or family businesses. We have worked with professional service firms, manufacturing companies, schools, construction firms, government entities and other types of organizations. We are often called in on short-term projects to solve a specific problem, but frequently become involved in a deeper, longer-term relationship. The duration and specifics of the work develop from our initial conversations with each client and are customized to achieve short-term results that grow into long-term success.
Here are some examples of how Owner Manager Support Services have helped clients measure and improve performance, develop their management capability and address specific business issues.
The client was referred to me by his bank who had lost patience with him. His bank account was a mess – constantly exceeding his overdraft limit and he was not able to adequately explain how his business was doing.
I reviewed the situation and supported him in implementing monthly management accounts. We changed the layout of his Profit and Loss Account so that it gave information on profitability by business. Immediately he identified the more profitable business he should focus on. Routines were implemented whereby he reviewed profitability by contract on a monthly basis. This let him take action earlier on under-performing contracts. Cash Forecasts were prepared, submitted to the bank and adhered to. In implementing all of this, new staff members were hired and an existing staff member was redeployed.
The clients profitability went from breakeven at the half year point to 10% net profit for the full year. The clients turnover has doubled and workforce has doubled. The client moved to a new bank and now finds himself being courted by rival banks.
The client was unhappy with the people management skills of his management team. This team comprised young managers, promoted internally, who had no formal management training but great enthusiasm. In almost all cases the managers were supervising people who had been work colleagues and friends and the managers were finding it difficult to manage the change. Many team members were dissatisfied and demoralized because they felt that the problem of poor performers was not being tackled.
After conducting an assessment of the situation we recommended a training workshop on people management and another on recruitment skills. We ran the people management workshop for all managers and the recruitment skills workshop only for people regularly involved in selection and recruitment.
Immediately after the people management workshop the management team of one of the retail units reviewed the performance of each team member and gave them feedback in format recommended in the workshop, challenging in particular those identified as poor performers. Of seven individuals identified as poor performers, two left of their own volition, two turned around their performance immediately and three others gradually improved achieving acceptable performance within three months. Three years later, we are still providing customized training and support to this company.
Web Development Company
The client, a young company in a fast growth environment, was experiencing difficulties in meeting deadlines and budgets on fixed-price contracts.
We carried out an assessment of the situation, involving meeting a cross section of the, then, 16 person organisation, and recommended changes in how contracts were priced, how production was scheduled, how new contracts were handed over to production and how ongoing performance was managed. We assisted the company in implementing the changes – developing simple models to calculate the load/demand on production and to determine charge out rates.
The Company improved its achievement of deadlines from about 50% late to 12% and grew strongly. Three years later the company was so successful that it had increased in size by 250% and was acquired by a leading international advertising agency.
During this three year period, we continued to work with the company. Our main input changed to providing controller services and, later on, in supporting them through the due diligence process. After the acquisition, the acquiring company retained our services to assist in a smooth transition from owner-managed to corporate culture.
The client company was hemorrhaging cash. After early growth and profitability, it had lost its way. External investors were becoming increasingly concerned for the future.
After an initial review it was clear that basic controls were either absent or weak and management information was poor and out of date. We upgraded the controls and implemented those, in particular in the area of debt collection and acceptance of contracts. At the start of the assignment, there were four months debts outstanding. Within three months we reduced that to six weeks. We also prepared an analysis of profitability by business type. It became clear that some of the businesses were not profitable and the management team decided to exit three business sectors.
Cash flow was turned around. Profitability was improved by 11% and the company slimmed down to a more focused and viable business.