Coughlan Consulting provides a wide range of services, but the core focus is to develop a plan for success. The specific steps will depend on the unique circumstances of each owner and their business. That said broadly speaking all businesses comprise the following:
We consider a business to be best structured for long term success if it follows the Strategy/Operational areas per this triangle.
We work on the basis that the business first and foremost must be aligned to achieving your Personal Vision – everything flows from that aim. It also follows that the business must have all the Strategic areas aligned and implemented for the Operational areas to work properly to achieve your Personal Vision.
In order of the triangle hierarchy the items can be briefly described as:
To be truly engaged in driving any business and feeling satisfaction from your hard work the business must be meeting your own aims. To have clarity on this and to ensure it can be shared as appropriate the aims must be written – there is nothing like the process of putting words on a page to really flesh out what you are ultimately after. It is vitally important that you regularly review these aims with those closest to you in a family sense – spouse, siblings if a family owned business.
Consistent with a written Personal Vision a well written Business Vision forms the destination and the roadmap to getting to the destination. It should be clear, concise and displayed so all employees know the vision and understand where the business is headed. Furthermore this provides a framework for making business decisions – if anything is being contemplated which doesn’t align to the vision then it can be dropped.
This relates to the detail of the written business plan which in turn forms the basis for regular (suggested monthly) meetings to track ongoing performance to the plan and how to adapt to changing circumstances. By involving senior employees in the planning/review meetings they will inevitably take greater ownership for their role.
A business needs to operate out of the best legal structure for its particular situation. Within that structure there must be a comprehensive organisation chart with clear roles and responsibilities for all employees. Equally the most appropriate premises and equipment must be in place.
All teams need a clear statement of values and intent. They equally need a leader to model the desired values and intent and ensure they are consistently in play at all times – remember the fish rots from the head down. There needs to training programmes in place so your staff can take on opportunities for advancement. There’s only one thing worse than training staff and having them leave; it’s not training staff and having them stay.
It is critical that accurate quantitative and qualitative systems are implemented so you know on a timely basis exactly how the business is performing and when it is time to tweak any and all aspects. This must be at the overall level, as well as for individual departments, products and services.
In most situations there will be multiple potential suppliers of the goods and services your business requires. There needs to be a regular review process to ensure you are getting the best available outcome, not just from a $ perspective but also considering aspects such as reliability, accessibility, responsiveness etc.
Staff perform best when they have written clarity on their roles, responsibilities and performance criteria. Staff equally crave two-way communication so there need to be six monthly performance review /future goals meetings. This naturally requires effective and efficient measures to monitor performance towards the agreed goals.
Systems and Processes:
Inevitably everything that occurs in a business can be written as a logical system/process. The act of fully documenting these is a great way to double check they are being undertaken in the most efficient manner, as well as being the best way to maximise delegation and train new staff – there can be no doubt about what is required to be done if it is recorded in full.
Marketing and Sales:
It is essential that each and every business has a clearly defined target market. Equally the market needs to see why you are the preferred provider of your product/service and why/how you are better than any competitors.
The products/services you provide must be aligned to the needs of the target market. You must be ahead of your competitors in innovation and dealing with changes in the underlying market demands/trends.
Working with Coughlan Consulting
A substantial reason for the success of a business comes from getting all of the components of the triangle working well in their own right, as well as cohesively with each other.
It stands to reason that business are good at their core area of service or product. This is why they’ve gotten to where they are now. But that is only one part of a profitable sustainable business. If even just one of components is failing, the whole of the business suffers.
Peter Coughlan doesn’t pretend to be an expert in your area of technical competency. Instead, what he provides is the ability to improve all the other components of your business – all those vital things that Universities and TAFE don’t cover.
Over the last 10 years he has supported businesses in fields as diverse as construction, manufacturing, wholesaling, retailing, food, health and professional services – all without having any expertise in their underlying product/service. In fact, sometimes it helps to be clueless about the underlying product/service as he can ask the ‘dumb’ questions, which often shine a whole new light on aspects of the business.
What our clients say
Hunter Petroleum Products highly endorses Coughlan Consulting. They have seen our business grow from a one truck one driver operation to now having five trucks and eight full time staff. Peter has advised me along the way and helped with keeping our growth to a manageable level. They know about the things that I don’t!
Owner & Director, Hunter Petroleum Products
If you’d like to know more about what Coughlan Consulting can do for you, please get in touch.