When I was having a clear out of old paperwork recently in anticipation of the incoming GDPR legislation, I came across a long forgotten poem I had written in 2005. Upon re-reading it, I remembered with extraordinary clarity why I’d written it. Like all entrepreneurs, I have had many dark days when I wondered a) why I was doing whatever it was that I was doing and b) how I was going to look after my staff, family and friends. Continue reading
So what’s it like to engage and work with Philip?
Firstly Philip passionately believes in having a plan. Typically this comes in two stages:
- What are the immediate objectives?
- What is the ultimate goal – frequently for him that’s when are you going to sell and to whom?
His company is called Enhancing Clarity for a reason – Philip helps to identify the quickest way to get momentum and then works with you to identify the best (exit) strategy, giving your business direction and purpose. His ability to do this, and quickly, is one of the reasons his clients value his time so much.
Secondly Philip believes in the old proverb “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Philip sees his role as strengthening the CEO and senior management team’s ability to deliver the agreed business strategy through mentoring, coaching, facilitating and the odd bit of coercing.
This does mean that Philip is very unlikely to ‘do’ things – although where appropriate he is happy to introduce people and/or resources from his trusted network to help with implementation.
This also means that the long hours you currently work are likely to continue for a little longer, but hopefully they should start to feel less of a burden as you see your business start to make progress, having momentum and the plan coming together.
There is only one way to measure success in Philip’s book – the outcome! This is more than just the return on investment (ROI) which may be difficult to measure until long after Philip’s involvement has ended. But to give a flavour of what it means to engage Philip, the table below lists a some of the many success stories he has been involved in in the last 14+ years.
|Chemical Engineering Company
Engaged to prepare the company for sale.
Profits fell during the engagement as considerable effort was put in to make the company more saleable.
|£100,000||The owner was in his late sixties and wanted to retire. The Company was valued shortly before Philip was engaged at circa £2.5m by a globally renowned accountant.
The owner’s aspirational price was £4m.
The Company was acquired by a competitor for £6.4m.
|Open Source Technology Services Company
Engaged to grow the business and prepare the company for an eventual sale over a 3 year period.
|£120,000||Company sold for £4m, 38 months after Philip was engaged. The acquirer had tried to buy the client at the very beginning of Philip’s engagement, offering a fraction of the eventual sale price.|
|Full Service Telecoms Provider
Engaged to help the founders grow the business with the intention of exiting shortly after 2020.
|£36,000||In 18 months the company has reorganised its supply channel. Margins have grown dramatically and profits have quadrupled. Sales are growing faster than expected.|
|Financial Services Training Company
Engaged to help the founders grow the business towards an eventual exit. Identified that the business model was inefficient and that skillsets were missing.
|£48,000||Changing the model and applying it to historic figures showed that profits would have increased by more than 500%.
The founders are now transitioning the business to this new model.
|Learning Solutions Provider
Engaged to help the board grow the business. Identified skill gaps which were holding back the business. Also worked with the CEO to improve his performance.
|£15,000||CEO commented that “the business grew by 7% in first year which surprised some of us, and we expect to grow by 10% this year and 25% to 30% next.”|
|Picture Frame Manufacturer
A business stagnating for over 5 years.
Engaged to coach the founder to create and execute a growth plan to eventually sell the company.
|£24,000||Sales and profits have increased and a pilot scheme is being introduced with a major UK retailer. Another major retailer is actively considering a similar pilot.|
|Risk Management Software Publisher
A short, sharp intervention to focus the founders on sales and delivery.
|£18,000||Sales are increasing and a new version of the software is soon to be published, previews of which have been critically acclaimed.
Update 1: 3 orders received for the update on the day of launch, worth in excess of £150,000
Update 2: Philip has been re-engaged to help the board create a strategic plan for the next 3-5 years and to mentor them through the delivery.
|User Experience Design House
A short, sharp intervention to focus the founders on roles and responsibilities and growth.
|£6,000+||Sales increased by 25% in 6 months. Profits up 50%. Sales pipeline is now healthy. The client is choosing what work they want to take on.
Philip has been re-engaged to help structure the company so that the founders are able to exit in 3 years time.
|An International Trade Body
Engaged to mentor the European CEO who was facing a number of challenges from the US parent body and the cultural differences between the various country membership in EMEA. Also facilitated a number of international Board Meetings
|£120,000||Helped the European Board to articulate its vision and create the strategy for the future of the organisation. On a personal level, coached the CEO through how to prepare their exit from the organisation and to embrace new challenges.|
This article is not about business but about values and beliefs – and my personal ones at that. Having said that, I frequently recommend what I am about to share with you to mentoring clients.
I came across this wonderful poem about 35 years ago and it has haunted me ever since.
I’ve been incredibly lucky Continue reading
Are you a leader? Would you consider yourself ambitious for yourself and your organisation? Of course you are!
Ambition is good. It drives us forward and stretches us so that we take on new ideas and experiment. It makes us do things. It makes us grow as people and those benefits accrue to the company we work for.
But what happens to an organisation whose leader(s) lacks ambition? This can occur when the company makes enough profit Continue reading
As I write this, the economic outlook for the UK (and Europe) is looking precarious to say the least. Although we are not currently in a recession, market conditions are tough with a credit squeeze, rocketing fuel and power prices, falling house prices and statements from the Bank of England and many leading retailers that trading conditions are worsening. The press would have us believe that a recession is just around the corner. I’m not sure I buy this, but regardless, leadership is becoming more important than ever.
So how do we lead in these situations? For me there are 6 points Continue reading
At some point in the distant past, a client was describing the problems he was having implementing a particularly tricky change policy on his company. While listening to him I realised that I’d been through this situation several times myself so we discussed what his options were to overcome objectors. Out of that discussion came a process I call “Slaying Dragons” which has the express aim of enhancing buy-in to Continue reading
Working with a client recently, they mentioned that they had started to hold internal lunchtime meetings to discuss how they were delivering projects for clients. They called these ‘TEAM Meetings’. “Why ‘TEAM’?” I asked thinking it stood Continue reading
A great business leader, Sir John Harvey-Jones, died last month. For those who are not aware, he was a leading light in the UK business community since the early 1980’s when he rose to public prominence as the chairman of ICI, which he guided to be one of the most successful companies in the UK if not the world.
But to most people in the UK he is best remembered as the star of the “Troubleshooter” television series where he Continue reading
I was chatting recently with Dermot Hill of Intramezzo who posed this question. Given my experience as a Chairman and my love of this role, it set me thinking. Note that I’m going to use the word “Chairman” in a non-gender specific context in this article.
Companies appoint a Chairman for a variety of reasons. If they are about to float, or are seeking external investment, they may pick someone who is acceptable to the “money men” and who has contacts in that arena rather than going for someone who can add real value to the companies proposition. But I suspect Continue reading
Maybe it is just me, but shortly after posting about how pygmies are taking over the world, I had 2 really bad experiences of customer service from the same company.
There is a well-known budget hotel chain here in the UK called Travelodge. I have used its various hotels frequently in the last year or so. Normally my stay is a fairly painless experience – it’s a budget chain so you get what you pay for, but the rooms are pretty comfortable so I’m happy. I tend to arrive Continue reading