While large corporate organizations maintain dedicated operations handling strategy, finance, sales, marketing, HR, Administration, Procurement and other areas, smaller, owner-managed businesses have much the same requirements but frequently find it impractical, and expensive, to maintain the capacity they require to effectively execute these functions.
A considerable number of SMBs are owner-managed, or ran by a two or three partners. In all cases, these are high-achieving, competent and highly motivated individuals, but who unfortunately, are frequently stretched beyond both their physical, and technical abilities by their business' day-to-day demands.
This presents many growth and sustainability problems for SMEs.
"The best reason to start a business is to make meaning; to create a product or service that will make the world a better place”.
"It is clear that to grow the business we need to build structures that will make it possible and easy for management to play their rightful role. The work you have been doing has been very important to us as directors." - Founding director of an SMS client.
ATP Success Model Suit (SMS)
Through our Success Model Suit Solution (SMS) we provide SMEs advisory services previously associated only with leading corporate organisations.
Using a comprehensive set of business planning and management toolkits, we work with SMS clients to improve the following, and other areas, all of which impact on owner-managed businesses in a big way.
We know the weight that owner-managers carry, and are sensitive to the various constraints that owner-managed businesses work within. As a result, we are keen to provide practical solutions guaranteed to achieve intended benefits without becoming burdensome to the client, and without unduly complicating their businesses and their lives.
Our SMS solution methodology is based on TWO critical pillars:
For over twenty years now, we have developed various business integrity test instruments, planning and analysis tools, most of which we now offer online. While most of these have originally been used on corporoate client assignments, we have, over time, significantly increased the number of toolkits that we tailored for SME use, most of which our SMS clients have found simple, practical and extremely useful.
We work with SME clients to analyse their business' performance concerns, to develop mid-to-long-term business plans, and to develop highly day-to-day management tools.
We have the tools and methodology for even the smallest business, and as a business' management needs become more complex, so do the tools and methodologies scale up to meet the business' objectives.
Our business planning and management toolkits are easily adaptable for use in different environments. Our experience in advisory across a variety of industries further means that we know, and are able to provide small and medium size business advisory that works, and at fees they can afford.
By taking up an SMS engagement, the client commits to specific operational, management, leadership, and personal development deliverables over a specific period of time, for which act as accountability partners.
Some of the areas that the SME commits to, and which we work with them to achieve include the development of a comprehensive business plans, a detailed budget, development of an enterprise risk management framework and the follow up management actions; development of personal and employee performance plans, periodic performance reviews, and the implementation of technology solutions among others.
We then work with the client in the areas identified guided by a binding performance contract that we sign with the SME owner-manager, but at the same time allowing the business the necessary flexibility. It is, nonetheless, the mutual discipline around this relationship that yields the phenomenal results that our SMS solution yields.
Start with the customer – find out what they want and give it to them.
Like in all other areas of our work, we are extremely keen to establish the following, and be as accurate as possible in doing so:
a baseline from which the business will be starting
What the proposed advisory intervention will cost the client
The precise deliverables on the assignment for the client
The client's return on Investment (ROI) on the advisory work.
Many SMEs consider advisory is expensive; and yes, when investment in advisory is looked at in absolute terms, it can indeed seem expensive.
When especially fees is paid without proper due diligence having been done to objectively establish Return on Investment (ROI), it can seem particularly expensive.
Also, when an advisory assignment is fluid in its objectives, is not well planned, or is not executed with discipline and the necessary attention to detail, fees can also balloon, with nothing to show for it.
We have decent experience in advisory services and are therefore very clear how to ensure our clients get value for money.
Consider a business that through its investment in a twelve-month SMS advisory assignment is able to achieve the following:
1. Stop the loss of some USD 1,000 dollars it has been loosing every month from loose controls, poor control of working capital, a sub-optimal structure of financing, various process quality failures and other leakages for as some time now - (let us limit this to two years);
2. Create new growth and development opportunities through various changes in the way it manages is market, products, and business development activities; and from this earn USD 1,000 each month starting two months after the conclusion of the assignment, for at least the next twenty-four months.
Looking at these two, fairly achievable, outcomes of a typical SMS assignment, such a business would be sure to gain at least USD 7,200 over the next two years from its investment in advisory.
How much fees would you find it reasonable for this business to pay to achieve this?
Different clients will be looking to address different concerns in their businesses and it can, therefore, be difficult to give a ballpark figure of how much in fees is payable to our SMS solutions.
Any fees that a client pays for advisory services must, in any case, be deemed an investment, from which the business must realise a sensible return. This, we can guarantee.
Real business results are much easier to see in SMBs than perhaps in larger organsiations where the same results may take longer on require complex support systems to achieve.
The greater the clarity of advisory objectives and their outcomes; the more objective the quantification of return on investment (ROI); and the greater the discipline with which the various initiatives obtained are followed through, the greater the return on investment in advisory.
If, for whatever reason, it is not clearly agreed with the client what needs to be achieved in the business, and how results will be measured, it is probably best to defer the assignment.
Our clients always want to see tangible benefits from their investment in our SMS solution, they want to see a quantifiable return on investment.
- Sharper strategic focus – sustainability of the business
- Better managed business risks - reduced losses
- Increased market share - business growth
- Significantly improved cash flow and fiscal discipline
- Increased and easier access to debt financing and other affordable credit
- Increased margins on sales
- Increased employee productivity
- Improved customer service
- Reduced pressure, and stress on client owner-managers