Strategic advisor to consultancies / agencies and non-executive Director
Why, what and how
Reasons I might be able to help you
You started your firm because of your love of the craft, the enjoyment gained from solving client problems and to handpick your own team. You work ridiculously hard at it, but you don't always get the financial or lifestyle return you had hoped for and cannot see a way to that ever changing. This is often because many of us allow the client work to consume our energy and we don’t give enough focus to building a sustainable business and maximising the returns from our efforts.
I work with consultancy and agency leaders who want to balance their work 'in the business' with their work 'on the business’ in the most effective way. They want the experience of someone who has trodden the same path who can help them get the most out of the efforts they put in.
You're most likely looking for significant growth, increased profit and ultimately working towards a trade sale or other liquidity event that only becomes an option when you have a sustainable business.
The kinds of things I do for clients
Whether your main focus is getting ready for sale, increasing profitability or making a more sustainable business, the work required tends to fall into the same areas.
Ensure you have service lines and propositions that are relevant to your target market
Establish a financial plan that is supported by appropriate development activities to deliver your ambitions
Ensure you have the lightest possible yet robust processes and best fit technology platforms to produce the right metrics to look forwards as well as backwards
We work together to make sure this operating model fits the style and culture of your organisation
I turn up with a set of templates and models we can choose to tailor to your needs
Coaching and mentoring your senior team as well as organisation design and support during the recruitment process
New business planning and sales coaching
Improving your business development processes and working with your senior team responsible for new business (hopefully all of them!) to increase the number of opportunities and the win rate
Ways we might work together
I’m not a big fan of the word coach in a work context (I find it has been tarnished by a myriad of ‘Life Coaches’), but it’s the best word I’ve found so far to describe my role with clients.
If it hasn't been updated recently, I often start by working to help you develop a focussed strategy based on a clear proposition and then turn that into a simple financial and wider business plan. We get the 'boring but important' bits of the business running to a regular drum beat - management meetings, board meetings, reporting and planning. And then we agree the priorities to work on for the coming months - be that operations, technology, sales, recruitment or explicitly getting the firm ready for sale.
No two engagements are the same, but generally I spend 1-2 days per month with each client, sometimes more in the early days or on specific initiatives.
I only ever work ‘on’ your business, and not ‘in’ it - you run the business, your team operate the processes, I'm here to help you get better at it.
I have over 20 years experience in mid-sized consultancies and agencies including founding, growing and selling a leading independent management consultancy.
Founded leading independent management consultancy CVL in 1998 and grew the firm to a successful exit when sold to Engine Group in 2010
CVL provided commercial, technology, customer experience and operational strategy advice to leading retail, media and telecoms companies including Argos, BBC and BT among many others and continues to grow under it’s new name (since the merger with Digital Public), Transform
As Senior Partner at Engine Group (consisting of 12 agencies across advertising, digital, social media, data, brand strategy, direct marketing and PR) I was responsible for business and talent development
Most recently conceived, developed and sold Metis, a SaaS platform specifically targeting management consultancies with the aim of improving their back office operations. During this time talked to over 300 professional services firms around the world about how they organise themselves and run their operations
Key note speaker and sometimes host of industry events on the disruptive effects of new technologies on existing business models, especially digital commerce channels
As well as advising consultancies, I am also non-exec and advisor to a small number of technology start-ups, early stage businesses and not for profit organisations. I sit on the judging panel for the prestigious MCA annual awards.
When not working, I enjoy cooking for my wife while she tends to our ageing farmhouse in south west France.