A key component for business growth is a company's ability to constantly measure and evaluate their business strategy and ensure that its still relevant and effective. At times, when companies look for ways to improve and evolve their business, they find themselves in need to partially or fully modify their tactics and way of doing business.
This is the point in time where an organization seeks professional advice, outside knowledge and fresh creativity to help improve and grow their business, and that's where I come in. For over eight years, both through my full-time jobs and freelance projects, I've provided marketing and strategy consulting services to help businesses become more efficient and successful.
The following provides the steps of my usual business consulting process:
Small business consulting experience:
- Evaluating a company's business model:
- Understanding how the organization operates and looking for strengths and weaknesses to find areas the business needs to focus and improve upon.
- Analyzing a company's competitive advantages, unique value propositions, and their market positioning relative to their competitors.
- Providing specific suggestions and project ideas for improving one or more areas of the company; including modifying or changing their:
- Value proposition(s), customer relationships, target customers, distribution channels, internal operations and key activities, marketing strategy, sales methods, pricing policies, cost structure, partnerships, etc.
- Developing detailed strategy plans that specify the resources and steps required to achieve each of the proposed goals.
- Managing and executing marketing, technology or design strategies.
The business model is the core of every company and organization, a document which states the opportunity, product, context, strategy, team, required resources, financial return, and possibilities of harvesting the business venture.
Throughout my professional experience and education I've helped create and improve companies' business models. Developing a new or improved business model and strategy is no easy task, and it requires a deep understanding of who the company is, what they do, what they represent, and what their mission is. Once all the information is gathered and evaluated, one must use classical and modern business strategies, design thinking and other tools in order to construct the business plan.
Business model and strategy development experience:
Understanding, researching and evaluating a company:
- Meeting with company owners or reps face-to-face and getting an overall understanding of their existing or proposed business.
- Performing extensive research of the company and its industry. This includes both in-house (company offices and factories) and outside research (field work, observing, secondary research, etc.
- Evaluating the company: How big is their market? are others offering similar products/services (if yes, why is this company better)?, is the business idea technologically possible? Does the company have what it takes to succeed and make things happen? How can concepts be tested? is the timing right? etc.
- Using design thinking techniques to gain deeper insight about the company and to help identify and suggest new business strategies. This includes the use of:
- Visualization / Ideation – using imagery to envision possible future conditions.
- Journey mapping – assessing the experience through customers' eyes.
- User Profiling – Identifying your target user, seeking to understand the end user, gaining insights and defining their needs and wants, establishing a user model that translates to your ideation stage.
- Value chain analysis – assessing the current value chain.
- Mind mapping – generating insights from exploration of a company's activities and constituents.
- Rapid concept development – assembling innovating elements into a coherent alternative solution that can be explored and assessed.
- Assumption testing – isolation and testing the key assumptions that will drive success or failure of a concept.
- Prototyping – expressing a new concept in a tangible form for exploration, testing and refinement.
- Customer co-creation – enrolling customers to participate in creating the solution that best meet their needs.
- Learning launches – creating an affordable experiment that lets customers experience new solutions over an extended period of time to evaluate feasibility
- Analyzing the possibility of using modern economic models such as: "The Long Tail", A value network, Freemium (Web), etc.
Developing and writing the business plan:
- Building and using the Business Model Canvas: The first step is getting a macro view of the existing or future (newly suggested) company structure and business model.
- Drafting and revising a detailed business plan. Includes but is not limited to the following components:
- Executive Summary
- Opportunity, Market Need, Size
- Organization & Structure
- Vision & Core Concept
- Team & Management
- Value Proposition & Business Model
- Required Resources
- Background: Context, Industry, timing
- Legal & Shareholders
- Strategy & Competitive Advantage
- Evaluation of Uncertainty & Risk
- Operational plan and milestones
- Potential Exit / ROI
- Sales & Marketing Plan
- Deal on the table
- Financial Plan (with assumptions)
- Appendixes (Supporting Doc, etc)
- Building a professional presentation to summarize and present the business model to owners or investors.
- Presenting and pitching the business model and strategy to a live audience.
Companies are constantly searching for ways to grow and expand their business, and there are many reasons to do so. These may include trying to outsmart the competition, ensuring they can stay competitive, desire to increase revenues, reach more customers or increase brand awareness, open new locations, etc. Yet one thing is certain, companies big and small are constantly in need of new and innovative strategies to develop and strengthen their business.
During my roles as business development manager and marketing director, I constantly developed new growth strategies for businesses. They included increasing sales, identifying and reaching new customer segments, finding new partners, developing new products and services, using new technologies, optimizing business processes, and many others. Please also view the technology integration and optimization section.
Need help in guiding your small or medium business, need a boost?
Experience in Business Growth Strategies:
- Increasing sales and customers through strategic marketing: Using a variety of print and online marketing methods, developing a professional and secure online store, providing free industry seminars and more.
- Creating alliances and partnerships: Reaching out to various kinds of individuals and organizations, including industry bloggers, magazine editors, trusted distributors, and trade organizations.
- Initiating and nurturing business relationships by frequently reaching out to them with new products and ideas, ensuring they feel a company's support, co-sponsoring events, attending and participating in third-party conferences, etc.
- Innovating and developing new products and services: Customers are always looking for the next best thing or product to meet their needs. Therefore designing, manufacturing and promoting new products and services increases the potential for business growth; attracting existing customers and generating new ones.
- Personally involved in a company's product development by visualizing, researching, evaluating, planning, designing, constructing and marketing new products and services.
- Identifying new opportunities: Finding new and creative ways to either enter new markets, attract different customers, offer a completely different value proposition, seek solutions for unusual customer needs, etc. Through strategic innovation, primary research of customer pain points, and other techniques one can find new business growth strategies.
Technology has continuously enabled businesses throughout history to do things faster, better, less costly and more efficient. In today's Internet era technology plays a key role for the success of just about every company, including all of the ones I've previously worked with. My educational background in management of information systems, experience in design, professional experience in business development, and personal passion for technology have provided me with the skills required to integrate and use technology to help businesses.
Technology Integration and optimization experience:
- Digitalizing, automating, and optimizing processes:
- Designed and implemented a new process for capturing phone conversations: created standards to follow, digitalized the information capturing of phone requests and inquiries; helping the sales staff keep a better record of who to follow-up with, making their job easier, saving the phone operator lots of time and increasing business efficiency.
- Automated a company's sales and marketing process: Built and integrated online forms to record customer requests directly into the company's CRM and E-mail marketing systems. The system automatically created new leads in the CRM, sent e-mails to customers, added them to one or more e-mail campaigns, and generated and assigned follow-up tasks to sales staff. The new system helped anyone access customers/leads account and personal information through a centralized database, helped management supervise marketing and sales staff, and maintained a digital record of every step in the process; increasing overall productivity by 15%.
- Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRM) implementation, customization, and training: Including Salesforce.com, ACT!, and Prophet for Outlook CRMs.
- Content Management Systems (CMS) implementation, customization and training: Including Wordpress and Joomla.
- Integrating and synchronizing independent systems: Such as integrating and synchronizing the databases of an E-mail marketing software (MakesBridge), a CRM (Salesforce.com) and an accounting system (Quickbooks Enterprise) to avoid the need to repeating inputting sales information, leads, and/or sales into multiple systems.
- CRM database management & optimization: Maintaining data integrity, a clean database free of duplicates, standardizing screen layouts and input fields, etc.
- Designing, customizing, populating and maintaining professional E-commerce online stores. Includes the design and integration with the Interspire, BigCommerce and Volusion shopping carts.