My Free to Grow® programme is all about how I get to understanding the DNA of your business as quickly as possible, so that I can help you create value as cost-effectively as possible.

Armed with that information my aim is to help you with clarifying the best direction for your business in order to remove the barriers to sustainable growth or profitability, or to help you overcome market difficulties, so that you can focus your and your team’s efforts on what delivers growth and value now, and for the future.

Step 1

My business health-check is either something we can complete on your behalf by asking you the questions directly, or send over to you to complete yourself. Either way, it takes up to two hours to go through, so you should allocate the time carefully to ensure that it can be completed with your full attention, away from the interruptions of the day.

Unlike many other consultants who might offer something similar, my health-check is bespoke to your business – there is no “one size fits all”. Even businesses in the same sector can be so different and market-wide factors can affect each one in a very different way. A single template that applies to any business would therefore not be worth the time I’m asking you to invest.

Be prepared – there are some searching questions as part of this session, and they may bring up some uncomfortable answers. If they do, that’s great, that’s positive – it means that they are pointed at some of the areas causing you greatest concern, which helps me to highlight areas that we should focus on first.

I will take that information away and, within 48 hours, be able to show you what Step 2 would look like.

However, more often than not, I can usually suggest up to 3 areas that should receive the quickest attention in the same call or meeting we complete the health-check.

There is a fee associated with the work going into the health-check and associated report, and this is something that varies by type of business and will be made clear to you on our first call or in our first meeting before you commit to anything.

Step 2

I have never been a fan of long, bloated reports. As a business owner, I look for quality, not quantity in virtually every aspect of my professional life.

As a result, the next stage of my Free to Grow® programme is to send you a concise report, normally of around 5 pages, with an interpretation of the health-check and a suggested course of action and timescales.

Where possible from the information and short experience of your business that I will have had to that point, I will also try and estimate the cost-savings or increased profit or sales as a result of taking the action I’m recommending and, set against that, the likely cost of my services in helping you to achieve them.

Normally there is no question around the cost-benefit analysis in that the benefit to the longer-term of your business significantly outweighs any expenditure on retaining my services, sometimes by a 10x or even 20x multiple.

I can say that with some confidence as I have had consistent feedback along the lines of “… that was the best £3,000 I have ever spent” as just one example.

Regardless, you then have a decision to make as to what you want to do next.

You can take the insight gained from my report and decide to deliver it for yourself or you can move to Step 3 and ask me to help you deliver it while you continue to run your business.

Step 3

This is where the transformation begins and, more often than not, results are seen within a matter of weeks.

At a pace to suit you, and in a way that causes as little disruption to the day-to-day running of your business as possible (both of which are covered within the health-check and report), we set about tackling the issues that you believe, with the help of our report, are the most urgent priorities to be addressed.

Through my connections as part of the UK’s largest network of independent small business advisers (the award-winning ibd business advice group), I have 200 like-minded professionals I can tap into if there are particularly specialised issues e.g. grants and business loans, health & safety, sustainability that need to be addressed.

This continues the “E-cycle” – the business health-check is the “Examination” of your business and its current challenges; the report is the “Evaluation” element, with this, Step 3, the “Execution” of the insight and recommendations the report delivers.

However, whether I conduct it on an on-going basis on your behalf or you choose to continue it for yourself, the discipline of “Examination”, Evaluation” and “Execution” is one that you should continue with any change you apply to your business, so that you have an objective view of the relative success of any action you take.

Either way, your business should now have the tools to help prevent old issues from re-surfacing, and with a more self-assured future ahead of it.