Home Forums Tell me straight… Does it have legs?

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  • #1000056
    Calcul8or
    Participant
    • Total posts: 469

    Hi All,

    Your opinions on an idea I’ve been contemplating for a long time will be highly appreciated.

    In my pre-business professional life, I spent a lot of time in the Supply Chain and Operations field with a number of well known corporations, in either a managerial or analytical role. One of the key things I learned during that time was the importance of establishing and maintaining discipline around monitoring and acting upon not just issues, but also tracking normal operational processes within the organisation. This then enables the business to set and achieve goals that would be impossible without this kind of discipline

    This is normally achieved via a Sales and Operations (S&OP) review, where data is taken from key areas of the business to produce monthly reports/decks/dashboards that the management team goes over every month to track performance in all areas. One of the greatest advantages of this process is that it’s a great opportunity for Marketing to inform Procurement of their plans so they can work together to make sure there are sufficient levels of inventory to support planned campaigns, for example. At other times, issues can be identified and the steps to rectify them can be allocated to the appropriate departments, whose efforts will then be monitored and reviewed every month.

    To my knowledge, very few SMEs have anything like this as part of their management practices, and that can sometimes lead to constantly having to fight spot fires instead of being on top of it all.

    The service I’m thinking of providing is the facilitation of this process in businesses who don’t have anything like it in place already. This would involve gathering all the required data and producing all the necessary reports, and then scheduling a meeting every month with the management team, or just the owner if it’s a very small operation, to go over the figures and get a clear idea of what needs to be done to improve.

    All my costings so far indicate that this process could be implemented for a fraction of the cost of hiring a professional analyst on a full time basis, which many SMEs probably wouldn’t feel they need anyway. But it could definitely be a way to whip the business into shape, and promote working together as a team to achieve its goals.

    So what do you think? Goer, or better to let go of the idea altogether?

    #1222523
    bb1
    Participant
    • Total posts: 4,485

    The idea is great, and in my opinion critical to any business, big small or eensy weensy. But it’s how you go selling it that will the critical part, most business’s aren’t interested in this stuff, to their detriment really, so it’s not the service, it is how do you sell it. Also remembering that even in 2 exactly the same business’s the 2 different owners will be interested in different data, I think it’s just the way us humans work.

    #1222524
    SeeMySite
    Member
    • Total posts: 15

    I’m with Bert on this one. Logically you would have to say what SME wouldn’t want this type of service – particularly owner operators where there are strong on being able to deliver a service, but less so on the running and growing of a business and all of the machinations that go with that. I’m thinking time and cost would come into it as factors for any SME.

    What you’re proposing is a quasi coaching role based upon the data and processes that the business has in place. I would think that there would be an opportunity for you to hook up with Coaching businesses who perhaps don’t have your analytical strengths and then provide them with the data in some form of partnership/value add basis.

    #1222525
    Calcul8or
    Participant
    • Total posts: 469

    Thanks [USER=53375]@bb1[/USER] and [USER=117167]@SeeMySite[/USER] for your replies.

    How to sell a service like this is the big hurdle, I think. If you try to market it on the phone, then you’ve got to come up with something that helps explain why you’re calling to the gate keeper, and if you then get through to the correct decision maker, you need to be able to explain the concept as clearly and succinctly as possible.

    Social media might be a waste of money, because I don’t think a lot of SMEs would necessarily be very familiar with the methodologies used by large corporations.

    Maybe expressing it in every day terms might be the key here?

    In the beginning, when I was trying to figure out what services my business would offer, I did try and get in touch with business coaches, consultants and even accountants. I was genuinely surprised not just by the lack of interest, but again a lack of understanding of the key concepts of S&OP.

    Other than that, I also felt I was viewed by coaches and consultants more as a potential client rather than a partner, which certainly didn’t help.

    If there are any consultants, accountants or coaches out there reading this who would like to discuss the possibility of working together, then I’d definitely welcome that.

    As far as cost is concerned, my calculations indicate a monthly figure in the hundreds rather than thousands for a pretty comprehensive service.

    I think an ongoing service like this is different to consulting, because it’s not just about assessing a business, providing advice and handing the client a bill as you walk out the door. It’s about sticking around to help get the show together, and monitoring and managing all the trials and tribulations, as well as celebrating the wins and achievements.

    #1222526
    SeeMySite
    Member
    • Total posts: 15

    Then I think you need to package it. What you’re proposing currently sounds a bit nebulous to me. If it were me I’d be trying to package your service offering, and make it simpler for any potential users to get their heads around. Particularly if you’re targeting the SME market. Give the package a name i.e. Business Analysis Package for SME. (Something Jazzier than that ) which includes: 1. Comprehensive analysis of last 6 months trading 2. Written review and suggested business process improvement 3. 1 hour direct contact either face to face/Web/Conference. 4. 2 follow up calls over the next 3 months to review activity.

    Then put a figure on that $500 – $750 (or whatever that number is) spend a bit of money getting a graphic designer/web designer to give you a theme/brand for it, and then release that on social media/to you professional contacts/ professional associations.

    #1222527
    Paul – FS Concierge
    Keymaster
    • Total posts: 3,173

    Stuck at $1M turnover but want to get to 2?

    Read on.

    Stories are the way to sell this product.

    I would probably do some market testing with coaches and consultants and Accountants to see if you service is a good add on to what they can offer.

    Really think about the turnover of profit starting points that your ideal end user would have.

    I am happy to post more if for example, you want me to write a fake example.

    Cheers

    #1222528
    bb1
    Participant
    • Total posts: 4,485

    I think you need to show them some of the typical stuff you can offer, sure use the I can double your turnover, but I view that the same an SEO person saying I can double your traffic, a load of rubbish really. You need to provide them with examples of the type of info you can provide, and the benefits.

    Don’t use marketing rubbish like doubling your turnover, use real facts and figures

    #1222529
    Paul – FS Concierge
    Keymaster
    • Total posts: 3,173

    I once read a story of a real company in the US. The company didn’t know that the salespeople were incentivised to offer discounts to customers.

    The incentive was that the salepeople would make bonus based on sales, not on profit.

    The company made no money, year on year. They called in the analysts who uncovered the problem. The remuneration program of the salespeople was overhauled.

    Profit before analysis: $0
    Profit post analysis: $3M

    I like facts. I buy on facts. As a business owner, I want to know that other business owners, just like me, have made a return on their investment.

    Storytelling is just a sub category of copywriting. It takes skill. Think Australian Story. All facts.

    #1222530
    Calcul8or
    Participant
    • Total posts: 469

    I completely agree this would be a fantastic add-on service for consultants and coaches, and having someone like me do all the grunt work would leave them free to do their own thing, and have my services providing a passive and recurring income stream for them.

    Stories like the ones you mentioned [USER=78928]@Paul – FS Concierge[/USER] would be great, and maybe I could find a business to provide the service free, to see how it works in practice, and the results achieved, and write an article about it on social media?

    Another idea could be somehow tying it all in with the Priority-Zero work/task management app I built and is now up and running? Sub-tasks and managing teams are two features I’m currently working on, and perhaps that can be extended to include an S&OP module as well.

    This wouldn’t of itself be a basis for providing the service, but could be a tool to use as part of it. So maybe that should be my focus for the time being?

    #1222531
    Wozza
    Member
    • Total posts: 16

    Hi Calcul8or

    I think there is a market for this as from my own previous experience in FMCG, marketing never talked to production and we would suffer out of stocks during promotion periods, after having paid the chain store big bucks to run the promo in the first place.

    Nowadays small ecomm companies might be your target market.

    Might be best to just get in touch with a couple of potential clients to find out what their pain points are and how they currently deal with it – as each case will be different. Maybe ask if they would be interested in a free trial so you can build it out and get some testimonials.

    I could see this potentially working with Google Analytics and building it into a reporting dashboard in Google Data Studio.

    #1222532
    Paul – FS Concierge
    Keymaster
    • Total posts: 3,173

    Here’s the thing.

    A lot of businesses think they do not have a problem. Your service can show them they do. But they will not believe.

    It is critical you have a strategy that both reaches and educates.

    A good place to start reading would be researching “How do Sales Funnels work”.

    Other services in the same and different spaces have faced the same challenge s as you.

    Seek out their stories and find out what worked for them.

    Cheers

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