There’s no doubt about it – the rate of change in the business world right now is unprecedented. Where strategy used to be a relatively static thing, it now has to be increasingly agile. This is good news for Strategic Execution experts AdvisoryWorks, and it’s just one of the market factors that’s spurring demand for their services.
“We help businesses to review their strategy and determine the two to three most critical priorities to execute every 90 days,” explains Founder and Director, Simon Mundell. “I can tell you exactly which businesses are going to win in their markets; it’s the ones that are pulling their head out of the sand, making decisions, identifying the next big things to work on – and doing this regularly and consistently – that will triumph.”
We’re also seeing more and more thoughts of succession than ever before – and this doesn’t just mean getting a business ready for sale. “The Baby Boomer bulge is real,” Simon explains. “What we’ve got now is a lot of 60+ year old business owners who are wondering either how do I pass the mantel on, or how do I best employ a GM or CEO to run things?”
It’s not all about people on their way out either, however. Businesses grow to hit a ceiling of complexity when their current structure reaches its limit. “Basically they all hit a point where what got them there won’t get them beyond it,” Simon explains. “I often tell people that ‘you can’t grow your business, only your people can’, so what we do is help businesses adopt a structure that works for them to grow through their people.”
Simon, himself, is walking the talk with this one – even appointing a CEO for his own company. And the results are impressive. At the close of FY17, independent research found that AdvisoryWorks’ clients had increased their annual revenues by 11.2% and grown EBITDA by more than 40%. Not only that, their businesses had staff engagement of 53% on average (compared to a national average of 26%) and their client loyalty rating, as shown by Net Promotor Scores (NPS), was 32 points higher, on average, than New Zealand industry segment benchmarks.
Not only are the converging market factors above and the impressive results they’re achieving spurring greater demand for AdvisoryWorks’ unique services, they’re bringing with them an air of change for the business itself – as they move from their central city 15th floor offices to a purpose-built facilitation space in the high-end commercial hub at Victoria Park.
After seven years in their previous home – a transformational time that saw the business rebrand and rebuild as it carved off its software company – the business is going from strength to strength and outgrowing their original abode. For Simon, there’s always been a burning desire to create a home for successful entrepreneurs – and somewhere that people needing to access the high-calibre knowledge that these businesspeople have could come.
“Our growth has presented us with the opportunity to realise one of my primary visions – a custom-built space created purposefully for what we do. The redevelopment around Victoria Park has created a really funky, cool business spot. In buying and fitting out a space here, we can structure it to be ideal for how we work with clients, develop culture, and attract talent,” Simon adds.
And in case you’re just catching up, how they work with clients is special, with a point of difference that comes from Simon’s original appraisal of the business advisory space on his return to New Zealand from the US 15 years ago. “I wanted to get into the industry, but the options around appalled me mostly; there were either franchise business consultants that had merely paid a license fee for the privilege of being called such, or accounting firms that were calling themselves business advisors.”
Fast-forward 15 years however and that solid foundation remains the same; not only are AdvisoryWorks world-class at bringing discipline, structure, and frameworks to businesses, there’s no smoke and mirrors to be seen.
Simon and his management team have compiled a collection of consultants who have ‘been there and done it, and they walk the talk, so to speak. “There’s no one here that hasn’t walked the path of business success and the emotional journey that can go with it,” Simon explains. “They’re all qualified to grow businesses, because they’ve done it. And while accountants are the right people to go to for tax advice, for business strategy and execution we’ve got the goods. After all, you can’t shrink your way to greatness.”
While AdvisoryWorks’ ideal customers are medium or large privately-held businesses that are looking for the structure they need for growth or succession, they’re not the only ones who come through the AdvisoryWorks’ door. “We are fussy about who we work with though,” adds Simon. “Engaging with us is like a marriage and we need to be comfortable that we can execute the journey together and that the commitment is there on both sides.”
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