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The Business Puzzle

A business works best when all the pieces come together. However, we recognise that having just one piece out of alignment can knock a business off course. Click on your biggest problem piece below to look at some of the factors to consider, then get in touch to see how we can help.

The Business Puzzle

You may feel that part of your challenge is to actually identify where the problems are or which are the issues that need to be addressed with greater urgency. We have a service designed to help with that analysis and to set clear priorities. Just complete our Contact Us page so we can start developing the right approach for you.

New Business Opportunity

Many businesses say that their people are their most important asset. Yet, when it comes to looking at new business opportunities it is often the accountant or legal advisor who is consulted first. This makes sense when the legal and commercial issues of setting up a new business are so acute, but to include Human Resources in the early discussions can add real value.

Some questions to consider would include:

  • Will you be able to recruit the right people at the right cost?
  • How long will it take to set up the new team?
  • Who will train them?
  • What will the impact be on the existing business?
  • How will the plan be project managed?
  • Who will be involved in the implementation?
  • What skills and capability are needed to control the new business?
  • What processes and organisation structure will be needed in the future?

Acquisitions and Mergers

80% of acquisitions fail to give investors the expected return on investment. The majority fail to make more money as a single combined business than they did when separate entities. You do not need to be one of those failures. The targets for an acquisition or merger will often be identified for sound operational reasons. At least at first sight, the financial model looks like it will work. The issues that are often overlooked are the less tangible, but equally important ones linked to culture and working style. You may remember the failed merger of Daimler and Chrysler. There is a lot of evidence that theirs was not an unusual experience. The challenge is to bring the separate teams together to create a new business worth more than the sum of the parts.

Some questions to consider would include:

  • How will you run a due diligence process that goes beyond counting employment contracts and pension risk?
  • How can you identify and address the challenges of integrating two different business cultures
  • How will you implement your harmonisation and integration programmes?
  • What will you do about rewards and benefits?
  • What team building issues need to be addressed?
  • Do you have the change management capability you need?
  • How will the plan be project managed?

Costs Are Too High

There will always be occasions when businesses need to look at their costs, for example during an economic downturn, or when competitors are using price to gain market share. It is very tempting to address costs by reducing your headcount and requiring the remaining workforce to become more productive. There will be times when this is the right answer for your business, but there are other approaches which give longer lasting benefits. We can work with you and your team in a variety of ways to ensure you are getting the best out of your budget.

Questions to consider:

  • What are the direct and indirect cost drivers?
  • What is the return on investment (ROI) target?
  • What is the cost of change?
  • How will you track productivity and performance?
  • What contribution can be made by process improvement using 6 Sigma (6?) or Lean?
  • Is the current organisation structure fit for the current economic conditions?
  • Does the team have the skills and experience to meet the new challenges?

Going International

If you can face the challenges of setting up a business overseas you will open up whole new areas of business opportunity. For many businesses its not the commercial hurdle of finding the right market, but the practical one of dealing with the people issues that appears to be most difficult. There are certainly issues to address, but with the right support, setting up a business and employing people based overseas is something that can be done by small and medium enterprises just as well as by large ones. Nigel Cox Consulting can help you, whether you are expanding an existing business already based overseas, or starting from scratch. You will need legal and financial advice, but we can make sure that the approach you adopt to dealing with people issues supports your business objectives. Our advice will always be legally compliant, but our plans are based on what you want to achieve, not the barriers to success.

Some issues to consider are:

  • Can we find local employees with the right skills and qualifications?
  • Will language be a barrier?
  • How will we integrate the new workforce into our business?
  • What employment rules and regulations will need to be followed?
  • Can levels of performance be managed from a distance?
  • How much will we need to pay staff?
  • What additional costs of employment are there?

Growing Business

As you will be finding, success brings its own challenges. After all the hard work of getting your business up and running, surely it should be easier now! Whatever size your business, there will be critical points when the growth adds extra demands on your processes and systems. For example, with more to do, delegation becomes more important and this means that setting targets and managing performance needs to be done systematically. More staff, and the informal communication arrangements that were perfectly adequate before, no longer seem so effective. If you have a larger business, you will find that the paper and spread sheet solutions no longer give you the flexibility or the responsiveness you want.

Some questions to consider are:

  • Can you create a performance management system that meets the objectives of the larger business?
  • Can you continue to retain and develop key staff so they have the skills needed for the future?
  • What is the right approach to motivate and engage both new and existing staff?
  • Are the computerised systems and processes supporting our growth?
  • How do you treat everyone fairly without adding too much to your operating costs?
  • Are reward arrangements aligned with the market?
  • Does the organisation structure match the changing business requirements?

Too Much To Do

When businesses or departments get busy, it becomes a real challenge to see the wood for the trees. Whether you are finding there is too much to do because you dont have a specialist Human Resources team, or because the current workload is more than the team can handle, Nigel Cox Consulting can help. We can work with you on a one to one basis, or run a facilitated workshop to evaluate and prioritise the issues. If you do need additional resource then Nigel Cox Consulting has the expertise to handle a wide range of activities and the contacts to find just the right support you need. Look at What we do or call us to discuss your needs.

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"Nigel has great business acumen and is able to put his many years of HR experience into creating solutions for the business."

Flora Young


"Nigel allows individuals to think for themselves and coaches them through situations."

Bob Stringer

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