Anyone following the current Corrie storyline? Wealthy American businessman, Milton, is trying to persuade local businessman, Roy, to turn his humble cafe into a chain of themed restaurants. Local businessman Roy is not keen to say the least and is happy with his business the way it is. Shortsighted or focused?
The first question I always ask a new client is: ‘why are you in business?’ And, whilst some are out to build an empire, many more have a complex mix of personal as well as financial objectives to satisfy. Only when you understand the true motivation behind the business (and this generally means the business owners or senior partners) can you give the right advice.
It is all too easy to assume that a client will be happy if you present them with a plan to grow their business when actually they are simply looking to maintain sales in a difficult market. Perhaps they are looking to spend less time in the business and need to systematise their marketing approach to help free up a few hours.
It is vitally important to be crystal clear (and honest) about your objectives to help design the most appropriate plan to meet them.
PS. I say bravo! to Roy for knowing what he wants from his business and sticking to his guns!