Friday, October 14, 2011

Taking my own advice - a moment of truth

This October is indeed a very busy month for me and my company! Although the business is doing well considering the multitude of challenges I had to face since Decapolis Consulting's inception; from financing to buying out a partner, from building my teams to networking, from acquiring new clients and retaining existing clients - I haven’t  been able to meet all of my goals as well as I could have.

As this month marks Decapolis Consulting one year anniversary in business, and since business has been slow for quite some time now, and in a moment of truth; I have decided earlier this month to hire myself and my team to conduct a Current Situation Analysis, to figure out why we haven’t met our set goals.

Our findings were surprisingly simple, yet crucial. Which I will share with you in a moment, after I shed some light on the background dynamics that led to my decision to hire our very own services.

As I said earlier, business has been slow for quite some time, and I found myself with some free time, so last May I joined Mowgli Foundation as a mentor, gave out free coaching packages to a number of individuals, and I just recently volunteered with Injaz’s Company Program.  The experience of volunteering and  helping others is its own reward. But I was pleasantly surprised that I have gained a lot too!  The insight into my own self and into my business alone which came through my involvement with Mowgli Foundation and the wonderful people I met through the program, is priceless. I started asking myself questions like what is my story?  What is my company’s story? Where am I going with the business?  What am I missing?

Questions that every entrepreneur should ask themselves, but sometimes just get too caught up with building and operating day-to-day business that we miss paying attention to the big picture, we forget our story, or worse yet we get emotionally attached to our story. 

I directed my team to be objective in their analysis, and to be emotionally detached upon making recommendations. It wasn’t easy, but we managed.

As simple as the reasons were, the result recommendations were brutal. They were brutal because we were very emotionally attached to the original story. You see, circumstances have changed; mainly due to the dissolving of partnership and incurred additional financial commitments as a natural result of buying out a partner. We went from a partnership to a sole proprietorship, but our message and story didn't change, and we realized that potential clients were confused and overwhelmed with our many offerings that didn't seem to tie well together in light of our new situation. Our story was amiss and a mess!

Our own recommendations for ourselves can also benefit all entrepreneurs who find themselves a bit too emotionally attached to their startups:

1.     FOCUS and Niche Our Story
2.     Modify and Restructure our services to fit our target niche
3.  Redo our business & marketing plans to align with our new modified business
4.  And as a result of all of that, the company profile, website and other promotional content will be rewritten.
5.  Add to the team: starting with hiring (aggressive) marketing and sales professionals for each service line; adding more consultants to our support teams. (yes we are hiring)
6. Put in place a new Action Plan with SMART goals with emphasis on measurable and objective evaluation mechanisms.

Taking our own advice,  we have decided that Decapolis Consulting will Focus on providing management support services and consultancy to SMEs and we will continue to support other consulting firms as their backhaul support kitchens.

We are currently restructuring our offered service lines and some lines will be discontinued altogether. The next step remains to present our recreated story through our website and promotional material. So stay tuned, as we would love to have your feedback!

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