Many times, the discourse between what is in a business man/woman’s head and his actual executions are seen to be a little bit wayward in the realizations of what is produced in the form of results. Because of this, he/she feels that the difference between what he sees in his mind and what he sees as the achieved result is often a problem with the person delivering the results. So he/ she as a business man who sees value for money as his first and usually last line of defense in all his business decisions…
Take for example a very recent client of ours at BLEGSCOPE who has only ever used a consultant for one service, his taxes and accounts. It turns out that he had grown his business over the past 21 years from a rural district being the main purchaser of agricultural produce and key middleman for the entire Western region of the country. His choice to come to the nation’s capital was strategic in that he still maintained his purchasing business in the western part of the country.
When we proposed to develop a business plan for his entire set of operations including the purchasing business, the distribution business and the property business, at one go; he looked at our proposal twice and shook his head. He was not saying a straight “NO” to us, but rather he wanted to find a way to recognize the ways of ascertaining the value for money he wanted to see.
His current operations were managed by him and his wife. She maintained the properties as she could drive to them weekly and bi-monthly to check for any faults and make necessary changes on the blocks of flats, office space and various bungalows. Meanwhile, he and their first born son, who had just finished his degree in accounting the previous year, would manage all purchases as well as distribution systems for the company.
Initially we wanted to have him focus on the company with the better potential and less stress as he had shared with us intimately that he had wanted to slow down on his regular road trips across the country to buy agricultural produce, and also avoid carrying so much cash for risk aversion tendencies.
When we asked him the key questions of the reasons for still having that drive and zest to perform, he replied that it is something he has been doing since he was 7 years old. He never had the chance to go beyond primary seven and he sort of reduced the values of education. He felt that education instills the wrong attitude towards goals and achievements and questioned the reduced ability for young men and women in this generation to produce a product e.g. carpenters making furniture and farmers growing produce.
After we listened to him, we also shared our case and highlighted that whereas times have changed, what he was sharing is important in the current world and although it may look too theoretical, people’s thoughts when shared are the main way at overcoming obstacles…
We proceeded to share with him how we believe in values above all and not hearsay and only financial return. We assured him to only commit a decent down-payment and then move away from him while our recommendations are implemented. We agreed that we shall only and only accept payment if and only if our ideas and thoughts are worth any salt and have ignited some form of change within.
6 weeks later, he called us for a meeting at his office and when we showed up with Brian (our BLEGSCOPE ® MD), he had a small smile on his face and to our delight he shared with us how he tried one of our suggestions that has yielded a certain level of difference (positive that is) and he wanted us to stay and support him to grow his business further.
He saw the value of value.
His costs had reduced collectively as he paid more focus on the cost structures over the past 5 weeks and he was learning how to see beyond his limits by asking his wife and son’s opinions.
So, in hindsight, value for money is very KEY when offering any service to clients. Keep that in mind ALWAYS.
Edmund is the Engagement Director at BLEGSCOPE®, and has over 9 years of management consultancy experience notably in MSMEs, FMCG companies and in the service industry. You can follow him on twitter: @edmokmg