Building a Successful Business Partnership: Three diverse owners create single vision.
The Bailey Roberts Group (BRG) provides financial planning services to corporations and individuals. Their service mix covers: Portfolio Management, Risk, Superannuation (Personal, Corporate and DIY), Strategic Planning and Salary Packaging.
While the owners of BRG had a general "gut feel" for where they wanted the business to go, and there was some agreement on that, there also was a lack of specific detail relating to that vision. The 3 owners of the business have very diverse personalities, skills and attitudes. This can be both a blessing and a potential barrier to success as it can result in a fragmented business vision and unclear communication to the BRG team.
The challenge for the partners of the Bailey Roberts Group was to align each set of their business drivers. Gaining alignment would ensure the partners draw on each other's strengths while also ensuring that being in business is a fulfilling experience for each party.
Decision to Act
The motivation for engaging in the business planning process was a result of the merging of "Bailey" and "Roberts" in 2000. "We recognised that we had some issues that we needed assistance with and have been looking at consultants since late 2001." Michael Roberts.
Over three workshops the owners of BRG: reviewed their personal motivation and expectations with the business, clarified the business goals and vision, and created an action plan.
"We decided to use an external consultant because it provides the owners of Bailey Roberts Group (BRG) with a more objective and independent view not coloured by the individual biases or conflict of interest of the owners."
Benefits of Approach
- It ensures any plans for moving forward are aligned with the personal motivations and aspirations of the owners
- The process is simple and minimises impact on the participants' time and does not take people away from the business for sustained periods
- The goals and action steps are generated by the owners thus creating ownership of the plans
- Discussions are ultimately captured in a written plan providing a solid foundation for moving forward
Some of the specific outcomes of the process have been:
- Clarification of each director's objectives for being in business
- Communicating and understanding amongst the BRG directors of each individual's objectives and wants out of the business
- Understanding the differences in our individual perspective which is the first step to resolution
- Commonality of vision and immediate priorities
- Clearer focus for future discussion and planning
"We chose EWO after looking at several consultants mainly because we felt that EWO would most closely work within our parameters and on our terms. The other consultants either provided prescriptive advice or had a process that they couldn't (or wouldn't) vary. Therefore, we felt that EWO put our interests at the centre of the process." Michael Roberts
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