Mo Farah - Gold Medal Winner!

“Without dedicated Support this would not have happened”

So says Sir Chris Hoy. Similar testimonies were heard from the GB swimmers, our rowers and equestrian teams and Mo Farah confirmed that without a significant change in his support team and taking a massive leap of faith in moving to the States he would have struggled to have made the final let alone win the Gold medal. He did not make the final in Beijing 2008.

In 1996 in Atlanta Team GB won only 1 Gold (and a paltry 8 silver and 6 bronze) and it was accepted that as a result of no long term plans being in place amongst the individual sports teams our chances at the next two Olympics would be limited. It did not happen overnight put our cyclists and others committed to the investment that bore fruit in Beijing and exceeded all our expectations this week.

It is no coincidence that it was not until the team was honest enough to admit their failings and perhaps even their arrogance that plans started to take shape that have delivered such success at London 2012.

All the successful teams are on record as saying that without the recruitment of additional dedicated talent that was focused on the team objective and could see the deficiencies of the athletes and the administration, 50 medals would have remained a dream and many of the athletes would never have been heard of again.

Well it is no different in business. 2012 is likely to be the Atlanta for many SME’s and unless they assess the reasons why they have under achieved and instigate plans that will deliver the gold then they also run the risk of being the forgotten ones.

Every day at The Mad Approach we see businesses across many sectors burying their heads in the sand and refusing to acknowledge that to succeed they need to recruit specialist support to improve the performance of their existing team.

Too few businesses know enough about their competition and have poor support in getting their proposition fit for the fight (race etc) that they go to the starting line with limited hope of finishing the race let alone picking up the big prize.

To be a winner, looking over your shoulder at the trailing competition, a business needs to be fit, well prepared, have all the necessary support in place and most importantly know where it is going after the victory celebrations and how it will need to improve to be a winner again.

Team GB is already planning for Brazil they will not rest on their laurels and will be the first to admit that they will need more support to maintain their competitive advantage ….I hope that SME’s (who after all are the team GB of our business community) take a lead from our successful athletes, take that leap of faith and invest in their own gold medal campaign.

They could do worse than giving The Mad Approach ( a call and discuss how we can enhance their existing team and ensure that by 2016 they will be off to Rio to celebrate their success.

If you can see unfulfilled potential in any SME’s you know who could be winners, who need a new trainer or physio or even that vital guy who changes the tyre when punctured, it would be good to hear their story.

I love working with ‘wannabe’ winners.

Alan Dring

Peter Davenport - Chief Executive at Motiva Group

Motiva – Another Satisfied Client

I have long been of the opinion that the words of others about the way your businesses has supported their personal or business needs are the best way to promote your added value contribution to their GROWTH plans. So this is the first of several Blogs that put that theory into practice. Being honest about what your business needs to refocus and grow is vital if your objectives are to be achieved. This is what a recent client of the Mad Approach had to say about the challenges he faced.

Our business was growing quickly but I had concerns about making sure that we had structures and practices in place to ensure that everyone in the business was capable of rising to the challenges and we would not be exposed in any way, particularly in the current economic climate.

Alan Dring at the MAD Approach, provided the solution, he has worked with us for the last 6 months and developed bespoke plans in collaboration with relevant people within the business that ensure that we are all working together to one common aim, that of increasing our turnover in a planned and structured way based on agreed actions not strategic rhetoric.

Whilst Alan’s hands on approach will diminish overtime as our internal staff become more experienced, under his relaxed mentoring approach, I do like the idea of retaining his services as an external perspective to ensure that we remain focussed on our ambitions.

Peter DavenportChief executive, Motiva Group

M: 07528 201244

How Common is Common Sense?

A criticism often levied at the directors of football clubs is that they leave the common sense aspects of their personal business success at the door of the stadium when it comes to managing the commercial needs of the club.

Some may say they are living their dream and their heads are in the clouds and as a result they do not function as they would if it was their company’s board room.

My criticism would be not against the club directors but against a majority of SME directors that leave their common sense at the breakfast table before leaving for work.

Over time my experience has directed me to discuss with companies 4 aspects of their approach to their business plans (for plans read ACTIONS) that have proven to be constructive and significant when it comes to GROWTH.

The first is ATTITUDE. Honesty is at the heart of this requirement and if the business really wants to succeed and gain competitive advantage the owners/directors need to have a very positive attitude to their support needs and to the potential lack of TALENT amongst their current resource.

COMMON  SENSE  should then kick in and  the business should  pose  those simple, but often ignored , questions…1) How good is our communication(internal & external)  2) How good do we know our competitors . Using the football analogy it is not rocket science that you have to know the opposition better than they know themselves and as a result you come out on top. 3) Are our staff capable of doing what their job description demands? Is our training robust enough? There are more questions that will be provoked by the answers to the posed.

With the analysis that follows the answers we then determine what KNOWLEDGE we need to have, how we determine how to get it and in what manner it is delivered. This area brings into focus the culture of the businesses and this in itself will be vital in establishing the foundations on which the businesses growth plans are built.

So if we have the right attitude, apply common sense, and acquire the knowledge we need, we can then tick off the 4th aspect, CONFIDENCE.

The successful football team thrives on confidence, industry is no different. Confidence has to manifest itself from tea person to MD and be so infectious that all new starters get a whiff of it from the day of their interview.

If any of my comments have been thought provoking and you are serious about avoiding relegation, or retaining your Premiership Title, do ring for a chat.

Alan Dring

Mobile: 07528201244

Ostrich or Survivor?

Ostrich or Survivor?

How many of us are prepared to invest in our own survival plans?

It amazes me that so many businesses continue to bury their heads in the sand hoping the storm clouds will pass over when they know the truth is that what they should have done is invest in a storm shelter. The storm shelter will see them through, all that happens when you bury your head is suffocation.

So why are we reluctant to invest in survival plans? We need to be convinced that the investment will bring a return.

Most businesses are started in the belief that with their determination and TALENT their investment will pay dividends. That is not enough.

Businesses owners should ask themselves ‘’If I am expecting my customers/clients to invest in me should I not be investing in myself to ensure their trust is well placed. For a modest amount (often with subsidised support) a business can achieve a great deal if they secure the services of an experienced business growth consultant who has the skills and experience in those areas of business management that are lacking amongst their current resource. An external perspective can also add to a well structured action schedule, just by bringing a broader experience to the process. Choosing the right personality mix is also important.

A few questions

  1. What does your business action plan look like?
  2. Do you need help with it?(Be honest)
  3. How do you target business objectives in a competitive environment?
  4. Do you need help in this aspect of your business?
  5. Do you recruit the right staff?
  6. Do they have a natural flair for innovation and change?
  7. Would help with recruiting save you money and increase your profits?
  8. Are you honest and open minded enough when it comes to change and to inviting external influences to review your plans

A good business action list will focus your mind and should embrace

  • Agreeing  your Business Objectives
  • Marketing your Business Objectives
  • Identifying Target Markets
  • Developing Relationships
  • Developing  a Partnership Business model
  • Building a culture within the business and establishing the training infra structure.
  •  Budgets

Small businesses need short and specific objectives based on an understanding of the market and the products you are selling into it. Regular reference to the actions and amendments reflect a professional approach to business but just as important it will ensure you are keeping up with market developments and will put you in an advantageous position as many of the competition will fail to follow a similar route.

Most of us will be familiar with the criticism often levied at football club chairmen and their boards, in that they are accused of leaving their successful business heads back at the office and not till it is too late do they realise they have lost their Premier status. Just like Blackburn Bolton and Wolves 3 in 20 businesses in 2012 will cease to trade …a sobering thought

I have met so many honest hard working business owners in my 40 years in business but those that have applied a structured business planning approach to their business have been in the minority and I have to say the majority have got by on a wing and a prayer. Today’s climate does not accommodate crossed fingers.

Actions speak louder than words ….what are you DOING to SURVIVE and GROW?

Do get in touch for a chat.

Competitive Challenge

Being Prepared For Competitive Challenge

Never before have business owners and MD’s needed the virtue of HONESTY

The growth and sustainability of a business depends on the TALENT of its people and how prepared and motivated they are when facing an increasingly competitive environment.

80% of businesses have not done a business SWOT in the last 12 months …is yours one? No business SWOT usually means no personal SWOT’s …so do you really know how good (or bad) your team are?

70%of businesses do not have a business action plan; known to all the business…does yours have one?

80% of businesses who have done SWOT’s highlight COMMUNICATION (internal and external) as their major weakness…if asked would your staff say your internal communication was good?

Businesses with between 10-100 staff rarely seek the views of an external resource to give another perspective believing that their internal resource is adequate….is yours?

If those stats strike a chord it is worth giving some consideration to the following 5 aspects of a suggested action plan…. be honest

Identifying Target Markets

  • What does your database look like?
  • How do you use it?
  • Where are you going? Who is going to help you get there?

Developing Relationships

  • Your existing client base
  • What do they contribute to your growth?
  • The basis of your business and marketing plans

Developing Partnership Business Model

  • Ensuring “selling” is an integral part of your culture
  • The strength of your brand.  How can it be improved?
  • Recruitment – Hunters or Farmers?
  • Training

Promoting Your Business Objectives

  • How do you currently measure the value to the business?
  • Benefits to be derived from breakfast meetings, Chambers of Commerce etc.
  • Networking and how to develop your technique

Building & Gaining Internal Commitment

  • Do you have people with a natural flair for innovation to deliver your targets? Do you recruit the “right” staff?
  • Do your current rewards and incentives work?
  • Are they understood by all?
  • How can they be improved to drive growth?

17 bullet points = 17 ticks and you are on the right road to growth.

Anything less or if my comments give you food for thought ring for a chat.

Alan Dring – M: 07528 201244  E: