What's your biggest challenge in business?

Establishing a business in any market place is a challenge and it will always take certain types of people to do this. A bit like the paddle boards in the picture, its deciding which direction you want to go and the experience that your customers will get.

A bit like the paddle boards in the picture, its deciding which direction you want to go and the experience that your customers will get. Each business owner will have:

  • a different driving force behind why they want to start a business
  • a set of core valuebeliefs and behaviours
  • how they want the company to look in terms of size and final destination
  • whether they want the company to have only one function
  • who is going to be their main business source
  • are they selling on costquality/value or service/delivery

Over a period of 9 years, since establishing Wharton, many things have changed in terms of the company vision and what we now do as a respected team of professionals. There have also been many external factors that have altered, not least the competition in the industry, both in terms of the number of new consultancies springing up as well as the cost to deliver a service. A service, from others, (which in many cases, the results achieved are not questioned), are sometimes accompanied by poorly conceived plans. Further more, budget cuts result in professionally qualified and very competent people either losing their jobs or leaving their post and never being replaced. This is a real concern based on the amount of development that we are seeing and the need for good green infrastructure retention and improvements.

As a society we have never been more aware of our surrounding and the importance of green space to improve the areas where we work, live and play.

Over the past 3 years, I have personally had to go through a process of education. The education has come about because through instances where some of our service standards dropped, I realised that the team needed to grow and I needed to learn new skills. There are two reasons for growth, which are:

  1. to deliver a great and consistent service; and
  2. to give our clients assurance that we can resource any project.

This education has also made me consider my mindset and how I envisage the company evolving in the next 12month, 2 years, 5 years and 10 years. I have had to learn how to direct and manage, relinquish some control and ensure complete trust in those people tasked with specific jobs. I continue to learn as I do less technical work (that latter which I studied and love), and manage what the company does, it’s direction and how we ensure our customers are educated in relation to why they should work with us on a consistent basis.

So now to answer the title question………..

What is our biggest business challenge?

A difficult thing to sum up, but it revolves around a simple triangle and what we want our customers to buy. The basis of the triangle is that in our view you can’t have all three elements. It’s based around what we as a company believe success looks like, our client feedback and repeat work.

The three elements are:

  1. Cost
  2. Service & quality
  3. Delivery

The challenge is to balance a great service and quality product with quick delivery times against cost. The team prides itself on the value we attribute to the bottom two components of the triangle, and the success that this brings to our customers, both in achieving their ambition and getting great service. We don’t believe that in any sector you get the bottom two at a low cost. We can only base this on our results and the feedback we get. Our clients see much more than purse strings when dealing with us and that is from the initial conversation right through to delivery. We also completely value the input we can have to any project and not only in respect of our time but also our client’s.

We will never compete at a lower cost and this is becoming an ever increasing challenge both from larger consultancies and smaller. However, through results, feedback, referrals, repeat business and education, those people we work are able to see the value that we provide. They choose one paddle board, perhaps they try another out but very often come back to the original one, our one.