There’s a “C” word we all hate saying. If it’s said it is between gritted teeth and with a scowl. We are all fed up with it. But unfortunately COVID is here for some time to come. (What did you think I meant?)

It’s hard to believe that COVID has been impacting business and personal lives now for coming up 8 months as I write this. In that time I have seen businesses struggle, close, boom and bounce back. I have been a part of over 50 stories of that nature since March. In some cases I’ve been heavily involved, as a company advisor or non-exec. In others I merely provided a 30 minute free video call free of charge to help their immediate reaction, and in some cases put business owners minds at ease and signpost the right support. I’m pleased to say that in the most recent follow up all of those business are still here and trading, but it’s fair to say some are doing better than others.

There’s one thing common across all I have spoken to. Every single one of them has changed. It may be size, if may be go to market strategy, in one case it’s a total change of business model. COVID has caused phenomenal changes in business in an incredibly short period of time. Some have been proactive, controlled, instigated professionally. Some have been reactive. Done out of necessity, often at the last minute and less controlled as a result.

It’s from this experience  (and almost twenty years in management) I have re-visited and written content for 4 workshops available for business owners to provide to their (senior) teams. So before I introduce the course who are they aimed at? Having spent some time writing and now started presenting them in my opinion the course recipients should have at least one of the below in place.

  • A small team in total. 3-8 would be ideal. This doesn’t have to be all employees, but it should be all that are influential on the planning, execution and or delivery of the growth plan of the business.
  • A management team of up to 8. For more mature SME’s (say 20+ employees) you cannot involve the whole team in the workshop. They’re are collaborative and interactive and too many in one session would dilute the impact. In this case you would need up to 8 leaders. People who can influence and manage the rollout of a growth plan. Either that or we run multiple workshops for up to 8 each time. (That’s not ideal)
  • A open mind. The collaborative nature of my workshops will generate feedback and garner ideas from your team. On some occasions the feedback is constructive criticism. Approach this with an open mind and it can transform your business.

So here are the course in summary. At the base of the article is a link to download the fuller synopsis on how they are made bespoke for your business and how to get in touch to start a conversation about delivery.


RB-Sinewave-172Thinking Strategically

In my 8 years advising business owners I’ve never been asked for a support on this. But it remains the content needed most inside many of the organisations I interact with. Many  business owners do not think strategically. Strategy is typically 3-5 years in timescale. It’s setting a long term goals and working on how your business (and you) will realise that. It’s the foundation that all shorter term decisions should be underpinned by.

What do I see often? Business owners with no time. Constantly fighting fire. Wandering why no matter how many hours they work there’s never enough hours in the day. They see revenues increasing but profitability staying the same or reversing. They don’t forecast, don’t produce management reports. In many cases they struggle for cash. The list goes on. All of these are symptoms of not thinking strategically. Not planning long term.

If you’re in business for the long term, if you want your business to provide for you, your family or if you have goals greater than your realising presently this is where to start.

Business Growth


So from one extreme to another. We all want business growth. This is where I spend most of my time, thought and planning. This workshop can analyse growth plans, discuss implementation with your team and set goals for each on the journey. Identify the change points needed to develop and execute the plan. The benchmarks to define the plan as successful? Is the whole business aware of the plan and on board? Is your marketing aligned and reviewed to make sure its on point? We can work on all the above.

In the picture opposite the owner used one of my workshops to first consult on her bold growth plan (stage 1 – consultation) and then the delivery to document it and communicate to her team. The business goal is to achieve  5x growth in 3 years. In the workshop we worked on customer profiling and how this may evolve, marketing resources needed, mindset coaching and resources needed to support. We even identified where the growth will likely come from and sent the team away with specific changes in how they work daily to drive this.

We were able to do this because every workshop is tailored to the individual business I am delivering for. The framework remains the same, but the content, the analysis and detail is specific to the client. The team left the day motivated, clear on the companies plan and clear on what was in it for them. Trust me, they’re on board!


Screenshot 2020-09-23 at 16.10.44Managing Remote Teams

In 2005 I was managing a remote team of 8 area managers. They had sales targets that varied from £400k to £2m+ in the consumer electronics sector. They covered the UK, Ireland the Europe and were based all over the country. I saw them all together once every other month, and once each between those meetings.

In May Inspire asked if I would provide a workshop for business owners that had had to send their staff home and we’re struggling to manage them. Or at least wanted confidence they were doing it correctly based both on my long term experience, and what I was seeing in the current climate. The feedback then, and since has been incredibly positive. The workshop blends technology choices with management techniques and social responsibility. It discusses both professional and social sessions. It covers meeting 121 and group sessions if you are managing a team that collaborate or have a common purpose.

The workshop is designed to build confidence in managing a team that used to be in one place but no longer is. It’s purpose is to maximise the productivity of a remote team, and build confidence in management that the team is working and monitor progress.

Change Management

A&S Business Consultants Ashley Hutchinson commercial shoot taken July 2018 Images for PR, advertising, social media and all on the line general use.

There are two guarantees in life as the saying goes. Death and taxes. There’s actually three. Change, and I’ve never known it to happen so fast and so often. The economic landscape for all businesses is shifting faster than ever with changes often weekly.

We cannot control those changes, but what we can do is manage change within our business. The decision making process including data analysis and consultation. How we communicate changes, and reasoning behind them. How they’re implemented, and reviewed to make sure that the desired effect is happening are all covered.

Changes can be very diverse. You may be reducing your cost base meaning losing or redeploying staff. You may be positioning for growth, receiving external investment or even planning an exit. You may be changing your offer or reacting to an internal or external challenge. The common thread through all of these is change, which when managed effectively, has less negative impact and produces desired results sooner. This workshop can either work on a generic level helping your business manage change across a broad base over time, or if you’ve got one specific change coming we can focus on that one point and maximise it’s benefit.

Either way as you read this, your business is changing. Take control and maximise the benefits of that now. One this workshop there are occasions where external specific expertise is required, such as HR. Should that be the case that expertise will be brought in with the clients permission.

For more information including costs please download the synopsis now by clicking the link Workshops List 2020

If you would like to get in touch about running one of these workshops in your business please email