Celebrating 20 years of Henchards
From the germ of an idea into a twenty-year journey; in February 2003 Henchards was established. What did we plan, how did it turn out and what’s next?
Henchards’ Director, Ian Parker, tells the story, “I don’t come from a family of entrepreneurs, nor did I harbour grand plans of business ownership when I was a lot younger. I lacked a ‘guiding’ hand when it came to work and business. As a consequence, I had always made ‘what next?’ decisions as each opportunity or obstacle presented itself. Whether through luck, judgement or otherwise I started the business having just left Orange, where for four years I led the multi award-winning customer service team, with an itch to do something differently.
Does your business plan answer these questions?
One of the first questions we ask business owners is, ‘Do you have a business plan?’ Most people think of a business plan as a document that’s written for an external audience, usually investors or a bank manager, with the aim of attracting investment or a business loan.
But it’s just as important to have a business plan for your own use, guidance and accountability. An internal plan provides focus and helps business owners to make better decisions. And, when shared with the wider internal team, it helps engage employees and give them an idea of where the business is heading.
Do you need a better management team?
In almost all exit scenarios the capability of your management team will play a part in how well you achieve your objectives. Apart from a situation where you are forced, or decide, to close the business an ownership transfer, in whole or part, will be influenced by the team you have built.
An article in The Economist* this week bemoans the lack of business management capability in Britain and highlights this shortfall as a material inhibitor of growth for the country.
Is your team ready to take over?
One of the most satisfying and rewarding aspects of being an owner manager is seeing the development of your team. To know you have played a part in the progress of key individuals and the team overall is something of which to be proud.
In addition this team development can be a major driver of growth and improvement for your business.
In the realms of exit planning team development has a number of benefits. Three principal ones are explored in our latest article.
Don’t buy cheap raffle tickets!
This year’s Henchards Christmas business lunch was a great success. A record attendance after over ten years of hosting these monthly events, great fun, people making new connections and money raised through two raffles for our nominated charity Woking & Sam...
You’ve got five great years left…how are you going to use them?
Hopefully you enjoy owning your business; financially it works well, it provides work and life satisfaction, and you get additional benefits of creating jobs and being a positive presence in your local community. Furthermore, within the company you have aspiring future business owners and entrepreneurs who have benefitted from your guidance, who may one day take it over.
A question: if you have another five years before stepping back or selling up how would you use it?
Exiting from your business: a one-off event or a multi-stepped journey?
It still comes as a surprise when I hear, “I’ll deal with my business exit it when I get there” and, “My business exit will all happen in one go.” But after many years and many thousands of conversations perhaps it shouldn’t. That’s the danger of being close to a subject – the assumption that everyone else sees the world as you do.
Yes, you can leave your business exit to the end, and it may all happen in one go! However, there is a very real possibility of you being disappointed if you take that approach.
Are you intending to step back from running your business – or sell-up?
There are times when you consider the bigger questions, when you consider what you want to do in the future. Sometimes this comes on the back of a period of strong growth and success when you may feel it’s time to make the most of the value you’ve built in the business; sometimes it’s in a period of difficult trading when either you feel you had enough or just can’t see a way through; and sometimes it’s simply that you’ve become a little stale, perhaps even bored with doing the same stuff.
If you’ve reached a point where you are contemplating ‘what next?’ it helps to share your thoughts and get help, guidance and ideas on the options open to you, how you decide between options and what you need to do to make your choice a success.
Yes, even start-ups need to think about exit planning
When starting out on your business venture, exit planning may the last thing on your mind. In reality it should be the first.
If exit planning is all about ‘getting out’ or ‘selling up’ then you may ask why expend time and energy on it when your priority is to get the business moving and getting revenue in the door? The reason is simple: you want to know you are doing the right things in building and scaling your business so that one day you can maximise the rewards from your efforts. You can’t do that without planning with the end in mind.
Exit planning and business continuity
Good practice tells us we should have business continuity plans so that in the event of a problem affecting the business we can continue trading with as little impact as possible.
One of the scenarios in a good business continuity plan is to assess the consequences and mitigate the negative effects of key people being unavailable – including the business owner(s). For a small to medium size business one of the critical points of failure is the owner. Take them out of the operation, even for a short time, and the impact can be severe and sometimes long-lasting.
We have talked to other business owners and they are taken aback that we forecast our revenues, costs and cash flow
We’ve written a number of guides on selected business subjects that will set you and your business in good stead for whatever future you may choose.
These are free for you to download and to make use of in your business, so please help yourself.