We bring business, financial and technology management skills to bear on the strategic development of client businesses.
We work with clients in start-ups, established companies and in turnaround and recovery situations. We can assist in developing business plans and operational strategies, undertaking market analyses and in fund raising.
We have undertaken strategy development tasks with clients as diverse as computer games software companies, companies engaged in the development of healthcare products and services, companies in the confectionery/FMCG sector, service industry and professional services businesses and clients in the aerospace and engineering sectors. We are also engaged by a variety of public sector organizations to provide advice to SME businesses, both generally and in specific sectors, such as the Waste Resource Action Programme ("WRAP") which provides advice to startup businesses in the environmental sector.
AP Benson has formalised its approach in its Business Development Manual ("BDM") which our consultants draw upon in delivering these services.
Viability and Opportunity Assessment: We use our BDM approach to fully assess the value proposition behind an opportunity including its key differentiating characteristics and valuable features. We can undertake a variety of analyses to establish the value of an opportunity, including a structural analysis of the target market using published reports, interviews & surveys with industry figures to establish issues, target market needs, competitive threats, factors affecting inputs/costs and market potential. This research is used to establish market size and the scale of the opportunity. The viability of the opportunity is assessed through analysis of its uniqueness (e.g. assessment of any technology), the degree of significant change required by prospective customers, the level of development of the product/service, a realistic business model that is both logical and supported by industry data, demand and an assessment of Opportunity Lag or how new the product is and therefore the time investment needed before the product is fully taken on by the market.
Strategy Review and Implementation Planning: We work closely with clients to help them to turn business plans into detailed plans of action across key areas including:
- Development of customer acquisition strategies
- Addressing target market issues
- Developing channel relationships and strategies
- Addressing pricing issues
- Designing and implementing operational infrastructure
We can complete a gap analysis to identify areas for development i.e. management, staff and product development resource. We provide market entry support to assist a client to take a business plan from idea to revenue generation i.e. target customer identification, value proposition development and assistance with developing market entry strategies. We provide technology development advice helping to define development plans and processes, testing facilities and pricing strategies. We also provide assistance in supplier identification, supplier market analysis (to identify the key issues affecting supply) and negotiation support. Finally, we can also develop financial models that underpin the proposition and are supported by market research.
Business Plan Development: We can undertake development of a business plan, working with clients to develop the value proposition, complete market research, analyse product development needs and establish costs.
Finance and Fundraising: We advise clients on the different funding methods open to them including all types of equity & bank funding (and issues such as lending covenants, fixed and floating charges etc), leasing/factoring arrangements, applications under the Government's former Small Firms Loans Guarantee Scheme (to be replaced by the Enterprise Finance Guarantee in 2010) and to the regional funding bodies for grant aid. We propose to use our contact network of business angels, angel networks & venture firms to provide informal feedback on client business funding proposals and to introduce clients to funders.
AP Benson can also assist in the following elements of strategy development and implementation:
- Change Management: The planning, coordination and management of the execution of change within running businesses must be undertaken with care. AP Benson works with senior management to effect change in organisations and processes in order to refocus, turnaround or improve the efficiency and profitability of organisations or departments.
- Market Research & Communication: Market Entry requires insights into competitive threats, customer plans and innovative opportunities not available from a high level view. Front line experience is necessary and comes from active involvement with the key decision makers.
- IT Transformation and Business Process Improvement, providing a range of consulting services that help clients to improve business process efficiency and to select, procure and implement the latest in business information and communications technologies (ICT).