Small Business Consulting
We help future-proof small professional service businesses by providing three core services. We partner with clients in one, two, or all three areas.
Our primary focus is on helping small businesses better understand and then leverage advanced technologies such as AI and blockchain in order to remain competitive in the future. This is absolutely imperative for any company looking to thrive in the next 5 years and beyond.
The rate of change is only going to dramatically accelerate. It’s going to be challenging to adapt to the rate of change in general, let alone determine how to adapt your company to those changes. With many years of experience working with clients on successful change initiatives, we’ll partner with you on your critial path for change.
SAFe Agile Methodology
For small businesses that are implementing significant projects or major changes, it can be highly beneficial to follow an Agile methodology. This helps ensure that business objectives are met with the highest degree of efficiency and flexibility.
Technology is advancing so quickly that it’s virtually impossible for any single person, business owner, or even entire business unit to keep up with it. Small businesses often don’t have the bandwidth and resources required to understand and implement these technologies, leaving them at significant risk of losing their competitive edge.
That’s where we come in. We help small businesses with 250 employees or less in two key areas.
Knowledge & Resources
The number of articles, videos, podcasts, information websites and companies sharing information on changing technologies is simply overwhelming. They tend to focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI), which is rightfully a strong focus, but there are also huge advancements in other areas (see below) that are also massively impactful.
We do the heavy lifting and research for you, culling through an enormous amount resources to deliver hand-picked and relevant information for small service business leaders like you.
Audits & Recommendations
We conduct an audit of the tools and technologies currently deployed in each of your key organizational areas (see below), and recommend an upgraded set of optimized tools and and advanced technologies – all optimized for your specific business goals and strategies.
7 Technologies Transforming Business
Many small business owners are so busy talking about the latest and greatest AI tools that they run the risk of losing a competitive edge by falling behind on the other advanced technologies changing the way the world works.
This isn’t a comprehensive list, but it’s a shortlist of core technologies that all savvy business leaders need to be knowledgeable about, at the very least.
Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
The first on our list is everyone’s favorite: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. For small businesses, AI and ML technologies present an opportunity to increase efficiency and profitability.
AI can automate repetitive tasks, such as customer service through chatbots or scheduling through digital assistants, freeing up time for employees to focus on more complex problems. On the other hand, Machine Learning can analyze vast amounts of data and make accurate predictions based on patterns, which can be beneficial for forecasting sales, managing inventory, or even predicting customer behavior.
AI and ML also support advanced personalization. By learning from customer interactions, businesses can tailor products, services, and communications to each individual’s preferences, significantly improving the customer experience and increasing brand loyalty.
Blockchain technology is changing the financial landscape, with applications that extend far beyond cryptocurrencies. For small businesses, blockchain can revolutionize operations by providing transparency, security, and efficiency.
Blockchain can eliminate intermediaries, making transactions quicker and cheaper, while the decentralized nature of blockchain technology can help reduce fraud and ensure data integrity. Smart contracts on the blockchain can automate and secure business agreements, reducing the risk of disputes and streamlining the transaction process.
Supply chain management is another area where blockchain can make a significant impact. By tracking products from production to delivery on a transparent and immutable ledger, businesses can improve traceability, reduce counterfeiting, and ensure the authenticity of their products.
Robotics & Automation
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and physical robots are transforming the way businesses operate. They can automate repetitive tasks, increase productivity, and reduce errors.
RPA can automate routine office tasks like data entry, invoice processing, and customer service. This can save time, reduce costs, and allow employees to focus on more strategic tasks.
Physical robots can be used in industries like manufacturing, agriculture, and food service, performing tasks from assembly to harvesting to delivery. While investing in robotics may require significant upfront investment, the long-term benefits in terms of efficiency and reliability can be substantial.
Augmented Reality (AR) & Virtual Reality (VR)
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality technologies are not only for gaming. In the business world, they offer novel ways to interact with customers, train employees, and design products.
AR can overlay digital information onto the physical world, allowing businesses to provide unique customer experiences. For example, retailers can create AR apps that let customers visualize how furniture might look in their homes before buying. Meanwhile, VR can immerse users in a completely virtual environment, useful for employee training or product demonstrations.
Big Data Analytics
Big Data Analytics is the process of analyzing large and complex data sets to uncover patterns, correlations, and insights. For small businesses, this can be a powerful tool for decision-making and strategic planning.
By analyzing data from various sources – including sales, social media, and customer feedback – businesses can gain a deeper understanding of their market, identify trends, and anticipate customer needs. This can inform product development, marketing strategies, and operational improvements.
Moreover, with the rise of user-friendly analytics tools, businesses don’t need a team of data scientists to leverage big data. They can make data-driven decisions and stay competitive, regardless of their size.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things refers to the network of physical devices connected to the internet, collecting and sharing data. This technology has enormous potential for small businesses, particularly in areas like inventory management, operational efficiency, and customer experience.
IoT devices can monitor inventory levels in real-time, automatically placing orders when supplies are low, reducing the risk of stockouts or overstocks. They can also monitor equipment and alert businesses to maintenance needs before a breakdown occurs, minimizing downtime.
On the customer side, IoT can enhance the in-store experience. For instance, smart shelves can provide real-time product information, while IoT-enabled loyalty programs can offer personalized recommendations and rewards.
Cloud & Edge Computing
Cloud computing is already a game-changer for small businesses, providing access to high-end IT infrastructure without significant upfront investment. However, the rise of edge computing – which involves processing data near its source – is set to take this a step further.
Edge computing can reduce latency and bandwidth usage, making processes more efficient and enabling real-time analytics. For businesses using IoT devices, this means faster responses and more accurate insights.
At the same time, the cloud continues to provide flexible, scalable, and cost-effective solutions for storage, computing power, and business applications. By leveraging both cloud and edge computing, small businesses can optimize their operations and stay competitive in a data-driven world.
Change has always been the only constant, and that’s only going to continue to accelerate at unprecendeted and probably overwhelming rates. Businesses of all sizes, but especially small businesses, must absolutely remain vigilient in managing external and internal changes that will either enable them to thrive or dive at what will feel like the blink of an eye.
Change Management is a structured approach for ensuring that significant organizational changes are accepted and adopted by as many internal and external stakeholders as possible. In the business context, change often involves a systematic approach which may be transitioned from one state to another.
We leverage the Prosci methodology, arguably the most widely used “gold standard” change management methodology in the world. It is a research-based, holistic model that combines the organizational ‘process’ changes and individual ‘people’ changes to deliver results that are effective, sustainable, and goal-oriented.
When Do Companies Need Change Management?
There are several scenarios under which companies may need to adopt a structured approach to change management. These scenarios can range from implementing a new strategic direction, changing the organizational structure, sudden rapid grown or downsizing, adopting new technologies, or even managing unexpected changes that affect the company’s current operational model.
Key moments for companies to consider Change Management include:
Technological Implementations: Rapid advancements in technology often compel organizations to adapt quickly. Whether it’s migrating to a new system or adopting new digital tools, these changes can significantly impact employees at all levels.
Sudden Significant Growth: Fast growth in terms of total employees, revenue, market share or more is exciting, but can also be challenging to manage, as culture, communications, focus and even strategy can be thrown into a whirlwind.
Organizational Restructuring: Changes in leadership, strategy, or structure can create uncertainty among employees. Managing these changes effectively can ensure smoother transitions and maintain employee engagement.
Operational Changes: Modifying business processes or workflows can improve efficiency but also requires employees to change their way of working.
Crisis Management: Unexpected events like the COVID-19 pandemic demand immediate and efficient change management to minimize disruption and maintain continuity.
How Can We Help with Change Management?
Our Change Management services are designed to help you manage these transitions seamlessly using the Prosci methodology. This approach allows us to offer services tailored to your unique organizational needs and goals, ensuring that the change is not just implemented, but also embraced by your teams.
Awareness: We work with you to identify the changes needed and communicate the business reasons behind them to your teams. This approach creates the initial awareness and buy-in necessary for a successful change process.
Desire: We help build a collaborative and inclusive environment that fosters an understanding and desire among your team to participate in and support the change.
Knowledge: Our services provide the necessary knowledge and tools for your teams to understand how to change, mapping out the skills and behaviors needed in the new situation.
Ability: We facilitate the application of new skills and behaviors in the work environment, bridging the gap between knowledge and action.
Reinforcement: Our approach ensures that these changes are reinforced, making them stick long-term and become a part of the organizational culture.
We understand that change is not easy, but our research-based and people-centric approach makes it manageable and successful. With us as your Change Management partner, your company can navigate through any change scenario with ease, confidence, and success.
SAFe Agile Methodology
Agile Methodology is an approach to project management, primarily used in software development, but is also fabulously practical in businesses and initiatives of all shapes and sizes. This methodology breaks down larger projects into manageable units, allowing for adjustments and iterations throughout the project lifecycle.
SAFe, or Scaled Agile Framework, is a set of organization and workflow patterns intended to guide enterprises in scaling lean and agile practices. As certified SAFe professionals, we bring to the table a deep understanding and expertise in applying this methodology.
When Do Companies Need Agile Methodology?
As organizations adapt to change and often become more complex, traditional Agile methodologies can become difficult to manage. This is where SAFe comes in, enabling organizations to achieve the benefits of Agile but on whatever small or large scale needed. Here are some scenarios when SAFe Agile Methodology can benefit your company:
Complex Project Execution: When projects have many moving parts and potential for evolving requirements, Agile can help manage complexity and maintain focus on delivering value.
Fast-Paced Business Environments: In industries where rapid change is the norm, Agile can help teams respond quickly and effectively to new information and shifting circumstances.
Innovation & Product or Service Development: Agile allows teams to experiment, learn, and pivot, making it ideal for innovation and new product or service development.
Digital Transformation: As companies move toward digitization, Agile can guide the implementation of new digital tools and processes, enabling seamless and successful transitions.
How Can We Help with SAFe Agile Methodology?
Our SAFe Agile Methodology services aim to guide your small business in implementing SAFe principles and practices to streamline your operations, enhance collaboration, and deliver value more quickly and predictably.
Agile Coaching: We will provide guidance, support, and mentoring to your team in adopting Agile practices and nurturing an Agile mindset.
Agile Project Management: We can help manage your Agile projects, ensuring they align with business goals, maximize value, and achieve high-quality results.
Agile Training: We will increase your team’s understanding of Agile principles and equip them with the skills to implement Agile practices effectively.
Agile Transformation: We can guide your organization in transitioning to Agile at scale, creating a flexible, resilient, and responsive business model.
With our certified SAFe Agile Methodology services, your organization can navigate the complexities of scaling Agile, enabling you to deliver high-quality solutions faster, boost employee engagement, and achieve better business outcomes.
Optimizing Small Businesses for the 6 P’s
Whether your business needs help with advanced technologies, change management, or should be optimized through Agile, we’ll do so through the lens of each of the 6 P’s, which include the key areas and activities that run your business: