Launching Maple Leaf Consultants
I recently had the opportunity to go into a publishing company on the invitation of the CEO to help him propel his business into a new phase of growth. At first glance the business appeared to be very successful: revenues were growing year-on-year, its products are very well respected, and it consistently generates a healthy profit. Much to my surprise I discovered a whole range of fundamental things that a business of its size (200+ employess) could have been doing better. There was very little financial information produced for management; no detailed budgets or regular reporting; so they did not know how much profit (or loss) each product was making, for example. There was no orderly planning for the development of the business – most of the key decisions were taken by the CEO himself and not documented or shared. They were spending huge sums on a new web site without a proper blueprint or business case. They have a wonderful brand in the market place, but little proper management of its identity or promotion. Most alarming of all they had no HR management, and their staff were demoralized and leaving at a shocking rate from lack of attention, appreciation, reward or leadership.
It seemed to me that with some clear and simple changes in approach the business could be so much more successful. The people knew the nuts and bolts of the content of their business inside out, and were dedicated to its products, but it had grown organically, and they did not know some of the proven principles and practices common to leading a business professionally.
I was very excited! I knew that I could help. There was so much I could share from my own experience in leading similar-sized businesses that could make a difference for them. And they would also benefit from the further expertise that my professional contacts could bring in specific functional areas. I realized that sympathetic and knowledgable consultants could add huge value to such a business. Surely there would be other businesses with some of the same issues; where they had grown organically and could use more management resource and expertise or simply an objective strategic perspective. And so Maple Leaf Consultants was born.