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  • Gavin

Ten Reasons to seek external help to improve the performance and culture of your business

When looking to take your business to the next stage of commercialisation and scale, it can often be difficult to figure out which is the best path to take.

Constraint free thinking is a challenge many leaders face. It can be difficult to figure out the right path to take when bogged down with internal constraints, conflicting priorities or vested interests. There is always a risk of inhouse constraints stifling free thinking and business innovation which is crucial in a competitive environment and uncertain times.


Common Constraints

"We can’t possibly switch verticals now, we raised investment on the basis of focusing on this vertical and have to stick to it at all costs”

“That will never work, Trevor will never agree to it”

“We won’t win the support of the board, so there’s no point in trying that”

“We’re too invested in this platform to seriously change to another provider now”


How many times have you had good ideas or seen them quashed because constraints were raised that prevented those potentially game changing ideas from being fully developed ?

Here are ten reasons to use external help to rapidly make progress

1. The Independent View. With no axe to grind, cause to promote or a work colleague to worry about upsetting, a truly agnostic viewpoint is possible. It is hard to be truly open to any business possibility when you are already committed to one path. You may not want to think or entertain the idea of a change in strategy, but that may be exactly what you need to do. It's common to hear “we’re already in too deep with that strategy”. However this is not a good enough reason not to consider alternatives as part of your due diligence and risk mitigation. An outside advisor doesn’t have this constraint. They can call it as they see it, without a prevailing cultural bias or fear of recrimination.

2. Fresh thinking = Fresh perspective. An external advisor who has gained broad and deep experience working in many different vertical industries at different stages in global markets is a valuable asset. They will have seen success and failures in different verticals through evolving conditions and devised strategies to pivot, thrive and prosper. From the highs of the pre dotcom era (1990s) to the lows of the millennium bug and market crash in 2009 and the exceptional times of COVID. Advisors with these experiences such as Think Partnership and associates can bring great insights into planning the strategies and methods necessary to innovate, pivot and prosper for the uncertain days that lie ahead.

3. Greater and more up to date expertise. Working at the cutting edge in the companies that led the innovation and defined new tech and working methods over this period provides valuable insights to current companies planning their next move. The moves necessary to adapt from perpetual software licenses in centralised onsite computing, to distributed computing, to cloud based operations, Saas business models and online communities. These were all disruptive and pivotal, led by start-up companies who became very large like Apple, Netflix, Facebook and Amazon or were adopted and acquired into the mainstream by tech giant incumbents like IBM and HP. External advisors, by the very nature of their business are continuous learners participating in professional bodies, next generation product groups and societies which promote new and innovative thinking.

4. Time management. The way we spend our time is a crucial element of success - our most precious commodity. Quality outcomes are difficult under time pressures and the distractions of running a business. Assigning specific tasks to external advisors who don’t have the organisational pressures can focus better, delivering a better outcome faster. Their main contribution beyond the results they deliver is the time they give you to concentrate on running the core business.

5. Broad experience comes from holding senior roles in start-up and blue-chip companies before progressing to the role of trusted advisors. With the added benefits of bringing an extensive network of skills and experiences to draw upon depending on the situation.

6. Validation of change initiatives. Weight is added to change initiatives by having external independently validated ideas, concepts and strategies. External advisors can greatly help to sell new ideas to stakeholders internally and externally.

7. Honed Analytical skills. Since their background is both diverse and multi-functional, external advisors have developed the skills of asking the right questions of the right people before making recommendations.

8. Evidence of an open mindset. In engaging external help, it shows an openness to learn and evidence of an open, approachable mindset to stakeholders, employees and customers. Conversely it's been shown that managers who have a one-way or the high-way view who discourage debate can demoralise the teams who work for them, limiting innovation, growth and success.

9. Impact profitability, efficiency and culture. An advisor has to build a reputation of delivering value to clients in order to grow their business. This means they are very focused on ensuring you receive valuable tangible and measurable outcomes influencing profitability and efficiency and can be a catalyst for a more collaborative and inclusive culture within the organisation.

10. Upskilling and Training the team. In working with internal teams, an external advisor can apply methodologies and techniques which in-house staff will learn from increasing overall company capability, efficiency and increased ability to innovate.

With these top 10 reasons, a business leader can evaluate if an external business partner is the right decision for them at the right time.

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