ACX Consulting in Wilmslow

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Results based management consultancy. Highly experienced in business performance improvement delivery, exporting to new markets, acquisition targeting and franchise launch...Our expertise is that we are able to bring to our clients the difference that makes an ordinary business extra-ordinary.We help define the products or services that people want or need. Products or services that solve a problem, give them a financial benefit, an easier life or improved status - whatever that means to the individuals involved. We research to make sure that the products or services have a defined and accessible prospective customer base,and quantify demand. We help you to demonstrate your unique benefit, the real reason for customers to believe that you are what they need or at least want. That you will will deliver on time and explain to customers in clear concise language the message why you are different. We will then enable you to deliver remarkable legendary service, and be prepared to adapt if things don't work straight away. Together we can make fact based business decisions that are bold, fast moving,and customer focused and enjoy the journey to a better business life! We offer business restructuring, strategic development and services that will expand clients into new overseas markets by matchmaking with partner business overseas where we have representation in over 40 countries. We work directly with business owners and with government funded trade bodies around the globe, bring expertise and enthusiasm, ideas and competencies, financial acumen and marketing know how right into your premises and into your order book.. As a results based consultancy we make our money by making sure you get a return on your investment with us. We help you to answer the most difficult questions that your business faces, the ones that your customers ask today and the ones that they should be asking tomorrow. So how do we go about assessing and implementing business change? For better or worse your business it is because of your decisions and your ideas that you are where you are today. Not the government, the bank, the customers, the competitors, the staff, your products. Business never stand still, it goes forwards or backwards - but never stays as it is. Action has a great power to it. The mere act of taking action opens up possibilities, energy and choice. Without action everything fades into a mediocre dull emptiness. Action based on factual analysis creates real business potential, and that is where we can help you most. Of course you may not need help but... Do you really believe you can create an effective quick fix DIY solution to what you are doing? Remember you are where you are now because of your actions. Bringing in fresh ideas and expertise is of no benefit if you are 100% convinced that you are cleverer, smarter, more experienced and wiser than your potential consultants. Buyer beware: not all people who claim to be experts will be cleverer, smarter , more experienced and wiser than you…which is why we only embark on projects where we know we can get you and your business to move up to the next level. It is all about results.. ACX consultants have been helping businesses since 1993. Been there, seen most of it, still learning but have an incredible amount of knowledge and contacts to put at your disposal.. Our key areas of expertise are in manufacturing, retail, franchise development, distribution, social enterprise and creative industries. Businesses typically from start up to £10M turnover, 2 to 250 employees, we cover the whole of the UK and up to 40 overseas markets.. Most of our consultants have relevant degrees, some MBA's. More importantly they all have common sense and a no nonsense approach to business development that brings you results.. Our consultants are industry specialists but also have a general consultancy background. All have held P&L responsibilities in a variety of organisations and all can relate to the challenges facing business owners today.. We are members of the Market Research Society, Institute of International Consultants and various Chambers of Commerce.. Our customer satisfaction rating in 2012 was 97.8% in an independent survey of past and present clients. Rating us on our professionalism, knowledge, ease to work with, idea contribution and delivery of results against agreed targets.. It's easy to talk about ‘strategy’ or‘leadership’ but most of the talk can be a little ‘head in the clouds’ and often it is difficult to apply to your own business. Not here at ACX! We bring tools, techniques, financial acumen and contacts to all our clients with the aim of building you a much better, business. This appears in the form of more and better sales, happier customers and increased profits. Running the business you want to run delivering you the level of success that your effort, originality and commitment deserve. It is as simple as that.more infoCash flow problems preventing business growth? • Struggling with debt. Non-paying customers? • Sales and profit targets not being met? Business can be tough at times, particularly at the moment. Credit is expensive, hard to find and, as we begin to emerge from a global recession, businesses face many new challenges. The solution is to develop sensible, cost effective and tax efficient plans. Cash flow and business viability are key issues and should be uppermost in your mind when considering future options and strategy. If you are experiencing falling turnover,pressure on margins and limited cash resources a tightening of belts is required and a speedy withdrawal from those business ventures that have a long lead time to profitability, or otherwise drain the business of cash. Identifying such parts of the business is usually quite easy, but downsizing or eliminating them can be extremely challenging. We help businesses which are under-performing, in distress, or experiencing a cash crisis to resolve strategic, operational, and financial issues. We act quickly to help you regain control. We can work with you and your stakeholders, reviewing your financial and operational structures and rapidly implementing value-rebuilding strategies such as: • Stabilising your business by implementing tailored crisis and stakeholder management • Implementing effective working capital management and turnaround, • Creating value through optimised exit from selected business areas. Our business restructuring experts will review your business and find solutions to restructuring it. We offer added value services such as face to face consultations with your dedicated consultant ensuring you get the support you require. We will carry out a “Business Health Check” which will highlight the areas of your business that need fixing. This will result in a tailored and bespoke turnaround programme developed specifically for your business situation to get you back on track. more infoThere are several ways that we work with you to find the right firm for a merger or acquisition even before we approach the owners. Making a target shortlist First, we agree a profile of the sort of firm you want. Gather and review as much relevant information as we can on the markets, companies, products and services you need from a target. Once we have developed the target profile, we can: * Consider firms you sell to, or buy from, already. Many acquisitions and mergers take place between companies that have an existing commercial relationship. * Encourage your senior staff to use their networks to gather information about likely prospects in the target sector. *Circulate the details of what you are looking for to our extensive international network. ACX is experienced in handling deals across a variety of market sectors, typically from £250k to £10M in value. Depending on the scale and scope of the brief we would look to put together a fully documented shortlist of ten potential businesses, the bulk of our fee however is only payable when you have successfully completed business with the ultimate target. Opportunities to grow by merger or acquisition may exist where the target business: *is undervalued *does not use its assets to maximum effect *would benefit from relocation *has poor management *has managers who want to leave or retire *has complementary products or services which, when combined with yours, will enhance the offering to customers Approaching a target business When we have agreed a suitable target business to acquire or merge with, we will register your interest with the owners or management of that business. Make sure the target understands why we are interested in a deal and how we intend to finance it. Prepare the questions you would like answered. This is also your opportunity to explain your business and your future plans. If you are planning an acquisition, we find out if the owner of your target business already has plans to sell and, if so, whether they intend to remain involved in it. Consider their motives for selling. When planning a merger, consider whether you could work well with the target company's managers and staff. Personality differences can lead to mergers failing. ACX can offer you support right through the process, including any due diligence required and help with business integration.more infoA business needs to monitor and evaluate the costs and benefits of its training and development activities for financial and non-financial reasons. The business needs to know if the investment in time and money is producing improvements. Employees need positive, structured feedback on their progress in order to find direction and gain confidence. This will reflect in their behaviour with customers and inspire higher customer confidence in the business. ACX can provide you with necessary tools for highly structured monitoring and evaluation of training and development. This includes scheduled tasks, timetables, measures and checklists. Employees assess themselves by setting objectives in Activity Plans, Personal Development Plans and recording outcomes in Learning Logs. These continue to measure their improvement in performance after training. Activity Plans need to have SMART objectives: Specific describes exactly what needs doing Measurable has a target that can be measured against Achievable is possible within the trainee”s current role, skills and experience Realistic is achievable within the time and resources available Time-framed has a clear deadline. To find out more about how ACX can help your business training more effective contact us today more infoAs one of 167,878 SMEs in the UK, you're a player in one of the world's leading economies. In the UK, all signs point to globalization: 25% of all Londoners were born outside of the UK. And within London, more than 300 different languages are spoken. Of the G7 states, the 4.3 million SMEs like yours employ 43 percent of the population. This accounts for roughly 40% of the economic value added. A vast kingdom, united by small businesses. The major export markets from the UK in order of significance are: USA Germany France Netherlands Ireland Belgium Italy Spain China Sweden ACX has representation in each of the above markets - and over 30 more. Our export services range from distributor or partner identification through to interim sales account management, representing your business in your chosen target market. To discover how ACX can open new export opportunities for you, contact us today. more infoOutsourcing is a strategic choice, by which an organization contracts out major functions to specialized and efficient service providers, who become valued business partners. Sometimes, but not always, outsourcing involves the transfer of employees from the company to the outsourcing company. Here are some common reasons why our clients explore outsourcing opportunities: * Reduce and control operating costs * Improve company focus * Gain access to world class capabilities * Free internal resources for other purposes * A function is time consuming to manage or is out of control * Insufficient resources are available internally * Share risks with a partner company In the early days, cost or headcount reduction were the most common reasons to outsource. In today’s world the drivers are often more strategic, and focus on carrying out core value-adding activities in-house where an organization can best utilize its own core competencies. Main factors influencing successful outsourcing The critical areas for a successful outsourcing program are: *Understanding company goals and objectives *A strategic vision and plan *Selecting the right vendor * Ongoing management of the relationships * A properly structured contract * Open communications with affected individual/groups * Senior executive support and involvement * Careful attention to personnel issues * Short-term financial justification From this list open communications and executive support are of paramount importance in a successful outsourcing process. Additional consideration should be for a workable Service Level Agreement, which is openly available, to all staff involved. Open Communication Whatever the outcome of the outsourcing arrangement, managing change is fundamental to the success of the program. Assessing stakeholder requirements is the first part of this process, and having open channels of communications during this time are vital. Everyone concerned should be involved in the process. Executive Support Strategic objectives, such as outsourcing initiatives must come from the top echelons of a company. Senior management must articulate the goals and objectives of the outsourcing initiative and communicate how the process will benefit the organization Today’s managers are looking ahead and recognizing that the responsibility for ensuring the success of their enterprise’s outsourcing initiatives does not stop when the ink has dried on the contract, Unfortunately, this has not always been the case. A combination of uncertainty combined with a lack of attention to critical details has created a present day scenario where, according to The Gartner Group, 25% of outsourcing contracts will be re-negotiated or canceled within three years. Ongoing management of the relationship is important. Senior management must stay involved during the implementation of the contract. Not only should there be a clearly defined escalation procedure, but senior management should meet at appropriate intervals to discuss the outsourcing relationship. Meetings should also be held at the operational level to address the working of the outsourcing contract in practice, to identify and resolve any problems that have been encountered, and to agree on changes to ensure continued satisfaction. If you would like to consider the options that outsourcing brings to your business, contact us today.more infoThere are all sorts of ways you can tackle your strategic planning to ensure you deliver the results your organisation needs We have worked with all kinds of strategies, from organisational and discipline specific to marketing, communications, campaigns and fundraising. As well as from every angle: as designers, implementers, facilitators and leaders. We have watched fashions come and go and we believe we have a keen sense of what works – and what doesn’t. We’d love to work with you to create powerful strategic solutions that truly get the job done. However complex or straightforward your strategic challenge may be, our focus is on providing you with a practical and action oriented strategy that everyone can buy into and that guides individuals, teams or your whole organisation to a different place.We also make sure your delivery teams have all the tools and skills they need to ensure your strategy is implemented, kept alive and monitored. Perhaps you are an expert strategist yourself and you simply want the chance to hone and challenge your thinking. Or this may be the first time your organisation is embarking on strategic planning and you want support from square one. Maybe you are somewhere in between.Whatever type of strategic input you are looking for, we can help. Contact us today to discuss how we can best help you to define and reach your strategic objectives.more infoMarket research is an essential part of any business that wants to offer products or services that are focused and well targeted. Business decisions that are based on good intelligence and good market research reduces risk and increases dividends. By making market research part and parcel of the business process and conducting market research throughout the life cycle of a product or service you will gain the following following benefits:- Market research will help you better communicate – Your current customer experiences are a valuable information source, not only will they allow you to gauge how well you currently meet their expectations they can also tell you where you are getting things right and equally importantly where you are getting things wrong. By asking the customer you not only show them that you care but you also take the guess work out of customer services. Market research helps you identify opportunities – If you are planning to operate a new service and want to know the preconceived attitudes people have then market research can help, not only in evaluating the potential for a new idea, but also by identify the areas where a marketing message needs to honed. Market research will minimise risk – Market research can help shape a new product or service, identifying what is needed and ensure that the development of a product is highly focused towards demand. Market research creates benchmarks and helps you measure your progress – Unless you measure you may not be able to gauge how well your business is performing. Early research may highlight glaring holes in your service or short falls in your product, regular market research will show if improvements are being made and, if positive, will help motivate a team. ACX undertakes qualitative and quantitative research for companies across multiple markets to help ensure their future success. To benefit from our experience and help plan your successful business future contact us today. more infoIf you are considering franchising as an option for your business expansion and are wondering what the benefits might be, here are seven good reasons for talking to ACX about what is and what isn't the way forward for you Reasons For Franchising Your Business Lower Cost Unlike employees, franchisees make an initial payment in return for becoming a part of your business and then they continue to pay you a percentage of their revenue, throughout the duration of their Franchise Agreement. This means that the costs of setting up the franchise, training staff and launching the business are all covered by the franchisee rather than by the parent organisation. Similarly, once the business is up and running, it is the franchisee who will be rewarding you with a monthly income, rather than being paid by you as an employee. For these reasons, the franchise system can provide a very cost-effective route for business development, but only provided that the original business is successful and that the franchisor is willing to invest sufficient time and money into creating an attractive franchise opportunity. Simpler Management Franchisees are themselves responsible for the day-to-day running of their business units and they must do this strictly in accordance with the Franchise Agreement and Operating Manual. As franchisees have invested their own hard-earned money, they do not require the detailed level of management which would be needed for employees. The objectives of the franchisee and of the franchising organisation are, therefore, very closely aligned, with the success of the one depending to a great extent on the success of the other. As a result, the franchise network requires only a simplified and relatively low-cost management system. This is typically based on the close monitoring by the franchisor of the key performance indicators (KPIs) and the provision of motivational leadership. Faster Expansion The benefit of self-financing business units and a simplified management structure as described above usually means that franchised networks can be expanded more quickly than company-run networks. Franchising is all about replicating a clear and successful business formula and, provided the franchisor is prepared to make a reasonable investment in marketing at national level, the brand can quickly be expanded nationwide. This will in turn generate increased sales volumes and stronger purchasing power, via which the organisation can command greater discounts from its suppliers. Better Market Penetration Franchisees are normally well established as part of the local community, either on a personal level or as a result of their past business activities. This can give them a very significant advantage in gaining new business for the franchise at a local level. They will generally live within the franchise territory, be known there and will be seen as having made a permanent commitment. These are all attributes which generally do not apply to company employees and will be of enormous value in helping franchisees to penetrate their local market. Greater Commitment Franchisees have invested in their business and know that they can benefit directly from its success. Logically, for that reason, their commitment will be much greater than that of employees, who have made no such financial investment and are guaranteed to receive at least a basic wage at the end of each month, regardless of performance. However, money is not the only driving force for better performance. Since the business is their own, franchisees will take real pride in the service which they provide and will ceaselessly strive to exceed the expectations of their customers. This commitment will also reflect in their loyalty to the franchisor’s brand, because it is also the franchisee's brand, and they are intent on building up a business which can be sold on for profit at some future date. Of course, not all potential franchisees are so strongly motivated – nor do all have the necessary ability to succeed – so the franchisor’s initial selection process must be rigorous. Less Recruitment On purchasing their franchise, the franchisees are really taking a decision to stick with their chosen business for the long term. If they leave prematurely they are unlikely to realise the full potential of their franchise investment and they may possibly lose everything. Even when the time is right to sell, it is their own responsibility to find a suitable buyer. This means that the franchising organisation is generally freed from the time-consuming and tedious task of continually recruiting and re-recruiting managers for its business units. As for recruitment of staff within the franchises themselves, the responsibility for this task clearly rests with the franchisee, not the franchisor. International Potential If you have longer-term aspirations to expand your business internationally, the franchise system again has many advantages. Using a system called Master Franchising, you can quickly and simply replicate the whole of the your UK franchise model in another country, leaving the Master Franchisee to adapt the model to the local market – its language, business customs and legal requirements. This is a very effective method of expanding a business overseas without any need to create subsidiary companies or branches in your chosen countries. ACX has the knowledge, experience and expertise to help you to develop your franchise concept, talk to us today and we will tell you how.more infoThe work that ACX have done with us has enabled us to develop the business into a franchisable concept, and then to open our first (of hopefully many) franchises overseas. Handmade chocolates is a very competitive business, ACX have helped us to create a point of difference

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