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I have been fortunate enough to be invited in and observe the practices of many businesses over my 20-year career in professional services. Some have been poor, many have been good, but few are best-of-breed. What sets the best ones apart from the rest? In this article I share with you what I have observed about what all good businesses have in place.


For me, this is the WHY. Without this, a business lacks purpose, and a business without purpose just goes through the motions. It is vital that the staff are inducted into the vision.

Clearly defined goals

It is important that the goals of the business (different from the business owner's personal goals) are clearly defined, articulated and shared with all members of the team. This ensures there is both understanding and alignment, and can help foster cohesiveness.


It is critical to be able to analyse the performance of your business and measure the factors that matter. This includes both leading and lagging indicators. By measuring these indicators, this provides data from which judgments and decision-making can be made about future activities and direction of the business.


It is vital to ensure a consistent experience for both customers and staff – and this is facilitated by a reliable, repeatable process. These are documented and implemented, and reworked over time as better ways of doing things are understood. Processes increase efficiency, improve productivity and help to reduce errors.

Commitment to ongoing training and education

This ensures the maintenance as well as the enhancement of the team's capabilities usually translating into better performance of the business.

It is all about the client – Client Surveys

It starts with understanding the client's expectations and knowing whether or not you can deliver on that. If you can't, or if your business model does not suit a particular type of client, sometimes it is better to say no. For those that do come onboard, it is important to regularly ask your clients "how can we do this better?", "what is it that you like about being a client of this business?" and "what is important to you?". It is about delivering on what clients actually value as opposed to what the owner thinks they value.


Fostering a culture of accountability is really important. This is about delivering on a commitment and the responsibility to an outcome, not just taking the blame when something does not go to plan. This should be in place at all levels of a business, from the owner down.


Having an established recruitment process, including the induction of new employees is important. Each role is clearly defined and have KPIs assigned. Each team member knows exactly where they fit in and the importance their role plays in achieving the goals of the business and ultimately realising the vision.

Leadership and Values

Values of the business have to be lived, and these only come through leadership. The owner is a living example, however the effectiveness of the business is increased significantly if all staff are encouraged to be leaders.

Is you business best-of-breed?


  • Client Surveys
  • General Management
  • Recruitment

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