It is well known that the terminology of strategy came from the Chinese military strategist Sun-Tzu in “The Art of War” military treatise written around 5th century BC. Nowadays, business strategy is more to do with finding competitive market or product advantage and choosing the right path(s) to thrive and survive the challenges along the way.

As owner-managers ourselves, we understand the constraints and challenges of running and developing a business and the need to make the right choices, at the right time, with the right information.

Much of how we work with clients is based on understanding both personal and business ambitions and then applying commercial and financial expertise to achieve them. We will help you achieve the right business structure or restructure, finance and resources required to reach the next stage of growth.

“Roffe Swayne have shown themselves to be far more than an ‘accountancy service’, they have demonstrated a role of trusted business adviser with a breadth of knowledge through their people, to provide valuable input.” (Nick Claxson, Managing Director at Comtec Enterprises)

Every business aims to grow to ensure sustainability. Growth may represent increased sales, increased profitability and/or growth in our service/product offering. It will almost always be driven by the owners and what they want to achieve and by when. We always start with the question “what do you want to achieve?” If and when that ambition is clear, our job is to look at how we can help you reach your goals, or if it is not so obvious, spend time together identifying your goals.

A goal might be to sell the business at a point in the future and we can advise on current and future value drivers to maximise value. Or perhaps you are a business owner who wishes (or needs) to step back and hand-over to a new management team or family member. Shareholders may not be in agreement and our role is to help the parties find common goals, develop structures that will deliver the goals, agree the financial levers and implement the plan that will get them there.

Growth plans should identify key products and services which will enable your business to grow, the marketing and sales staff requirements and what financing and systems are needed to deliver this growth. Once these questions are answered the route map is clearer. Whether it is changing the management or company structure, evaluating the business model or market mix, creating an incentives plan, divesting or acquiring additional businesses, or planning for succession, all are potential options for delivering your financial ambitions.

We will guide you through the planning and implementation stages, review the progress and help you to make adjustments where needed, based on external or internal factors.

All businesses need a viable financial strategy to achieve their goal for growth, to navigate and respond to market conditions, and to keep shareholders and funders informed.

We will help you prepare a robust, dynamic financial model (see forecasting & budgeting) which is essential to and underpins the financial strategy.

Businesses go through cycles of contraction and expansion, often due to marketplace uncertainty and movement. The ability of a business to survive and thrive in shifting circumstances can come down to the flexibility of its structure.

We work with clients who might be suffering a market downturn and who need to look at the viability of their business model, to establish which (if any) areas have become a high cost or facing low market demand. They may need to be moved – or restructured – to protect the core business. Or in some cases a business has become burdened with debt that is so costly to service, that profitability suffers, compromising opportunity for expansion and investment. Equally, market opportunity also means a business needs to be agile to take advantage of this – is the current structure right to enable rapid scaling?

Sometimes, directors are dealing with how to facilitate a shareholder who wishes to exit the business and needs to be bought out. Restructuring the business to protect and support high performing areas can bring about a renewed energy and a way forward for your business.

Privately or publicly-owned, all businesses have shareholders of one kind or other; the difference is that privately-owned business shareholders are usually the owners and often very hands-on in the business.

This can mean a flexible, responsive and highly collaborative business environment that is rewarding and satisfying for all concerned, or not, as is sometimes the case. Some or all of the shareholders may wish to retire and the other shareholders need to reach agreement on how to buy them out, get their shares valued and decide the next steps.

Family-owned and managed businesses, the backbone of the UK’s economy, can be very complicated structures, with active and passive family members as shareholders and additional trusts and wealth structures as part of the business estate.

When families disagree over the direction of the business or an aspect of it, they can benefit from an independent voice who understands both their ambitions and also the financial and commercial levers to help reach an agreement. When working with majority shareholders and owners, we help them agree synergies and strategic options and to avoid disputes, which can be costly and detrimental to the business.

Our commercial experience of running and managing a partnership over many years enables us to bring a pragmatic and financial perspective on how to resolve business issues.

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