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One thing that distinguishes many successful people from their less successful peers is planning. As the old adage goes: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Fine as a concept, but what does business planning mean in practice?

Having a business plan means setting out clear targets for your business to achieve – and these can be a mix of short, medium and long term plans. That target could be as simple as declaring you will increase turnover or profits by x% in one, two or three years from now. It might be to increase your customer base, or grow sales in a new area.

The targets need to be written down, spelt out and shared. Most businesses have a team of people involved in managing the organisation, so everyone needs to buy in to the goals set out in the business plan.

By doing this, it will be possible to see what essential steps you will need to take along the way. Will you need more finance, more personnel, more other resources, in order to get to your desired targets? What are the likely problems that could throw the plan off course?

Short term, business plan goals should be realistic – but longer term, many consider it sensible to have a vision, something scarily big that doesn’t yet have a detailed execution all mapped out. The further ahead you look, the less practical it is to have a detailed roadmap – but that shouldn’t stop your business, however small, from declaring that in five years’ time, you want to be known as the leading brand in your sector. Think big!

Having a business plan means you have a reference document to regularly return to, as a team. It will remind you what you all signed up to. You can compare how you are doing, with where you wanted to be. What’s gone well, what’s causing unforeseen problems and how do you need to change the way you do business, to solve those problems? So it’s a document that benefits from frequent updating, to take account of changing circumstances – whether beneficial or challenging.

Finally, a business plan can act as a great sales document. When you approach a funder for financial support, they will be much more accommodating if you can demonstrate clearly what you intend to do: a business plan will do this for you. If you want to sell your business, a well documented business plan can give potential buyers a clear idea of where your company could go – and what it could be worth to them in future. Only if you have documented your successes to date, and can demonstrate you know where the organisation is going, will they have the confidence that targets are likely to be achieved.

Sometimes, when you are working closely on your business day to day, it can be valuable to have an outside consultant assist in drafting your business plan, and provide ongoing support with regular reviews. They can ask the awkward questions, and spot the lurking dangers that you may not have noticed. Sometimes, the very fact that they are outsiders can also mean they are unaffected by any office politics, or interpersonal sensitivities between co-owners.

So, if you don’t have a business plan, consider putting one in place, soon. And if your business plan is covered in dust, then now is a great time to think about updating a document that could answer many of your business questions.

If you’re a smart business leader who recognises the value of external support to make your business grown, then you need to call us today for a no obligation, FREE strategy meeting to discuss your plans and see how we work together to put you on the path to growth and success.


It is common practice to give sales staff targets, and pay them a bonus that relates to their achievement of those targets. But while correctly structured bonus and target schemes can help drive sales to new highs, and keep the team motivated, those that fall short are often worse than nothing.

With targets set too low, staff easily achieve them and, unless there is a new target to head for, start coasting along. If left unaltered, the targets in such bonus schemes end up being regularly achieved, and team members become accustomed to incentive payments being an essential component of their regular pay packet.

Conversely, if that promise of an all expenses paid exotic holiday looks practically impossible to achieve, then few will try. If the incentive seems unassailable, then there is no incentive at all to even make any extra effort.

Likewise, if the bonus staff can earn is insufficient as an incentive, then they will be less inclined to hit it. A spin in a sports car might have seemed a great idea when the sales director came up with it; but for anyone other than the petrolheads in the sales team, it could be a real turn-off. A similar problem can occur if a long term incentive scheme is in place, without any shorter term promotions along the way. Many people focus from month to month in their lives, so the concept of working diligently towards a long term goal is difficult for them, and motivation levels are bound to drop along the way.

So how can an employer avoid these pitfalls? In the worst case scenario, a badly planned incentive scheme will drain a company of expensive promotional items, while delivering no measurable increase in sales or profits.

The key here is to ensure that any incentive or bonus scheme is well drafted, carefully considered and monitored from the start to see how it is working. It is well worthwhile surveying a sales team to find out what they would see as motivating incentives, and also to get a feel for what sort of level of performance they see as possible, in their minds. Some individuals value a simple financial bonus, while others may prefer to work towards a great holiday or other incentive which has a less clear monetary value, and is perhaps a luxury that they would never otherwise expect to enjoy. As an example, Lord Sugar’s reward for the winning team on the TV programme “The Apprentice” is usually a luxurious experience, something team members would never normally get to see; and a great experience can live on for a long time in happy shared memories.

It is often advisable to use the services of an outside specialist, to help in this survey process. Such an advisor should also be able to draw on the experience of other incentive schemes in comparable businesses, to avoid making the mistakes others have learned from previously.

There needs to be flexibility to modify a programme, if it does not appear to be working well, and to potentially add further rewards should team members perform strongly. But the key is to develop a sales incentive programme that helps the company deliver more profits, from a successful, motivated sales team.

If you’re a smart business leader who recognises the value of external support to make your business grown, then you need to call us today for a no obligation, FREE strategy meeting to discuss your plans and see how we work together to put you on the path to growth and success.


Whether it’s Jessica Ennis, Bradley Wiggins, Andy Murray or a premier league footballer, we all expect our sporting greats to work with a trainer, mentor or coach. Sometimes that’s just one person, increasingly at the higher level it is a team of specialists, each with their valuable contribution to help the sportsperson deliver at their best.

In the world of business, that similar mindset is now growing. Increasingly it is understood that to deliver consistently good business performance, then input and guidance from outside is likely to help. For many small and medium sized businesses, strategic advice is what’s required to take them to the next level of profitable growth.

For a business that wants to up its game, that help may come in the form of individual or team support. Large, Stock Market listed companies are expected to appoint non-executive directors, who will attend board meetings and provide an external point of view; often, these individuals are experienced in the industry sector, or an allied sector from which the company wants to learn.

The good news is that similar support is available to a smaller company, in the form of an external advisor or mentor. They may work with the directors or co-owners of a business, or with key individuals across the company structure. And they can operate on demand, meaning they do not need to be an expensive drain on resources, when things are going well.

Alternatively, an external specialist can be hired in to help, when things are clearly not going well but the home team are struggling to set matters right. Entrenched attitudes and problematic interpersonal relationships may get in the way, when management tries to implement the change they know is required. By getting an outsider to help decide on the planned changes, and then work through an agreed programme of change, an effective turnaround can be made. Sometimes, painting the external adviser as the “bad guy” can bring a management team closer together, while they still carry through necessary improvements he has insisted are necessary.

The external advisor will not always be a hot shot who comes in with all the answers. He or she will hold up a mirror to the organisation, ask questions, perhaps use a series of methodical processes to look at the business. This will often reveal sub-optimal parts of a business, or perhaps situations where questions can be raised about processes or procedures, from sales through to administration, marketing and finances.

The external advisor can then work with staff to improve their performance in key areas. For example, a weak sales process may be improved by better training of team members, and perhaps better tools in the form of new software or systems.

The great news is that, in most instances, it is possible to measure the benefits that an external mentor or advisor delivers; and by concentrating on some simple, quick wins, the benefits of changes can be seen quite quickly. Improvements to the sales process soon show up in higher sales volumes, or improved profits, so that the costs of the external support can be paid for, from the improved business that has been generated.

If you’re a smart business leader who recognises the value of external support to make your business grown, then you need to call us today for a no obligation, FREE strategy meeting to discuss your plans and see how we work together to put you on the path to growth and success.


If you are a Director of a company or an executive tasked with developing your company’s strategic plan, have you assessed the risk of going it alone?

Many organisations often assume an advisor is unnecessary and that they can successfully cover all the bases themselves. In reality, a third-party advisor can help ensure an optimal, value-sustaining growth strategy, freeing you up to work on the business rather than in it!

Smart business leaders understand that these specialised consultants actively assist in shaping and fine-tuning the right solution with an eye toward the desired future state. And by doing so, many help clients realise significant operational savings that will work for today and the long term.

Aequus Partners has a track record in working with a variety of business leaders by providing strategic advice and non-executive director services.  Our focus is on business development and growth strategies as well as sales and acquisitions. We also work with company directors to fine tune the internal operations (including corporate governance, board development and HR strategies) that are equally important when it comes to your strategic development.

Why Use an External Strategic Advisor?

Specialist External Strategic Advisors or Non-Executive Directors are experienced practitioners who have firsthand experience with all the problems related to the complex and rapidly changing area of strategic growth. They can help you to  develop strategies to help ensure risks are mitigated, major problems are avoided, and time frames are met.

Additional benefits include:

Filling the “holes” in an organisation that can exist in a particular discipline, experience level, or accumulated knowledge base. As a result, they can speed decision making, time to market, or cost reductions with proven solutions and without the pain of trial and error.

Offering a viewpoint based on facts and real experiences; not on politics or prejudice. Their advice is “agenda free”. Yes, the truth sometimes hurts, but smart business leaders know that the intellectual honesty that a strategic advisor brings drives innovation and growth.

Knowing when to stretch the targets. Whether cost reduction, sales growth or both. They have the experience to know when to step on the gas and when to apply the brakes…without driving you off the road. Their external expertise can put you and your team in a position to be successful for the short and long term.

Being always “up to speed”. They have a niche, know it well, and spend time and resources keeping abreast of the trends and the companies driving those trends. This “multiplier-effect” cannot be duplicated internally without a significant addition to headcount and expense.

Offering a cost effective solution. They allow you to buy the highest level of experience, personal network and know-how, applied to your toughest challenges, for just the right amount of time.

Combining the best from inside your organization with the brightest from the outside is a winning formula. Smart business leaders solve this equation time and time again and reap all of these benefits time and again.

If you’re a smart business leader who recognises the value of external support to make your business grown, then you need to call us today for a no obligation, FREE strategy meeting to discuss your plans and see how we work together to put you on the path to growth and success.


What They Say


"Nigel’s mentoring has helped enormously. He has taken the trouble to get to know our business and understands the issues we face and is excellent at asking the right questions and pointing us in the right direction, and each time it has benefitted the business." Andrew Wigford, Managing Director TIC Recruitment Limited


“I would describe Nigel as being fully competent in his role as Director (underpinned by the application of his Chartered Director status). As a leader he demonstrates integrity and credibility in equal measure." Jean Church, Managing Director 2Win Consulting Limited


"Nigel was instrumental in three challenging projects across the UK with private clients along with helping us internally improve processes, reporting and measurements to ensure we maximized the opportunity for our clients to improve and grow. I have no hesitation in recommending Nigel in the capacity of Non-Executive Director, Business Advisor and senior lead in client developments." Russell Bennett, Managing Director Recruiter Hub Limited

News updates


Nigel is pleased to announce he is now providing Business Mentoring services to Teachers International Consultancy


Nigel is pleased to be working with Yn falch o fod yn gweithio gyda


Nigel is pleased to announce he is now providing Non Exec consultancy services to Sony UK Technology Centre


Nigel is pleased to announce he is now a Strategic Advisor/Associate Partner with Recruiter Hub

Our Services

  • Create strategies to realize the vision
  • Work with existing shareholders to review systems and processes
  • Improve corporate governance procedures
  • Communicate and influence key stakeholders
  • Facilitate staff to use their best capabilities
  • Review activities and budgets
  • Implement strategic change programs/projects
  • Establish priorities and work plans
  • Work with the business to achieve growth plans

Get in touch

Address: Ardwyn, 86 Henfaes Road, Tonna, Neath, Swansea. SA11 3EX
Mobile Telephone: +44 (0)7977 040206
Office Telephone: 0845 519 5876

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