First Aid

Do you run a business that needs first aid, rescuing, extra management, or other help?

Would you like to have your profitability improved?

Many businesses that have difficulties, and some that come looking for funding, need assistance more than or as well as money.

If you have a cash flow problem the temptation is to bluff it out, after all the bank has already shown a lack of support and you may not view favourably others who lend money in any form. This rarely produces favourable results, as angels usually spot the problems and once trust is lost it is nearly impossible to recover.

The problem is often, in your view, one of time, you need funding to be able to get from where you are now to where you want to be. This is however not always the case, there are a variety of ways to achieve the same ends in many businesses without external funding as such, but these are not always visible when you are so close to the problem. It is always as you will know far easier to see how to advise others than to immediately solve your own needs.

Are you going in the right direction?

Perhaps a little direction would put you on the right road

ABAN has the view that the majority of businesses that fail could have been saved and could have become profitable, in some cases its a lack of persistence to follow through, often a lack of skills in some areas and at other times just not looking at the problem in the best way possible. In other cases unfortunately it is a funding source that was committed that has backed out, dropping them into a hole. All businesses at times have problems and most can recover from a string of them, providing that the compound effect of a number at the same time does not overwhelm the capacity to recover in both the companies management and funding. Property deals are often easier to get out of a problem, but on occasions delay, and increased cost can cause a perfectly financially viable project to fail, just because the right help was not available at the right time.

As a member to member organisation, ABAN has a desire to help all members overcome problems and has a number of ways of assisting this to be done quickly.

For the ABAN member who is not a member of ABAN Plus this is achieved by putting them in touch with an ABAN Plus Consultant panel member who can  communicate with them and suggest a consultant member that they can ask to review their situation and  help them to find solutions. This consultant might also come up with extra management or team members that will assist you to manage the business better. The emphasis in this case as you will see is on getting a competent consultant involved as quickly as possible and for them to assist you in finding a solution. The objective is therefore to find one or more people from the registers ABAN has to make the business work, rather than empowering you.

If you are an ABAN Plus member then you will already be far more involved and already have far better contacts, and may already know those who can assist you.  For the ordinary Plus member, the routine is similar to the above except that the consultant will be attempting at the same time to empower you, suggesting ways that you can expand your skills or involve other Plus members to assist you.

Personal Plus members have all got direct contact with the ABAN chairman, and as you might expect the better contacts, tends to mean that more happens far faster, and as the chairman is watching, Personal Plus members get the VIP service.

Urgent funding

Rescue funding arranged at short notice is likely to have to be far more advantageous to business angels and only some will consider such cases.

All proposals put to angels go through the same route even if extremely urgent, ABAN will never put proposals to angels that have not been looked at in this way.  This does not necessarily have to take a lot of time. With property proposals it is not uncommon to have covered a plan in outline before and once a particular property is identified to effectively fill in the spaces and get approval within the hour. In a similar way Personal Plus members can often progress opportunities through very quickly, obviously the longer you have been involved in ABAN the greater the existing knowledge that exists on your abilities and interests.

Money like other commodities is priced on supply and demand, and if you are desperate and can't get it from another source, then expect to pay more for it. If on the other hand you don't need it expect loads of people, banks and others to be pressuring you to take it off their hands at discount rates.

Developing an improved team

Most expanding businesses at some time, will need to expand their team. This might be by using consultants, by bringing a non executive director on board, by commissioning (also called outsourcing), or by employing team members.

ABAN Plus offers services to its Personal Plus and Personal Plus Consultant members, where it attempts to match up  ideal people to add to the members business or developing project. In order to do this ABAN maintains three registers, one on people who would like to be considered for non executive director roles, another on consultants and a third on  potential team members. It does not and has no interest in acting as an employment agency, so makes no charges to anyone for these introductions. The only candidates it has first hand knowledge of are those that are Personal Plus members, and those that have attended ABAN events such as the Experion projects. Some of this is done in conjunction with Business Club International and this expands the available pool.

Most ABAN plus Personal Plus Consultant members can also access this information, so can assist other ABAN members, who are not Plus members, who are putting forward proposals, where assistance is needed, but in this case expect there to be a cost involved.

Another option is to use a mentor
 click here to find out more on mentors

Improving projects and profitability

ABAN can ask a consultant to undertake projects to help members improve projects and improve profitability.  This is a two stage process, the first is identifying the need and sorting out how the person undertaking the task is to be rewarded, and assisting with the commissioning of a suitable person to do this. The second stage is the undertaking of the commission.

The first stage attempts to do more than it may first appear, as it often turns out that as well as improving profitability,  improving cash flow and reducing the need for borrowing or funding, is also a requirement. In quite a few cases the requirement will also be to implement some systems or to empower the proprietors in some way.

ABAN Personal Plus members get the first of these two stages for free, other members can make use of this for a fee of 800 (non members 1500). In the second stage with operational businesses it may be that you can directly measure profitability and pay a consultant to undertake this based on profitability increase or other agreed formula.

 

Questions and answers

I want to learn business skills like selling and accounting is this the right place to achieve this.

No not really, this and all the other more general business skills are covered far better by Business Club International. With its local and regional structure and extensive article database on most aspects of business, form database and more it is able to help in these areas far more.

ABAN has the role more connected with business structure, opportunities, building management teams, funding, investing and improving business value. The two fit together with very little overlap.

I need assistance, I have problems and need external help Is ABAN the place to look.

Yes if you are looking for senior management help, such as a consultant, non executive director, or a mentor. No if you are looking to subcontract the task to someone else, this is better done through the Business Club International exchange.

How does the structure of ABAN and Business Club International compare

ABAN has a central structure headed by a chairman that all Personal Plus members have access to personally. This is further supported by several panels of senior members.

Business Club International is built around a local structure with local membership secretaries, these are supported by area and regional managers, with events held locally and regionally.

The two work very closely together, with minimal overlap. Generally networking to get sales and undertake purchasing as well as learning business skills is better done locally, while finding funding, matching people to projects and the like is more effectively done using a national structure.

Why are consultants a part of ABAN and not Business Club International.

Consultants are considered to be at or the equivalent of board level people, and relate to the structure of the business and improving value.

The consultants services are available though both ABAN and Business Club International, it is one of the joint projects, although managed by ABAN, Business Club International members can get access to them for a fee.

Why is the business rescue services considered part of ABAN

This comes down to the potential need of funding, and censorship rules that means that only some entities set up in a special way are allowed to promote some types of business opportunities. If we need to look to bring in a partner, funding, or a mentor on an equity basis to get over a problem, this would not be possible by Business Club but can be done by ABAN.

The other advantage is that many businesses don't want to broadcast locally that they have a problem, and dealing with the central structure of ABAN rather than the local structure is better. ABAN Personal Plus members also have direct access to the ABAN chairman, so action can be far faster than with a structure involving a number of levels of managers. ABAN Personal Plus is a unique service, with rapid access to key people who can really make a difference.

Business Club International has a structure capable of helping many thousands of people at one time, with modest subscriptions, and a low joining fee, with the majority of subscriptions being spent on local and regional services.

Can you really improve profitability considerably

If you were to take any competent entrepreneur or director with a lot of experience into another business they would expect to see some savings and improvements that would increase profitability.

By taking this a stage further and identifying the objectives and the sort of enterprise and stage reached, before selecting the ideal consultant, far more can be achieved, and we are confident enough about this to convince consultants to undertake this on the basis of a part of the extra profitability achieved, so it has no net cost at all to members, while non members just have to pay for the first look definition and arrangement we have to do to find the right consultant.

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