The Entrepreneur: Fast Food vs. Michelin Star - The Argument for Bespoke Services
We live in a very diverse world. The effects of Globalisation have seen countless different cultures seep into one another on an unprecedented scale, and instead of creating a homogenised environment; we have witnessed growing diversity across the board.
Within the corporate arena, the large range of products, services, leadership styles, systems, hierarchical structures, and people we interact with daily are testament to this statement. Despite this variety, key decision makers will frequently utilise products and services that do not sufficiently meet the individual needs of their companies, instead opting for a ‘fast food’ approach – quick and simple, but perhaps lacking in substance.
Why does this happen?
There are significant differences between bespoke and standardised services, and it is often the perceived effects of these that have the largest impact on choice.
Cost: This is heavily impacted by the time and skills required to design and implement a product or service. With less individualistic offerings, providers are often able to implement a one-size fits-all approach. This allows substantial cost savings as less time and expertise is required in comparison to tailored offerings. However, the flip side is that this also means less consideration has been given to your precise business needs.
Complexity: When faced with a choice between what looks like a more complicated option, and one that follows a very simple structure, it is often tempting to go with the seemingly less complicated arrangement. However, whilst simplicity is a virtue, over-simplicity is a curse. With a one size fits all approach, distinct aspects of your unique business are more likely to be overlooked than when utilising a bespoke option.
Capability: This relates to the range of services offered by a company. Many organisations offering a highly standardised approach may have a number of diverse products or services in their portfolio. This can be highly appealing – a one-stop-shop for all your needs. Before making a decision based on this factor, however, please take appropriate steps to ensure that the capabilities required for your particular needs are fit for purpose; could they be jacks of all trade, yet masters of none?
Bespoke, be smart
Opting to use a highly specialised service provider allows you to relax in the knowledge that you are dealing with experts in their chosen fields. Operating within a highly focused environment on a daily basis will allow such a company to establish a strong and highly competitive skillset in that area. This bolsters the consistently high standard of quality that one would expect from such a business.
Specialised firms are more likely to be able to anticipate any future implications of implementing a specific product or service into your company, thus ensuring that they are more capable of future-proofing (as far as it is possible) their offering to you.
Finally, a company offering a highly specialised product or service range is likely to have a strong external business network. As these companies focus on highly specific activities, it is likely that they will sometimes be required to refer work out to other businesses. Having this strong referral network is not only beneficial for the provider company but can also be beneficial to you. These companies take their relationships seriously, and gaining access to their connections can greatly enhance your future prospects.
The effects of bad choices
We are frequently faced with clients who, at an earlier date, have opted for a less specialised means of implementing an employee ownership arrangement, only to seek our dedicated services further down the line.
Invariably, these individuals will be accompanied by feelings of frustration and disappointment towards the their current situations, which not only derail them from their original plans and objectives, but can also potentially burden them with hidden charges and mounting administration work. In the case of employee ownership, internal relationships can potentially suffer as initial promises have not been upheld.
This is not unique to the world of share plans. Ultimately, any product or service that does not fully consider your unique situation is likely to create problems. This is particularly true if it impacts upon your core business activity.
Helping you make an informed decision
Some simple indicators to watch out for include:
• Use of client testimonials;
• The level of specialist insight and content provided by the company;
• How the range of services on offer matches up to the size of the company; and
• How the company identifies itself.
Perhaps the most important point to consider is whether the organisation in question works with others in your industry. This provides an indication of your competitors’ activity – demonstrating whether you are potentially losing your competitive advantage by not choosing to align your business with specialists.
For information about specialised employee share ownership arrangements, please contact Kerrie Willis at Kerrie.Willis@rm2.co.uk, or via telephone on 020 8949 5522.