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Starting up a Small Business, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

Introduction

This paper provides the results of an interview with a small business owner.  The objective being to learn about the history of the business start-up and the transition from being employed to that of self-employed.  The Company selected was GSI Consulting Inc. and the business owner Dr. Glenn Strange.

Business Background

The business commenced in the UK in 1987 and was established by the owner Dr. Glenn Strange and a loose affiliation of business associates.  The firm was established as a Limited Company in the UK as a firm of Management Consultants. The business would provide contractual management consulting services, primarily in the areas of : (i) IT Strategy Formulation (2) Program and Project Management (iii) IT Systems delivery (iv) General business advisory services.

The Mission of the business being to provide value-added business advisory services with specialized subject matter content, to the highest quality of service delivery. Separate goals would be established for each of the four identified service areas that would be both process and cost oriented i.e. Budget centered goals for anticipated service delivery.

The business remained a successful consultancy business for in excess of 15 years. In 2005 the owner decided to take semi-retirement, being a Canadian Citizen, and relocate to Victoria on Vancouver Island.  The business was re-established as Azure Consulting Inc. with a new mandate that was focused upon business in BC as opposed to the previous international dimensions.  In 2008 the firm was re-named as GSI Consulting Inc. (Registered in BC Canada) as a firm of management consultants with two areas of specialization (i) Business Advisory Services (ii) Educational Research.

The Transition

Prior to starting up his new business in the UK Dr. Glenn Strange was an international Management Consultant with the firm of Coopers and Lybrand ( now PriceWaterhouseCoopers). He had completed an extensive range of assignments on an international basis and built up a large network of business contacts.  He decided, along with a number of business associates, that they wanted to be free from the shackles of a large international firm and set up their own business.

In the first instance each of the associates set up their own Limited Companies and it was agreed that they would cross-network business to one another according to each person’s specific subject matter expertise.  Glenn commenced his business with two large contracts one for IBM (UK) Limited in the formulation of Program Management and the second placing an IT Network system for Hull University in the UK.  Glenn had three core areas of expertise (i) Information Technology (ii) Strategic Planning and Program Management (ii) Executive business advisory services – mainly troubleshooting.

In starting the business they were extremely successful for a number of key reasons: (i) The business environment at the time was highly receptive to new entrants with the skills for this sector of business (ii) He had a strong business network of associates and potential new clients that were keen to exploit his services (iii) His previous reputation as a consultant helped to consolidate his entry into the market place (iv) He landed two immediate contracts worth over $150,000 that helped launch the business.

Initial difficulties were more around building the administrative side of the business. In the previous job this was all taken care of for you.  Further, because we wanted to run with an affiliation of business associates we had to carefully determine the legal contractual relationships between us.  This was made easier because we were all friends, we had worked with one another before and we trusted each other in a business setting.

In this business you have to remain both current and on top of your game.  This means extensive continued professional development (CPD). In the previous job this was all paid for out of a large corporate budget.  We now had to be much more selective and budget for this item as it directly impacted our profits and bottom line.  We developed a system whereby one person would go on a specific course, obtain all of the materials and then deliver the course to the rest of the team. This quadrupled our CPD and equally resulted in cost savings.

Success Over Time

As we became more successful over time we had particular joy in subcontracting our services back into our old employers.  This in turn led to more referral work with other large corporate enterprises.  The strategy formulation work resulted in a number of important international assignments that helped place the business on a true international footing.

In 2005 we all decided that we had been in the game for long enough, in excess of 20 years for most of us.  As such we decided to close the business in the UK and seek different retirement options.  Glenn chose to return to Canada where he has a semi-retirement option but still runs a small consulting services business out of Victoria BC.

He has had a good and rewarding business life and being self-employed allowed him the personal freedom to carve out his own destiny and enjoy the fruits of his labours.

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