Why we exist

From the age of 8 when i roped my sister and neighbours in to going door to door selling pet-rocks i had painted I knew I wanted to do my own thing. Somehow with the opportunity of working for Accenture and using that to travel and work, I neglected this desire. Then it was an MBA then kids then great corporate opportunities, there was always another option. after leaving Mutual & Federal which was in some ways a fantastic experience and in some ways the most lonely and frustrating experience I have ever had. I took time off to reconsider my life, and decided to buy into a small business.

From alternative energy to lawn-moving services, from engineering workshops to cell phone franchises I looked at them all. I could write a book!

What I observed was this:

  • Great businesses don't need or want someone to buy-in.

  • Businesses where the owner wished to cash in, usually wanted too much or they themselves were essential to the running of the business.

  • Sometimes the recent growth had a business creaking at the seams, on paper it looked great, but sniffing about revealed ominous signs, to which everyone seemed oblivious.

  • More than once I met good honest people, who were desperate. They had not recolonized issues that if remedied long ago might have been trivial to solve, but now compounded with other issues foretold of impending doom.

  • I kid you not, I drove away from those businesses with a heavy heart.

  • At the same time Business Rescue was getting bad press and so after months of searching I finally woke up!.

  • Why not apply my 25 years of business turnaround and consulting experience to providing coaching, turnaround and rescue solutions to SMEs and when the opportunity presents itself, to buy into one of these struggling businesses.

  • and that is how Spark! was born. I spent another 6 months writing up all the methodologies and packaging all the useful lessons I had learned and kept in my various work repositories, its still work in progress, but a we now have clients and the material is proving useful!
  • So there you have it, how Spark! was born.

    The people of the business

    I decided that in so far as people in the business are concerned, I would only work with people together with whom at work we'd both struggled and succeeded. That's the best way to get to know people. Noluthando can be fearsome, won't back down in a fight, is as tough as a honey-badger and smart too. I naturally thought of her to partner me. I have many others who fit my idea of a business partner, and I hope that in time more or them come and join us! You know who you are! Meanwhile having Jess and Tim here, with Kim give a great feeling of trust and confidence.

    When and where we get involved

    It is our belief and conviction, based on the overwhelming data and empirical evidence, that it will be the success of SMEs that allow our children to live and prosper in a land of opportunity, hope and dignity. Our approach to meeting this aim is based on a set of tried and trusted principles, tools, processes and methodologies, wrappped in a simple framework that we coach our clients in. The application of this flexible framework allows us to interact with a broad range of SMEs across all industries, and this addresses 4 broad scenarios:

    1. Coaching and Consulting to established SMEs prior to expansion. Here we help establish the foundations of a business that can scale, and grow without pain. or Coaching after a period of under-performance.

    2. Clean Slate - Green Fields Coaching & Consulting to SMEs that are developing a new channel, product or market solution.

    3. Formal Business Rescue, which might or might not involve funding, but always addresses failures from both technical management and leadership/cultural perspectives.

    4. So called informal Business turnarounds.

    5. Specialist problems solving, where we will help solve a single key issue . Examples of these include: Sourcing Key Talent, Interviewing and Assessment, Business Gamification, Application of LEAN process principles in the removal of wasteful practices, Due Diligence, Strategy Facilitation etc

    A Powerful, Flexible Framework

    The combination of Culture, Personalities, Industry, Business Life-Stage, Market Forces, and various business issue ensure that every business is unique with its own set of challenges and opportunities. Nevertheless, nearly all situations can be addressed through the thoughtful and judicious application of our framework, which address the domains of People and the Organisation, Integrated Strategy, Cash/Value Management and Reliable Execution. These are broadly the management disciplines common to any organisation. At the same time we address Leadership, Personal Development, and the habits required for the business to thrive.
    For the informal engagements - our unique blend of coaching and consulting ensure a cost effective approach to addressing the most pressing issues of a business and at the same time enable knowledge transfer to the business
    Along with a powerful set of tools, you will enjoy complete commitment to you and your business. Contact us for an exploratory chat and scheduling of our free on-site workshop.