An important sector for coaching – where the word coach means more than one thing!
I recently read a really good article in the Chartered Institute of Transport’s monthly journal ‘Focus’ (www.ciltuk.org.uk) which talked about the impact that executive and leadership coaching has had on the National Express.
It’s unusual for a business coach to have a background as a qualified town and transport planner, but that’s me. It gives me the opportunity to blend my skills as an executive and business coach with my role as MD at Harris Ethical Ltd, an SME consultancy that advises large rail network operators, councils and small businesses. And focusing on transport and logistics is something I find SMEs often neglect.
Standing back and looking at the transport challenges facing Gloucestershire (where I am based) and other local authority areas where I have worked, two simple things have really struck me.
Firstly, transport and travel issues are often key factors that affect how a business functions, performs and grows. That could be problems of staff getting to work, ease of taking deliveries, parking… the list goes on. This can often frustrate business expansion plans, particularly if some of the issues feel like they are out of the business owner’s control.
Secondly, when compared to other sectors, there are not many transport and logistics businesses at the SME level that seem to recognise the benefits of coaching and wider growth tools.
So how can thinking about transport benefit my business?
Most people setting up a business are just keen to get going. Transport and location issues aren’t often focused on early in the set-up process. But having a clear strategy about location and transport needs can make a real difference to the calibre of staff a business can attract, its overhead costs and the whole business model.
Existing businesses also rely on transport for their lifeblood, be it deliveries or simply getting the right staff and the right customers to their door. Difficulties in either ‘to-work’ or ‘on-work’ journeys have an impact on wellbeing, costs and customer satisfaction. Site constraints and difficulties in getting products, kit or people ‘just in time’ can also affect business resilience.
Some businesses, on the other hand, can be super-lean with no real need for premises or travel to make their organisations work effectively – the ‘virtual’ company.
These are all things which ideally could be thought of before a business sets up and which could certainly help companies which want to grow.
Marrying together the ‘coach’ with the ‘coach’
So my focus for the next six months is to help businesses in Gloucestershire (and potentially further afield) overcome their transport and logistics challenge to growth. If they are a business in the transport sector, I want to help them develop and grow as well.
In Gloucestershire, I’ll be running a number of free seminars across the county, working with the County Council, Oxford Innovation, and the Growth Hub, to explain the free transport and travel support service available from Gloucestershire County Council (www.thinktravel.info) and also explain how the Growth Accelerator programme can be used to help here.
These speed briefing sessions will be really helpful for businesses, or any businesses you may know, which fall into the following categories:
- Existing companies which want to grow
- Start-ups or those thinking of setting up new enterprises
- Established companies which are experiencing challenges in their growth plans
- Firms where transport, logistics and supply issues are a challenge on an opportunity for their site or operation.
We’ll be focusing on how to tackle, head-on, some of the transport challenges that can affect business growth, and demonstrating how to work through some solutions. In just one hour, delegates will hear from five key experts with plenty of time for questions afterwards. For companies in or around Gloucestershire, we are running seven of these speed advice events and you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Alternatively, if you are reading this from further afield and want to find out how Quiver Management can help, please contact me or one of the coaches on the team.
Do you have any experiences of how developing your transport and logistics has benefitted your business? Please share them with us.
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