Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about Karen Matthews’ No ‘BS’ approach to business transformation.

Why do I need to do this?

How can I cut through the blur and see what needs to be done to achieve my business growth dreams?

When dealing with any situation, be it personal or business, we often cannot see the wood for the trees, and everything becomes a blur. How can you make clear, considered, and objective decisions to drive business growth if you cannot see past the crisis at hand? An external voice to support your business transformation journey is critical during these times. An experienced sounding board, someone you can trust to provide perspective alternative views and keep you accountable and on the right path, to move forward. The right mentor will look beyond where you may be focused right now and allow you to clearly plan your business transformation strategy.

How do I make sales when the economic climate is so uncertain?

Easy. Do your customers have a compelling reason to buy from you? Does your product or service meet their needs right now? Do you have concise and clear sales messages that differentiate you from the competition?

Many businesses are thriving in the new climate whilst others are playing catch up. Businesses whose culture encourages the agility to think differently are re-engineering offers, messages, sales channels and designing new ways to get their product to market or ramp up their current strategies. The challenge is balancing the decisions that need to be actioned immediately with those preparing for the upswing. To do both with an uncompromising commitment to your brand and point of difference is critical.

How will strategic business transformation put us ahead of our competition?

So many of your competitors do not think past next week, let alone next year. Of course, working through the basics to ensure short term profitable trade is critical. Still, a business that simultaneously plans for the future whilst continuing operations will emerge stronger, fitter, more agile and aligned. They will be strategically and financially prepared for the next period of growth. The world will continue to change, and many businesses will not survive. There will be new opportunities to deliver your product or service better and run your business more efficiently. Calm and considered planning now, supported by an organisational mindset built around ongoing change and innovation, will set you ahead of your competitors. No matter what twists and turns are ahead, businesses with a dynamic approach to planning will be agile and respond better than those living in denial.

I cannot afford to spend a cent on anything other than the essentials and need to save every dollar I can. How do you offer bang for my buck?

Without sounding alarmist or cliché, the only businesses that will successfully come out of a period of change are those that balance survival actions with focused business growth planning. Consolidation of what you do well and removal of activities that do not add to your business’s profitability or brand positioning needs to be understood, and appropriate action is taken. Simply doing nothing and hoping for the best will not work. Your competitors are tackling survival and recovery concurrently, setting their businesses up, ready to take advantage of new opportunities.

Karen Matthews’ process is not expensive, and it is quick. Within two weeks, you will have a prioritised plan forward, comfort that you have regained control and confidence that you have support and guidance whenever you need it.

I have been running my business successfully for years. Why is it not working anymore?

The world has changed. The market is significantly more competitive. Customers and clients are more educated and, as a result, have greater expectations. Businesses and brands have become more specialised, and the Gen Y and Millennial employee base have significantly changed motivations and work ethic. Companies that recognise this and can tweak and reinvent themselves without necessarily moving away from their cultural values or core business are transformational businesses set up for growth.

How will it work?

How do we get the balance of planning, structure, and execution right?

The short answer is there is no perfect balance. The three stages – Reality Check, Decide & Act and Make It Stick – need to happen simultaneously, like a clown spinning plates. Perspective, a calm, considered, objective approach, and an open mind willing to challenge the status quo and think about everything differently is crucial. Lean on your support network, consider different views and when you feel too close, too invested, or too emotional, reach out to trusted advisors for support. Karen Matthews’ process is dynamic. It focuses on prioritising and actioning 3-4 issues at a time, assessing those actions, adjusting as needed and moving forward priority by priority. Gone are the days of set and forget business planning. Self-awareness and a circular and dynamic approach to business planning strategy and change leadership are crucial to guarantee a business that can respond and change as needed and thrive in this fast-changing world.

How much time will you need from my team? I don’t want to distract them from their day to day focus

Karen Matthews’ business transformation process is quick. You begin the process by setting aside an initial two days for yourself and the leadership team to workshop and another ½ day a week later. The workshop sessions will result in a one-page business plan, implementation plan and clarity on communication, reporting and necessary processes to embed this new approach to planning into your business to ensure you make it stick. Before the workshop, there is some preparation for you and your finance person, but this is quick and is a process Karen has run successfully many times.

Can you send me a roadmap?

Demystifying The Road To CHANGE reveals Karen’s No ‘BS’ 3-part business transformation process. Click here to learn more and order a copy of the book today.

How long before I will see a change?

When you follow Karen’s 3-part process, you will immediately see a change in your team’s energy. Some aspects of operational performance will show up faster than others. It all depends on the areas that are prioritised as needing to address first. Typically, revenue-focused changes will deliver more quickly than supply chain or logistical changes. Karen’s process includes developing precise and straightforward measures, so whatever business transformation changes you implement can be assessed and adjusted as needed.

What do you do when people resist the recommendations?

All recommendations and plans are linked back to the workshop process and conclusions reached by the team. There should be no surprises. Once you decide to move forward, be transparent, inclusive, and consistent. Do as you say you will do and make it very clear to people what you expect from them and why. You cannot force people to embrace the change, which is OK. Some staff may decide to move on. This should be an expected and seen as a positive outcome. It will only strengthen the impact of the work you are investing in, your team and, ultimately, the growth of your business.

How can I be sure that the whole business is focussing on the right actions right now?

The focus of the business will come from the diligence and leadership of the leader. Your people will be looking to you for direction, a plan forward, and feeling like there is a positive growth plan for the future. Now is not the time for the visionary to disappear – the positive, inspiring, and motivating role of the leader is more important than ever. When leaders focus on the right actions, communicate these and structure the efforts and priorities of the whole business in line with the plan, there will be alignment and single-minded focus. Culturally your business will be robust, agile and ready for long term growth.

How long will this take?

How long will my business transformation take?

Within two weeks, you will have a prioritised, simple, and straightforward plan for immediate implementation, along with recommended next steps to implement and keep the plan fluid. You will also have access to Karen’s support (in various ways) should you need it. Together, you will replace the panic and overwhelm you feel now with focus and confidence that you have control of your business.

We can then spend more time developing your implementation plan, key measures, and a process to ensure the plan becomes embedded into your business and you are set up for profitable long-term success.

I don’t have time for a long process – I need to turn it around now

The most successful brands and businesses emotionally connect with their customer and provide a genuine and unique reason to deal with them and not a competitor. The key takeaway here is ‘genuine’. It’s easy to band-aid a business with a quick fix that will provide immediate traction, but that will not last. If transformation is not embedded into and across the entire business, it cannot be a robust strategy and very soon, you will be back to where you are now.

The business transformation process does not have to take a lot of time. Depending on the business and the scope of work needed, we can do the audit and report in as quickly as two weeks. Similarly, we can expedite the process by using Karen’s expertise and experience to create the entire strategy and execution plan, following the initial workshop. There would however need to be a plan agreed to present this back to the team to  ensure buy-in, before launching forward.

Why Karen Matthews?

Everyone is saying the same thing and claiming they can help – why you?

Business reinvention, strategic change management and leadership are what Karen has done for 20+ years for some significant businesses, including Guess, Freedom and Ella Bache.

During her time as CEO of Ella Bache, she won the Telstra Business Woman Year award for the development and implementation of Ella Bache’s franchise model (and first skincare franchise in Australia), at a time when the company needed significant business transformation and change to set up for the next phase of growth.

Karen offers a unique No ‘BS’ perspective and poses questions often forgotten, particularly when under stress. She can do this based on 20+ years of personal experience – she has been there and done it all herself (multiple times).

I have a mate/friend who has offered to help for free. Should I do it?

Karen’s experience has proven that mates are great to debate concepts, questions, and ideas. It is best to keep friendship and business separate when it comes to your business details, plans, and specific actions. You need the freedom to talk openly about anything involving your business and need to hear honest, raw feedback and suggestions. Your friends will naturally want to support and look after you, and there may be some areas of your business that need to be challenged. Focus at this time is critical. Any distractions must be avoided.

How can you help? What is your background?

Retail, Leadership and Brands are in Karen’s  blood. She has over 20 years of experience leading and managing change and growth for some well known businesses. She was CEO of Ella Bache for ten years during which she won the NSW Telstra Business Woman of the Year and National Woman in Franchise awards. Her experience, coupled with sensitivity, respect and intuition, means Karen can delve below the surface of a business very quickly.

When you are in a business day in day out, you cannot see the all-important details. Karen will work across all parts of your business and engage all stakeholders along the way. She will ask many questions about your business story and brand and believes in building a business (or transforming a business) led by customers, people, and brand/culture. Everything else will follow.

Unlike many, she will not focus on the numbers first. Karen see’s numbers as a scorecard and helpful decision-making tool once a business is clear on its vision, strategy and execution. She will take your business through this cycle and teach you to incorporate this discipline as part of your ongoing business development.

How are you different to every other business transformation consultant?

Karen has done it all before and won multiple awards along the way.

Her proven, hands-on success in business transformation, company turnaround and strategic leadership are unique and No ‘BS’. Every aspect of your business and challenges around change are likely to be something Karen has done before. She has developed a thorough process that balances a proven framework with detailed methodology and specifics to suit each client. ‘Every person and business is different – I respect that and do not adopt a one-size-fits-all approach’.

How many business transformation clients do you work with at the same time?

It is difficult to answer this question as it will depend on the scope of what Karen is engaged in doing. When working with smaller businesses on top-line audits, she can work with more businesses at once. On the other hand, a client may engage Karen to do the full audit, change plan and then embed it across the business. In this case, she may only have capacity to work with a couple of clients. In short, it will depend on the scope of work and the time required.

Once you decide to work with Karen, that relationship is valued and will be protected. Together, you will agree scope, time frame and all deliverables. Karen will also ensure you have full comfort around your information and can assure all clients that the information discussed is treated with respect and the utmost confidentiality.

Who else have you worked with in the past?

Karen has several testimonials that she can happily share with you, as well as a list of well-known businesses and brand names for whom she has led change and turnaround throughout her career. These include a 54-year-old franchise SME and a national furniture retailer.

Karen will happily provide you with a couple of people to talk to if you would like.

How do you help bricks and mortar retailers compete with e-commerce businesses?

Business these days is omnichannel, with the online channel being a vital channel to market. Today’s customers are educated, time-poor and have high expectations. They expect to shop where they want when they want and from wherever they are. Modern customers shop with the brand/store/website they emotionally connect with.

In the online space, customer experience is just as crucial as the in-store experience, just interpreted digitally. Businesses that bypass the importance of customer experience and the seamless blend of online and bricks and mortar as alternative channels (often for the same customer) will not survive.

Karen works with bricks and mortar businesses to help them define their online channel as one path to their customer. Simultaneously, she helps them understand the importance of creating an amazing customer experience in-store that is not easily replicated online.

How do I engage my team & get alignment?

Should my team be involved in the process?

Involving your team in the process is critical. As a minimum, the initial audit phase will involve significant input from team members across your business.

When you choose KM Transformation, the process includes guidance on implementation and how to embed this new approach to planning into your business. For this stage to succeed, the whole business must buy into the process with strong leadership and regular communication at the core.

Click here to book a chat. If you would like, Karen will happily discuss the best way forward for you and your business to help you set your business transformation process in motion.

How do I support my people so they still perform at their best when there is so much fear in our society? How can I keep my team motivated and positive?

These questions are essential to think through. While we are reinventing, changing, and setting our business up for long term growth, we need to remember that motivating and inspiring confidence in your team is crucial. Managing people through all aspects of change is a key part of Karen’s program – from connecting, setting goals and celebrating wins to painting a picture of what’s next. Clear and consistent communication and, of course, having some fun. All of this is critical no matter what part of the business transformation cycle you are going through!

How do I ensure alignment and connection with my team and them with their teams in this new way of working?

Team alignment is the most critical consideration when approaching a change project.

Karen’s business transformation process has people management, alignment, and connection at the centre of every stage: Reality Check, Decide & Act and Make It Stick. Karen’s experience has shown that keeping communication as transparent as possible, simple, regular, and very clear, alongside setting clear goals, expectations and accountabilities, is the key to effective change and the business’s long-term success.

What has made this new business climate so different is the speed at which we have been forced to react and adapt. We have had the shock, emergency planning, action and building for the future with no certainty of time, all thrown at us at once. Many businesses have not worked out how to deal with all these moving parts.

The new world dynamic is an even more compelling reason to seek the support of an experienced professional. The more you can plan for the future, and set up your processes for quick and seamless response thereby leaving less to chance, the better.

My culture is awful – how can Karen Matthews change it?

Culture is everything. A bad culture is a roadblock to business transformation.

If the values and beliefs of the owner/board/brand are not inherent across the business and operations, then the culture will not be sustainable. A business without a strong culture lacks robustness.

‘My process defines culture and values first and foremost. The people who do not believe in or want to be a part of that culture will be exposed very quickly.’  This process will, in some cases, result in some uncomfortable conversations. Karen’s approach ensures these conversations are conducted in a timely and respectful manner.

A strong culture must underpin effective change. It only takes one or two difficult people to sabotage the efforts, so it is essential to be clear and transparent from the outset.

Culture is everything in my business, and I am the only one that understands it. How do I change that?

Culture is everything in all successful businesses, and these businesses are successful because they have been able to embed this culture –  ‘the way things are done around here’, throughout the organisation. A great culture becomes part of the DNA of the business and its team.

Every stage of Karen Matthews’ business transformation process is built around the behaviours of the business and, in turn, culture.

Culture is vital, from how a business talks to its customers and staff to performance reviews, marketing, and reporting. Karen’s process will show you how to embed this behaviour into your business to ensure the long-term culture you want.

We have done all this before. Are we starting again?

Are the values and key messages we have spent so much time developing and embedding into our business still relevant? Should we re-position/re-design?

Absolutely not! The principles of brand positioning, differentiation and customer promises are even more important to bring your business back onto the path of success. Part of the way forward may be to re-centre the business on your existing messages and brand positioning and be single-minded when thinking about the future and how the business operates to ensure alignment.

Think about what is your business doing now that perhaps is not in line with your brand.

  • What have you learnt in this recent period that will improve your offer, brand message and profitability?
  • How can you strengthen your point of difference?
  • Do your brand promise and values permeate every part of your business?
  • Are you agile, dynamic, and have a new commitment to change as a part of your business DNA?

Now is the time for greater commitment to your brand and everything it represents. Customers will gravitate to brands that stand for something and operate with authenticity, integrity, and consistency.

Fake brands paying lip service to a stack of values will be quickly exposed. Their market share will diminish and be carved out by brands with a distinct and confident distinction in the marketplace.


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