FAQ'S

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 Coach or 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 a concise and clear superpower that differentiates you from the competition?
Many businesses are thriving in the new climate whilst others are playing catch up. Businesses who are agile and open and ready 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. They ask for feedback from their customer’s and respond. The challenge is balancing the decisions that need to be actioned immediately with those preparing for the upswing. To design your business processes 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. But, an aligned business that simultaneously plans for the future whilst
continuing operations will emerge stronger, fitter, and more agile. 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 are not in line with your vision or brand position and do not add to your business’s profitability, need to be removed or at least de-prioritised. Simply doing nothing and hoping for the best will not work. Your competitors are tackling today and tomorrow concurrently, setting their businesses up with far greater focus, ready to take advantage of new opportunities.
My process is practical, no BS and is quick. Within four-eight weeks, you will have prioritised plans, measures and the right business processes to move forward. You will have comfort that you have regained control and confidence knowing that you have support and guidance (me) 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

My process can be as quick as you need it to be but this will depend somewhat on the business size, complexity and urgency. For a small business, typically we begin the process by setting aside an initial two days for yourself and the leadership team to workshop and another ½-1 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 I have run successfully many times.

Can you send me a roadmap?

Demystifying The Road To CHANGE outlines my 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?

Following my process and setting your business up to think differently will result in some immediate changes in motivation, clarity, confidence and business alignment. Some aspects of operational performance will show up faster than others. It all depends on the areas that are prioritised as needing to be addressed first. Typically, revenue-focused changes will deliver more quickly than supply chain or logistical changes. My process includes developing precise and straightforward measures, so whatever changes you implement can be assessed, monitored 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, which should be considered a positive outcome. It will only strengthen the impact of your work you, your team cohesion 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, constant communication and authentic leadership. Your people will be looking to you for direction, a plan forward, and confidence that you as the leader are one step ahead and ready to respond to change as needed. 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.

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 I have done for 20+ years, leading change and growth for some significant businesses, including GuessFreedom and Ella Bache.

During my time as CEO of Ella Bache, I was honoured to win 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.
I offer a unique No ‘BS’ perspective and pose the questions often forgotten, particularly when under stress. I can do this based on 20+ years of personal experience – I have been there and done it all myself (multiple times). I know the stress and feeling of overwhelm when you know change is needed but just cannot get past the day-to-day noise.

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

My experience has proven that mates are great to debate concepts, questions, and ideas, but 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 need to be avoided.

How can you help? What is your background?

Retail, Leadership and Consumer Brands are in my blood. I have over 20 years of experience leading and managing change and growth for some well-known businesses. I was CEO of Ella Bache for ten years during which time I was honoured to have won the NSW Telstra Business Woman of the Year and National Woman in Franchise awards. My experience, coupled with sensitivity, respect and intuition, are part of my point of difference and allow me to delve below the surface of a business very quickly.
When you are in a business day in day out, you cannot see the wood for the trees. I will work across all parts of your business and engage all stakeholders along the way. I will ask lots of questions about your business story and brand and believe in building a business (or transforming a business), led by customers, people, and brand/culture first. Everything else will follow.
Unlike many, I will not focus on the numbers first. I see the numbers as a scorecard and essential tracking and decision-making tool once a business is clear on its vision, strategy and execution. I will take you through this whole process and show you how to design the business processes, reporting and business updates, which over time, will become a seemless part of you DNA and ensure your business is both focused and agile.

How are you different to every other business transformation consultant?

I have run businesses myself and experienced the challenges of change and growth – I get it! I know my process works as it is essentially the same process I followed throughout my career, winning multiple awards along the way.
My proven, hands-on success in business transformation, company turnaround and strategic leadership are unique and No ‘BS’. I have developed a thorough process that balances a proven framework with detailed methodology and specifics to suit each client. Every person and business is different, which is why I design the details of my process to best suit each client based on the size and complexity of their business, timing, style and personal preference. I respect that and do not adopt a one-size-fits-all approach’.

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 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.

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

HOW DO I ENGAGE MY TEAM AND GET ALIGNMENT?

Should my team be involved in the process?

Involving your team in the process is critical. My CEO and Executive Team Coaching program is built around a 2-3 day workshop and is designed to include the whole leadership team. Smaller businesses who may be engaging my Mentoring services may not have a team but wherever possible, I will work with my clients to collect other points of view and market feedback. A key part of my process (Stage 3 – Make it Stick) is all about embedding the plan into the business and aligning the whole team. Ensuring regular feedback loops, a willingness to re-prioritise or change and ongoing communication and updates on progress will then form a critical part of the CEO’s role, an aspect of the planning process usually done badly or not at all.

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

These questions are essential to think through. While you are reinventing, changing, and setting your business up for long term growth, you 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 my 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.
My business transformation process has people management, alignment, and connection at the centre of every stage: Reality Check, Decide & Act and Make It Stick. My 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 growth.

If the vision, values and beliefs of the owner/CEO/board/brand are not inherent across the business and operations, then the culture will be weak, and a business without a strong culture will lack alignment
My process defines vision and values first and foremost. The people who do not believe in or want to be a part of the agreed vision and those who are not aligned with the business’s values will be exposed very quickly.
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 vision, values and behaviours of the business and, in turn, culture.
Values and culture are vital, from how a business talks to its customers and staff to performance reviews, marketing, and reporting. My process will show you how to embed this behaviour into your business to ensure the long-term culture you want.