Providing the antidote to the credit crunch

With many small businesses casting about for a strategy to survive the downturn, Business Doctors is well positioned to provide leadership through its strategic planning services

With so much high profile downsizing going on among the larger coroporate entities of the UK, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are focused on survival more than ever before. Strategic planning provides a format for business owners to plot a route through economic upheaval and Business Doctors has a four year track record of providing essential guidance to its clients in this area.

The company was set up in 2004 with the aim of providing expert programmes to small businesses that help them maximise their performances. With its first franchisees coming on board last year, the company is now reaping the soaring interest in its services as economic conditions sharpen business owners' interest in its services. 'Our clients are crying out for what we do,' says co-Founder Rod Davies. 'Our strategic planning programmes provide the antidote to the credit crunch by helping business owners to review their market, their operations and their USP and develop a clear vision and sales plan to maximise their profitability.'

Since launching his business in September 2008, franchisee Keith McCallum has found that many business owners in his sizeable Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire territory are seeking his input. 'A lot of owners of SMEs are isolated,' says Keith (pictured). 'They don't have anyone with a useful insight into their business to use as a sounding board. That's where Business Doctors comes in. We provide strategic planning assistance for business owners to help them achieve their ultimate vision for their company.'

A former chartered accountant, Keith spent six years renovating and renting property until, as he reflects, 'property got a little bit sticky'. Keen to continue working for himself, franchising offered the safety net of a proven business formula and the support and backup of a franchisor. 'The fact that we are moving toward recession means that the support of a professional franchisor is vital,' he adds. 'I saw franchising as a safer way of going into business than striking out on my own.

'I looked at various business-to-business franchises and felt that Business Doctors offers a solid opportunity which will cope well with the economic downturn. Business Doctors is a business that is recession proof, because now is a time that people need our advice more than ever. It's a time that we can really add positive value for a business.'

Currently following up on interest generated from his first free business advice seminar, Keith is confident of bringing in two clients per month for his first 12 months, which would enable him to achieve his initial target of a £100,000 turnover. He adds: 'From there we can push on because it's an eminently scaleable business.'

Interview by Stuart Anderson