top of page

Three months to accelerated growth - Introducing the Foundations programme for businesses

Updated: Nov 4, 2022

An expertly tailored programme is now available for businesses aiming to identify and accelerate areas of growth with a select team of specialist advisers. Firebird co-founder Ian Finlay introduces Foundations for Growth.

Enlisting the help of a successful adviser is the ideal move to fine-tune a business’s prospects and processes, accelerating growth, and smoothing the way for an optimal sale down the line. But even the top advisers – those with decades of experience under their belts – will have areas in which their knowledge is weaker than others.

Throughout my career to date, my own approach has been to collaborate when needed with a small number of leading industry contacts, filling any knowledge gaps that arise – in fact, this approach is what Firebird is built on. Now, the team and I are formalising our collaborative processes with a business programme that’s unique in the travel, leisure and education sectors: Foundations for Growth.

Foundations for Growth is a three-month review process, carefully curated for businesses wanting in-depth analyses of how they are performing and how they can improve – including targeted identification of risks and opportunities; low-hanging fruit and quick wins.

"Rather than having one adviser on your side, a whole team of professionals will be working alongside you"

Owners and executives who sign up for the programme will receive direct, personal access to a range of highly experienced and approachable strategists, with specialist strengths that cover twelve individual elements. Rather than having one adviser on your side, a whole team of professionals will be working alongside you to deliver bespoke advice that maximises your output, and streamlines your business’s journey.

Moreover, when the three-month process comes to an end, we can then determine which individual will be the right non-executive director (NED) to support your long-term goals.

The twelve elements covered by Foundations are as follows:

Month One

  • Values, Vision & Mission

We start by looking at the heart of your business: who are you? What do you believe in? How do you behave? Does your behaviour match your belief system?

  • Finance & M.I.

We consider all aspects of your finance function, including banking, credit control, fx, PCIDSS and more. We also review your Management Information, making key recommendations on what you are – or aren't – producing.

  • Structure & Systems

We review your staffing structure and benchmark its costs, identifying gaps and efficiency improvements. We look at your technology, how you use it, and consider whether it is fit for purpose or could be used better.

  • Regulatory

Our expert reviews your position with the CAA, ABTA, IATA and other regulatory bodies. We look at any bonding facilities you have in place or require, and your insurance position, before making recommendations.

Month Two

  • Product

How does your product fit into the competitive landscape? How differentiated are you? Does your product meet your market’s needs? How big is your market?

  • Ecommerce

We review all aspects of your online presence, capabilities and performance.

  • Brand

It’s time to examine what your brand says to your customers. Does it match your values?

  • Marketing

We consider all other aspects of your marketing performance, including benchmarking your ROI.

Month Three

  • Sales

The customer journey, sales process, sales performance and conversion rates are all reviewed in this stage of the programme.

  • Data Diagnostic

Our expert will conduct a deep dive into your data and your data capabilities.

  • Operations & Commercial

We consider how well you are delivering your customer experience, how you are measuring this and looking for improvement. We also scrutinise commercial considerations, such as costing, pricing, yield management and contracting.

  • Culture

Do you have a high-performance culture? How do you maintain or create one? Are your team motivated and rewarded?

"At the end of the process, a NED will be appointed to the business"

At the end of the process, beyond Month Three, a NED will be appointed to the business. With their advice and critical challenge, you will then be guided through next steps, involving:

  • Creating a strategic review and plan

  • Ongoing involvement with the NED

  • And/or exit planning

Watch this space for further blog posts on the subject, as we introduce you to some of the key figures in the Firebird Foundations team, including business analytics consultant Mark Bush, our strategist heading up the Data Diagnostic module of the programme.

Until then, for further details of Foundations for Growth, contact our partners for a consultation. We look forward to hearing from you – and to laying the foundations for your business to thrive in the months and years ahead.

Learn more about Firebird at

Ian Finlay is co-founder of the Firebird Partnership, and has spent the last 30 years in the travel, leisure and education space: a career encompassing inbound operations, language schools, activity centres, hotels, bars and restaurants, and outbound tour operating.

67 views0 comments
bottom of page