Oncidium Business Consulting is a company that traces its roots back in the 1970s. The Richard Ivey Business School at The University of Western Ontario was operating summer assistance programs for small and native businesses in Southwestern Ontario through the subsidies it was getting from the Federal government.
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The programs were soliciting the services of 15 students each summer since undergraduate and graduate students sought relevant work during their four-month break.
At some point, the programs lost the federal support hence making it necessary to reduce the number of students who were initially participating in the program. Ivey continued with the program under the name Ivey Business Consulting Group.
Some of the restrictions that characterized the program were eliminated but its startup was nevertheless characterized by many problems.
The program was run each summer by different groups of students. Jane Richards, the Founder of Oncidium Business Consulting joined the IBCG program in 2001 and was elected the practice’s manager.
Richards graduated from the university in 2001, a period during which IBCG was experiencing many problems and the firm was unstable. As a result, she proposed that the program be converted into an arm of Ivey and be operated all year round.
She argued that Ivey had enough resources and the Canadian market was in dire need of ideas on how to increase its growth. She was given an office in the school in order to anchor the idea firmly and in 2002; she transformed IBCG into a proprietorship.
Richards constituted an advisory board comprised of academicians and entrepreneurs to advise and mentor her. IBCG opened an office in Toronto in September 2003 and hired additional staff.
It continued to grow exponentially year after year between 2003 and 2005. Ivey decided to withdraw from the firm in 2004 and that was when Oncidium Business Consulting was born. Its services included strategic plans, market assessment, and market research to clients of all natures.
Oncidium continued to register remarkable growth in 2006 and 2007. However in 2006, Richards started feeling like a stranger in her own company. This was happening despite the fact that she had founded the company and worked hard to see it grow.
She could see a promising financial future for the company but the present had turned into a disappointment and unhappy scenario for Richards who wondered what she was doing in the company. Richards revisited revenue generation which was the performance metric agreed upon during the formation of the company.
This was an easily measurable and quantifiable metric but only Maria had achieved it. However, she got the lowest equity while Simon and Stephen who had not hit the targets got the highest and even Richards doubled theirs.
Richards struggled to make the decision on whether to give them the equity when they had not achieved the performance metric since her mentors had suggested that nobody was to deviate from the set performance metrics.
However, she felt that failure to give them the equity was bound to cause them to leave and she was not ready to build new relationships. She also felt that they were not skilled in revenue generation but they compensated in execution and delivery.
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Currently, the ownership of the stakes is perceived as inequitable by the other partners in the company. Simon and Stephen deal with delivery which is scalable since they have the support of other employees in the company.
Richards on the other hand deals with revenue generation which is an individual effort and feels that she bears the brunt. Whenever she is in the office, she feels Simon and Stephen feel that she should be outside selling projects.
As a result, Richards feels that what she has done for the company is not appreciated and Simon and Stephen feel that the internal management of the company they are concerned with has a greater value than what Richards does.
Differences have been growing everyday between Richards and her three partners in the company. This has been heightened by the fact that the three partners have been conducting secret meetings to strategize on how to throw Richards out of the company.
Simon and Stephen have constituted a projects delivery team that is comprised of young individuals in their early 20s while Richards is in her mid 30s. This group bonds very well and after office, they go clubbing while Richards does not. This makes her an outsider in her own company.
As the firm continues to grow in the presence of younger staff, the skills-set has been broken down. Richard’s idea of focusing on strategy-based assignments which bring in more dollars per assignment has been highly contested by the other partners.
Simon and Stephen feel that the strategy is too competitive and Oncidium lacks the resources and skills to measure up to the standards of well established and financially stable consultancies.
From the financial statements, it is evident that Oncidium Business Consulting has been registering remarkable growth since 2005. The firm therefore has potential for continued growth in the future if the current problems are comprehensively addressed. The firm has strong capital base as portrayed by the revenue collected in the financial statement.
However, there is need to regulate the equities and liabilities since they seem to go up every subsequent year. This is not a good sign because it might destabilize the firm. Generally, the profits of the firm portray an impressive potential since there is increment in every subsequent year.
It is important for Richards and her partners to work together for the sake of the success of the firm. The following are some of the recommendations that may be useful in a bid to resolve the current standoff in the firm.
The first recommendation is that Richards should hold a meeting with the rest of the partners and discuss with them the concerns that make her feel no longer comfortable in the firm.
The second recommendation is that Richards should contact her advisory team and inform it of the current situation in the firm for appropriate advice on how to approach the matter.
The third recommendation is that a review of the nature of the roles of each one of them should be reviewed. The fourth recommendation is that a strict and open system should be put in place to determine who should join the firm.
Richards should also be involved in selecting individuals who join the firm. The sixth recommendation is that she could consider the short gun clause in the partnership agreement and leave the firm.
The best recommendation is to conduct a review of the roles and responsibilities of all the partners in the firm. This includes reviewing the practicality of the metrics set for each partner.
The best way to do this is to conduct the advisors of the firm and hold a meeting with all the partners. Since the advisors are knowledgeable people in such matters they can advise on the most appropriate course of action in such situations. They would also reiterate on the importance of valuing the input of all the partners in the firm.