It’s now been a full week since Better Business Analysis was registered at Companies House, and I’m just publishing the website. My new desk is due to arrive tomorrow. As a business analyst, this journey has been an eye-opening experience and at times, something of emotional rollercoaster.
I’ve been a BA since 2004, and for the last few years have been working as a contractor through an umbrella company. In years to come, sharp-eyed readers of this blog will notice that this company was born in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. Before we all found ourselves in lockdown, my husband and I had just returned from a trip to the Arctic, and I was all psyched-up for seeking out my next contract. Finding myself unexpectedly now with time on my hands, I decided this was the ideal moment to take the next big step and set up my own consulting business.
Surely this would be simple for a guy that advises businesses for a living?
I went back to textbook exercises to establish my business model and basic strategy. No living room is complete without a flipchart!
In my work as a BA, my strongest area of expertise has always been in analysing processes – and setting up a new company has introduced me to some real joys! I like being able to describe start events, a sequence of activities and decisions, and some clearly-defined outcomes. In starting a limited company, it seems you need everything to happen simultaneously – you need a business bank account with some money in it to pay for the expenses you’re incurring, but people want money before you can get to that point. You want a web domain, but you want to use the email address from that domain to set everything up. Almost everything seemed like a chicken-and-egg situation!
In addition to working out what to do and in what order, I’ve had to rapidly learn some new skills.
You’re looking at the website I have cobbled together while learning to use WordPress. I now have much more respect for web designers! If you’re viewing this in the summer of 2020, I’m sure you’re loving the royalty-free stock photos I’ve liberally employed across the site. The colour scheme is probably not here to stay.
I’ve also had to master business banking, accounting, IT support (my new laptop needed a factory reset on first use!), and becoming a GDPR guru.
I’m now almost at the point where I can breathe again.
In terms of what has gone well (and what I never want to repeat), it transpires that applying some business analysis makes life a lot easier! Taking the time to work things out, to test assumptions, to decompose ideas or to join the dots between them – these things really do help. Doing a process model actually helps you work out how best to do something. Seeking advice and second opinions helps you make better decisions. Who knew?
The hardest things have been where I’ve raced ahead, sure of what’s needed, and got myself in knots.
All of this reminds me of the value of good business analysis – and at this stage such a reminder seems very timely indeed! I’ve always advocated that as change professionals we need to “eat our own dogfood”. The last week has reinforced that truth.
In future posts, I’ll be looking at both the practice of business analysis (such as tools and techniques), and more widely at how organisations conduct change. If there’s anything you’d like me to turn my attention to, why not leave a comment with your suggestion?