Financial Resources


Financial resources concern the ability of the business to "finance" its chosen strategy. For example, a strategy that requires significant investment in new products, distribution channels, production capacity and working capital will place great strain on the business finances. Such a strategy needs to be very carefully managed from a finance point-of-view. An audit of financial resources would include assessment of the following factors:


Existing finance funds


- Cash balances


- Bank overdraft


- Bank and other loans


- Shareholders\' capital


- Working capital (e.g. stocks, debtors) already invested in the business


- Creditors (suppliers, government)


Ability to raise new funds


- Strength and reputation of the management team and the overall business


- Strength of relationships with existing investors and lenders


- Attractiveness of the market in which the business operates (i.e. is it a market that is attracting investment generally?)


- Listing on a quoted Stock Exchange? If not, is this a realistic possibility?


Human Resources


The heart of the issue with Human Resources is the skills-base of the business. What skills does the business already possess? Are they sufficient to meet the needs of the chosen strategy? Could the skills-base be flexed / stretched to meet the new requirements? An audit of human resources would include assessment of the following factors:


Existing staffing resources


- Numbers of staff by function, location, grade, experience, qualification, remuneration


- Existing rate of staff loss ("natural wastage")


- Overall standard of training and specific training standards in key roles


- Assessment of key "intangibles" - e.g. morale, business culture


Changes required to resources


- What changes to the organisation of the business are included in the strategy (e.g. change of location, new locations, new products)?


- What incremental human resources are required?


- How should they be sourced? (alternatives include employment, outsourcing, joint ventures etc.)


Physical Resources


The category of physical resources covers wide range of operational resources concerned with the physical capability to deliver a strategy. These include:


Production facilities


- Location of existing production facilities; capacity; investment and maintenance requirements


- Current production processes - quality; method & organisation


- Extent to which production requirements of the strategy can be delivered by existing facilities


Marketing facilities


- Marketing management process


- Distribution channels


Information technology


- IT systems


- Integration with customers and suppliers


Intangible Resources


It is easy to ignore the intangible resources of a business when assessing how to deliver a strategy - but they can be crucial. Intangibles include:


Goodwill


- The difference between the value of the tangible assets of the business and the actual value of the business (what someone would be prepared to pay for it)


Reputation


- Does the business have a track record of delivering on its strategic objectives? If so, this could help gather the necessary support from employees and suppliers


Brands


- Strong brands are often the key factor in whether a growth strategy is a success or failure


Intellectual Property


- Key commercial rights protected by patents and trademarks may be an important factor in the strategy.