What we learned in our fourth year

December 30, 2018

2018 was a landmark year for PNR. This year was a big step up for our fledgling firm.

It was an intense yet rewarding year. We went from being in the “garage” – or in this case a co-working space to being hired by huge organizations to assist with vital strategic challenges. It didn’t happen overnight of course and took a lot of hard work.

As we close off our fourth year, I want to share some of the things that we learned; some successes, some failures and what we’re hoping to achieve next year.

None of the accomplishments could’ve been achieved without the team. We continue to grow and we’ll be 10 strong in the new year. I’m a bit biased obviously but I really believe that we have the best team in town. The quality of the work delivered and determination are top class. Here’s a sample of some of the engagements that we delivered:

  • An organizational redesign was conducted for a large media organization undergoing an important restructuring
  • A public company hired us to evaluate operating options for remaining assets after an acquisition.
  • A technology firm hired us for an annual strategy implementation mandate
  • An international CPG company looked for help in streamlining their marketing operations.
  • An ecommerce market research was conducted for a large fast-moving CPG organization.
  • A strategy plan and design was conducted for a multi-channel retailer looking to build out a holding group.
  • A transaction was negotiated and completed on behalf of our technology customers.

Finally, we also moved into our own office this summer after having spent two years at WeWork. Not to take away from co-working spaces, having our own office was a godsend. We were living inside someone’s else brand and we needed to have a home to call our own.

An area that needs an improvement is our internal workflow. Things are still a bit too “startupy” and we need to streamline some areas like delivery and recruiting. The challenge will be to maintain an open and collaborative environment while adding a modicum of process.

Next year is gearing up to hugely important. We’re looking to double down on our software and strategic planning methodology. Agile strategic planning is not a fad and we’re looking to continue improving on our core offering.

Over and above strategic planning, a lot of thoughtful work went into our strategy practice as well. An important reminder from this past year was the fact technology’s impact is being felt throughout every organization. There is an important need to understand the range possibilities and translate that into a sustainable corporate strategy. Our strategy offering will see more iteration specifically around customer experience and Wardley mapping.

Finally, having a strong M&A offering benefited us immensely. Being able to represent both the buy side and sell side on tech deals was a boon to our growth. Investors approach us because we understand the technology side of business and technology firms approach us because we understand the business side of technology. We believe that there is a gap in the Canadian market for a firm to specialize in tech M&A and we hope to fill that vacuum.

Next year will be about “growing up” out of the teenage years. The focus will be on scaling our operations, attracting more smart people and helping our customers solve their thorniest issues. It’s an exciting challenge, I can’t wait. Our team is chomping at the bit.

If you’re curious, here are the past annual insights (2017, 2016, 2015)