StepBeyond Business Advisors case study

Janelle Marr, Managing Director of StepBeyond Business Advisors, knows that futures thinking can have its benefits now. In July 2013, the boutique management consultancy won a 2013 Telstra Australian Business Award, recognising excellence as a micro business. “I suspect our 30-year vision helped secure the award,” says Janelle. “The panel had never seen anything like it.”

StepBeyond Business Advisors is committed to socially and ecologically responsible business strategy. “We constantly challenge ourselves and our clients to develop strategies that move beyond traditional compliance and profit-driven models,” says Janelle, who was also announced as a finalist for the 2013 Telstra Business Women’s Award in September.

Janelle founded StepBeyond in 2007 in response to a need for quality strategic support across the health and community sectors. At the time the company had just a single client.

“The program left us completely balanced and focused. We have much greater clarity around our strategy and long-term vision.”

Janelle Marr
Managing Director | StepBeyond Business Advisors

The challenge

In 2013, StepBeyond has expanded to service almost 50 organisations across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, including RAC WA, Department of Health, Diabetes WA, Department of Environment and Conservation, and BreastScreen WA.

“Our business is based around providing high-end strategy, sustainability and portfolio management services to support organisations that make a difference in society,” says Janelle. The Perth-based consultancy offers a suite of end-to-end strategic and implementation solutions founded on a personalised, ethical approach.

Together with husband and StepBeyond Director, Adam Marr, Janelle is committed to remaining at the forefront of thinking in the industry. "We need to constantly be looking for the next innovation that will add value for our clients," Janelle says. "That means actually attending programs and searching for cutting-edge development in this space."

The solution

Seeking to expand their offering, in 2012 Janelle and Adam attended Futures Thinking and Strategy Development through MBS-Mt Eliza Executive Education.

“Many businesses form a five-year plan and think they’ve planned for the future,” Janelle says. “But futures thinking is about identifying a much broader landscape to ensure you’re making the right decisions today.”

The program provided Janelle and Adam with proven frameworks and tools for futures thinking that allowed them to not only deepen the services they provide for their clients, but also prompted them to reinvent their own strategy and vision.

“The program left us completely balanced and focused,” Janelle says. “We have much greater clarity around our strategy and long-term vision.”

The impact

Janelle and Adam applied their learnings to restructure StepBeyond’s business model and formulate an extensive 30-year vision for their business. By reflecting on their values, analysing past and future trends, and visualising their preferred long-term future, Janelle and Adam dedicated themselves to mapping the path that will lead them there.

“We realised that we need to stay focused on our bigger intent,” Janelle says. “It’s not about gaining work in volume. We’re concentrating on selecting meaningful projects that will have real impact and give back to community, society and organisations.”

Through futures thinking, StepBeyond has expanded their offering to include foresight solutions and futures thinking. The business has also begun exploring globally for projects that support their vision and ethics.

“Through futures thinking, we have the opportunity to create the future we want for our business, our community and future generations,” Janelle says. “I can’t put a figure on that value.”