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...tho​ughtful, thorough... 

Advisory Group Ltd.

Bespoke business solutions...


Calgary, Alberta, Canada


+1 (403) 869-4777

Global Experience

...on your staff, not on your payroll...

Global Experience... applying 30 years of local and international business experience...

Local Understanding... with our roots firmly based in Canada...

Your Success... allows us to understand your individual business needs and design bespoke solutions

Who you are

  • You are an established company with revenues up to $25M per annum...
  • You are dissatisfied by your market placement versus your competitors...
  • You want to differentiate your offering in a commoditized market...
  • You are contemplating international expansion...
  • You have a new technology and are trying to achieve the mainstream market...

Who we are

  • We are business development professionals who are multi-dimensional in business analytics, engineering, geo-political understanding...
  • Our experience has been earned in oil and gas services, pipeline services, industrial process services, applied selective chemicals...
  • Our skills were learned in Canada, Europe, Middle East, Russia, CIS, North Africa, South America

Your goal...results

  • The size of your company may not allow a focused staff dedicated to business development needs...
  • We fill your business development void by understanding and analyzing your goals and needs...
  • We map bespoke goals and tactics to measurable results...
  • We work with you to execute and measure...

...thoughtful, thorough... our guiding mantra and your assurance of results.

...thoughtful, thorough... Advisory Group Ltd.


New Technology Introduction to Canada

We have successfully established new industrial technologies in Canada by creating license agreements to representative companies

International Expansion of Canadian Companies

We have created new expansion operations of established service companies in International regions including Brazil, Colombia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia

International Business Operations Analysis

We have analyzed international expansion opportunities in Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, China, Colombia, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Oman, Russia, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom

Geo-Political Effects

We have studied and created bespoke business solutions to maintain operations in countries that are challenged by unplanned international sanction.

Business Life Cycle

We have studied and created bespoke business solutions when companies decide to exit international markets.

Commercial Tendering

We conduct deep analysis into commercial tenders focusing on discovering the recipient value equation and how to lower their decision risk.

Bespoke Business Solutions that come from real world experience...

 …on your staff...not on your isn't a tag line, it's a philosophy to your success.  ...thoughtful, thorough...Advisory Group Ltd. works for your business to clearly define goals and create a map of action items and tactics that create success.  We re-write the business text book everyday because we know that your business is unique and respect that.  ...thoughtful,'s what we do

...thoughtful, thorough... Advisory Group Ltd.

The faces behind a name

D.R. (David) Jones


Greetings and welcome to .  I am a retired Vice-President of a major TSX listed Canadian service company who's core was firmly in  upstream and downstream oil and gas globally.  My 30 years of industry experience allowed me to take senior roles in new venture start-ups in Canada and Internationally,  participate at a board level in international joint venture companies, introduce new products to market, and take high technology to mainstream markets.  I am guided by the highest standards of customer service and design  bespoke solutions around my experiences which are influenced from being a service provider and being a recipient of services.  Above all I conduct myself with moral fibre of honesty and ethical behaviour; ...thoughtful, thorough... isn't a tag line, its who we are.

Ellen Mack


Thank you for checking in with .  We are proud of the company we have built as it is an extension of our caring attitude to do things right and provide the level of attention you and your company deserve.  While we have unique industry experience  and technical skills we put to work for you, we will never forget what its like to be a satisfied customer.  ...on your staff, not on your payroll... is the trust you grant us to assist in your goals.

...thoughtful, thorough...Advisory Group Ltd.

Contact Us

Please contact us and let's have a discussion on your goals and determine if our skill set is correct for you.  We encourage establishing a confidentiality agreement early on in our discussions to provide you the comfort you require for open dialogue.

Please enter your details to the right and expect personal follow up from Ellen or myself within 24 hours.


Email Address


...thoughtful, thorough... Advisory Group Ltd.

An ongoing series of informational entries to think about...

 Business "Tail Spin"

By definition a "Tail Spin" is a state of rapidly increasing chaos or pain.  Businesses that find themselves in a "Tail Spin"  are in a crisis of obsolescene and decline.  HBR in September 2016 (Chris Zook) reported that 10 to 15% of the companies that find themselves in a "Tail Spin" will ever pull out of the downward spiral.  In examination, the  cause of the business freefall event appears to be external BUT the root cause is almost always internal due to leaders not able to foresee or prepare for external events such as nimble competitive forces, Government actions (or inactions) and financial market crisis.  One only needs to reflect on the Alberta Canada Oil and Gas market of 2018 to appreciate how the rapid onset of external forces caught so many businesses flat footed - so hurtful to watch.  Getting out of  free fall means hard decisions for business and it starts with getting back to the core of your company - STOP doing non-core activities that consume resources and wealth of your firm.  Get back to the strengths which are the roots of your company...remember, you can always rebuilt later what you shed now...if you don't shed now you may not have anything from which to rebuild.  Finally, re-energize the management need to ask if the people that got the business into the spiral have the skill set and experience to get it out...tough topics to chew on, I guess that is why only 10 to 15% of the companies that enter re-find their bearing.

 ...thoughtful, thorough...Advisory Group Ltd. ,  provide experienced, impartial analysis of your business when external factors catch you off guard.  Our clients rely on our experience to see through the noise and help you stablize your business by getting you back to your core strengths, impartially evaluate your managment team strengths and then map your recovery through the turbulence.  Making hard decisions about your business is just that...HARD.  "on your staff, not on your payroll" is your assurance of an aligned business partner.

 Strategic Planning...Getting it right

Over the years we've participated in "Strategic Planning" sessions and recognize how easily they can get off track - even by the most seasoned leaders.  The common problem is Strategic Plans very often get over-lapped with Business Plans and the result is a list of tactics and not strategy.

From the start, keeping the definition of "Strategic Plan" as simple as possible helps keep things on track...A Strategic Plan determines where an organization is going over the next year, how it is going to get to where it is going, and importantly, how it will know if it got to where it set out to.  The Strategic Plan is for the health of your organization, the Business Plan is focused to a product, service or program.

Strategic planning serves a variety of purposes in organizations, including to:

1. Clearly define the purpose of the organization and to establish realistic goals and objectives consistent with that mission in a defined time frame within the organization’s capacity for implementation, 2. Communicate those goals and objectives to the organization’s constituents, 3. Develop a sense of ownership of the plan, 4. Ensure the most effective use is made of the organization’s resources by focusing the resources on the key priorities, 5. Provide a base from which progress can be measured and establish a mechanism for informed change when needed, 6. Listen to everyone’s opinions in order to build consensus about where the organization is going.  

 ...thoughtful, thorough...Advisory Group Ltd. , are specialists in the process of strategy planning by guiding our clients in their process.  We provide experienced, impartial analysis of your business when your previous attempts at strategic planning didn't work either in design or while on the vine.  Our bespoke design is simple...we guide you to the one thing you must accomplish... your make or break goal.  Once your make or break is clearly understood, strategy is then really about knowing what not to do.  ...thoughtful, thorough... its what we do.

 Old school...simple is good

There is no shortage of business analytical techniques and formulas to confuse the best of us.  Most of the people we work with that run business are not accountants or analysts, they are people that know their business, BUT...are the decisions to invest in projects  always "good" for the company?  "Good" should mean that the project creates real and measurable wealth for the company.  Economic Value Add (EVA) is a strong tool that is often overlooked by even the largest companies and yet is an easy fundamental measure of the success of investment.  EVA is the incremental difference in the rate of return over a company's cost of capital. Essentially, it is used to measure the value a company generates from funds invested into it. If a company's EVA is negative, it means the company is not generating value from the funds invested into the business. Conversely, a positive EVA shows a company is producing value from the funds invested in it.  The goal of EVA is to quantify the charge, or cost, of investing capital into a certain project  and to then assess whether it generates enough cash to be considered a good investment. The charge represents the minimum return that investors require to make their investment worthwhile. A positive EVA shows a project is generating returns in excess of the required minimum return.  EVA assesses the performance of a company and its management through the principle that a business is only profitable when it creates wealth and returns for shareholders, thus requiring performance above a company's cost of capital.  So why do we like EVA better than many of the other analysis techniques?  Because in a simple few minutes the principles of EVA can be applied and understood right to the "shop floor".  Understanding the opportunity cost of capital and its impact on profit is the one learning that everyone can identify with quickly..."if I spend money to take on a project, I need to generate enough profit that provides a rate of return on the sum invested plus the interest or opportunity cost of that money for the project to make sense."  

 ...thoughtful, thorough...Advisory Group Ltd. , enjoys the challenges presented by companies to assess their important projects and in concert with our associate accounting and business analysis experts, applies  common sense  to business investment...if you are going to invest in a project, you need to make real profit and create wealth for your company.  "On your staff, not on your payroll"...its why we provide such good advice that is understandable.

Planning the end...from the beginning

Growing a business takes constant forward vision and lots of "grit" to keep momentum.  Its no wonder that we often meet business owners who simply haven't had the opportunity to think about what the end will look like...succession planning for the company.  From the start, its so important to have discipline around record keeping, agreements, social obligations, taxes - great record keeping makes the end of business so less stressful.  Succession planning for a business can take many shapes such as deciding to draw fully on company resources and rewarding yourself for all the hard work, simply deciding to call it a day and liquidating, selling the business to a friendly buyer such as a family member or finding a buyer through an acquisition process.  In any case, seeking independent advice from legal, financial and tax experts is a is engaging a business advisor that will look through the emotion attached to business that has been built from your hard work.  While you are busy moving things forward...take the time on a regular business to think about what the end will look like - business environments are dynamic and this important topic demands regular update.

 ...thoughtful, thorough...Advisory Group Ltd. , has experience in the process of winding down business in varying circumstance such as dissolution of joint venture companies, exiting markets that radically changed, exiting international operations, and simply deciding it was time to shut down.  Supported by our network of associates we bring a pragmatic eye to important topics of finance, legal, tax, Government affairs  and best business practice...thoughtful, thorough...its who we are.

Trust....but verify

How often have important decisions  been based on data that was internally researched and appeared so certain...only to find out that the data was not relevant and changed as key decisions were being implemented.  The world is dynamic that experiences quick change and even quicker information exchange.  Its important to trust your research and those that bring it to you, you have built your business with the input of others BUT adopt the discipline to verify data before implementing important decisions and then keep verifying while those changes are being implemented.  Measure against what was the actual outcome of the change and what the data told you should happen.  Verifying the inputs to key decisions will keep you on track to achieving desired outcome of your goals.

 ...thoughtful, thorough...Advisory Group Ltd. , and its multi-discipline experiences can assist you in interpreting data important to your decisions and help you verify before acting.  Through our business associates we bring you interpretation from experts in engineering, business development, finance, legal and geo-political entire business development team that is...on your staff, not on your payroll.

Business plan realities

All successful businesses have a plan and then take the time to adjust that plan on a regular basis.  Your business needs that one big goal..."where you intend to go and when".  That big goal is accomplished through action items...things that must happen.  ...thoughtful, thorough...Advisory Group Ltd. has assisted in  the plans of many ventures and in our analysis recognizes some common mistakes, innocently enough, are made.  Some of these "ah-ha" moments are:  having enough resources to accomplish the goal, assigning responsibility to action items but not holding persons accountable, setting too many goals...and our number 1 is setting goals only knowing a market or a customer but not knowing both thoroughly enough.

 ...thoughtful, thorough...Advisory Group Ltd. , takes the time to work with you and understand your one big goal.  We bring a fresh set of eyes to your plan to challenge and verify your action items.  We are disciplined in mapping out the journey of your plan looking at single and multi-year horizons.  We dig into the details of your market and your position in that space...thoughtful,'s what we do for you.

pause to remember what is the most important...

This past week all of Canada, the hockey community worldwide and people globally were shocked and deeply moved by the horrible accident taking the lives of 16 members of the Humboldt Broncos and injuring 13 other team members.  Young men doing something they loved... their coaching and support staff doing something they loved... a moment of distraction... tragedy.  While we will never fully comprehend what those directly involved in this accident are feeling and facing, we  pause in our lives to send warmest thoughts to those affected and then give thanks for what we had and what we still have.  

On behalf of ...thoughtful, thorough...Advisory Group Ltd. , Ellen and I offer our deepest condolences and thoughts too all that are affected.  

Anticipating customers that don't exist

You have worked hard to build your starts with an idea, an offering.  A platform is developed that leads to your service offering and then broad customer acceptance.  During the journey to market growth you may have experienced times where you thought you had that new client or contract "in the bag" to find out later you were never really in the running - disappointing stuff to go through but it happens.  Too often, this scenario is played out because the client is simply looking for a catalyst to keep price low with an already engaged incumbent supplier but you didn't recognize it.  For that new client to actually make a change they need a strong reason and they need to understand the value to them of making a change in their supplier.  To achieve success in this scenario you need to qualify your target customers as part of your strategic growth plan and figure out ahead of time which customers will make a supplier change and why... this can only come from face to face time and thought out probing questions.  

...thoughtful, thorough...Advisory Group Ltd.  guides companies in the development of business growth plans tailored to specific customers  that are key to success.  We work closely with our clients to understand their goals and then create bespoke plans that map action items and tactics to efficiently achieve success in understandable steps.  Our attention to support continues through the plan implementation stage and the measure of success is planned results.  By helping you recognize which customers are real allows you the best use of your important resources and achieve planned growth.

small details make a difference in your value offering

In positioning your business you need to stand out amongst your competitors.  It goes without saying you have to be price competitive, technically credible, provide exceptional customer service....and the list goes on, 101 stuff.  It's the small details you need to dial in on to cleverly position yourself against your competitors because, count on it,  they are doing the business 101 stuff anyways.  We often see companies not openly promoting and taking advantage of the hard work they have put into developing safety culture and strong safety performance.  Too often the topic of safety performance is not openly discussed with clients leaving that important aspect of client risk management and decision making to  interpretation.  Your client wants a safe and smart company working for them and you should not underestimate the weighting this has in their end decision.  Openly discussing and promoting your safety program, performance metrics, strategic safety initiatives leaves your client  knowing you take safety to heart as much as they do.

...thoughtful, thorough...Advisory Group Ltd. works with companies to analyze and recognize their value offering and then position them in their market space by understanding end-use clients value equation and the strength and weakness of competitors.  Your company many not be of the scale to warrant a full time business development team...that is where we come in.  ...On your staff, not on your payroll...

A simple step before engaging Agents and Representative companies

The use of agents or representative companies is common practice for companies looking to expand into international markets.  Having a local person or company guide your product in a foreign market makes perfect sense especially when you don't have experience in those business systems.  The engagement of 3rd parties to represent your company can have unintended consequence for you particularly if your local representative engages in corrupt or illegal activities to improve the positioning of your product or service in that market.  These bad practices can occur without your knowledge and a simple few steps can help you before you engage what seems like the ideal local agent.  First, have the agent/representative party provide a self-report on their business, how they conduct business, if they have faced legal action in the past - this simple step shows clearly you are concerned about bad business practice and provides you in writing that your 3rd party has given these tough questions thought.  Next, consider hiring an independent specialist who performs third party checks and can look into government and financial records to see if any "red flags" show about the party you are interest in engaging.  Finally, ask your customers if they know the third party and what their experience has been.  "Trust but verify"....a  guiding statement when you allow someone to represent your company in new markets.

...thoughtful, thorough...Advisory Group Ltd. has successfully evaluated and placed representatives and agents both in North America and international markets.  Derived from our experiences we have developed process to assist you in the  evaluation of your "ideal" representative.  Our healthy relationships with economic and business development departments of countries we have worked in helps stream line your path to entering new exciting markets for your products and services.

Looking for disruptive change to commoditized markets

These days its hard not to see and read how "crypto-currencies" are changing commerce.  Although early on in its life, the disruption caused by the introduction of cryptocurrency is quickly imparting effect on mainstream banking.  When you think about the market you service, is it mainstream?  Are there multiple competitors that differentiate mainly  by price?  Is "exceptional" customer service just a buzz word and is really a norm in your industry because that is what it takes to be successful?  Taking the time to think and then be different ("disruptive") in your market can yield positive effect for your customers and to your activities.  The change doesn't have to be drastic, rather it can simply be "different" from the mainstream; something your competitors haven't thought of before or may be afraid to try.  Breaking from the mould of  commoditized offering can you bring you new market share as most customers are actively looking to improve their position on value.

...thoughtful, thorough...Advisory Group Ltd. has successfully guided "disruptive" change to commoditized market by the introduction of new technology to replace mainstream methods of performing a service offering - in once case the "disruptive" change lead an industry to adopt new services methods that improved safety, efficiency and resource use.  We have introduced change to tendering response with alternative proposals that provide the recipient a greater value by understanding how to lower their decision risk.

The Global Opportunity for Customer focused companies

You can have all the accountants and lawyers in the world tell you what is good and bad about conducting business in international markets....they all bring important insight and they all have opinion.  Before you are guided into entering (or not) a new market the most simple gut-check belongs to you...are you customer focused and are you prepared to go to ends for customer satisfaction as you would in your business back home?  If you answered yes (and not maybe or it depends), then you are on the right track for your expansion into new regions of the world.  Whether you are a "boots on the ground" service or conducting electronic based service dealings, knowing your customers by conducting diligence into who they are creates a sense of caring and wanting to understand their needs; this is important in all cultures especially when you are the foreigner to them.  Much like learning a few words of a local language when you go on a family holiday to a foreign country, making the same business effort in knowing  your clients company and history breaks the ice and forges the relationship that is key to your business success.  OK, this is all very "motherhood" type stuff but you would be amazed at how many companies including their senior leadership overlook the importance of this step and don't fully appreciate its value and importance.

...thoughtful, thorough...Advisory Group Ltd. creates strong relationships in International markets by being genuinely interested in our customers and suppliers we conduct business with.  All too often these healthy relationships have become important in times of unplanned need such as dealing with DSO, obtaining visitors visas, in-country ground transportation, new client introductions and list goes on.  The world is a fascinating place and a huge market;  having some healthy relationships goes along way to your success.


Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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