Posts in Uncategorized

Navigating Through COVID-19

April 3rd, 2020 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Navigating Through COVID-19”

Navigating Through COVID-19

 

Covid-19 is presenting major challenges to people and organisations around the world.  As business leaders, it’s crucial to know how to navigate through the impacts that this novel virus is having on businesses and the economy.

It may seem daunting to know which of the appropriate steps to take first to protect your business, but in times of crisis it’s always important to be innovative and adapt. There is no need to socially distance yourself from the resources that are available to you- you just need to familiarise yourself with what they are and how to best utilise them.

One of expert Directors Hugh Reynolds talks about the appropriate steps to take for you and your business during these uncertain times.

 

 

To help our SME colleagues, we would like to invite you to an interactive Webinar on Wednesday April 8th, from 1:30pm – 3pm.

This is an opportunity to join an interactive discussion, including how to access emergency government support, with our experienced Finance and Commercial Directors.

This session will allow you to break out into a small group with other SME leaders, in order to discuss these topics and how to implement them within your business.

 

During this webinar we will not only share our knowledge and experience of navigating through times of economic downturn but we will also be there to help you survive and thrive through the next 90 days and beyond.

By the end of this webinar, you will have a clear idea of how to access the help that is available and how to plan for the next few months.

The webinar hosts are:

  • Rob Boll–  (CEO/Founder/CFO): “Empowering you to lead your business through uncertainty
  • Rob Boll–  (CEO/Founder/CFO): “Continuously adapting your business model”
  • Hugh Reynolds (FD/CFO): “Navigating access to government funding”

 

Please CLICK HERE or visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/free-sme-webinar-government-and-bank-funding-and-how-to-access-it-tickets-101521934840?aff=MailChimp to join this free session and get direct access to the best Finance and Commercial Directors, who will help you with your questions during this economic shock.

Keep Calm and Optimise On

March 27th, 2020 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Keep Calm and Optimise On”

Keep Calm and Optimise On

 

Unless you live in a bubble (which doesn’t seem like a bad idea right now) you’re well aware that COVID-19 has taken our world by storm and is affecting anything and everything in its path.

Amidst the confusion and uncertainty that we are all feeling, as business owners, we must turn our efforts towards protecting our business and employees. It’s important to take precautionary measures in order to prepare your business for whatever is to come, and of course, do a lot of handwashing in the process. We must be ready to embrace, from a respectable social distance, the inevitable economic changes.

One of our Part-Time Directors Stephen Read talks about the few things you can do to help ‘keep calm and optimise on’ through this change.

 

 

Free Webinar for SMEs to Help Plan the Next 90 Days and Beyond

 

To help our SME colleagues, we would like to invite you to an interactive Webinar on Wednesday 1st April, 1.30pm – 3pm.

During the webinar you’ll hear from and speak to the best Finance & Commercial Directors and plan for the next 90 days and beyond.
They will not only share their knowledge and experience of navigating through times of economic downturn, but they will also be there to help you plan through this time of uncertainty.

Take this opportunity to join an interactive group discussion with our experienced Directors, who have ‘been there and done that’. You will have the opportunity to breakout in to smaller groups and discuss any issues you are facing with our Directors and other business owners.

By the end of this webinar, you will have a clear idea of what you should be doing during the next 90 days and beyond to help preserve and grow your business.

The webinar hosts are:

  • Catherine McKay (FD): “Communication has become priority number 1”
  • David Mutton (COO): “Stay positive and plan for 90 days at a time”
  • Heidi Murphy-Hunt (CEO): “Adapting the business model”
  • Stephen Read (FD): “Cash is King, Queen, President and Prince Regent”

 

 

 

Please CLICK HERE to join this free session and get direct access to the best Directors, who will help you with your questions during this economic shock.

What Businesses Can Learn From COVID-19 (3 Tips)

March 24th, 2020 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “What Businesses Can Learn From COVID-19 (3 Tips)”

Social distancing, while good for public health, is bad for small businesses. Foot traffic has dropped steeply since the Coronavirus outbreak as more and more people stay home and self-quarantine.

Almost every company has implemented a work-from-home policy due to the spread of the virus, businesses are now tasked with trying to be just as productive without their normal resources and routines. What can you take from this uncertainty that allows you to work more efficiently going forward? Well, the following:

1. Embrace New Ways Of Working

With large numbers of people now not just being asked to self-isolate but having isolation enforced by their government, the momentum for us to change our usual routine and mindset is growing fast. In the past few years, the experience of flexible working has changed dramatically thanks to the development of new platforms and collaboration tools and new networks.

To protect their workforce, companies are asking their staff to work at home. Google and Twitter suspended all non-critical business travel and events, and told all of their employees to work remotely. Research has shown that more flexible work policies that give workers more control over when, where, and how they work don’t hurt business performance. Instead, such policies can lead to less stressed, more satisfied employees who are less likely to quit.

With a crisis like Coronavirus, the benefits of home-based working become obvious. But this should spark a more general conversation in our workplaces about the benefits of a truly flexible approach to work. Organisations that go further, pandemic or no pandemic, will enjoy improved productivity, higher job satisfaction, and a renewed ability to attract top talent.

2. Find Other Ways To Engage With Your Clients/Customers- Embrace Tech

Many business owners are worried that the impact of COVID-19 will be deeper and more long-lasting than anticipated. As a result, businesses in every industry are looking for ways to keep their customers during this pandemic.

Clients are — sometimes surprisingly — open to more creative ways of working too. Whether it’s offering access to experts on a part-time “value added” basis, or moving face to face demos of your service to online/virtual, often their needs can be met far better with a little lateral thinking and open-mindedness.

Stream/ Video chat your services- Go digital with your services to continue to provide access to your customers who are sitting at home, wishing they could support your business. Tutors, personal trainers and even therapists are making themselves available virtually. Use a free tool like Google Hangouts, Skype or Zoom to offer your services remotely.

Host your event online- It’s important to recognise that most consumers are craving entertainment while being quarantined at home. If you had a workshop, product launch or seminar planned, move it to one of the live streaming social media channels or better yet, host a webinar.

This is something we’re doing here at Evoke Management and it’s working! It’s a great way to keep your customers engaged and build goodwill, as well as to sell your products. Get creative with how you can make customers still feel invested in your brand and engaged with your content from a distance.

3. Effective Communication

Internal communication is an essential part of crisis management, especially if it’s a pandemic like COVID-19. If your team isn’t informed and doesn’t understand what is going on, communications outside of the organisation will be more difficult. You need to demystify the situation for employees, put everyone’s mind at ease, and provide hope for the future.

Investing in video conferencing software such as Zoom or Skype will enable you to conduct as many meetings via video to ensure your team is more engaged, connected to their colleagues and invested in the success of the team. They need to know your business is committed to making their remote work lifestyle as comfortable and effective as possible; these technology investments go a long way in assuring an easier transition.

The situation is evolving rapidly, and no one is quite sure what news each day will bring. Your clients/customers can empathise with businesses facing a crisis, as long as you communicate with them properly. Let them know if you’re closing your doors/changing your hours and what steps you’re taking to keep your employees and work environment safe and clean. You’ve probably already received lots of emails on behalf of CEOs describing the steps they’re taking to mitigate risk, but this is an effective method of communication.

We hope the above has shown you that although Coronavirus is a terrible public health threat, there is a hidden upside; It gives us a chance to rethink how work is organised and bring our policies into the 21st century. Inevitably, you will need to change and adapt the way you work, so be sure to track the outcomes what works and what doesn’t – to enable you to maintain the efficiencies when you’re back to normal.

If you need help with adapting your business to this change or would like steps on how to do so, reach out to book a free 30 minute video call with one of our experienced directors.

Planning Not Panicking

March 20th, 2020 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Planning Not Panicking”

Planning Not Panicking

 

Panicking? Planning? Or maybe Plannicking? It’s safe to say that everyone is probably doing a little bit of both at the moment.

Through all of the news and updates about COVID-19 pertaining to health, safety, social distancing, etc, the economic implications of this pandemic seem to be some of the most uncertain.

In order to prepare for the inevitable economic downturn, it is important to have a plan of action, a 90 day plan for example. Things are changing rapidly and you don’t want to be left in the dust when they inevitably change again. 

By planning and not panicking, you will be prepared for the worst case scenario. That being said, with a 90 day plan of action, if the worst case scenario doesn’t play out then business performance will benefit exponentially, and if it does then you’ll be ready to face it head on.

12 Steps to Help Your Business Prepare for the Coronavirus Economic Impact

  1. Communicate: Communication is key and it’s even more vital  in situations like this. It’s important that you continue constant communication with your team daily through video calls, emails, etc. Furthermore, you need to keep in constant communication with your customer base, your networks, your suppliers and stakeholders, and your community. Make sure to not leave anybody out of the loop! A good place to begin would be to answer the questions: who do we need to communicate to? how often? and through which method?
  1. Be Positive: In every crisis there is opportunity, even if it may not seem like it yet. Worrying never helps so continue to look for small wins every hour, turn off the news once in a while, and keep leading your people in a positive manner.
  1. Know the Cycles: We should always be aware of what is happening in the world. Continue to watch the impacts that this pandemic has had on China and Italy and see what is leading to their recovery as well. Make sure to also keep your eyes on the general market trends that are happening around the world and which are relevant to monitor.
  1. Be Ready for Change and Embrace it: The only constant in life is change, so this is your chance to get ahead and lead the change. Take a look at your vision and the things that are stopping you from getting there; maybe the business needs to shift, maybe there can be an update in products, services, or pricing- this is your chance to revamp the ‘old way’ of doing things.
  1. Cut Back: Now is the time to cut back if you feel that you need to. Stop the unnecessary spending, take the opportunity to reduce your cash out wherever you can, and slow things down or postpone if necessary. However, don’t forget to keep marketing and keep selling.

  2. Extend Credit: Get credit now while it’s still possible- loans, credit cards, overdrafts, etc. Make sure you implement the same practices with your personal finances as well. If you must refinance, try to do it as soon as possible. Furthermore, make sure you are paying attention to the rates and don’t just settle, find the lowest ones and start talking to a bank now.

  3. Staffing Cuts and Changes: While this is difficult, it may be necessary. Some ways to combat complete layoffs is to have employees take vacations if possible, reducing/ splitting time, pay cuts, or even through suspending bonus programs.
  1. Plan to Work from Home: No one knows how long this will last, so it’s important to be prepared to work from home for the foreseeable future. Make sure you and your employees have the technology needed, try to hold  video meetings at least once a week, and make sure to have a reporting system in place so that everyone has a clear visual.

  2. Online or Deliveries: As we all begin to practice social distancing it’s important that you do what you can to make sure you are still focusing on your customers. Explore new ways to work, communicate and deliver your product or service. Maybe that means going virtual, or offering free no-contact delivery- do what you can to make your customers feel comfortable.

  3. Market and Sell: Don’t make the mistake of decreasing your marketing or selling tactics, continue keeping on top of it. People still need your products/services so work on getting creative and bringing new offers/rates to the table, negotiate current rates, and try to get cash up front.

  4. Repeat Business: Every contact you have with a customer influences whether or not they will come back so it’s important, especially now, to make your customer base feel valued. Create deals just for them, extend your offers, roll out new deals, and make sure you communicate with them regularly.

  5. Common Sense & Compassion:  These are vulnerable times and we are all feeling a bit uncertain on what’s to come. It’s important to be kind to one another and to put others first. Practice things such as over delivering on customer service, or even little things like keeping things clean, using hand sanitizer, and maybe….not buying toilet paper in bulk…..

 

Evoke Management is always on the lookout for ways in which we can help SMEs and now is certainly the time when our extensive experience can really make a difference. With our team of part-time directors we are able to support all types of business with actions such as 90 day business continuity plans, negotiations with banks, loans, HMRC, and other finance issues, difficult HR decisions, access to governmental/other financial assistance, diversification and alternative markets, and internal engagement. 

Whether you’re Plannicking, Panicking or calmly planning, we’re on hand to provide help, guidance and pragmatic advice to ensure you make the most of these difficult times.

Please get in contact with us to book in a free 30 minute video call with one of our experienced Directors.

Raising Investment In A Challenging Environment

March 19th, 2020 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Raising Investment In A Challenging Environment”

There’s no doubt that business owners are, understandably, freaking out. It’s hard enough to raise money in a healthy economy, let alone when the stock markets are tanking globally. Raising investment in 2020 is going to be all about survival of the fittest. Not just surviving and thriving, but being able to communicate how well you’re doing that to potential investors as well.

Many startups are being advised to slow down or stop hiring, slash spending, work from home, cut out travel — and prepare for tough times ahead. Yet that’s little comfort to founders mid-fundraise — or with a short runway of cash — who are now wondering if, not when, they’ll be able to close their next rounds.

Regardless of how serious COVID-19 gets, the hit to the markets and the economy is already looking severe — and likely to last for some time. This is going to make fundraising hard for all startups.

Here are a few of our suggestions:

WFH to reduce costs: Many companies are able to reduce cash burn forecasts due to lower travel costs. You should consider ending your rental contracts at shared/flexible offices given that everyone is working from home.

Close the deal: If you are fundraising right now, do everything you can to complete that fundraising as quickly as possible.

Keep your milestones current: Make sure you have a clear sense of what milestones you think you need to hit in order to raise your next round — and think about how those milestones might change if your revenue plan is delayed.

Plan ahead and report: Start planning your fundraising a bit earlier than you might otherwise have planned. If you haven’t already implemented a steady measure of monthly reporting to your existing investors, now would be a good time to develop that discipline. You may need their support and the better you are communicating — the better.

We have a FREE Investment Ready webinar on the 23rd of March to help you with your investment readiness process. If you think your business would grow faster with a capital injection of £250k – £10m, we can help you be ‘Pitch Perfect’ and introduce you to potential investors in just 8 weeks.

You can still make progress in your business even if you’re working from home. To find out how you can attend, click here. 

If there’s anything you would like to discuss with our experienced team around the current uncertainty, please get in touch with us.

Employee Ownership: Getting Started

March 13th, 2020 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Employee Ownership: Getting Started”

Employee Ownership: Getting Started

 

‘I first became interested in EO as a mechanism for everyone in my business to share in the success and wealth they make. In my mind staff are more important than capital. As an owner, I consider myself a custodian of the business for the next generation. There is no better way to exercise that role than to implement some form of employee ownership.’

-Hugh D. Facey MBE, Chairman of Gripple and Loadhog

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It’s no secret that the Employee Ownership model works. Over the last couple of years the UK Employee Owned sector has grown by 18%. The businesses that have adopted Employee Ownership exist in virtually every sector of the UK economy, throughout all stages of business, and vary in size: from start-ups seeking employee commitment to established businesses looking towards succession. It’s safe to say that the benefits of Employee Ownership are drawing in a diverse crowd and the EO sectors don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.

You’ll find that Employee Ownership exists when those who work in a business also have a meaningful stake in it, meaning they care and that the success of the business matters directly to them- not just their paychecks. This ‘meaningful stake’ is generally found in the business through significant or total ownership, combined with high levels of employee engagement and participation.

Similar to many things in the business world, what works for one business may not be what works for you, but that doesn’t mean that you should avoid EO completely. Employee Ownership can be incorporated in three main ways, making it a model that works for a majority of diverse businesses.

3 Main Types of Employee Ownership

1. Direct Employee Ownership 

Through Direct Employee Ownership, employees become individual owners of shares in the company, often using one or more of the companies tax advantage share plans that are available. A main feature of this approach is that the employees will have their own personal shares, meaning that their financial rewards are directly linked to the success of the company. In short, it’s the most tangible expression of EO since employees can actually benefit financially as the company grows. Direct Employee Ownership is also a simple structure to communicate, as many employees are generally already familiar with the idea of share ownership.

A few questions to reflect on while considering Direct Employee Ownership:

  • Do all staff have sufficient funds to purchase shares? If so, would they want to?
  • Would the company be willing to make a repayable loan for staff to buy the shares?
  • How would the shares be purchased from the owner?  Over what time period? and at what value could they be purchased?
  • Will employees have to meet an eligibility criteria before they can become shareholders?

 

2. Indirect Employee Ownership 

Through Indirect Employee Ownership, all or a certain percentage of the shares of a company are held collectively on behalf of the employees provided through an Employee Benefit Trust, which is drawn from the employees, directors of the businesses, and an external independent chair. It’s important to note that the EBT does not normally require a payment of dividend on its shareholding and that many companies generally use an EBT to hold all of the shares- purchasing them from the existing owners over the years. This structure provides qualifying employees with the same rights and benefits without the commitment to purchase shares directly from their own capital.

A few questions to reflect on while considering Indirect Employee Ownership: 

  • Over what period of time do current owners want to sell/gift their shares to the EBT?
  • What percentage of those shares will ultimately be sold?
  • How will the business fund the purchase of shares from the current owners?
  • Will the employees feel a real sense of ownership of the business through this model in comparison with direct ownership?

 

3. Combined Direct and Indirect Ownership

A lot of companies find it difficult to find the perfect fit for their business in just one of the models above. Instead, many of them have adopted a hybrid model combining direct and indirect ownership as a solution. In this model, the EBT often holds a majority of the shares to create secure and stable ownership within the company and then a Share Incentive Plan or a different tax share scheme is used to distribute the remaining shares to the employees. The individuals who are involved in direct share ownership are then able to make capital gains through their ownership, while at the same time, the EBT ensures that there is a clear focus on the long term. To sum up this hybrid model, all employees are able to share in the success regardless of their personal ability to purchase shares and can still be eligible to receive a direct monetary reward.

While considering Combined Direct and Indirect Ownership it’s important to look at the previous questions stated pertaining to each of the models. It’s also important to consider the complexity of the hybrid model and additional administration fits with the scale and capacity of your organization and the proportions of ownership to be held by the EBT vs the proportion to be held by the employees.

Employee Ownership is an extremely effective and established model that has been proven to work across the globe. It has a track record for boosting profitability, increasing productivity, raising job security, and enhancing employee wellbeing. Furthermore, employee owned businesses are seen to be at the forefront of innovation. Implementing EO does not have to be a frustrating and complicated road. With the right quality of thought and effort, EO implementation can be simple and easily tailored to the circumstances of your personal business.

If you would like to learn more about EO and how it can be applied to your business, feel free to get in touch with us. 

3 Exit Strategies For Business Owners To Consider

March 11th, 2020 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “3 Exit Strategies For Business Owners To Consider”

Everyone has developed an exit strategy at some point in their life. Going to a family gathering and don’t want to get caught up in conversation with your crazy uncle? You probably have an exit strategy for how and when you’re going to get out of that discussion. However, as a business owner, have you thought about what an exit strategy means for your company? Why should you have one? And are there different types of exit strategies?

Here is an opportunity for you to begin thinking about how and why an exit strategy may be good for your business. It’s important to assess your personal and business goals to identify which exit strategy aligns with your future goals.

Even if you’re a small business, it’s a good idea to plan ahead and think about how you will transfer ownership of the business down the line, whether you choose to sell the business, or try to scale it and seek to be acquired. It’s never too early to plan.

1. SELLING YOUR BUSINESS

If your primary motivation is to make a profit, retire, or invest in a new venture, selling your business may be a good route. You need to decide what exactly is for sale: the shares in the business, or the trade and assets (this is usually less tax-efficient).

Then you need to find the right buyer. A good starting point is to approach competitors and companies in related fields. Explore multiple options, as having several interested bidders can increase your sale price.

Work with your Finance Director to maximise the value of your business in the run-up to the sale. Any flaws in the business will be revealed by your buyer’s due diligence, so conduct your own checks first to address these. Selling may take anything up to two years, so plan well in advance and draw up a timetable for keeping the process on track.

It’s also important to consider the impact of each type of buyer on your staff, your customers and your company legacy, as well as on your shareholders, if applicable. The highest bidder may not be the best option if your reasons for selling extend beyond financial gains, but only you can decide what matters most.

Your ultimate business and personal goals and reasons for selling, whether they’re financial, physical, emotional or just wanting a reduced workload with some control so you can enjoy what you’ve created, help you identify the type and potential shortlist for a trade sale, but you’re not alone in what can be a very daunting process. There are plenty of corporate finance advisers who can help you, but the final decision rests with you.

2. EMPLOYEE OWNERSHIP

Often referred to as the ‘John Lewis’ model, transferring ownership to your employees should be one of those options you consider. This is either through direct employee ownership where your staff become registered individual shareholders of the majority of shares in the company, or indirect employee ownership where the shares are held in an employee trust.

There are many examples of high performing employee owned businesses. If more motivated and engaged employees sounds appealing then considering employee ownership as part of your succession and exit strategy will align with your objectives. The Employee Ownership Association has said this is an increasingly popular option for business owners looking for the next step.

Companies which are employee owned, or who have large and significant employee ownership stakes, now contribute £30 billion in the UK. With a 3.3% increase in employees within employee-owned companies and a 4.6% increase in sales year-on-year.

According to CEO Deb Oxley, employee buy-outs mean a sale is less likely to result in a closure of a business and can be a way for business owners to preserve the integrity of their company.

Employee Ownership encourages your employees to get more involved in the company’s vision, governance and ensures they are fully engaged and motivated with the company goals.

3. MANAGEMENT BUY-OUT (MBO)

An MBO is where a company’s management team acquire the company from its current owners. Business owners who choose this option typically have strong non-financial motivations. Although price is important to them, factors such as company legacy, employee welfare and local community are often equally and sometimes more important.

An MBO can provide a smooth, flexible and quick transaction, probably more importantly, the process will often leave the exiting owners feeling content in the knowledge that their business will be left in good hands.

3 Main Advantages:

Maintained confidentiality with regards to business processes, and other details that could compromise a company’s success if fallen into the hands of competitors.

Minimal buyer due diligence when compared with a trade sale.

Greater confidence for you, given the management team’s in-depth experience of running the company

The best exit strategy is the one that best fits your business and your own personal goals. Decide first what you want to walk away with. If it’s just money, an exit strategy such as selling on the open market or to another business may be the best pick. If your legacy and seeing the business you built continue are important to you, then family succession or employee ownership might be best for you. Whichever exit strategy you choose, you need to start working on it. Planning in advance gives you the time to do it right – and maximise your returns.

If you’re looking at exit strategies and need help finding the best route for you, feel free to get in touch with us.

How To Make Sure Your Business Is Fit For Purpose

March 6th, 2020 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “How To Make Sure Your Business Is Fit For Purpose”

At the start of the year, people started making resolutions and plans. And then by February/March they are all thrown out as the pressures of business and life get in the way. However, you can steal a march on this problem. You can make sure that your business is fit for purpose. This means that you’ve goals and plans for the business. The chances are that your business has grown. And with that growth your team has just expanded to fill the gaps – taking on additional tasks and stepping up to the plate.

A strong organisational structure is essential for any business to thrive and grow – it’s the foundation on which success is built.

If you have a poor organisational design, it can lead to ineffective communication, low morale and reduced productivity and profitability. Even if you have extremely motivated employees, they will still struggle to thrive if they’re working in a poorly-structured organisation.

It’s important to know that businesses with a strong sense of purpose continually outperform those without one. How? And why? Well, the reasons are surprisingly straightforward.

If a business has a stronger sense of purpose, it has a better connection to its staff.

Employees who feel they are ‘doing good’ at work undoubtedly perform better than those who are merely a cog in a machine. Nowadays, younger people demand employers who demonstrate how they are ‘doing the right thing’. In order for an organisation to be successful, they need staff who are engaged, motivated and smart.

There are many examples of businesses that use their purpose to inspire customers. Toms, the shoemaker, distributes one pair of shoes to a child in the developing world for every pair sold. When a company demonstrates an authentic purpose, consumers feel a connection to the products and company. They will often choose products with purpose, even if they’re not the cheapest.

Your business will undoubtedly benefit from a stronger, enhanced reputation when your purpose is deeply ingrained in everything you do. Employees tell the story, consumers choose your product over your competitors, investors feel more confident, and stakeholders positively engage.

While purpose draws on your vision, mission and values, it also goes beyond, and explores why the organisation exists. The creation of a core narrative around purpose helps to shape everything the organisation does, from new product development to hiring staff.

Having a flexible approach allows you to test and respond, shape ideas with different audiences at different stages and continually adapt, and improve. If your organisation has the will to ‘do the right thing’, the result will be a more successful business.

You can transform your business through the use of process mapping and strategic management tools.

First, you’ll need to closely examine management and team structures to identify problem areas. Then, gain a thorough understanding of your business and its culture, which will help you address these issues, ensuring the right people are in the right roles and are equipped and supported to deliver results.

If you are serious about business growth this year, feel free to get in touch with us to make sure your business is fit for purpose.

How To Juggle Financial Challenges As A Fast-Growing Company

March 3rd, 2020 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “How To Juggle Financial Challenges As A Fast-Growing Company”

Cash Flow Management and Cost Controls

There’s a common reason why businesses fail, and that’s cash flow. This is especially true for rapidly growing businesses.

When your business is growing fast, the most valuable thing you have as a CEO is your time. You need to be in control of the rudders on the ship and you really don’t want to be worried about chasing cash. So what can you do to confidently manage cash flow during rapid growth in your business? Optimise your pricing and review and readjust your spending.

Cash Flow problems cause you to not re-examine your pricing model or experiment with value pricing because you are too scared to lose business. CEOs sometimes tend to make the mistake of offering discounts to generate cash when cash flow is fluctuating as a quick fix. It may feel like the right decision because you feel the urgency, but the long term effect is not sustainable. If you have a solid pricing model and a plan to experiment with value pricing, you won’t get backed into making ad-hoc pricing mistakes that will end up having long-term effects. How well you price your products/services and the margin it produces is the key to maximising cash flow.

When your business is in the midst of rapid growth, you’re often faced with big spending decisions to advance your business’s infrastructure – location, hiring, inventory, equipment, technology.

Fine-tuning these areas of cash flow management enables your business to be scalable. Scalability will help you successfully grow and adapt to increased volume without compromising on quality, performance, service, or any element that’s key to your business.

Also, in terms of spending, you want to take educated risks – By tracking valuable KPIs over the year, you can gather actionable financial intelligence that will help you quantify ROI and make good long-term decisions on spending.

Internal Controls

While there is no such thing as 100% assurance, knowing that there is a strong internal control structure in place that includes both preventative and detective controls should give you the comfort to be able to sleep soundly at night. Evaluation of your current internal control structure includes asking the “How do you know?” questions for each business process:

How do you know all of your cash is being recorded completely, and you are recognizing revenue accurately? How do you know you’re hiring the “right” people?

If you’ve answered “I don’t know” to any of the above, then there may be areas where you have control gaps. You want to look closely at each process, identify these gaps and assess the risks associated with them.

Filling out expenses is time-consuming, receipts get misplaced, and employees often categorise expenses incorrectly. Companies like Travelport Locomote, get their employees take a photo of their expense receipts. The company then uses software that scans data such as the date of the expense and the amount spent from the receipt and automatically categorises it, which means the only information employees have to enter manually is the name of the guest they entertained at the meal they are expensing.

Ultimately, Travelport Locomote is leveraging technology to reduce human error and improve internal controls at the same time as reducing the burden on employees.

Risk Management

Usually, finance and strategy teams have been tasked with working together to promote corporate growth. Now, new research has shown that you need to consider risk management—to achieve sustainable long-term growth for your business.

But taking such risks does not come naturally for most companies. In fact, in 2016, 77% of CFOs reported that the amount of risk aversion from executives in their organization rose from the previous year. What these executives do not understand is that, like cholesterol, there are good and bad kinds of risk. Bad risks are more obvious and distinguished by recklessness and wrongdoing. These are what the risk management function is normally associated with—putting controls in place to keep bad things from happening. But companies need to take risks to grow, and there is a role for risk management to play in helping with that.

To get this right, finance, strategy and risk management teams need to join forces. This presents risk management with an opportunity to demonstrate its value by enabling senior leaders to make high-risk growth decisions. Risk leaders can help companies change their approach to new growth opportunities by taking three key steps:

Coordinate risk and strategic planning.
Discuss risk appetite within the appropriate context.
Develop an active risk appetite.

The above shows that risk management, cash flow management and controls, are key to efficiency when you’re juggling the finance challenges of a fast-growing company. If you’d like to talk to us about how you can move your business forward whilst facing these challenges, feel free to get in touch.

Why an Outside Perspective Is Essential to Your Company’s Growth & Success

February 21st, 2020 Posted by Uncategorized 1 thought on “Why an Outside Perspective Is Essential to Your Company’s Growth & Success”

Every business and organisation needs to get that outside perspective. You are too close to what you do to be truly objective. You need people who can push and move you forward.

At the start of the year, you may have felt like you have exhausted all of your resources and were stuck on where to go next. This is when you may want to consider opting for outside guidance, especially if you are looking to achieve a significant amount of growth or change. Every so often — whether things are going unbelievably well or spiralling out of control — you need an outside perspective.

One way to ensure that your business is on the appropriate path for growth is making sure that your company is implementing the correct methods of financial planning and strategy. Outside expertise can make a massive difference for your business, especially if your business is still smaller than you hoped to be. In addition to bringing a sustainable long-term strategic plan that will help you improve your business while remaining profitable, they also bring fresh perspectives and help point out challenges you may have not even noticed existed.

Trying new things without guidance could potentially lead to making easily avoidable and very costly mistakes. However, trying new things with the proper advice and having a hand to lead you through the common roadblocks can truly benefit you and help your business reach its greatest potential. Now may be the time to consider how much your business could truly benefit by bringing a part-time director on board.

Your board members can help you see the forest through the trees — evaluating what’s worth worrying over and what doesn’t deserve your attention. They can also help the company expand its areas of expertise, proactively evaluate and mitigate risks, and increase credibility. Don’t fly blind. If you’re thinking about growth capital or an exit, a board of directors can help navigate important decisions along the way.

So it’s not exactly an “outside” point of view — but your employees will have worthwhile feedback that you’d be loathe to ignore. Pick their brains for their take on your business model, leadership style, senior management, marketing strategy, and more. More junior employees are more likely to hear honest reviews of your products or service offerings from customers than you are as CEO.

In the constantly evolving and fast changing pace of business, leaders need to call upon and benefit from others’ insights, opinions, expertise, and critiques to ensure that they are relevant, desirable and the best place to go for both their employees and clients/customers.

Julie Barber, Founder & CEO of Spark! Consulting talks about looking at your company through an investors’ eyes. https://vimeo.com/392715410

If you’re looking to raise investment for your business, we have an exclusive session with Spark! Consulting next Tuesday 25th February which will give you a clear understanding of what investors are looking for and a step-by-step guide to the process of getting ready for investment.

If your company is looking to raise between £250K- £10m, you’ll really benefit from this event as you’ll be hearing from the most experienced Finance and Commercial Directors who’ll be able to answer all your questions about raising investment

Tickets are £49.50+VAT Click Here To Purchase

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