Life through a lens
One of the toughest challenges for owners of SMEs is to be able to stand back, to look at their business through a wide-angle lens and identify what it is they really have.
Because quite often, the day-to-day distractions and diversions that inevitably surround the running of a successful business – particularly when there’s a global pandemic pulling the rug from under everyone’s feet – get in the way of sensible, objective evaluation and strategic decision-making. Crucially, that can mean that really important opportunities to grow and develop go at best un-exploited and at worst, un-noticed.
This is where the role of Chief Financial Officer becomes so vital. And where the specific advantages of joining forces with a part time (and often virtual) CFO are brought sharply into focus.
Allow yourself to dream…
What does your CFO do for you as the owner of an SME? Hopefully, they’ll make sure that everyone gets paid the right amount at the right time; sort out your internal reporting, compliance and tax planning, and probably run your relationship with your bank.
While that (along with a few other bits and pieces) is probably enough to keep a business ticking over, it’s not a reasonable platform on which to base a sound growth strategy.
Of course, things look even worse if you don’t have a CFO on your team. Whatever your business and whatever your own specific talent, it’s almost certain that you didn’t get into business to spend your life doing cashflow projections or dealing with taxes! No dreaming for you – you’re more likely to be waking up at 3 am in cold sweats.
A CFO Center CFO can help make your dreams come true
When you started your company, you almost certainly allowed yourself to dream – every successful business operator needs ambition. But as we’ve seen, all too often those aspirations become bogged down in the everyday grind of keeping a business afloat.
The CFO Center team provides CFO expertise of a very high caliber – the top 1% of talent in the marketplace. These are people who know their stuff – the operational finance stuff, which keeps the wheels in motion and the strategic finance stuff, which brings the dream to life.
In many cases they’re able to draw on their own business success to guide others.
A CFO Center CFO will help decode the dream and turn it into a plan and be the one to hold you to account to make it happen. He or she will bring forward the target by showing you how to come at it from a different angle. Great CFOs are catalysts and can help you break the pattern of linear growth and get you what you really want on an expedited timetable. And that’s essential if the dream is still to come true.
The CFO Center ‘Entrepreneur Journey’: our ‘secret sauce’
All CFO Center CFOs operate within an environment that provides comprehensive support and expertise. The CFO Center has a global network – a Collective Intelligence Engine – of more than 700 individuals, each of whom has achieved success as a CFO and often as an MD or CEO, themselves. What’s more, they are uniquely able to access and deploy the limitless potential locked up in your business model. And they talk to each other, share expertise, experiences, and contacts.
In brief, a CFO Center CFO will guide the entrepreneur on a three-stage journey to achieve clarity about what it is they really want from their business. To take them from where they are now, to where they want to be.
And to be clear: ‘where they want to be’ is an individual choice for the business owner. It might involve scaling up significantly; it could mean launching new products in new markets around the world; perhaps it means ratcheting up your multiple as you prepare for exit. Whatever form it takes, it’s invariably about making that dream a reality by refashioning the plan and making sure it actually happens.
Stage One on the journey covers the process of achieving operational excellence. In other words enabling an organisation to do what it does best, to the best extent possible.
Stage Two, strategic opportunity, involves preparing the springboard. This is where the strategy to achieve those dreams is forged. Perhaps it’s a question of entering new markets; evaluating risk, raising new funds. Whatever the strategy, it’s based on sound experience and, yes, that ‘secret sauce’ that blends the logic with a little magic and know how.
Stage Three, game-changing performance is, simply, what happens when stages one and two are complete.
The dream is achieved by developing a concise roadmap based on what the business owner wants to achieve. The role of the CFO Center CFO is to identify and unlock that potential – thus freeing the dream and making it a reality.
Fly like a bird
Of course, this is not to suggest that success comes easily. Business challenges are usually complicated and risky. That’s another reason why potential isn’t always realised; why many business owners end up working late nights on mundane tasks.
So, one of the first conversations a CFO Center CFO will have with a client is to understand what it is that motivates them to be in business, and what they want to achieve from it. What really matters to them. There are numbers, many numbers, in the life of a CFO, but it’s identifying and understanding the numbers that really matter in the client’s life that is crucial.
A CFO Center CFO aims to unlock that potential and give wings to the dream.