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How to Avoid Sleeping Like a Baby (And Why You Should)

How to Avoid Sleeping Like a Baby (And Why You Should)

Babies, as any hollow-eyed new parent will tell you, often sleep for just a few hours at a time which is why ‘sleeping like a baby’ is a practice best avoided if you have a growing business to run and need to be on top of your game during working hours.

Instead, sleep experts recommend you look for ways to get between seven and nine unbroken hours of night-time sleep.

That’s because sleep is believed to be crucial to your physical and mental wellbeing. It’s essential for maintaining cognitive skills such as communicating well, remembering key information and being creative and flexible in thought, says Dr Justin Varney in an article for Public Health England.

Insufficient sleep has a “profound impact” on your ability to function, he says. It makes you more vulnerable to infection and raises the risk of accidents and injuries.

What’s more, studies are beginning to show a link between a lack of sleep and conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.

So, what can you do to ensure you get a great night’s sleep?

Almost every article you read on the topic will fail to mention what is arguable the number 1 strategy for a great night’s sleep… They’ll tell you to transform your bedroom into a technological-free zone (so no late-night watching of ‘Peaky Blinders’ or checking your Twitter feed before you shut your eyes). That’s as much to avoid too much stimulation before sleep as it is to minimise the amount of blue light you’re exposed to from some TVs, computer screens, tablets, smartphones, and LED lighting. The blue light can keep you awake by suppressing the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.

Sleep hygienists (the name for experts in this field) also recommend you stick to regular bedtimes and avoid consuming caffeine and rich food in the last few hours before bed, and so on.

What most ‘sleep tips’ articles fail to mention is one of the best ways you can get your full quota of night-time sleep—that is how to deal with work-related stress which is one of the biggest causes of sleep problems. As the owner or CEO of a growing business, one of the best ways you can reduce your work-related stress is to hire an experienced part-time Finance Director (FD) or Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

Take the CFO Centre’s part-time CFOs as an example. They all have many years of big business experience so that they can identify and assess the areas of risk in your business. More importantly, they can advise you on how to deal with such risks now and in the future.

Equally, part-time CFOs can highlight areas of risk that you are either unaware of or don’t know how to deal with. In other words, they’ll identify, quantify and help you to manage the risks your organisation faces.

But they do so much more than that. They will also advise, analyse and implement processes and practices to ensure your organisation performs better. They can provide strategic analysis and advisory support on every finance-related aspect of your business.

At any one time, they can be involved in all those areas of the business that have previously kept you awake at night: things such as reporting, auditing, tax planning, business planning, capital expenditure, working capital management, budgeting and exit planning. Your part-time CFO will work on your financial strategy and finance operations while also managing your tax planning, legals, compliance, outsourcing and banking relationships.

You can rest easy at night, knowing your part-time CFO will help you to improve your cash flow and profitability and provide the insight into how your business can move seamlessly to the next level.

With a part-time CFO on your side, insomnia and restless sleep should become a thing of the past.

How it will work

The CFO Centre’s part-time CFOs use a proven framework known as the ’12 Boxes’ to identify where the problems are within any business. They use it to review every aspect of your company finance function and identify every problem area.

They will help you to understand your company’s finances; eliminate cash flow problems; identify cost-savings and improve profits.

They can also help you and your team to understand your main profit drivers; find and arrange funding; identify your Critical Success Factors and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), help you to expand nationally and internationally; and build value to make your business more attractive to investors or buyers.

To discover more about the 12 Boxes, click here.

Need help?

To discover how an CFO Centre part-time CFO will help your business, contact us now on 1300 447 740. To book your free one-to-one call with one of our part-time CFOs, click  here.  You can see how they add rocket fuel to any business here.

To hear what people really think about the CFO Centre’s part-time CFOs, watch these short videos here.

Identify strengths and weaknesses

Identify the strengths and gaps in your business in just nine minutes with the F-Score.

Just answer a brief series of questions, and you’ll receive an 8-page report that will reveal potential current or future pain points for your business. It will also help you to rate the performance of your finance function and uncover untapped opportunities for growth. Click here now to take the F-Score.

Got a Big Question?

If you have a burning question for one of our team of CFOs, ask it here, and you’ll get an answer within 24 hours.

What to Expect from a Part-Time CFO

What to Expect from a Part-Time CFO

The idea of hiring even a part-time CFO may seem to some SMEs a bit OTT—like paying Quentin Tarantino to make a 90-second home page video or booking Wembley Stadium for the company’s five-a-side friendly football match.

But for companies whose ambition is to get into and survive the coveted scale-up phase, hiring a part-time CFO makes perfect sense. They know that they’re getting a finance veteran, someone with big business experience, who can provide the guidance they need to grow rapidly and help them to avoid the costly mistakes that so many ambitious SMEs make as they attempt to move into the Big League.

As Colin Mills, the Chairman of the CFO Centre, said in his book about scale-ups, “The reality is that there is great value in having someone from the next level if you’re aspiring to get there.”

Companies who hire part-time CFOs understand that today’s CFOs are capable of delivering far more than bookkeeping or accounting services. They provide the kind of strategic business that fundamentally alters the performance/profitability and long term potential for a business. They can work with your board of directors and external stakeholders such as your bank or investors. They can also advise you on mergers and acquisitions. Besides strategic analysis, they can provide operational support on everything finance-related in your business.

Their responsibilities might cover business planning, capital structure, risk management, auditing and reporting, tax planning, capital expenditure, investor communication, R&D investment, working capital management and company budgeting.

Companies that don’t hire CFOs are often unaware of the opportunities and profits they’re missing out on. When asked why so many SMEs don’t hire CFOs, Matthew Bud, Chairman of the international Financial Executives Networking Group, said business owners are either unaware of their need for a CFO or reluctant to spend the money.

What many entrepreneurs don’t realise is that they’re already spending that money in lost profits and misspending,” he told Inc.

“They’re not seeing the dynamics of the business from an educated financial perspective. You can’t always go with your gut in making financial decisions, which is what a lot of entrepreneurs try to do.”

So, what can you expect from a part-time CFO?

Well, the role a part-time CFO will play in your company will depend on factors such as the size of your business, your expectations, your industry, and your corporate strategy and business goals. But a good CFO will work on your company’s finance strategy and finance operations and manage areas such as compliance, tax planning and legals, outsourcing and banking relationships.

To achieve success in these different roles, a CFO will need outstanding hard and soft skills.

If you’re a CEO, the CFO will be your strategic partner, providing financial insight and strategy and helping you to improve profitability and cash flow.

A good CFO won’t, however, be a ‘Yes’ person, someone who rubber-stamps every initiative without due diligence. On the contrary, they will challenge you and your vision for your business asking the kinds of questions which leads to transformation as opposed to incremental improvement.

Charles Holley, CFO-in-residence at Deloitte and former Walmart CFO, says good CFOs are independent-minded yet supportive of their CEO.

My CEOs counted on me to be the truth teller, to form my own opinions on important company decisions and to speak up. At the same time, they expected my support for execution.”

Great CFOs challenge the business, he says. They point out problems and propose possible solutions to “spark the debate”.

CFOs are in the best position to call attention when the numbers aren’t supporting the strategy. For example, CFOs can push the business to change capex priorities when the underlying ROI assumptions are no longer supported by the numbers.”

Besides being a trusted advisor and sounding board, a good CFO will help to raise efficiencies, identify opportunities, manage risk management, and manage capital structure.

Since they speak the language of financiers and understand what they are really interested in, CFOs can also liaise with financial institutions, investors, and auditors on your behalf.

In other words, a part-time CFO can help you to manage the transition into the scale-up phase more smoothly and ensure you reach your growth targets sooner.

How it works in practice

The FD Centre’s part-time CFOs use a proven framework known as the ’12 Boxes’ to identify where the problems are within any business. They use it to review every aspect of your company finance function and identify every problem area.

They will help you to understand your company’s finances; eliminate cash flow problems; identify cost-savings, and improve profits.

They can also help you and your team to understand your main profit drivers; find and arrange funding; identify your Critical Success Factors and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), help you to expand nationally and internationally; and build value to make your business more attractive to investors or buyers.

To discover more about the 12 Boxes, click here.

 Need help?

To discover how an CFO Centre part-time CFO will help your business, contact us now on 0808 164 8902. To book your free one-to-one call with one of our part-time CFOs, click  here.   You can see how they add rocket fuel to any business here.

To hear what people really think about the FD Centre’s part-time CFOs, watch these short videos here.

Uncover strengths and weaknesses

Identify the strengths and gaps in your business in just nine minutes with the F-Score.

Just answer a brief series of questions, and you’ll receive an 8-page report that will reveal potential current or future pain points for your business. It will also help you to rate the performance of your finance function and uncover untapped opportunities for growth. Click here now to take the F-Score.

Got a Big Question?

If you have a burning question for one of our team of  CFOs, ask it here, and you’ll get an answer within 24 hours. Please note the question must be finance-related (sadly they can’t give horse-racing or fashion tips or relationship advice)

What A Finance Director Can Do for Your Company

You might think a Finance Director’s role is confined to traditional finance activities, but today’s CFO can do so much more than count beans.

In the past, an CFO’s responsibilities might have been confined to high-level accounting such as providing timely financial statements and monthly management reports, managing investments and expenses, monitoring cash flow, and managing risk. But as the business landscape has become more complex over the past decade, the role of an CFO has changed.

That change is due to factors such as the global financial crisis—the biggest since the Great Depression of the 1930s, disrupted and volatile markets, the rise of big data, and the impact of digital and social media.

As a result, CEOs and their Boards expect so much more from CFOs, according to a KPMG report.

“CEOs are increasingly looking to their finance leaders to help drive wider business strategies,” says Simon Dergel, author of ‘Guide to CFO Success’.

They expect CFOs to make decisions and shape their plans based on the company’s ambitions, he says. As the keeper of the company’s data with an understanding of every department’s objectives and performance, they can play an active role in refining and aligning business strategies.

“Perhaps the biggest change in terms of the CFO’s role in business today is that their advice is not only valued—it is necessary,” says Dergel.

“Businesses are currently dealing with a wave of disruptive competitors and fast-changing customer expectations, while also managing a global talent shortage and volatile financial conditions. The wisdom and experience of finance leaders make them indispensable in the boardroom as companies look to tackle one of the most uncertain economic periods in decades.”

Most importantly, CFOs are delivering on these expectations. The new breed of CFOs are now much more forward-looking. They wear three ‘hats’ at any given time: financial expert, active management team member and leader of the finance function.

Given the opportunity, they can perform multiple roles within a company, working both on and in the business. Not only can they direct financial performance and protect the financial integrity of the company but they can also drive strategy.

This is borne out by James Riley, the Group Finance Director and Executive Director of Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd., who says, “A good CFO should be at the elbow of the CEO, ready to support and challenge him/her in leading the business.

“The CFO should, above all, be a good communicator—to the board on the performance of the business and the issues it is facing; to his/her peers in getting across key information and concepts to facilitate discussion and decision making; and to subordinates so that they are both efficient and motivated.

“Other priorities for a CFO are to have strength of character, personality, and intellect. I take it as a given in reaching such a position that an individual would have the requisite technical knowledge and financial skills.”

How Start-Ups and Scale-Ups Benefit

Most start-ups and early-stage growth companies don’t need and can’t afford the services of a full-time CFO. But that doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from all that CFOs offer. They can access the skills of highly qualified CFOs by engaging them on a part-time basis.

Part-time CFOs can provide enormous value in terms of strategy and planning for early-stage or scale-up companies. A report from the Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF) went further: it described their role as “critical to the success of start-up and early-stage growth companies” since they provide key insights.

It found CFOs play key roles in not only managing a young and fast-growing company’s finances but also in setting broader strategic goals and establishing and achieving financial and non-financial milestones.

When the company is at a stage when it needs external investment, the part-time CFO can manage the process to ensure it raises the right type of funding from the right sources. The part-time CFO can also provide more comprehensive reporting as well as manage the relationship with the external investors, whether they are venture capitalists, private investors or banks.

Part-time CFOs also help to establish sound reporting systems and tools that help improve reporting metrics and communications to investors.

They also play a key part in setting and monitoring company strategy and maintaining a balance between investing in growth, building market share and preserving capital for future opportunities.

As they grow, the need for a part-time CFO’s financial and strategic acumen becomes more acute, FERF found.

The CFO Centre’s part-time CFOs bring these skills to every client at a fraction of the cost of their full-time counterparts. For instance, its part-time CFOs can:

  • Provide you with an overview of your company so that you can make sound decisions about its future.
  • Help you to understand your company’s finances.
  • Eliminate cash flow problems.
  • Identify cost-savings within your company.
  • Improve your profits.
  • Create a realistic business plan and so make better financial decisions.
  • Help you and your management team to manage your finances with ease.
  • Develop clear strategic objectives.
  • Identify your Critical Success Factors and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
  • Find and arrange funding.
  • Understand your main profit drivers.
  • Identify your best customers.
  • Sort out your tax position.
  • Introduce timely, easy to follow management reports.
  • Facilitate expansion in your country and into other countries
  • Build value to make your company more attractive to investors or buyers

 

To discover how an CFO Centre part-time FD or CFO will help your business, contact us now on 09 838 7135.

To book your free one-to-one call with one of our part-time CFOs, click here.  

Why Hollywood Actors Should Get Training from FDs

Why Hollywood Actors Should Get Training from FDs

You shouldn’t be surprised to discover that Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Hugh Jackman, Gary Oldman among many other Oscar-winning actors and actresses bear a grudge against Finance Directors.

It’s easy to understand why. For although the likes of Streep and Oldman have achieved fame, fortune and critical acclaim, they can usually only inhabit one role at a time. They take it on for a few months and then move on to the next.

A great CFO, by comparison, is the master or mistress of multiple roles and can switch between them easily and effortlessly. What’s more, they perform those multiple roles day in, day out for weeks, months and even years.

That’s because an CFO is there to help the business owner achieve the company’s objectives by providing financial and strategic guidance to ensure it meets its financial commitments and to develop policies and procedures to ensure its financial management is sound. The Institute of Directors says the CFO is “often viewed as the member of the board who creates a solid foundation upon which a business can grow”.

It’s why a typical CFO job advertisement features a huge list of responsibilities. These will often include the following and more:

  • Providing strategic financial leadership to optimise the organisation’s medium to long-term financial performance and strategic position
  • Contributing fully to the implementation of organisation strategy across all areas of the business, challenging assumptions and decision-making as appropriate and providing financial analysis and guidance on all activities, plans, and targets
  • Providing robust financial reporting and analysis to the Board of Directors, Finance, Risk and Governance Board and Corporate Management Team including the provision of financial support to strategic decision-making and transactions
  • Working with senior management to steer the business towards the goal of greater financial independence and sustainability
  • Providing cash management – monthly cash flow reporting and long-term strategic cash management
  • Overseeing the preparation of VAT and other statutory submissions
  • Developing and ensuring compliance with financial policies and controls
  • Presenting annual accounts to the General Meeting.
  • Risk management and reporting – maintenance of the organisation’s risk register ensuring control processes are fit for purpose
  • Developing an IT strategy which supports the organisational strategy.

Although CFOs aren’t expected to be able to speak in an accent, swordfight or ride a horse as actors are, they are expected to have accountancy qualifications, excellent communication and interpersonal skills, the ability to manage complex stakeholder relationships and to provide strong attention to detail with commercial and strategic acumen.

So, as you can see, at any time during a CFO’s day, the CFO will be a sounding board/mentor for the CEO (and sometimes the only one to point out the flaws in a ‘blue sky’ idea), strategic advisor, bookkeeper, financial controller, risk management advisor, finance team leader, recruitment advisor and much more.

Being able to adapt to any one of the roles comes from experience. The CFO Centre’s part-time FDs, for instance, have all had years of experience working in large corporations. They’re used to working in complex, demanding environments and switching roles as the need arises.

Unlike actors, FDs don’t perform as they do for applause or for a gold-plated statuette (although many would be very, very happy if you offered to pay them in real gold bullion). They do it to help business owners like you take your fledgling business to new heights of success.

What’s more, you can be sure that the FD you hire won’t ever pull you aside before or during a meeting to ask, “What’s my motivation?”

To discover how an FD Centre part-time FD or CFO will help your business, contact us now on 09 838 7135. To book your free one-to-one call with one of our part-time FDs, just click here.

The Rising Power of AI in Financial Services

The Rising Power of AI in Financial Services

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already transforming the way in which financial service companies are doing business.

More and more of them are using AI to process information on their customers, cut costs, save time, monitor behaviour patterns, assess credit quality, automate client interactions, analyse markets, assess data quality and detect fraud.

A pwc Digital IQ 2017 survey found that 72% of business decision makers believe AI will be the business advantage of the future. About 52% said they’re currently making “substantial investments” in AI, and 66% said they expect to be making substantial investments in three years.

Franck Coison, Industry Solution Director, at international IT services company Atos says the four main types of AI are facial and voice recognition, natural language processing, machine learning, and deep learning. They can be used in chatbots, document analysis, process automation or predictive analysis, he says.

Although robotic process automation (RPA) is increasingly common in financial services, it is usually used for quite simple, repetitive tasks, says Coison. “In contrast, AI can be used to automate more complex tasks that require cognitive, or ‘intelligent’, processes.

“While RPA is appropriate for back-office and accounting processes, when it is combined with AI, any process including customer-facing activities can be automated.”

That means it has great potential in areas such as customer service, sales and customer intelligence, IT services, fraud prevention, and cyber security, he says.

The pwc survey found that adoption of practical machines that think is widespread in the financial services sector. Some banks use AI surveillance tools to prevent financial crime, and others use machine learning for tax planning. Many insurers use automated underwriting tools in their daily decision making and wealth managers offer automated investing advice across multiple channels.

A provider of next-generation investment analytics Kensho Technologies has for example developed a system that allows investment managers to ask investment-related questions in plain English, such as, “What sectors and industries perform best three months before and after a rate hike?”. They receive answers within minutes.

AI is proving popular among banks too. Lloyds Bank, for example, has invested $5.7billion on its digital transformation initiative, which includes using AI to “simplify and progress modernisation of its IT and data infrastructure, as well as other technology-enabled productivity improvements across the business”.

Terry Cordeiro, Head of Product Management at Lloyds Banking Group says AI has “completely transformed how the finance industry works, with the vision at Lloyds being to use smart machines for extending human capabilities while using data to respond.

“Automating processes means better opportunities to reduce costs for better decision making, and intelligent products mean that our customers are able to do much more,” Corderio says.

Earlier this year, NatWest Bank introduced ‘Cora’, an AI-powered ‘digital human’, which converses with customers in its branches. Cora can answer more than 200 queries, covering everything from mortgage applications to lost bank cards.

The plan is to develop Cora so it can answer hundreds of different questions, as well as detect human emotions and react verbally and physically with facial expressions. As well as being put in branches, Cora could be used by customers at home on their laptop or PC and, in the long run, on smartphones.

Finance departments are also benefiting from AI. The insight into data that it can provide will be a competitive advantage, according to Matthias Thurner of the Corporate Performance Management and Business Intelligence solutions provider, Unit4 Prevero. “For this reason, AI will become integral to finance functions in every industry,” he says.

As technology improves, AI will become faster and smarter at providing analysis, he says. Companies that don’t use it will be at a competitive disadvantage.

“Businesses don’t want to replace their employees, but they do want to make better financial decisions, and AI will allow them to do that faster and cheaper than a whole team of humans.”

It will enable skilled office workers to spend more time on their core competencies rather than maintaining data, he says. This will help organisations to reduce costs and the time spent on manual tasks or the classifying of data.

Likewise, FDs will benefit from AI data analysis, says Thurner. That’s important since there’s an increasing expectation for FDs to be a source of business insight. Boards want more frequent reports that contain more context and detail. Fortunately, they will be able to deliver more detailed and more frequent reports thanks to AI, he says.

But it’s unlikely an FDbot will appear in finance departments any time soon. “We can expect machine l   earning to powerfully augment human expertise and experience in the near future even if that’s not a reality today,” says Thurner. “AI can provide data back-up and make suggestions to help the human decision-maker, but it’s the CFO who ultimately has to decide what to recommend,” says Thurner.

With so much potential in key areas of business, it’s no wonder that AI is being hailed as the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“AI will have an impact as big as electricity and will transform every single industry,” predicts Cordeiro of Lloyds Banking Group.

To discover how a part-time FD will help your company, please call the FD Centre on 09 838 7135 or visit our website now.

 

Strategically Outsource to Maximise Efficiency and Productivity

Strategically Outsource to Maximise Efficiency and Productivity

If you’re looking for a quick way to cut costs, boost efficiency and improve productivity then consider outsourcing one or more of your business’ support processes.

Outsourcing has many benefits and can give you a greater competitive edge in your market.

It allows you to tap into a large international talent pool and benefit from external expertise. Your outsourced providers can provide services, innovative approaches, and the latest technology along with cutting-edge solutions that your in-house team might be unable to provide.

It also allows full-time employees to focus on your company’s core competencies.

And it means you have lower operational and recruitment costs. The cost-savings you achieve with outsourcing can help you to release capital for investment in other areas of your business.

But outsourcing does have its downsides. For example, there’s a risk in allowing outsourced providers to handle confidential company data, whether that’s the details of employees or customers or competitive information. Under the GDPR, companies will be held responsible for any third-party data breaches. The penalties for such breaches will be stiff. What’s more, any data breaches will dent your company’s reputation and damage your brand.

Then there’s the risk that the output will be sub-standard or that delivery time frames will be stretched. Both would damage your company’s reputation and possibly result in lost sales.

And there’s a danger that unless the outsourcing is carefully managed, the expected cost savings won’t materialise. This was the case for the UK government. Its programme to outsource back-office functions ended up costing taxpayers $7 million. Officials had predicted the programme would save up to $700 million a year, but after two and a half years, it had saved just $158 million but cost $165 million.

It’s for these reasons many companies are still reluctant to consider outsourcing.

That’s a shame because if the outsourcing is well-managed, the benefits will far outweigh the risks. Take the Alibaba.com e-commerce website, for example. Today, it’s known as the world’s biggest global marketplace but in its early days, its founder Jack Ma had to outsource the website development to a US company. At the time, he couldn’t find development talent in China whereas developers in America had the skills he needed. It also allowed him to overcome the Chinese government’s tight internet restrictions.

Google is another giant that also outsources work to IT specialists, developers and virtual assistants. At one point, Google outsourced phone and email support for AdWords, one of its top-grossing products, to about 1,000 external representatives.

The founders of the hugely popular WhatsApp Brian Acton and Jan Koum also hired the services of external providers. In their case, they used the services of an iPhone developer Igor Solomennikov for the core development work on the app.

What can you outsource?

You can outsource any or all of the following:

  • Administrative tasks such as data entry, typing, travel arrangements and scheduling.
  • Lead generation and customer service including cold calling
  • Marketing including content writing, direct marketing, website design, brand development, press releases, social media, blogging and search engine optimisation
  • IT operations
  • Sales Directors
  • Legal Directors
  • Human Resources including recruitment and the management of employee benefits
  • Accounting and financial duties including bookkeeping, invoicing, accounts payable and receivable, payroll processing and financial reporting. You can, for example, hire a part-time Chief Financial Officer who knows how to finance a business, deal with growth, present meaningful monthly numbers and get the best deals from banks.

It means you get a highly experienced senior CFO with the experience and knowledge to help you plan, manage and control business growth. The CFO Centre will provide you with a CFO with ‘big business experience’ for a fraction of the cost of a full-time CFO.

To discover how a CFO Centre part-time FD or CFO will help your business, contact us now on 1300 447 740. To book your free one-to-one call with one of our part-time CFOs, just click here.

Why are scale-ups more valuable than start-ups?

What if Bill Hewlett and David Packard had never got out of that famous Palo Alto garage? If they’d stayed a two-person company, we’d likely never have heard of them – and the history of Silicon Valley would have been very different. Instead, at its peak in 2011, Hewlett Packard had nearly 350,000 employees around the world.

There are many small startups of the size Hewlett Packard was back in that garage, and it’s important for governments to encourage entrepreneurs to found companies. But the economic value of entrepreneurship isn’t in two-person startups. It’s in “scale ups” – companies that have hit a growth curve. Scale-up companies have particular value because:

Skilled workers have a chance to shine: Successful scale-ups are able to offer secure, well-paid jobs to highly skilled professionals, giving them a chance to build their skills even more.

Reliable jobs: Scale-up companies also need workers for a wide range of roles – ranging from payroll managers to marketing, sales and other support functions – and this provides work for people who work in the background to keep the company functioning.

Spinoff economic activity: Successfully scaled-up companies provide more than direct employment. They create spinoff activity, requiring support from their own supplier base while supporting their customers’ growth. They also become reliable tenants for property owners, and through their payrolls, they boost the tax base in their community.

Technological advancement: They can gather the financial resources and skills to invest in developing and commercializing new technologies.

Building other companies: Scale-ups also become reliable customers for companies that supply them with parts, components, and other inputs. This allows these vendors to provide reliable jobs, and they too create their own spinoff activity.

Our book “Scale Up” quotes business guru and venture capitalist Daniel Isenberg, “One venture that grows to 100 people in 5 years is probably more beneficial to entrepreneurs, shareholders, employees and governments alike, than 50 which stagnate at two years.”

This book points out that in many parts of the world, the focus for business growth is on helping start-ups succeed. People wanting to found companies find financial help, coaching, and other support through incubators and other institutions. “Scale Up” points out that startups are fun, exciting and sexy.

By contrast, the growth process is more of a hard slog. It’s not that common for a company to have a winning combination of a good idea or technology, along with the vision and determination, to grow past the “garage” stage into mid-size, scale-up stage. But when they do, there has not been the support network to help them successfully grow.  Governments and organizations are now recognizing the need to create an eco-system for start-ups to help enable them to Scale-Up.

The CFO Centre has worked with thousands of companies over the past 17 years. Using this experience and the experience of our clients in Scaling Up, we have identified the key attributes and requirements for a company to successfully Scale.  Over the coming weeks we will explore and explain our Scale-Up Framework.

Because so many companies either fail or have trouble scaling, you need to have every possible advantage on your side.

So maybe you’re not working out of a garage, as Hewlett and Packard were when they started. But to follow their success path, you need to change your thinking from a startup mentality to a scale-up. Success isn’t a matter of predestination – HP’s founders hit many failures before they found what worked for them – but it does help to have a roadmap –to help you on your journey.

The result is a company that is much more valuable when it comes time to move on to the next stage of your life and career.

Is your company ready for rapid growth and positioned to Scale-Up?

First mover advantage doesn’t go to the first company that launches, it goes to the first company that scales.”   – Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn

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