Stratelligence provides businesses from small to large with a host of management consulting all of which we are passionate about, but I will readily admit one of my favorite’s centers around corporate strategy and planning. I meet quite frequently with small and medium sized business owners who have objectives and desires to grow. My first question is do you have a plan? I am often met with “yes we have a plan.” In many cases I receive the overwhelmingly ‘no.” For those that have a plan I dig a little deeper for specifics. Do you have a budget? Do you have a 3 to 5 year financial and operational forecast? Do you have the capability to forecast all 3 financial statements? The more I dig it becomes apparent that in many cases the plan is not a plan that is well defined and, in some cases, it’s not even on paper or in a system, “its in my head” I am told.
Over the past few weeks, we have met with several companies that fit into these parameters. They are very successful, have grown their companies through providing great products and/or services and all are searching for ways to grow. Some of very distinct objectives. Perhaps, they want to grow their company to a specific size and then sell. Others are just trying to go from point A to point B. I spoke recently to one company that wants to grow from their current $40M in revenue to $100 million and another who wants to grow from $3M to $50M, and both want to sell. As we continue our initial consultation (which is free by the way) we dive into specifics, their market, customers, current revenue streams, operating expenses, and debt posture. We discuss current banking relationships, organization, and ownership structure, and yes “their plan.” I have been doing this a long time, so I am not shocked when I learn “their plan” is more of list of desires than it is a plan and that’s perfectly normal and ok. We get it, it’s not your wheelhouse nor do you probably have the time to focus on developing a solid company 3-to-5-year financial plan. And, again that is ok, we can help. I know enough to do simple electrical work around my house but given the potential risk for wiring something wrong and causing a fire, I call a professional electrician. For one, in the end it saves me time, time that is much better spent on growing my company.
Last month we discussed the importance of developing plans that focus on the ability for a company to forecast all three financial statements to include profit and loss, balance sheet, and statement of cash flows and we discussed a key software solution that made it all possible. If I had to pick one capability that was crucial for my success as a Chief Financial Officer, being able to perform what-if modeling that culminated into forecasting financial statements would be my number one! Corporate Planning includes many more components than the mere financial forecast, vision and mission statements, objectives, and goals, etc.…. During my management consultant days, we were big on implementing the Balanced Scorecard, a plan that focused on financial objectives, customer objectives, internal process objectives, and learning and growth objectives all of which are important to growth and prosperity, but I must admit as the CFO, being able to develop what-if financial models quickly was a primary key to my success. I firmly believe that for small and medium sized business that do not have this capability it simply is a must first step. I recently had another company call me and wanted to know if I could assist them with getting a line of credit because they were having no luck at all. My first question? You guessed it do you have a multi-year forecast that is realistic? They indicated they did so after submitting the NDA I received it and it became immediately clear why they were experiencing challenges getting financing.
Any sized company needs the ability and capability to develop budgets and what-if scenarios quickly and efficiently for all three financial statements. You must have the ability to model what your business decisions today translate into the future. You need to know not just the operational impact but the impact to your financials. And, most importantly you need the ability to monitor your progress for achieving your dreams and you need the ability to communicate your plan to the outside world. Afterall, when you go to look for buyers of your company what is the first thing a potential buyer is going to ask for? Your financial statements.
Sure, they will ask for a host of other information, customers, projects, contracts, etc.…but trust me they will probably spend more time diving into your financial statements. Here is the good news we can help! And again, it is one of our favorite engagement types to perform. There is nothing more satisfying than helping someone achieve their goals! And here is another secret, it does not have to take forever and cost you a fortune, it really doesn’t. Do you have the goal to grow your company, take it to another level? Do you feel like you are running in place with regards to growth? Would you like to increase your profitability? Let us help, its one of the things we do. So, pick up the phone and give us a call or send us an email. Let’s talk, our initial discuss is free!! Oh, we specialize in government contracting companies!!
Stratelligence Business Consulting