Cash Flow, Finance

Good relationships with lenders and investors are crucial whether your business is struggling or flourishing. These stakeholders are often lifelines for your company and they can mean the difference between growth and decline.

The relationships you have built with your lenders and investors will always be looked toward in order to assess potential further interactions, loans, and investments.

When your company is on the up, these parties will reap the benefits and will be happy to continue investing in your business. 

But, as with most things, communication is key.

Keeping your lenders and investors up to date no matter the state of business shows proactive leadership and respect. If you only communicate when you need something, it can reflect negatively on your business and they may decide to pull out their investment.

Another thing that can really impact this relationship is establishing something mutually beneficial.

Lenders and investors have their own desired outcomes and being able to recognize and contribute towards these outcomes while still holding true to your own is crucial.

Securing capital is just one step. You also need to make sure you secure a consistent relationship with the very parties who provide you with the help you need when you need it.

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Finance
“I am tired of getting pages and pages of reports from my Finance team,” commented this CEO of a large organization to me. “All I need to know is how my business is doing, and what changes I need to make to improve performance. Is it too much to expect,” he asked?

Finance teams love to work with and present lots of data.

Business owners and decision-makers on the other hand care about the data but are more interested in outcomes and understanding drivers of those outcomes.

Herein lies the expectation gap.

Their head of finance used to present results to the executive team, walking through a 30-page reporting package full of tables and graphs.

How did the executive team respond? Yawns. Lots of yawns, in fact.

The CEO brought me in to change this.

The 30-page package was replaced by a crisp one-page summary of: why the performance was as it were, identifying the underlying drivers of revenues and costs, and a recommendation on what needed to change to deliver profitable growth.

The monthly meetings thereafter changed to a data-driven discussion to develop and implement clear strategies and actions.

Are you getting real insights and answers to your business questions from your Finance team?
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Cash Flow, Finance, Thrive30
“I need to make quick decisions but can’t seem to get straight answers and insights from my Controller.”

Commented a very frustrated COO of a food industry supplier recently.

COVID-19 significantly disrupted their business.

He turned to his Controller for information to make decisions and was very disappointed!

The Finance team was unable to provide accurate, even credible, cash flow analyses and forecasts.

When the COO finally prepared it himself, they discovered that their runway before running out of cash was very short.

Instead of being able to calmly and logically review options and make informed decisions, they had to go straight into panic crisis management mode.

Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence.

Finance teams get mired with compliance work and are not geared to provide timely insights to help management make strategic and tactical decisions.

The pandemic identified a serious gap in the Finance team for this food industry supplier.

How timely and credible insights do you get from your Finance team?

Let me know in the comments.
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Business, Cash Flow, COVID-19, Finance
🤔Let people go during COVID-19? Or NOT?

Business leaders have lately grappled with this question a lot; many still are.

Their hearts and minds are conflicted.

They care about their staff and don’t want to let them go..

But, if they don’t, the business may not survive.

Here’s are five steps I suggest:
  1. Take advantage of as many government incentives as possible to improve cash flow and reduce business impact;
  2. Review core assumptions of your business strategy. Is it viable during and post-COVID-19?
  3. Pivot if necessary, and do so quickly;
  4. Identify staff that do not align with the business moving forward;
  5. Say goodbye to staff to a level that sustains business and not for the sake of just making more money.

If you’re a leader in a business impacted by COVID-19, what would you do?

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