Friday, 24 August 2007

The 'Valley of Death' from the FD's Point of View

Fred Edwards from myFD uses my 'Valley of Death' analogy when talking about start-ups and growth (and summer flooding in the UK!) - Time - The Silent Killer of Businesses. I summarise below his six key relevant and practical points.

"Entrepreneurship guru Robert Craven talks about the “valley of death” – the “investment” period between being a profitable sole-trader and having about twenty employees. “You simply have to run as fast as possible to get there, otherwise you go bust”, he says....

So how do you keep your head up and run the business every day as though your life depended on it? Here are my top six business “sandbags” to get in place before the flood arrives:

  1. Have a clearly communicated plan with real milestones
  2. Make deadlines and milestones matter – celebrate success, learn from failure and crack on
  3. Employ a finance director – then you have objective forecast information; it’s too easy to duck impending problems otherwise, and they’ll tell you what to look at and what’s irrelevant
  4. Monitor cashflow closely – how much cash (= time) have you got in reserve? Your FD should pester you constantly
  5. Get a non-executive director – all successful entrepreneurs have them, love them and hate them – they make you look far enough ahead, whilst avoiding tripping over your feet
  6. Hold regular Board meetings away from the business – how close are you to plan, what actions are needed by whom and by when and ensure that actions are carried out

Get them in place and cash should be the only flood you’ll have coming in."

The Valley Of Death - How Many Employees Should You Have? - Will Critchlow, June 07
My Valley Of Death Article - Robert Craven, July 07
Time - The Silent Killer of Businesses - Fred Edwards, August 07
Let's Talk More Profit: Seminars from Robert Craven (Stoke, Nottingham, Wakefield, Oxford, Wembley, Guildford - a limited number of events in Sept-Nov 07 - FREE to attend!)

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