The Key to Growth is Understanding your P&L Summary – Part 4 Finance

If you’ve read my three previous blogs on how to perform well as a Non-Executive Director, then you’ll have already started to build a good picture of the type of person that’s required for such a role. Exemplary skills in Governance, Strategy and Leadership are all essential attributes none of which can escape the need for a clear understanding of the financial position of the client company. Having worked with small to medium sized businesses for my entire career, I invariably see the senior management teams focus on the day-to-day needs of the business and its customers. All too often the Profit & Loss (P&L) is something they might have initially looked at once a year when they sit with … Read More >

“Speak softly and carry a big stick” – Part 3 Leadership

Theodore Roosevelt’s words, “Speak softly and carry a big stick and you’ll go far” was a reflection of his military capabilities which were designed to convey the principle that it was far better to use intelligent forward thinking in order to avoid a costly crisis. It’s clear that such a phrase has a threatening connotation but it’s especially clear that it’s far better to have a solid understanding of the situation. Not everyone can be or wants to be a ‘leader’. Many are happy to follow, whilst some believe they are better leaders than those that do, and some are placed in leadership positions when they’re not qualified to be there. There’s different types of ‘leaders’ too, some are autocratic … Read More >

Senior Marketers make great Non-Executive Directors – Pt2 Strategy

Following on from last month’s blog where I spoke about the Governance skills already embodied within senior marketers, I wanted to follow this on with another of the four skills a Non-Executive Director should understand and be able to encouragingly influence amongst the executive team, this month is ‘Strategy’ (and its progression).  The term was used by the military for controlling and directing operations and movements in a war or battle in order to accomplish a long-term overall aim. As such, business also has numerous ‘battles’ to overcome at both the micro and macro levels before accomplishing its next objective. Unfortunately though there are many pitfalls that can arise en-route, namely from: staff appreciation, acceptance and adoption of new strategies, … Read More >

Assessing your use of marketing – Part One (Sept)

Small Businesses - don't leave it too late to ask for help

In the first of this two-part blog I want to challenge some current thinking amongst those of you who own and direct small businesses and ask you a question. Based on your own experiences of marketing would you say that marketing is a wasteful process?  If you answered ‘yes’, well that doesn’t surprise me, in fact I’d expect it to be the response in at least 7 out of 10 cases because in November 2014 69% of top CEO’s polled also felt the same way (Source: Forbes Insight). But if marketing is being perceived like this some fundamental mistakes are being made. So why does it happen, and what can be done to change it? Well in this blog let’s … Read More >

Too little (marketing now), too late (to save your business tomorrow)

I work hard, my children tell me this regularly (and my wife has given up telling me).  But this blog isn’t about how I work because I love what I do and I’m happy with the work/life balance I’ve got, besides anymore free-time and I’d feel I’d not earned my keep! So I thought I’d focus on those directors who work hard tending to the daily demands of the business, but who find it almost impossible to see beyond the here and now. This is reflected in the calls I get asking how I can help, usually a Director who has identified that things appear to have ‘recently’ gone wrong. Calls that include comments such as, “the business has just … Read More >