Grab the bull by the horns – How insight helps businesses to grow
January 28, 2015
Growing a business is one of the greatest challenges for business owners and founders. And key to growth is ready access to critical information about the performance of a business.
It’s not just about financial information either. Without doubt, having accurate cash flow/cash burn information is essential. But, equally important, is the ability to understand just how a business is performing – and to obtain information with sufficient granularity that allows for action to be taken. And it’s this combination of planning and the right support that is critical for a fast growth business.
Accurate and quality information…and advice
Having talked with our clients, contacts, banks and other investors about what is important to early stage businesses in order to achieve their growth targets, we’ve identified that they need accurate and quality information about their business. They also need access to the knowledge and experience from advisers.
If a business owner or founder could access accurate information on a timely basis they could benefit from:
- Improved decision making on where to allocate scarce cash resources
- Improved controls and clearer reporting to manage cash flow and cash flow projections
- A full picture of the drivers of profit and cash
- Significant reductions in time spent on producing accurate management information (MI)
Not hitting growth targets
Many early stage businesses, despite investing in accounting software and a dedicated finance team, lack the fundamental information needed about the business’s financial performance. As a result, the growth the business is keen to achieve is not delivered.
The type of information needed includes insight into underlying trading performance across regions, between subsidiaries or by product line. Detailed cash flow forecasting or cash burn analysis, budget tracking and variance are also important – fundamental information that many businesses simply cannot get access to using standard accounting packages, unless they are spending a significant amount of time preparing the analysis. But it’s not just about software and analytics; help with the interpretation of information also plays a key part. Sometimes, just having a qualified person on hand who can discuss a problem and provide business advice is what’s needed.
The need for insight
At My Financepartner, we work with early- to mid-stage businesses – most of which want to grow. Some are startups with ambitions to become dominant in their categories. Some are family businesses with ambitions to grow and acquire. Some are seeking funding to hire more staff and extend their product lines.
Depending on their position on their journey towards growth, different businesses will have different growth agendas.
A platform for growth
My Financepartner provides a platform for growth. Clearly some businesses will have more disruptive products or services than others. But all will have products or services that will be getting to market in different ways. Some will have complex supply chains. Others will have complex demand chains.
Where we can help most is in providing insight into where a business is and where it might get to. We can help identify funding needs. We can support visionary business leaders iterate their product offers, or tweak their product portfolios – give information about what’s working in the business and what isn’t.
Don’t lose sight of the fundamentals
Too many businesses fail to grow because they simply lose sight of some of the fundamentals. From the ground up, My Financepartner is designed to help business owners plan – based on evidence about how the business is performing. We can map these performance metrics onto the business model – assessing channel, customer segments, product lines or other fundamentals.
Businesses can grow while being be lean and visionary. But without insight they’ll have difficulty being anything other than reactionary.
For further information about My Financepartner visit: www.pwc.co.uk/myfinancepartner
What tools do you use to inform your strategy for growth? What works best? What information and analysis can you still not get? Share your thoughts below or schedule a meeting to discuss your challenges in confidence.