Bad Boss Good Boss

Who influenced you and who are you influencing?

Many of us have had a nightmare boss and mine was someone who was an absolute bully. I still shudder when I think about him. He had no regard for people's private lives or personal needs whatsoever. He was just such a dreadful bully and tragically somebody actually died on his watch.

What a lesson I learned. I vowed that I would never, ever treat people in the same way.

Another way
Many years later I worked with a small SME who showed me what a company’s culture could be like. The management had a strong ethical position which they wanted to reflect throughout their business. The company, ABA Design valued each individual person so strongly that it was quite a shock to me. They recognised that each individual person was a critical part of that organisation. The consequence of having such a caring, together, team was that they benefited from having very low staff turnover. They had invested a lot of time and money into those individuals and those individuals stayed with them and gave the company their best.

It gets better 
Furthermore there’s space for companies to have a social conscience today. In fact I think it’s something that customers look for and can engage with as part of the brand value. It's something that can strongly encourage team building too. I have seen some of the organisations I work with do things like fun runs, or working for the community. People give so much to the organisations they work for and if those organisations have a social conscience, it really helps their teams to be fulfilled in a whole new dimension.

Oh, and one other thing – about that nightmare boss: A while later when I wasn’t working for him any more, I found myself having a drink with him and took the opportunity to tell him exactly what I thought of him – that felt good. Then two days later he was appointed as my boss again – that felt bad!


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Let's Plan to Make a Loss!

Sounds crazy but the best Financial Directors make the best losses. That’s because they plan them strategically, plan them well in advance and plan them for a reason.

Profit from Loss 
There are plenty of examples of big corporations planning to make a loss as they establish themselves in a new market. But you can bet that their Finance Director has worked out in detail how much and for how long the loss making phase will endure before the tide turns and the profits come rolling in.

It's all about profit 
Good FD’s de-risk the whole exercise by putting all the ‘what if’s’ in place and by ensuring that all of the building blocks are in position. They will have provided a very clear road map against which they will chart your progress. They’ll know that when you reach X level of turnover, with Y level of loss you are bang on target - because that’s what was planned way back when, before you even set off on your journey. They’ll also have a series of levers in place to decelerate, accelerate or alter direction and ensure that profitability is reached as planned.

Find out more about de-risking with the Thames Valley FD Centre


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Pay Your FD Ten Times Less!

I hear stories of Financial Directors who are always busy doing the accounts and overseeing the company payroll. That’s fine if you like delivering concrete in a Rolls Royce, but if you are running a business to make a profit it’s just plain crazy. So make sure you know what an FD is for before you buy one.

Forking out £120k for a financial director is a no-brainer for companies turning over in excess of twenty million, but given that an FD can dramatically transform small companies too (see my post on taking time out), how can they get hold of one for the money they have available?

The answer? Pay them ten times less! You'll save a stack of money and they'll make you a stack of money - I can't believe I'm writing this!

So how do you buy a Rolls Royce of a Finance Director for silly money? One whose experience will instinctively enable them to install the systems, controls and procedures that’ll transform your business? One who will grasp the bigger picture in a way that an accountant or financial controller is just not equipped to?

The answer is to engage one of the best FD’s in the country from the Thames Valley FD Centre. Pay them for just one day per month but have them on call and available as an invaluable company resource 365 days of the year. That’s only £12k per year for a brilliant FD who’ll make sure you taking the right decisions to drive your business forward in ways you never imagined possible.


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Entrepreneurial Finance Directors

The Entrepreneur's Club is such a brilliant idea. I’d like to claim it was mine but it isn't. It came from our London FD Centre who started it in conjunction with Smith and Williamson. Then I got to hear about it and thought ‘yes this is something that I would like to do in the Thames Valley’.

I never attended any of their sessions but I liked the idea so much I copied it! I launched it a few years ago with a firm in Reading, Pitman’s solicitors. The idea behind it is an exclusive club for business owners and managers with a turnover of over one million pounds.

Like minds 
The USP of this club is that we don't allow anyone who’s going to try to sell into the club. Frequently, if you go to any business related event there's a very high percentage of people trying to sell you things. Bankers, lawyers or accountants. But our club is all about getting like minded people together, to share ideas. I made sure that we had some good interesting topics and most importantly, a lot of interaction - because entrepreneurs get bored very quickly and don't want lots of crushingly dull power point presentations! We’ve all sat through enough of those in our time haven’t we?

One of the best so far was based on Linked-In and Social Media about Eighteen months ago. There was quite a bit of confusion around social media at that stage, so we got three Gurus in to talk about Social Media and then we had some open questions. People were loving hearing that they were not in isolation in feeling that this was an unknown world.

Great entrepreneurs 
We’ve had sessions on how to sell your business, how to prepare your business for sale, how to raise Angel funds and all of them have had a huge amount of debate and interaction with the experts in the room. We make sure we have quality speakers and that they’re people that have done it themselves. Entrepreneurs like stories, so we have entrepreneurs that have sold their business's or raised funds an. We had such a great day with David Sanger from Rollover Hot Dogs who spoke about how he grew his business and then sold it. Fantastic story.

Next time we’re all set to get a room full of like minded people together and have an HSBC Economist lined up to talk about the economy. He’s brilliant economist and a really fascinating guy so I think it's going to be a bit of a crowd puller.


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