Selected by the Army as having natural leadership, trained as an infantry officer at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and seasoned by combat in two warzones. My leadership skills were honed by over a decade as a business Director and CEO, refined as a consultant and finely polished by 7 years as a ‘Whitehall Warrior’ diplomatically working with multiple Government departments in the heart of Parliament.
As you read through my website, review my profile on LinkedIn and look elsewhere, you will quickly note that I possess the top 10 traits of great business leaders:
- Persistence, Persistence, Persistence.
- Thick skin. Rhino-thick.
- An Eye for Talent.
- Can’t Get No Satisfaction.
- Owning Your Mistakes.
- Winning Friends and Influencing People.
- Singular Vision.
- Powerfully Passionate.
See the Forbes article on this topic HERE
As a Troubleshooter, Interim director, interim executive or interim manager, I am hired for being highly skilled, and brought into organisations to strengthen capabilities.
I lead transformation and change; getting projects in place – quickly and effectively. My purpose is to effect change and roll out processes which I can then leave in my wake.
My role as a leader is to speak openly and highlight what a company should do to achieve its goals; generating vision and providing the leadership needed to harness the skills and energies of the existing staff. In addition, as an interim I am far more cost-effective than traditional management consultants, and I deliver results, not just analysis.
It is essential for organisations across the UK to have access to this talent, as and when they need to tap into it – particularly as they work towards economic growth and recovery.
Here are some of the advantages in bringing me, as a troubleshooter and/or interim executive, into your organisation:
Value for money
An executive on £100,000 is actually costing the business a lot more. Once you have added in bonuses, holiday pay, NI contributions, pension, health and company car benefits, the real cost is likely to be nearer to £175,000. These costs do not apply to interim managers.
Interim managers are available immediately. Typically it could take a minimum of four months to hire a permanent member of staff, as they may have to serve out their notice period.
Unlike a permanent employee who is typically given a honeymoon period to settle in, as an interim manager I will typically start delivering results within a few weeks, identifying quick wins and rapidly building relationships.
As an Interim I offer instant experience and a capability which is almost always at least one rank higher than the job requires.
I am objective and do not like being side-tracked into office politics. I do not expect to have a long career with you so I tell you what you need to hear – not what you want to hear.
I take pride in my ability to rapidly learn the fundamentals of virtually any industry or technology quickly. Some of the markets I have served include defence, central government, green technologies (solar / PV), medical devices, biotechnology, Internet/e-commerce, telecommunications, distance education/e-learning, real estate, financial services, healthcare services, manufacturing, retail, food service, consumer products, media and entertainment, aerospace, artificial intelligence, enterprise software, insurance, energy, and business networking.
Having said that, I believe that the value I bring to the table is not industry expertise — which you already possess in abundance — but rather the understanding and trusted leadership skills that customers, staff and investors like to see.
Of course not. Nobody can make that guarantee (and if somebody ever makes that guarantee, it’s a good idea to run away quickly). A good plan is essential, but a plan alone will not get funded. Although I will do my best to help you prepare, I have no control over how well you present yourself to investors, or how well you answer their questions. I can coach you, I can mentor you and I can rehearse you, but at the end of the day, it’s your business and you must close the deal.
I can sometimes make strategic introductions to potential investors or other intermediaries. In general, only brokers licensed with the Financial Services Authority (FSA) can legally offer this type of service. Please seek legal counsel and make sure that any “finder” you talk to is properly licensed with the FSA before you hire them. Failing to do so may expose you and your company to significant liability.
Rarely, I am a board advisor and business leader, not an investor.
If you run a business, then it’s probably safe to say yes. In fact, you may require more than one business plan: one for raising capital and one for running your business. The former is a compact, easily digested strategic document that is designed to persuade potential investors to pick up the phone and invite you to their offices for an initial meeting. The latter is a more detailed document serving as a day-to-day roadmap, detailing the tactics supporting your overall strategy. The former needs to be an attractive document that sells; the latter can be a collection of spread sheets, lists, research summaries, and other documents stuffed in a binder that you refer to and update on a regular basis. I specialize in preparing the capital-raising business plan, but many of the by-products are suitable for use in the operating business plan.
You could easily spend 500 hours or more preparing an investor-grade business plan, financial forecast, and investor presentation, even if you have an MBA. This is time you should probably be spending building your team, product, distribution channels, and customer base. In addition to my expertise in preparing these materials, I offer independent, third-party insights into your business, and may raise questions that you might not have thought to ask.
Most importantly, they work. In a world in which fewer than 1 in 250 business plans ever raise venture capital, I am happy to report that about half of my plans have raised capital, and a good portion of the rest resulted in an investment (whether from an internal or external source), acquisition or currently have commitments for investment.
Each plan is hand crafted to reflect your specific circumstances, yet share attributes that customers, staff and investors find appealing.
30 years’ as a board level advisor and/or business leader, operating within multiple industry sectors provides a lot of insight as to what can and cannot work. This insight is applied to generating Balance sheets that balance. Cash flows, income statements, and balance sheets that tie together (you’d be surprised by how many accountants and consultants who don’t get the basics right). Fully assumption-driven, so that you can do what-if analyses.
Depending on your needs, I can include a lot of very sophisticated features.
Every situation is unique. However, some fairly common steps include the following:
- Initial discussion to understand your basic situation.
- Review your existing materials (draft business plans, financials, market research, competitor research, etc.).
- Follow-up discussion to clarify details and agree upon the scope and fees for the project.
- Several in-depth discussions to better understand the details, develop strategies, and agree on all major elements of my emerging thoughts in regard to a plan and leadership approach.
- Conduct additional research, as needed.
- Draft an Presentation and review it with you to ensure that all parties agree on the high-level vision of my planned approach.
- Prepare a draft outline of the business plan for your review.
- Finalize all deliverables.
For a typical engagement, consisting of a business plan, financial forecast, and investor presentation, the typical time to completion is 6-8 Ieks, as illustrated below. The actual time can be influenced by the quality of your existing materials, the level of your participation, the complexity of your market and business model, and my current workload.
Some very simple projects can be completed in just a few days, and I have had other projects extend over a year (of course these engagements involved much more than just business planning).
Yes, but I may need to charge a “rush” fee. I typically work on multiple projects at any point in time, and rush projects can strain schedules or inconvenience other clients.
Only if you’re always right. One of my jobs is to help you avoid mistakes. I’ll challenge your ideas and assumptions so that you’ll be ready for the tough questions when you meet with customers, investors, staff, banks and other key stakeholders.
I remain available to answer follow-up questions, provide advice, and to suggest minor changes to the result I produced for you.
In general, I charge a pre-determined fixed fee. The fee is determined by:
- The scope of the project, in terms of the tasks and documents you require help with.
- The sophistication and specific needs of the target audience.
- The quality of existing materials, including early drafts of business plans, financial forecasts, market research, competitive research, etc. For instance, if you have a recent, comprehensive research report from a major market research firm like Forrester, my effort can be significantly reduced.
- The clarity of vision for your business model, marketing and distribution strategy, financial plans, etc.
- My availability and willingness to participate in your business.
- The complexity of the industry and business.
- The availability of industry information.
- The desired timing relative to my workload. In general, “rush” jobs will carry a substantial premium over projects that can be completed as my schedule permits.
Because of these factors, the fees for a typical assignment, consisting of the preparation of an investor-grade business plan, financial forecast, leadership of your existing team[s], the need for investor presentations and any personal risk (i.e. the assignment requires me to visit warzones or others areas of personal risk, can range from a few thousand pounds to several tens of thousands of pounds.
If you are “price shopping,” you should know that price doesn’t tell the whole story. After all, would you choose one car over another simply because of price? Of course not – there are many dimensions you need to consider.
I believe I am, because:
- I Succeed: I are Ill aware that there are many low-end business plan consultants offering their services for under £5,000. Some of these consultants do fine work, but their typical client is the small business seeking overdrafts and bank loans, not lead your team out of an impending crisis or help you obtain venture capital.
- Consider that, even during the height of the market, fewwer than 1 in 100 business plans that made it into the hands of a VC ever raised capital (and the number is probably worse than 1 in 250 today). Who do you think prepared many of those unsuccessful plans? On the other hand, over half of my plans have raised capital.
- My Time is Too Valuable: Let’s consider a £20,000 engagement consisting of a sophisticated plan of attack, leadership of a team of 100+, financials, and the creation of a pitch deck to stakeholders. In my experience, it would take most entrepreneurs a minimum of 500 hours to create comparable materials. If you choose to do it yourself, you are implicitly valuing my time at £40 per hour. Surely, you can create more value per hour for business by focusing on your product, customers, and distribution channels!
- Professionalism Adds Value: I can complete the same engagement in about 100 hours. This implies a rate of £200 per hour. You’re probably paying your CPA at least £200 per hour, you attorney at least £300 per hour, and your brand-name management consultant at least £450 per hour. Yet these are all essentially commodities: a good attorney is easy to find, but a good business leader is very rare.
I believe that my experience and specialized skills are a bargain compared to the many other professional services you employ.
Only under extraordinary circumstances, and only if you are already generating revenues.
Your initial payment is non-refundable.; typically 30% of our agreed fee. This is because by the time you have decided to hire me, I have already set aside time to work with you, and I may even have turned away other opportunities in order to provide you with the best possible experience. Subsequent payments are subject to a pro-rated refund if you choose to terminate the project before I have fully completed the assignment. For example, suppose fees for this assignment are broken into three payments, each covering 20 days of services. The initial payment covers the first 20 hour, and the second payment covers the next 20 days. If you change your mind about the project after I have put a total of 30 days into the project, you would be entitled to a refund for half of the second payment because I will only have earned 10 days of it.
I insist upon it. I prefer to use a Mutual NDA so that my own trade secrets can be protected as well.
I hold security clearances from the UK government, US Dept of Defense and NATO.
As a military officer and as a judge, I operate confidentially at the highest level of personal and professional ethics – and I expect all those that work with me to operate to the same high ethical standards.
I am unable to email you a sample. If you would like a closer look at my website and my LinkedIn profile, you will find 20-25 references are openly published.
I am headquartered in London (UK) and the Cotswolds (UK) and have associates in London, Reading, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, North Wales, and other locations, including New York (US), Paris (FR), Hamburg (GE) and Baghdad (Iraq). I rely heavily on the phone, e-mail, fax, and online meeting tools, and have never met half of my clients. If desired, I am available to visit you at your offices for a day or two at a time.
Not necessarily. Your attorney should be able to supply supplemental materials to ensure that your offering complies with state and federal securities regulations. You will also need to assemble all of the documents that investors typically review during the due diligence process, such as corporate by-laws, employment agreements, employee stock option plan, joint venture agreements, customer and supplier agreements, patent applications, etc.
I am an experienced business leader and entrepreneur. Many of my associates and myself have MBAs from top schools like Henley, Harvard or Stanford. Most importantly, I have a proven track record.