Posts Tagged ‘executives’

The Next Big Thing

Monday, February 4th, 2019

In my business transition advisory work, I find 80% of entrepreneurs and executives in high-growth and mid-sized businesses very clear about the preferred outcome for the business, 50% very clear about the simplest path to it, 20% very clear about their own ideal future post-transition and less than 10% very clear on the optimum way to get “there”. Why? They’ve consciously or unconsciously ceded power and control to others, not prioritised themselves, or worse, they are in hiding behind a veil of procrastination. Have I hit on a very uncomfortable truth?

Pull up a chair, eliminate the distractions and let’s resolve now to clearly, and unambiguously, answer the three most important questions:

  1. What am I tremendously passionate about?
  2. What rare and powerful combination of skills, behaviours and expertise do I uniquely possess or could quickly develop?
  3. Where would the application of those talents have a transformational impact on the future of (enter organisation name), and its’ key constituents (enter clients, employees, investors, board members, business partners, suppliers names and so on)?

Armed with that level of clarity, what stops you setting aside time now in your diary to meet with those individuals? For many of my clients, it is really one of three reasons: you don’t trust your own judgement (“I am unfamiliar who’d have a need for me outside what I know”), you don’t see a need (“opportunities will come to me”), or you don’t see the urgency to do it (“I’ll get around to it once my immediate business goals are met”). Some site money as an excuse but that is very rarely the case unless you are broke.

The harsh truth is without the discipline, hard work and talent, to make it happen now, it will rarely lead to a desirable personal conclusion. You’ll end up forever circling half-explored opportunities, amid growing frustration of wanting to get “stuck into something”. When you do have the need post-transition, finding the “right opportunity” is incredibly difficult (your ideal relationships and interactions have changed markedly). Finally, you find perhaps for the first time, in the case of entrepreneurs, founders and executives on “exit”, you are beholden to others’ timing and priorities, which don’t align with your own.

Hiring qualified experts like me (depth and breadth of insight globally supported by a track record of success) can demonstrably help, strategically, where you are seeking validation of your own judgement, and tactically, pathways to ideal names, monthly accountability or creation of a post-transition structure “in waiting”. For example, the entrepreneur, who decides that he wants to invest in other entrepreneurs or the executive, who wants to work with private investors or philanthropic initiatives. However, it is really down to you and your desire to mitigate the risks of an unsatisfactory outcome.

In The Eye of A Private Investor

Monday, June 5th, 2017

 

You are a C-suite executive or senior manager (probably with a successful career in a mid and large organisation) flirting with future advisory roles (Operating Partners, Senior Advisers and so forth) with private investors (Family Offices, Ultra High Net Worth individuals and some funds) and their portfolio companies. I meet half a dozen a month. Are you looking through your lens or that of the investor’s? When I ask bluntly, “why would a private investor be interested in you?”, most default to regaling their past (skills, expertise, accomplishments) or they way they like to work (imparting advice, influence, guidance). Here is the tough news, most private investors really don’t care. They want to know about

  • the “transformative value” (TV) for the investor after the Adviser has applied their past to the future of their investee businesses (logical reasoning – increased revenues, stronger brand, faster growth etc.)
  • the speed and quality of the “validation” (V) for the investor’s own reasons to back or not, a specific business (emotional reasoning – “am I going to look good”, enhanced credibility, mitigate personal risks, obtain future opportunities or relationships with peers, other investors, investee businesses etc.).

TV * V = Private Investor’s return on investment or “Great Deal”

“What”, “where”, “when” do you score highest as a potential Senior Adviser? Why? How do you get to those private investors with the highest need for that value?

Keep that equation and those critical questions uppermost in mind BEFORE you walk into your first meeting with a private investor.

© James Berkeley 2017

Fishing For Investors

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

 

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In August the docksides and inlets in North Norfolk are lined with kids casting bait (bacon or salami are highly effective) on primitive fishing lines to catch the abundant crabs that lie close to the surface. Perhaps the crabs know the odds are stacked in their favour or they are so greedy but little boys and girls pluck them out at will before returning them to the sea.

What would entrepreneurs and executives give for a similar ease with the capital raising process? The reality today is that unless you are a well known “brand” with a powerful investor network, raising money is hard. Investors can be very choosy, they largely congregate in locations with big clusters of potential businesses to invest in and they are drawn to people, who have demonstrably made investors serious cash on cash on multiple occasions.

1. What are you doing to dramatise your value to your ideal investor(s) and the singularity of your investment proposition? (Use of powerful language, a peer of opinion makers, harnessing evangelists, creating excitement and so forth)
2. Why invest in you? (“Hot” proposition in the investor’s sweet spot)
3. Why invest now? (Brief window of opportunity)
4. Why invest in the manner you are proposing? (Special circumstances).

Time is the most precious commodity. You cannot rely on the kids fishing line, you must caste a fishing net to attract potential investors. You need to know where the high potentials reside. You need compelling “bait”. You need multiple conversations to be constantly moving in parallel, not sequential stages. You need to be constantly replenishing the investor pipeline with high quality leads. This is not a kids sport, this is your wealth at stake. Time to get serious.

© James Berkeley 2016. All Rights Reserved.