TINY THOUGHTS

 

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Go back to the office

Everyone seems to be talking about the return to the office. We talk about individual preferences, productivity, commute, distractions – but the financial side of it, not so much.

I’ll leave it to others to talk about what makes employees happy (for what it’s worth, I think...

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Be special

For obvious reasons, entrepreneurs tend to embrace innovation. Not only does it not matter to them that “this is the way things have always been done” – anything that is seemingly set in stone presents an opportunity to break new ground.

But there is a time and a place for...

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Grow up

When you first start a company, everything is informal. Employees’ email addresses have their first name but no last name, because the likelihood of there being two Sophies in a team of four is minuscule; ideas get discussed and decisions made on the fly by whoever is in the room at any...

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When to start

Every now and then, a founder assumes that because I do this finance thing, I must believe it’s the most important aspect of running a business, and one that requires their full attention fresh from the start.

That cannot be more wrong.

Finance usually only starts being a thing once you...

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What if

One of the main ways the finance function makes your company better? Systematisation. Especially as you grow.

If we know how much revenue one salesperson brings in, we know what we can expect if we hire 10 more of them. If we know that our entry level roles pay £25K per year, and we need to...

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Look

Almost every time I give a talk, I am asked where founders should start when it comes to managing their company’s finances. Every time I give the same answer: if you’re not doing it already, start by just looking at it.

Engage with the main numbers. See what’s going up,...

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What do you care about?

“I can either be a good employer, or make a lot of profit.”

“Food is either tasty, or healthy.”

“You can either find a partner who is ambitious, or one who cares about you.”

What do the above statements have in common? They’re false dichotomies. While...

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A (much) better way

“I have heard that no company is ever profitable in their first eight or so years,” a friend recently said to me, challenging my suggestion that it’s best to be profitable from year one.

I understand why she would say that – we’re inundated with stories of...

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Your time is money

When forecasting the financials for almost any business, there is a need to estimate the cost of people’s time.

How much does half an hour of one-on-one customer service per month cost us? What about five days’ worth of creative work? The two minutes it takes for someone to pack our...

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High touch

A friend recently complained to me that some of her customers have lots of special requirements. One has slightly different payment terms, another slightly different services included, and a third has so many slightly different things it adds up to an extra 10 emails back and forth and a whole...

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Double down

Every now and then, I need to estimate how financially attractive some future opportunity is. What if we expand to Germany? What if we launch this new product, targeted at a slightly different audience?

If those questions come from companies that make hundreds of millions in revenue, that...

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Simpler

If you run your own company, chances are you’ve tried calculating something before.

Quite often, you start with a relatively simple question. How many salespeople do we need? How many users will we have next month? How many people can we afford to hire?

But then, it gets much more...

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