Category Archives: Managing Business Finances

Financing a growing business

Yesterday I was lucky enough to be at the NatWestBoost event in Exeter with Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones of The Black Farmer. It was a fantastic morning full of inspiration and really good advice – but what struck me was Wilfred’s take on financing his business.

With an eye-catching brand and great proposition it is ripe for raising capital from investors or crowdfunding & he confessed that he had looked into it. But in his words: “the moment that you have outsiders in your business you have to listen to all sorts of other perspectives. Growing a business needs the tenacious drive of a passionate entrepreneur”

I speak to lots of ambitious food businesses who need more cashflow in order to grow. Some of the successful crowdfunding stories make it seem like a low risk, easy way to grow. However in practice it’s never as simple as the stories make out and you give away some of your control and potential rewards as well.

At the workshop on 25th March I am lucky enough to be joined by Toby Jones from Start Point Finance who advised Wilfred on raising capital to grow his business (Start Point Case Study). Toby will share his advice and experiences on the right way to raise money for growing businesses.

Book your place here

Spreadsheet growing pains

In my LinkedIn feed there seems to be a lot of posts about automating processes so that your business “back office” runs seamlessly in the cloud without apparently needing much human input.

This is great: who doesn’t love getting computers to do the dull and boring processing (which basically amounts to copying) freeing us humans up to do more valuable (and hopefully more interesting) work?

But what about the recording that can’t be automated?

Sometimes it’s good to record figures manually, even when it comes to accounts. I have a client who could happily automate their purchase ledger, saving time and money, but they would rather process purchase invoices manually in order to check that the invoices are correct and keep an eye on spending.

And sometimes there is no off the shelf package to record and analyse the figures just the way you want to, and that’s usually where excel comes in. Just before Christmas I was working on a project with a different client who has a totally bespoke spreadsheet to manage her sales team’s pipelines and another to record productivity information for a team of 50. Once again, while it may be possible to find “an app for that” there is a lot of value in keying in the data by hand.

However the principles of automation still apply to spreadsheets; it’s worth entering the data once, but more than once is a waste of time and gives rise to potential errors. In the case before Christmas part of the project was to condense 26 separate spreadsheets into just the 1.

I’ve waited to post about this until we have had a chance to review the success of the new set up, but yesterday the office manager told me how grateful the team are that their workload has been transformed! So if you rely on spreadsheets, but you’re starting to think that as your business grows they’re not working quite so well then give me a call and we can review your system and make it work more effectively.