Deep Water Management helps startups and rapidly growing firms. Whether you need a business planning, financial forecasting, projections, financial models, or if you just need help setting up your infrastructure and operations, Deep Water Management has the expertise to your business needs.
Small businesses need to do everything. You do not have the luxury hiring a head of compliance, a separate head of HR, another for IT, and one each for operations, legal, marketing, accounting, risk, tax, compliance, public relations, and so on.
What you do have is a small team of talented people, each crucial for your success. You have true Visionaries shaping the future and True Believers executing the plan to make it happen. You may have techies building your platform and “numbers people” doing bookkeeping and administration.
Who on your team can build a complete financial model? Who can tie out your sales projections and income statement forecasts with a rolling balance sheet and cash flows that break out working capital needs and contingencies? Who can you “stress test” your projections to asses your risk tolerances if reality doesn’t match up with your assumptions?
The Complete Picture
How about your business plan? Have you identified the key risks and mitigated them? Most startups have a good handle on their core product, development/production and marketing plan; but what about the nuts & bolts of administration, HR, tax, investor relations, accounting, reporting, working capital management, logistics, information security, CRM, legal, compliance… Your management team might not prioritize these details, but other key stakeholders will insist on them: Lenders, investors, suppliers, partners, and even large customers.
Selling Into Large Corporates
Don’t underestimate the challenge of selling to large corporate customers. It’s not enough to have a good product at the right price. Even key relationships cannot get you on the list of “approved vendors“. No, your firm must go through “supplier risk management” programs that can take half a year (IF you’re successful). You need to establish financial stability so keep delivering top quality with no economic pressure to cut corners. You need to demonstrate credible plans for business continuity in whatever crises arise. Your information security must be airtight, keeping client data secure and ensuring your tech infrastructure can withstand potential software/hardware problems, from simple incompatibility issues to hackers (internal and external).
Qualitative issues matter, too. Will your key staff pass a background check? Are there any conflicts of interest or even embarrassing affiliations? Do you have board members or advisers who advocate for controversial issues or causes? Note: You don’t get to decide what is controversial. Your client, its regulators and its clients do. For example: While “clean energy” might be a great cause to support, keep in mind your potential customer might have a commodities business dealing with oil, gas and coal companies that feel differently.
It Takes Money to Make Money
How well are you funded? What it your plan to raise more capital? How is your pitch? If you appeared on Shark Tank today, would you get a great offer? Or would you get laughed off the set?
You need a compelling story. It needs to be concise, convincing, and true. You need to inspire confidence when you tell it. Your audience needs to believe in the model, your team, and the numbers.
Fundraising isn’t easy. It takes a lot of convincing. You need more than a slick presentation and good story. You need the whole package. Prove that you’re prepared for what can go wrong just as much as sell the vision of what should go right.
Ultimately, you’re in business to make money. Your goal is profits, cash flow, and better valuations for your young company. Maybe your best path is organic growth as a standalone company. Maybe a joint venture, acquisition, or even IPO would be a better and faster way to unlock your firm’s potential. These opportunities may not happen in the timeframe you expect, so always be ready. You may also need to plan an exit strategy for Your investors (and founder) may want an exit in some timeframe.
Your business may be small, but it’s still a whole company with all the issues to manage. Your small management team cannot do everything. Fortunately, Deep Water Management can help with a lot of it. Let’s talk.