My clients are intelligent, dynamic leaders.
While their situations vary, many are running an SME with a clear need for their skills – and a board which expects them to deliver fast and significant improvements.
Often my role is to support the CEO by providing the traditional FD function, either part-time or on an interim basis. As such, my approach is personal, engaged, and supported by three key assets:
I learn quickly
Many of the financial challenges facing SME business leaders are essentially the same. For this reason – and because I like to listen – I quickly reach a visceral understanding of the business and its challenges.
A year after working as a supplier for a small media company, the MD asked me to become their part-time FD stating that I was one of the few financial people he had met who “got” what his company did.
Once on board I soon discovered that he wanted to sell the business – and he needed someone with the credibility and knowledge to help him do it. None of the other board members were able to support his thinking in this.
I inspire confidence
My relationship with clients often develops into a long-term trusting partnership.
I helped steer a specialist charity through crisis; the chief executive had difficult personal issues and the board lacked financial skills. I became a confidant of both and helped them with some hard decisions. I was called back subsequently to help in turbulent times and, eventually, to ease the takeover by a larger body.
I bring structure
I believe it is important to help clients reach their own conclusions. I do this through dialogue, and by helping to set the framework for decision-making.
I meet up with one MD regularly to discuss the business and provide a sounding board for his thoughts and plans. He always goes away with more ideas then when he arrived. If we identify a decision that needs to be made later, I give him the structure with which he can make it.
Two years after helping a small business structure its shares, the directors asked me how to control and monitor their cash flow, as the company experiences rapid growth. I gave them the tools so they could do it themselves; a year later they asked me to become their FD.
Having relied on Gavin's advice in a number of contexts over the years I know the value he can bring to a business - be that mature, growing and startup. Establishing DLS brought with it a number of financial and strategy challenges - bringing together healthcare and digital finance models, working within a public sector value chain, dealing with heritage programmes and projects from the business units we brought together. Gavin is unusual in that he brings creativity to developing the financial structures a business needs, which is invaluable in then aligning them with the managerial and operational culture. Having advised from start-up Gavin has been ideally placed to support the company's subsequent investment rounds, developing company strategy and business plan and engaging directly with VC, Private Equity and Trade investors.
Andrew Chitty - Exec Director/ Founder of Digital Life Sciences
Gavin is a first class Finance Director. He stepped into City Lit when we were having a number of issues and took control quickly and efficiently, achieving result very rapidly. He is great to work with and a great team member. I happily recommend him.
Mark Malcomson - CEO/Principle City Lit