You started own business, attracted first clients, and probably expanded the team. What do you do next? You need a plan.
Scaling without a plan could be long, costly and compromise your business future. However, with Advisory services, you can create a clear growth strategy, build a business plan, and effectively present them to potential investors, partners, lenders and key employees.
Very few entrepreneurs are comfortable addressing strategic questions. Complex terminology and big consultancy names could feel intimidating. Hence, having a support from an experienced strategist makes the entire process more transparent and comprehensive.
Via Advisory services, Olga works with the founders on their terms. Together, they leverage the strengths of both parties to create a winning strategy for your business. On one hand, the founder brings in-depth knowledge of the business, customers and competition. On the other hand, Olga contributes independent perspective by applying best strategic frameworks and tools. As a result of this partnership, a realistic business growth plan is created.
Olga works individually with the founders and their teams over the period of 3-4 months with regular meetings, progress reviews at key milestones, and ad-hoc Q&A sessions. Such flexible but structured approach helps the entrepreneurs to create their business growth plan step by step with the sufficient time to reflect and consider different options. The objective is to leverage start-up’s unique capabilities within dynamic market environment and to align them with founder’s personal goals for the future. At the end, both the business and its founder should thrive.
The works starts with identifying company’s current position in the market. Through the interviews, field work, research, and customer feedback the following parameters are identified:
After comprehensive analysis of the market environment, several potential axes of growth are identified and reviewed together with the founder. The most promising options include:
A business plan is created to reflect start-up growth strategy and financial projections. This document could be used to seek external financing, attract top talent, make internal efficiency improvements, and design marketing campaigns. Main chapters include:
Once strategy and business plan are set, Olga could provide further ad-hoc support, including:
Short answer is: when you plan to scale your business. Before that, there is a lot of pivoting and testing, while you figure out the product-market fit. Premature planning will limit your flexibility and will be a waste of your time and money. I can help with on-demand consulting during this stage, but I will not recommend the Advisory.
It is important to scale the business with the end goal in mind. But day-to-day business needs often distract founders from thinking strategically. Here an advisor could help to focus on the long-term vision.
For example, a founder may start raising funds to cover immediate cash flow needs. In such case, as an advisor, I would ask to reflect on longer term implications, such as:
There are different growth paths that require distinct strategies, resources, and KPIs. If you embark on a journey alone, without having a plan, both you and your startup risk to end up in a stressful, uncomfortable and vulnerable place.
But having a co-pilot brings multiple benefits: from raising timely warnings, to supporting you during decisive moments and helping to maintain focus.
Such alignment is a powerful tool to fuel business growth, as founder’s mindset has a direct impact on the startup future. However, both personal and business goals evolve as time goes by. Sometimes founder’s and startup objectives could pull in different directions. That inevitably creates issues.
Here again having an independent advisor could help ti have an objective view of the situation. Below are some questions I would ask:
These and other questions are key to correct business trajectory. But having done such “inventory” uncovers hidden startup strengths as well as founder’s best strategy in moving the business further.
Very often, Board decisions are prepared before the meetings, and CEOs should use their influencing skills to shape them. A common wisdom says that no surprises should happen at the Board meeting, unless there is a crisis. Ignoring such dynamics could cost the CEOs their job. That puts the role under high pressure that could hardly be shared with anyone.
That is why a trusted advisor could become a valuable asset. Apart from personal support, I provide expert insights on major strategic choices, highlight potential risks and act as a sounding board for action plans presented for the approval.
Thus, CEOs can discuss the most important business decisions and choices before getting the Board exposure. As a result, having already tested their approach, CEOs become more aware and intentional when speaking with the Board.
Yes, as a certified Board director, I could bring my strategy, sales and business growth expertise to startups. But in this case, I will not be working for a founder or a CEO, but rather acting in the best interests of the startup itself. In other words, Advisory and Board membership are two different jobs that cannot be combined.
Speaking about Board membership, I will usually act an independent director. That means I would not be representing either the founders or the investors. Instead, being independent, I could help to manage inherent tensions at the Board level between founders’ vision for their business and investors’ need for short-term returns.
As a part of the Implementation option, I also support founders in the important yet daunting process of fundraising. Below are some examples.
First, in addition to building a solid business plan together, I help to identify and track specific KPIs that investors will look for. They will be used to support business growth projections that are often challenged during the investor meetings.
Second, together we can prepare and practice investor presentation, pitch and Q&As to put you in a confident position during the meetings.
Last but not least, I also accompany founders and provide support during the meetings. Post-meetings, we de-brief what worked and what did not, and brainstorm about best future approaches.
Typical Advisory process takes 3-4 months to bring the expected benefits. The fees range between $9,000 and $12,000. Optional strategy implementation support depends on the exact scope and requirements. Get in touch if you want a precise estimate for your particular case.