As a business leader, do any of these situations sound familiar?
- You’re not entirely certain of the best way to grow your business and improve your profitability given the competitive pressures your company is facing
- You see your marketplace and customers’ behaviour changing significantly, but you’re not sure how to react
- You’re uncertain how to respond to the opportunities and threats presented by digital technologies and what it means to the future of your organisation
- You’re not able to predict with any accuracy your business’ future profitability or cash flow
- You’re considering making an acquisition, but are not sure if the timing is right
- From time to time you’d like to bounce some ideas around and get an impartial, professional second opinion
If so, then we can help
What we do
At Bassford, we recognise that many CEOs or business owners often have to wear many hats, and attempt to tackle everything that needs doing almost single-handedly. This can very quickly take them out of their areas of direct expertise. At the very least, it´s challenging. In the worst-case scenario, it could impact negatively on the evolution of their business.
Our role is to help you meet some of the biggest challenges you face. We can provide the necessary expertise and skills, as well as hands-on support, to address specific issues when required. We work with you to make your task a little less daunting and help ensure the best possible outcomes.
We principally help our clients tackle issues across four key areas:
Strategy & Business Planning
Are you an ideas person, excellent at the big picture and disruptive thinking, but haven´t got the time to set out exactly where you want your organisation to be in the future and how to get there?
Or do you struggle to convince your leadership team of the importance of addressing the tough questions about strategy and execution:
- Are we sure we understand how our marketplace, our competitors and our customers are changing?
- Are we really clear about how we choose to create value in the marketplace?
- Can we articulate the few things the organisation needs to do better than the competition in order to deliver a competitive advantage?
- Are we investing in those areas, and not wasting resources in other areas that are no longer consistent with our strategy?
In our experience, one of the biggest challenges in business today is that too few companies are asking or answering the fundamental questions that are key to determining their future performance and success. They allow themselves to be lulled into complacency due to past successes. Unfortunately, the past is no longer a good predictor of the future.
A clear strategy and detailed business plan are critical to any organisation´s success. Irrespective of whether you manage a team of 2 or 2,000, it´s imperative to define the path to achieve your vision, and to inspire both your employees and your customers. Unfortunately, without them, an organisation is merely a collection of people pursuing individual goals.
But remember, any strategy or business plan has little value until it´s implemented. That´s why the next step, the execution of your strategy, is crucial. This means creating an action plan which breaks the strategy down into measurable goals, each of which has both a realistic timescale for completion and a clearly identified owner responsible for its implementation.
If any of these issues sound worryingly familiar, don´t worry as help is at hand. We can help you work through them to create a consistent & coherent strategy and business plan with which to develop and grow your organisation.
Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A)
If you want to control and grow your business, financial planning & analysis (FP&A) is a critical element in being able to underpin your ambitions. Are your financial planning, budgeting and forecasting processes linked to your organisation´s strategy? If they aren´t, they should be.
The best performing organisations use FP&A to drive business outcomes, not just to budget and predict them.
With our expertise in FP&A, we can help you to implement best-practice FP&A processes within your finance function.
As well as helping to generate business growth and operational excellence, these will:
- Facilitate the creation of a detailed financial operating model and budget with which to better manage and control your business
- Gain greater visibility of your cash flows, together with any potential future financing requirements
- Identify potential issues and opportunities in your sales and key cost drivers, which we can use to help drive profit/operational improvement
- Develop a dashboard of meaningful key performance indicators (KPIs) that will provide you with important insights about how well your business is performing
- Create a solid foundation upon which to build a detailed presentation of your financials for outside investors
The old rules of business have changed. In almost every walk of life, digital technology is transforming how customers act and behave. This means companies need to transform how they operate if they want to thrive in the new digital economy.
A recent Bain & Co. survey of 1,000 companies around the world found that the revenues for the leaders in digital transformation grew 14% over the past three years, more than doubling the performance of the digital laggards in their industries. Profitability followed a similar pattern.
But digital transformation is not about technology, it´s about business strategy and developing new ways of doing business. Digital technology is simply the facilitator of this process. It´s redefining many of the underlying principles of strategy. Many old constraints to doing business have been removed, allowing companies to innovate how they engage with, create value for and satisfy their customers.
On the operations side, companies can become far more agile in their operational, organisational and technical models, while at the same time reduce their costs. And data is no longer simply something a company stores for historical or audit purposes, but a valuable asset that can be used to help drive decision making.
By learning how to adapt to these new rules of doing business, any company or organisation can transform itself and thrive in the new digital economy. It´s not an easy journey by any means, but we can help you determine which pathway your organisation should take to maximise your probability of becoming a leading digital performer.
Interim / Part-time CFO
As the owner or CEO of your company, you probably want to focus on doing what you do best: running the business. So if you´ve ever been handed a series of financial reports by your accountant or controller, aside from frustration, you will have realised that reports on their own are often of little value.
Companies experiencing rapid change in particular need timely and valuable insights rather than reports. They should be strongly relying on their “dashboards” of KPIs to help them navigate their way. But creating meaningful dashboards is not as simple as it sounds.
Similarly, managing the long-term planning is key. Even the smallest organisation should have a three-year financial operating model. If your business requires additional financing or receives M&A interest, that long-term view could prove invaluable in helping to guide the conversation and process.
From planning, cash flow, and forecasting to tax strategies, risk assessment and dashboards, an experienced finance professional can partner with a business owner or CEO to help drive growth, manage costs, and deliver on the business strategy, becoming a vital component of a company´s success and profitable growth.
For small and medium sized companies that can´t justify a full-time, experienced finance professional (CFO or FP&A Director) to drive the necessary initiatives, an interim or part-time CFO can prove to be a highly cost-effective and strategic option.
Having someone at hand with the breadth of experience and knowledge that your existing finance team don´t yet possess will improve your day-to-day operational control and reporting processes, and add to the overall strength and capability of your company.
In addition, an interim or part-time CFO may be important to help you manage a restructuring or transformation project, or to handle a crisis situation within your organization.
Whatever the need, we can provide the necessary professional expertise to work with you and your existing team, and manage projects to a successful conclusion.
Why work with us?
We recognise that managing an organisation can be a daunting prospect under any circumstances, and often a very lonely one as well. The welfare of many people, from employees to investors and even customers, can weigh heavily on the shoulders of a business owner or CEO. So this is why Bassford tries to make a real difference.
Our mission is to inspire trust, bring deep insight and wisdom, and generate tremendous value for all those companies with which we work.
To achieve this, we work closely with the owners and management teams of our clients to provide them with best-practice, hands-on support that they can rely upon.
Our commitment to our clients is the following:
- We work objectively as a strategic business partner with whom you can build a long-term relationship based on trust, not as a vendor of standard, off-the-shelf solutions
- We have deep expertise and international experience in the areas in which we offer advice
- Our approach is fact-based, objective and tailored to our clients’ needs
- We will only work with you if we believe we can make a real, positive difference to your organisation. We never sell services simply for our own benefit.
Mark West is the founder of Bassford Consulting. He began his career in the automotive industry as a design engineer for Ford Motor Company. After reading for an MBA at London Business School, Mark held a number of senior finance and strategy roles across a range of industries, including Commercial Finance Director at ntl (now Virgin Media), and more recently as Group Director of Finance & Planning for a major Spanish Medical Devices supplier.
With 25 years’ experience developing companies across a range of industry sectors, Mark is able to provide his clients with best-practice, hands-on support covering strategy, FP&A and digital transformation projects, allowing them to drive their businesses forward and create sustainable, profitable growth.
Mark has extensive international exposure which has seen him undertake projects with senior management teams of companies in the US & Canada as well as in the UK, Spain and Switzerland.
In addition, as well as providing direct one-on-one support to clients, Mark is a speaker and conducts seminars and tailored workshops on the subjects about which he is most passionate, namely strategy, FP&A and digital transformation.
If your project extends beyond the scope of our services, we are able to call upon the participation of a broad range of highly experienced business professionals with functional expertise ranging from Corporate Finance and M&A services to workforce talent optimisation. Three such examples include:
Pablo Ruiz & Associates
A boutique Corporate Finance consultancy which provides specialist advice to companies in Spain & Mexico. In addition, they have extensive experience advising start-up companies, and offer specialist support to companies in financial difficulties.
PointNorth International is a Swiss Advisory firm working internationally to help organisations and executives unleash and maximize their potential. We provide them support in creating the right environment to succeed in the digital era.
We offer pragmatic solutions so that companies attract the RIGHT talent to contribute to the growth of their business. Our focus is on building the appropriate company culture, employer brand, employee experience, and upskilling of the workforce so that they get ready today to face the challenges of the future.
Carl is a Danish national, based in Zurich, with more than 20 years’ business development experience. Throughout his career, he has held a number of executive management as well as advisory positions in organisations that include ABB, Fläkt Woods, and Twin City Fan Companies. Carl has deep expertise in M&A and private equity investment projects, and has advised a number of large, listed companies on strategy, and global expansion.
Antonio Ruiloba Molíns
Owner/Director Bodegas La Val
Mark West advised us and worked with the management team on the business planning phase and valuation of our management buyout of Bodegas La Val.
What impressed us most was his detailed, methodical approach, and the insight & integrity he brought to the process. His advice was fundamental to the success of the buyout operation, and the foundation stone for the continued growth & success of Bodegas La Val.
European Anchor, Business Intelligence – Infosys
At a previous company, I worked closely with Mark West on a complex business restructuring project which included a series of best practice process improvement initiatives. Despite the breadth and complexity of what we were attempting to achieve, I was deeply impressed by Mark´s professionalism, dedication and drive to make the project a success.
Ultimately, thanks to Mark´s tight management of the overall project, we achieved our specified objectives within both the agreed schedule and budget. As a result, we attained a significant reduction in both fixed and variable costs, as well as an important improvement in customer satisfaction.
If you want a hands-on, experienced, proactive resource to come into your business, challenge you and bring new ideas to the table then I would have no problem recommending Mark for the task.
Chief Financial Officer CEG
I´ve known Mark West for many years and have tremendous respect for his professionalism and total integrity. Prior to moving to CEG, we worked together on a project to establish a corporate planning function at my previous organisation. Working closely with all the major stakeholders, Mark designed, led and managed the project, which successfully established a centralised financial planning & analysis function responsible for driving the annual budget process, together with monthly & quarterly reporting & variance analysis.
In the first full year of operation, the centralised planning team helped generate significant revenue increases as well as cost savings across the group, thanks to its ability to identify and focus on the key growth & margin drivers, whilst reducing resources on the non-scalable activities of the business.
Please don´t hesitate in contacting us to find out how we can help your business to achieve profitable growth. You can use the contact form, or alternatively email me directly if you prefer with a short message & contact number, and I´ll get back to you as soon as I can.
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