Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Why demographics matter

The day of 7 Billion is expected to arrive in July 2012. In 1804 the world’s population was 1 Billion to reach 2 Billion it took 123 years, right now it takes about 12 years to add 1 Billion people to the planet. The good news for Internet shopkeepers is that Thomas Malthus prediction in 1798 that the world would run out of food in the 19th Century has not come true and there could be a lot more customers arriving in the shop shortly.

So how can demographics affect the way I do business? Developed countries have stable population and in the case of Europe a decline in population is expected soon. The world’s population growth will be concentrated in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Western companies need to start to understand that young people and new customers will come from these emerging markets.

By 2025, India is expected to have the largest population in the world. Ethiopia with 140m will have the 9th largest population in the world. Infrastructure, communications, medicines etc. all need supporting. So what’s your strategy for reaching the emerging marketplace?

If you don't have one, isn’t it time your company committed to working one out?

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Marathon Running and the cash comparison

A friend of mine, Keith Cluderay, is a Marathon winner and Olympic trainer. He told me an interesting story last week. At some point when you are running a Marathon you run out of energy, your body just can't store enough fuel. I kid you not the running terminology is "bonking", some people call it the wall. Your body's fuel store has been completely depleted, and your body needs to break down fat into energy to keep running. Interestingly just before you bonk you are running at your best, I guess you are like a car coasting. As suddenly as a click of the fingers your speed drops and you feel terrible.

Back to our story. Keith was 2 miles off finishing the Marathon and looking like coming in second when the front runner suddenly slowed down and just as Keith became level with him, he said in a low strained voice "go on Keith win the race!" Even after 24 gruelling miles and almost spent that small encouragement played a huge part in providing just the boost he needed ... and Keith won the race.

The analogy with Cash is startling you may have covered most of your route to Market but are you running low on funds? What Cash boost do you need to come over the line?

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Business survival strategy, Three Buckets and the forces of Hell unleashed

Forces of Hell
On the 31st July 2008 the UK Chancellor Alistair Darling famously gave an interview where he said that Britain’s economic conditions were “arguably the worst they have been for 60 years”. Alistair's has since gone on record as saying that "the forces of hell were unleashed" after his frank warning of the economic storm ahead from all political parties. Surprisingly Alistair is still Chancellor and I can't help wondering isn't it time you were honest with yourself and started to work out your company's survival strategy to combat the worst recession since the war.

Building your Business's survival strategy
You can start to build your own business survival strategy by using Three Bucket workshop approach detailed below to build your very own survival strategy.

The Three Bucket workshop
Get your management team in a room and tell them the War cabinet is now in session all communication with the outside world has is now cut off. My preference would be to appoint a facilitator and meet at the weekend to keep the meeting relaxed and interruption free. Get three buckets and label them 50%, 75% and Core.

There are the 5 stages to complete this process and the battle is about to commence.
Stage 1. This is probably the most boring bit, but it may also be a revelation as to how your management team are spending their time. Write down the names of all of your products, services, innovations, departments and functions. This could be done on post-it notes, pieces of paper or a white board. Document and distribute the list to each member, leaving space at the bottom in case new areas are unearthed.

Stage 2. The first bomb has just been dropped on your customer base and you have lost 50% of your customers revenues as a consequence. What does your business need to stop doing to keep in business afloat?

Based on the list (If an your team think of new areas not already covered in the original list just add them to everyones list, the more the better). Ask each individual to write down, on a separate pieces of paper, everything your business would need stop doing to keep profitable. Put the pieces of paper in the bucket marked 50%.

Stage 3. A second bomb has just been dropped and you have lost another 25% of your customers revenues as a consequence, so in total your revenues have dropped by 75%. Now what does your business need to stop doing to keep in business afloat?
Based on the list (again if your team think of new areas not already covered in the original list keep adding them to everyones list). Ask your team to write down, on individual pieces of paper, everything your business would need stop doing to keep profitable. Put the pieces of paper in the bucket marked 75%.

Stage 4. Ask you team to look at the items that they have left from the list Those that remain should be considered as core Business, and the remaining items should be put in the core bucket.

Stage 5. Up to this stage the team have individually decided on which items go in the buckets. Now the fun and games commence. Create an inventory of the items that have been placed in each bucket.
  1. Start with 50% bucket and the the highest word count and discuss and agree as a team that it is placed in the right bucket
  2. Now look at the 75% bucket and the the highest word count and discuss and agree as a team that it is placed in the right bucket.
  3. Lastly look at the Core bucket and the the highest word count and discuss and agree as a team that it is placed in the right bucket.
The core bucket now contains the Business's reason to exist and the things that you should never stop doing. The 75% bucket is the buffer that captures items that are controversial, and for the time being can be left alone. The 50% bucket contains clear guidance as to the things you should stop doing.

After this exercise is completed you will feel confident of your survival strategy, However, watch out for the sword of Damocles, before you stop items qualify your findings with hard financial evidence. Your Survival strategy is now both agreed by top management and qualified. What you have achieved in a day is something that most organisations will never arrive at. You have created a Survival strategy, a sense of urgency, and a focus that can direct the actions of your management team to weather the financial storm ahead. "Money talks just listen."

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

The Celebrity Pacer - and how you can generate more cash from existing turnover

You are running in a pack of 52,000 people and you hear someone say that a celebrity is behind you, and the ripple effect of voices spreads the news. People are stumbling as they rubber neck the celeb. You turn, glance, not to stare just to make sure you know what they look like without the makeup and see if the camera has been lying. She does look a lot smaller in real life. At the same time those tightly bunched around you do the same and give each other a knowing glance. Proof positive, you can now confirm it actually is her and she sweats just like you. She is running the Great North Runs 13.1miles just like you. You and those around her are elated you have a new spring in your step and she is running just like you. If she can do it you can too, after all she is running just like you and this could be your chance to be on TV.

Here is where I burst your bubble. That celeb is not running just like you – you see unlike you they have an anonymous helper, the pacer, who’s job is to stay incognito and harness all that the celebrity can do and make it go further. We all have our natural limits those that we are comfortable with. The pacer takes those limits and uses his experience to focus effort on achieving the required goals. Next time you see a celeb run pay attention to the runner next to them who hasn’t even broken sweat and remind yourself with the right help that could be you.

You can generate more cash from existing turnover; all you need is the right focus.

Monday, 8 February 2010

The Banks have gone to the Races

The Banks are gambling with our money at the races, analysing your racing form and only placing bets if they feel you have a strong chance of coming home amongst the top runners.

Whilst money was in good supply the Banks took a positive view on Risk and had few issues providing loans. Now cash is limited the Banks have had to create new lending criteria. As a business you are no longer being judged on your own Business’s performance, or your ability to service your debt, you are being judged against the competition.

I spoke to a Company recently have a loan of £200m I asked how they were being treated by the Bank and was told that the Bank loved them. You see the first £20m from their profits, in fact nearly all the profit, pays the interest on the debt. However, this love relationship will only lasts as long as they service the debt, if they fail to pay the interest on the loan - they change from being an asset to a liability and the Bank will call time on the loan, and place their bet elsewhere.

Where do I go from here?

To reduce your reliance on the Bank and increase your chance of survival sign up for the free email updates and the “The finding Cash in your business Podcast".

Recent research has shown that in 72% of occasions Fund Managers charging about 2% fail to beat the market. So if the 'experts' fail to back the winner in the majority of cases isn't it about time you took an active interest in managing the Cash in your business?

Friday, 22 January 2010

Introduction to the Finding Cash in your Business Podcast Series

The podcast that helps you find Cash in your Business: On this episode we are going to provide a guide of what you can expect to learn by listening to the podcast. An explanation of the term credit crunch. A story to get you thinking about the value of money in your business. The Cash in quick tip. Seven areas where you’ll find cash buried in your business and the seven building blocks where the money is hidden. And a special offer for our listeners.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Monday, 11 January 2010

Finding Cash in your Business ebook

The idea for this book arose from a desire to clear away the mystique of Cash Management, make you aware of its importance especially as we live through the Global recession, and provide you with the tools to better manage the Cash in Your Business.

Cash is the lifeblood of any business and this book provides insight, guidance and the steps to help you take a look under the skin of your business to reveal just how well the Cash is pumping through your company's arteries.

This book will help you find Cash you didn't know you had, and attract Cash you didn't know you needed.

For more Free Cash Flow Advice head over to

Discover the Cash Flow Formula

The Cash Flow Formula was developed after extensive research into understanding and improving the way businesses manage Cash. The circular wheel shown is the ‘aide memoire’ to help drive a systematic approach to analysing the cash flows within your business. Each of the segments in the circle are broken down in detail in the various resources available at

Cash in Strategy

A clear “Cash in” strategy plays an important role in a company’s success. In today’s turbulent competitive environment, your company more than ever needs a “Cash in” strategy that specifies the kind of competitive advantage that it is seeking in the marketplace and articulates how the advantage is to be achieved.

As the Global recession bites it is important to review your current business product or service and customers mix as a priority. It may be that your order book is still full making you feel insulated from the recession. When in fact what you are actually experiencing is the effect of customers who are progressing orders that were approved years in advance, and the current market condition may not take effect for months or years. The key question here is can your customers still afford to pay?

For more Cash Flow advice pop over to

Survive the downturn with - AIR

To survive your company needs to Adapt to the market, Initiate Dialogue and Review your customers.
  • Adapt to the market conditions; create an action plan based on what products and or services are most likely to continue to be sold in a recessionary environment
  • Initiate collaborative discussion with existing customers who are struggling.
  • Review existing and target customers and set new credit limits and create risk bandings based on which companies are most likely to survive.

For more Cash Flow Advice pop over to