Business is hard. It’s especially harder during the initial years when no one has heard of you. Through sheer gut and perseverance, those who continue beyond the initial years, start to grow slowly until you reach a pivotal point when you start to achieve significant revenue growth.
I have seen this first hand with a number of companies, and lucky to see one of our Clients reaching this point, where I help them with strategic decision making.
I’m also in discussion with a number of companies where I could help them formulate a strategy and then help with execution.
But what is strategy?
Google would define this as “a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim”. Wikipedia defines this as “is a high level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty”.
For me, strategy is “the plan that would take you from where you are today to where you want to be in a defined time period, usually in 3 years”.
Every business knows where they are today. But they may not necessarily have done enough segmentation to understand what works and what does not. In some cases with smaller businesses, it’s more of a gut feel than the actual use of data. In some cases, where they want to be in 3 years is defined as an “exit” or “£x m revenue”. These days, it’s never about x number of staff, as businesses have become leaner compared to 20 years ago, thanks to use of technology.
As businesses fire fight every day to just get through the sheer volume of tasks, the founders or the management team never really find the time to work on the strategy of the business. Even if they fnd time, they are too close to the business to see the business as it is which in some cases could only be provided by a new pair of eyes.
What does a Chief Strategy Officer do in a small company?
According to Google, “a Chief Strategy Officer (CSO), or Chief Strategist, is an executive responsible for assisting the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with developing, communicating, executing, and sustaining corporate strategic initiatives”.
Above definition is written with larger companies in mind as only a large company would typically have a Strategist role. But just like advanced technology became available to smaller companies thanks to cloud computing and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business model, smaller companies are beginning to work with Strategists to compete with much larger players. Among such companies are local mobile specialists, Apadmi Group who recently recruited Marcus Hadfield from McCann as CSO. According to Marcus.
After six brilliant years with McCann, I’ve made the move into a new space and joined Apadmi. It’s no secret that mobile is permanently changing the way that businesses and customers do things – and faster than the market can keep up with – so to be part of the team who I think have the best mobile talent, experience and potential in the UK is really exciting. I’ve already learnt loads. I’m looking forward to using a bit of what I already know to help Apadmi grow even more.
Why would a company that operates on the borderline of small and medium hire a permanent CSO, especially when the management includes an experienced team? Well the answer is quite obvious. The company needs to achieve a step change to take advantage of its current strong position. Whilst the management has the expertise to achieve this, there isn’t a single person responsible for it, other than perhaps the Chairman due to group’s internal structure. So they’ve done the right thing by recruiting a CSO.
Not many companies are in the same comfortable position as Apadmi is. This is where an interim CSO can help make a step change.
What can Venture 9 offer?
I am in the process of developing a framework which allows development of a Strategy for smaller technology businesses within 15 man days with on-going support thereafter. For enquiries, do reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
Past Strategy Projects
Current Strategy Clients