How Do You Navigate From Survive to Thrive?

A CFO’s knowledge and experience is invaluable.  Now more than ever, the right advice and planning is paramount in navigating from Survive to Thrive.

To this end, I have held team meetings with our 40 part-time CFO’s over the last week and wanted to share my learnings in order to help more businesses during these challenging times. It was pleasing to hear how many of our clients are moving from ‘survive’ mode to ‘revive’ or indeed ‘thrive’ mode. Our team have ensured that our clients have executed plans to minimise the impact of COVID-19, found cost savings, reviewed key contracts, have secured or are securing government and bank funding initiatives, and are now planning for growth.

It was also very interesting to hear about the number of acquisition opportunities and new market opportunities that have appeared for clients too. For instance, a local manufacturing client has just merged with another business to gain vertical integration and cost efficiencies, re-launching under a new Brand.

The main theme I got from our meetings is the amount of business planning the team is undertaking to prepare our clients for growth. This really is an excellent opportunity to re-evaluate business models.

We have been recommending our clients stop, take some time to reflect on the past, the current situation and the likely “new normal”. This includes asking key questions of oneself:

  • Is there fear or self-limiting beliefs that are holding me and my business back?
  • What was working well and not so well, pre-COVID-19?
  • What lessons can we take from the last few months, any silver-linings?
  • What may the future hold for my business or the wider industry?
  • What is my Purpose (my Why?) and does it still hold true?
  • Do we continue with the same product/service but deliver it via a different channel?
  • Do we use the same infrastructure to deliver new products/services?
  • Do we introduce new infrastructure to deliver the same products/services?
  • What is my honest assessment of our existing capabilities and of our structure?
  • What should our customer base and supply chain now look like?
  • What technology solutions are required?
  • How do I need to evolve as a leader and what governance practices need introducing?

Priorities such as cash maximisation, scenario modelling and action planning remain central to our focus with clients under financial pressure. However, for those clients who can “ride out this storm”, they need to minimise the immediate downside and maximise the potential upside in the coming months and years by thinking and responding to the above sorts of questions. This involves seeking good advice and planning!

Whether the business be in Survive, Revive or Thrive mode, there are commonalities across all three categories as related to how the business owner / manager should be responding.

These include:

  • Taking the time to reflect and plan
  • Mindset – challenge the status quo, recognise any FEAR for what it is – False Expectations Appearing Real
  • Being agile and adaptable
  • Seeking and taking good advice from the right source – don’t accept second best and keep looking until you find it
  • Communication and lots of it – with staff, customers, suppliers, your Bank, other stakeholders

I am very proud of my team who have given many hours of time at no extra cost to our clients and other businesses in need, who span many sectors, as this is about supporting business owners during these very challenging times.

After meeting with my team, I walked away with one key learning: that every business with a turnover greater than $1-2m needs a good CFO right now.

If you would like to speak with one of our highly experienced CFO’s to understand how they are preparing their clients for growth, please let me know.

David King, CEO

CFO Centre
1300 447 740

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