INSIGHT serves clients in many different situations. Often there is a signal event causing the
client to look for help. This could be the recognition by the management team
that help is needed beyond their own current skills, could be a ‘suggestion’
from a Board member, or could be caused by some significant milestone.
This could be a positive one, like having just raised money, or a negative one,
such as an unhappy surprise at the actual versus expected cash balance.
In any case, the common theme is that there is an event for which the
company needs skills they do not have. INSIGHT provides an excellent interim solution.
THE INVESTMENT CYCLE
Many startup companies are funded by venture capitalists -- either true professionals
from the venture industry, or the brave soles doing it on their own (the 'angel investors').
INSIGHT has done business for many venture-backed companies. The customer is typically
the CEO and/or CFO of the company. The idea is to help run the company in a more professional
manner, both currently and prospectively through the planning horizon. INSIGHT's business
tools translate the good thinking in an entrepreneur's head into tangible plans that can
be used as communication tools with prospective investors, or as evidence after-the-fact
that their hard-earned cash has been invested wisely.
It is certainly logical to think that year-end planning comes at the end of the
year (usually the fiscal year). Regretfully, that is sometimes interpreted as
only days before the end of the year. A good planning cycle takes much longer
than that. So if a planning process is not already in place, what is the management
team to do? One alternative is to bring in INSIGHT so that the tried and true tools
can be used. It's still a stretch to do a plan in days, but INSIGHT can reduce the
cycle time. And then, once a plan is in place, the INSIGHT models could -- and should --
be updated routinely throughout the year. Frequency will depend upon the rate of
change within a company, as well as its ability to stick with the previously described plan.
But a well-managed company will have meaningful management reports to measure performance
regularly, and will then modify plans and reports as business conditions dictate.
Every once in a while in the life of a startup company something occurs
that had not been planned. Hmmm... What to do... If the management team has
not been through these kinds of fire drills before, they are thrown into crisis
management. Good business skills and common sense will go a long way, but there
is no substitute for critical analysis. Once again, the INSIGHT tools could prove
helpful. They often provide the analytical support required to assess alternatives
during times of crisis management. They don't solve the crisis, but they provide
the background critical to making informed decisions.
ALTERNATE FUNDING STRATEGIES
In certain circumstances where traditional funding is not available, Insight helps
entrepreneurs think through
alternate funding strategies
, such as depicted for one
client in the attached photo.