INSIGHT Business Systems recognizes that it takes a broad range of talents to
build a successful company. Intangibles such as market timing and luck donít hurt,
either. INSIGHTís intent is to augment management teams to provide them with tools
and perspectives they might not have otherwise. The intent is to leverage talent
already in place, to sharpen the thinking about the challenges ahead, and to prepare
a company for future success.
LOTS OF SMART PEOPLE
Startup companies are often started by very smart people.
They are the top engineers, the visionary entrepreneurs,
and the frustrated big-company folks who know they can do it better.
Intelligence is not the issue. But while they may be very smart
in certain areas, there are other areas where they simply have
not had the experience to understand the multiple issues they will
face in running their own companies. And in the early stages of a new company's life,
it is not cost effective to hire all the expertise that will eventually be needed.
Thus, INSIGHT Business Systems was born. The intent is to bring some order
to the financial and operational aspects of the business by introducing interim
systems ('tools') that will meet a company's needs for a period of time, until
more sophisticated solutions replace them. These tools augment the capabilities of the
typically technical management team, and address many of the key issues they will have
to address one way or another.
Smart managers can do a pretty good job of coming up with answers to the tough questions
that will be posed by potential investors, bankers, and analysts. Not only will they wow them
with their brilliance, but they will also often have good answers to those tough questions
involving numbers. The big question, of course, is how credible those answers are.
Did the executive really think things through, or was it a clever, 'from-the-hip' response?
The better executives have crunched through the numbers, and know the answers with excruciating detail.
They then summarize the results into those easy-to-understand morsels so as not to overwhelm
their audience. That, of course, is the better way to go. My favorite expression for this is,
"simplicity on the other side of complexity."
One of the benefits of the thorough analysis of one's business is the confidence that
business dynamics are well understood, have been thought through, and are reflected
in the succinct answers given to those tough questions. There is no need to divulge
all the detail unless asked (and sometimes not even then). But confidence in the
succinct answers is a must. Another of my favorite expressions for this, "If I had more time,
I'd write you a shorter letter."
The 'tools' used by INSIGHT Business System are Excel-based models, customized to meet
the needs of most businesses. There are many of them. A popular one, for example,
is a high-level budgeting model. This one, of course, needs to be updated from time
to time, like all business models. Eventually it should be replaced with a more
sophisticated planning tool. So the idea behind the INSIGHT models is that they
will be interim solutions. But there is already a fair amount of sophistication
built into the modes. So, depending upon the growth rate of a company, the need for replacement
products may be quite a long time down the road. Many companies have used INSIGHT models for
years before having to worry about a replacement. Thus, the tools are cost effective since
they last until a company is in financial position to introduce more sophisticated,