👋🏾 Hi friends!

Crazy how quickly a couple of weeks can go by when you’re knee deep in the thick of things.

I’ve been busy writing, prepping for some fundraises, speaking with clients and generally trying to grow – despite some of the headwinds we’re seeing with startups at the moment – more on that below.

Oh, and on top of everything else, I’ve had my second story published in The Standard – check out the story here.

I’m knee deep in writing about all the things I’ve learned from the last couple of decades as founder, CFO and CEO, so sign up for early access to Off Balance – The Book and feel free to share with anyone else you think might enjoy it 😄.

I’m a few chapters in and exploring all 100 of the lessons I posted that got 1m views, thousands of likes and hundreds of comments and shares online – and that was just a list!

Now let’s get down to business…

In this weeks Off Balance, I’ll be chatting about:

🎙️ Harry Slagel and Lucy Adams, Founders of Martee’s on Nothing Ventured.
📉 What you might want to do if things are getting tough in your startup.

Trying to build an impactful venture?

Watch this podcast 👌🏾

In this episode of Nothing Ventured, I sat down with Harry Slagel and Lucy Adams – Co Founders of Martee’s – who are building the tool to predict and manage demand to get fresher, healthier food to consumers.

In this wide ranging episode they talked about:

➡️ Harry building his first business in lockdown, scaling to 1m revenue and ultimately exiting.

➡️ How Lucy and he met – turns out LinkedIn has value beyond posting clickbait.

➡️ Building an impact driven business in the food sector backed by Founders Factory and Nesta, making an acquisition and pivoting from stores to demand forecasting.

➡️ What are accelerators good for and why they love the ones they are working with.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Also, if you have any feedback, or if there’s something you’re desperate to see me include, just reply to this mail or ping me online – I’m very open to conversations.

If you like what I’m putting out, do give me a follow on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

(If you are trying to connect with me on LinkedIn, maybe read this post I wrote and make sure to start your request with “Off Balance” and, more importantly, tell me why you’d like to connect 💪🏾)

Don’t forget to like, rate and subscribe to Nothing Ventured on Apple, Spotify or YouTube, it really helps more people see what we’re doing – you can find links to these (and more including my Office Hours) right here!

Now let’s get into it.

This edition of Nothing Ventured is brought to you by EmergeOne.

EmergeOne provides fractional CFO support to venture backed tech startups from Seed to Series B and beyond.

Join companies backed by Hoxton, Stride, Octopus, Founders Factory, Outlier, a16z and more, who trust us to help them get the most out of their capital, streamline financials, and manage investor relations so they can focus on scaling.

If you’re a CFO working with venture backed startups and want to join a team of incredible fractional talent, drop us your details here.

If you’re a growing startup that knows it needs that strategic financial knowhow, drop your details here to see how we can support you as you scale 🚀

Off Balance

I’m having more and more conversations with startup founders that are struggling to see any kind of light at the end of the tunnel. The days when they could raise funding at the drop of a hat are long gone and when you’re coming to the squeaky end of their runway and all attempts to grow enough to unlock their next milestone have come up short, it may feel like there’s no hope left.

And whilst there is no shortcut to survival, here are some of the things I would do to give the business the best chance of surviving to fight another day.

What do you do when your running out of cash – and time…

There are no magic bullets…

I’m often asked how to turn things around in a struggling startup and there is, sadly, no easy answer.

Even harder to answer this question when the business has a few months of cash left, has been overvalued in previous rounds and is struggling to raise additional finance and may have more staff than it can support.

Here are some of the top of mind things I would do if I were brought in as a hail mary…

🔪 Cut costs deeply – this means working out what is the absolute minimum cost base you can work with to keep the business going, service existing contracts and at least maintain, if not grow.

✂ Fire underperforming clients – we all know there are clients out there that are not profitable. We may have brought them on to juice top line growth but who take a massive amount of time from an account servicing perspective. They likely came in at low prices and are sweating the business for whatever it can. Get rid of them. Nicely, but quickly. Focus on the clients that are adding value, not destroying it.

🔻 Shrink the product line – analyse your products at an individual level, see which ones are generating value at low or marginal acquisition costs, shed the products that are low value, even if they are features you think need to exist – you can always reinstate when things are on a surer footing. Not only will this allow you to work on the valuable products, but it will refocus the team on one, not multiple things.

📈 Increase prices – seems obvious but many founders and sales teams are reluctant to do this as they feel it will increase churn. But if a client doesn’t see the value in paying a legitimate price for your product or service, then the likelihood is that they weren’t a client you wanted to keep.

🤝 Restructure your debt – not just pure debt, renegotiate contracts with suppliers, ask for discounts or defer payments onto a plan so that you can better manage your cash flow. I’ve had to do this with banks as well as with vendors in various businesses. They won’t want to have to write off your debt altogether.

🌁 Find a bridge – go to your existing shareholders (and others) and see if they will bridge you, maybe not with an investment but with a repayable working capital loan. Secure it by writing it as a convertible or payable on some milestone.

📊 Micro manage your cash flow – you need to be monitoring cash on a weekly basis as a minimum and more likely daily. Every debtor needs to be accounted for, every payable understood. You don’t want surprises, do a daily standup and check in on where things are. Painful, I know, but this is business, the hard things are what make the differences.

But as I said right at the top… There is no magic bullet. All you can do is fight for survival get to a place where things are stable, generating surplus cash flow and you aren’t hemorrhaging cash.

As always, my office hours are open, if you’d like to chat about this or anything else, just grab some time 😊.

I hope you found Off Balance #28 useful. As always, I’d love to get your feedback and understand the sort of topics you would love to hear about.

Just hit reply to this mail or drop me a line at hello@emergeone.co.uk and let me know 😊

🚀And that’s a wrap for this edition of Off Balance – I’d appreciate your feedback so just reply to this email if you’ve got something you’d like to say.

📨 And if you think someone else might love this, please forward it on to them,

🎧 Finally, if you’re a fan of the Nothing Ventured podcast, please don’t forget to like, rate and subscribe wherever you get your pods – it really helps us spread the word.

That’s it from me so until next time…

Stay liquid 🙂

Aarish

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