TL:DR I have noticed that many entrepreneurs, investors and others struggle to prepare and understand financial information. I plan to change that. First, I want to understand whether this is a real problem and how widespread it might be. I have included a link to a short survey which explores the challenge. I am hoping you will complete this and share it with your networks. I want to get as wide a range of opinions as possible from people who like you.
This is my first post for some time. Over the last few months I have been taking time for a bit of reflection. I don’t really do ashrams or meditation or mindfulness. So for me this mainly means playing a bit of golf and having lots of coffees and lunch and chats.
I embarked on this almost by accident. Certainly without any sort of plan. The trigger I guess was the good luck my wife and I have experienced in the last year. Because of that, I find myself with the freedom and headspace to take on a bit more. I have been working with startups and early stage companies for four years now. I feel I can make a greater contribution.
Out on the links, the thought rattling around in my head has been: How can I leverage my time and experience better to make a real difference to the growth and dynamism of early stage technology businesses. This sound quite formal when I write it down but its really not. Its a theme I keep coming back to day after day, shot after shot, latte after latte.
Pursuing this idea I have had a ton of great discussions with people who want to make a difference. Many of them are already spending time, expertise and money to help. We all know its making a difference.
Yet every time I talk to anyone it feels like I am missing something. It doesn’t matter whether I am having coffee with an entrepreneur, walking the fairways with fellow investors or engaging in a discussion group with people committed to the startup ecosystem.
The conversation is full of ideas about scale, ambition, innovation and priorities. Focus on how we can help companies achieve more sales, raise more investment or become more international. Its all great but….
At some point after an especially early morning, a different way of thinking clicked into my head. Maybe people like me should stop thinking about where we are going. Leave that to the entrepreneurs. Instead of fuelling ambitions or chasing moonshots, why don’t we focus on making the day to day stuff easier for founders and teams?
Once you start thinking like this lots of sources of friction and pain present themselves. Much of this I can’t do anything about (IP — please will someone disrupt this one!).
Over a little time I have started focused on something I think I can help with. Numbers. Numbers always cause problems. Forecasts and projections, business plans, budgets, valuations and anything that looks forward. Board reports, operational v financial v accounting, cash flow or profit, KPIs and so on.
I have noticed that many of the people I talk to struggle to prepare and understand financial information. Professional expertise in this area is expensive and does not always meet startup needs. I plan to change that.
First, I want to understand whether this is a real problem and how widespread it might be. I have included a link to a short survey which explores the challenge. I am hoping you will complete this and share it with your networks. I want to get as wide a range of opinions as possible from people who like you.
If it is of interest, I will be happy to share the outcome of this survey with you. You will also be on the priority list to get early access to the next steps in my plan to make finance faster, easier and better for startups.
Here is a link to the survey https://sunstone1.typeform.com/to/w6r0ot your support is much appreciated.
Kenny Fraser is the Director of Sunstone Communication and a personal investor in startups.