Image for post
Image for post

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a trend away from static, annual business plans towards more dynamic, rolling replanning. The increase in uncertainty we have seen over the last year is driving that shift home.

In businesses where the CFO is able to deliver a consistently accurate rolling forecast, the executive team is able to make better-informed decisions. And a recent survey we did showed that employees who are given insight into financial projections have more confidence in their organization.

But although many finance teams want to deliver that agile, future-focused approach because they understand it will give a competitive advantage, they may feel they are struggling to make sense of the onslaught of data that the pandemic has brought. …


Image for post
Image for post

While 2020 was tough to go through, we might look back on it as a time when we learned some important lessons. In our personal lives, perhaps this has forced us to grow, appreciate what we have a little more, and do more for each other. But in business too, there are ways in which we will never go back to the way we used to work.

Many business leaders have had to get accustomed to working in new ways — ripping up plans and budgets, and then having to do the same again a few weeks later. …


Image for post
Image for post

Imagine you are playing baseball — but when you go out onto the field, nobody will tell you what the score is. You don’t know if you are winning or losing, where your or the opposing team’s weak points are or what the strategy is to win. Do you think you could play at the top of your game in that scenario?

Unfortunately, that is the situation that all too many employees are experiencing according to the Financial Transparency and Employee Confidence survey we conducted at Place Technology. Many employees, particularly at entry-level, get financial updates less often than once a month. More than one in ten never get them. …


Image for post
Image for post

Most businesses today are focused on building close, long-term relationships with existing customers while also reaching out to new ones. Companies are driven by the need to provide real and lasting value.

Business leaders generally want to know the answers to questions like: What are our existing and prospective customers looking for? What are their pain points and challenges? How are these changing in current circumstances? Being aware of changing market dynamics is key to being one step ahead of the competition, and nobody wants to offer their customers second best.

At my company, Place, I spend a lot of time talking to finance executives, many of whom work for dynamic start-ups in the tech sector. And they are as focused on understanding the customer as anybody else in the C-suite. …


Image for post
Image for post

In “the old days,” when you asked the finance department for a report or the sales team for a lead list, it would take days (sometimes weeks) to get an answer.

Data would have to be collected, organized, and presented. Team members would have to go back and forth, comparing insights. And by the time you actually received an answer, the data, in some respects, would be considered outdated. New data will have been collected by the company, leading to the process being repeated over and over and over again.

Unfortunately, many businesses today are still living in “the old days.” Lets take a look at how you can improve data visibility and department efficiency with Salesforce and apps. …


Image for post
Image for post

For every entrepreneur, the biggest challenge when running a company is knowing how and where to spend your time.

I remember when I started my first company, Talent Rover, I focused so much of my time (especially in the early days) hyper-focused on building the product. I wasn’t worried about anything else. And for a while, that seemed like a great path forward — until we got closer to actually launching the thing and needing to turn this product we’d worked so hard to build into a profitable, scalable business. That’s when things got crazy.

This is typically true for most first-time entrepreneurs. There’s a significant amount of focus placed on building a game-changing product, only to end up with no real go-to-market strategy or plan (or knowing how to even create one). As a result, you find yourself living in a sort of whirlwind, working tirelessly to build a business without really knowing whether your 18, 19, 20-hour workdays are truly moving your forward — or if you’re just spinning your wheels. …


Image for post
Image for post

Rolling forecasts are still a fairly new concept for businesses.

In many organizations, financial planning is as follows: at the end of every year, you create a budget for the following year based on historical data. You look at how much money you spent in the past 365 days on marketing, sales, training, and technology, and then you adjust your budget accordingly. For the most part, once a business creates a budget for the next year, they don’t typically make any changes until the following year. They have their milestones and metrics in place, and they stay the course.

What technology has recently enabled, however, is the ability to know what’s happening in the business in real-time — and to make changes to your forecast based on your original budget. …


Image for post
Image for post

2020 is the year of pivoting.

Over the past six months, companies ranging from early-stage startups to massive organizations employing thousands of people have had to pivot to meet the demands of the current climate. Companies have pivoted their products, their business models, their internal processes, all with the hopes of adjusting to this “new world” we’ve found ourselves living in.

However, especially in times of uncertainty, pivoting can morph into a frantic chasing of the next short-term fix. …


Image for post
Image for post

Being a founder in the post-COVID world is going to require a different perspective of the world.

For my entire career, I have always been someone who really values in-person relationships. Despite the fact that I’ve spent years in tech, and even my current venture is designed to help make people’s accounting and finance jobs easier, I don’t subscribe to the ideology that our entire lives should be made digital. I would much rather meet up with someone for lunch than hop on a Zoom call. I enjoy grabbing drinks and talking with friends or business associates face-to-face. I don’t mind making the commute to stop by someone else’s office. …


Image for post
Image for post

How do you know if your business is on track?

Startup founders and business owners have to juggle a million and one different variables in order to build and run a successful company. The problem is, when you get too hyper-focused on “the weeds” of the business, it can be easy to lose sight of the horizon line. Where are you headed in the long term? What are your expectations for the next six, twelve, and eighteen months? And, most importantly, how confident are you that you’ll get there?

The reality is that many business owners have very little definition around what it means to be “on track” outside of this month or quarter. They pay attention to their sales, keeping their customers happy, and trying to make more money than they spend. But from a 30,000-foot perspective, it can be difficult to know where the business will be six months from now — because they’re so focused on putting out fires and managing the day-to-day operations happening right now. …

About

Brandon Metcalf

Dog dad, husband, entrepreneur, investor. www.linkedin.com/in/Metcalf

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store