Suite of Six Services in
Early-Stage Enterprise (ESE) Incubation & Development
Situation: Meeting & Fulfilling the Acute Needs of the Early-Stage Enterprise (ESE) is a complex task that often defies advance definition, but require a strategic senior skill set. In additions, today’s entrepreneurs – with whom SW&A has worked – range from college students to retirees or near-retirees well into their 70s. Some are deeply experienced in business, some have no business experience at all. Some really want to continue to work on the “next gen” products / services, and others anticipate the acclaim they would enjoy as “the face of the business,” but have little interest in the nuance and accountability of running it each day that is so critical to its success.
Over many years, and many businesses, SW&A has provided a variety of the services listed below. That has taken SW&A into many areas, but, finally in 2016-17, three or four ESE clients began to ask about SW&A providing COO services, leading to the collaborative development of an “Office of the COO” described herein.
1. Strategic Business Advisory to the Founder / CEO
2. Strategic Business Planning with an Initial + Evolving Evergreen Plan to Manage Business Growth / Scalability plus Accountability
3. Product / Service Development Collaboration
Product / Service of an
4. Office of the Chief Operating Officer (COO) ~ Both Strategic & Tactical
Challenges to any ESE range from the terribly important to the mundane, and a huge variety in between. That includes managing professional services (e.g., legal, accounting, technology) to space needs to finances, including getting people paid in a timely fashion (APs and Payroll) and getting the ESE paid promptly (ARs). These are “the business basics,” but the challenge goes beyond those, well beyond.
SW&A has been asked by several of its ESE clients to create and provide an outsourced solution, an “Office of the Chief Operating Officer (COO)”, with Sam Waltz providing a strategic direction to knowledgeable and accountable team members working under him, with “a point person” for each of the ESE companies in his SW&A portfolio.
In addition to the above work, both strategic and tactical, the SW&A Office of the COO would carry out a variety of other work, including…
- Strategic Partnership Development and Maintenance;
- Strategic Stakeholder Communications with Investors, Banks, Employees, Industry Trade Groups, and others unique to the business;
- Financial Management, including Bookkeeping, Accounting, Controller and CFO-type functions;
- Oversight / Coordination of Marketing and Sales Functions, working hand-in-hand with the Founder / CEO, for Market Research, Marketing Materials Development, and Sales Management.
- Oversight / Coordination of Production, Logistics and Fulfillment;
- Intellectual Property Management, the patents, ©, ®, ™;
Help with business basics ™
Access to bank loans, loan funds and guarantee programs
Help with presentation skills
Links to higher education resources
Links to strategic partners
Comprehensive business training programs
Advisory boards and mentors
Management team identification
Help with business etiquette
Technology commercialization assistance
Help with regulatory compliance
5. Strategic Targeted Business Development
New Business Development (NBD) is one cornerstone of a thriving business that’s maximizing its valuation. “Nothing happens until somebody sells something” is one of the most famous maxims in business, attributed to hundreds of people over the years, from Peter Drucker to Sam Waltz.
An Entrepreneur can discover and build “the better mousetrap,” but the world will not necessarily beat a path to her door until she gets the NBD underway.
6. Debt / Equity Capital Finding
Capital is “the mother’s milk” of any business, particularly so for ESEs. A general strategy is to leverage F&F Capital (Friends & Family) early in an ESE, and to move to Debt Capital just as soon as possible.
Debt Capital, though, requires both demonstrated ability to repay debt as well as securitization of the debt in the form of collateral. For the established business, the becomes less of an issue. For the ESE, it often means personal guarantees, or, of course, it leads to…
Equity Capital, that is, the exchange of equity in the business for Investment Capital. It’s not a step to be taken lightly, and it gets into a complex array of variables. Frankly, it’s not a DIY (Do It Yourself) process.
We assist our SW&A clients with Strategic Capital-Finding Services and advocacy.