• Podcast Labs

#6 Analysing your business financials and planning for the future with Chris Grubb



Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Podcasts



Finances are often the most under appreciated part of entrepreneurship, yet the impact a good Financial Director can add to a start-up and scale-up business is invaluable.


We talk to Financial Director Chris Grubb about creating the steps to take to create financial feedback loop in your business, where your numbers show you what steps to take and then insights into the results those actions are having as well as planning for the future.


This episode of The 10th Degree covers:


  • How to segment your revenue streams for accurate reporting

  • The value a Financial Director can add to your business

  • Measuring staff time efficiency

  • Forecasting and projecting the years ahead

  • Setting financial targets

  • Shareholder value analysis

  • Business mission vs Vision

Links:


Chris Grubb: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christopher-grubb-info/

Inform Perform: https://informperform.co.uk/


Anthony Story: https://www.linkedin.com/in/anthony-story-4032a63/

Podcast Labs: https://www.podcastlabs.co.uk/


Key highlights


“Every company is going to have a different set of revenue streams, are you actually splitting out those revenue streams within your bookkeeping software? Then we look at the direct costs related to those revenue streams. Are we able to allocate those costs or divide them up among those revenue streams? And we can then begin to see the margins related to the sales mix, we can start to look at where the best margins are, and are we able to increase those volumes.”


“If you've got a Business Development Director or Manager or Sales or Marketing, and you're giving them a fixed budget to increase the revenues in a certain area of your business, then don't you want to know where you were, and where you are after 12 months or 18 months, 24 months, relative to the forecast that that Business Director gave you or promised you prior to you handing them the budget? So for me it's this constant feedback loop, working with the business, business strategy, setting budgets forecast, and then reporting the actuals against where we want it to be.”


My experience is that smaller businesses are put off by forecasting because they don't know where to start, especially in regards to sales. So what I always try to steer them towards is setting targets rather than what we would call projections. And you might say, well, it's the same thing. But once you understand, how much money they want at the end of each month, we can then start basing our targets on that. And we can then focus resources on hitting those targets.”


“There needs to be a direct correlation between the targets that we all agree we need to hit and the budget you then provide to someone in order to hit that target, and then there's responsibility there. I would say when we don't set that out from the start, that's where the disaster strikes.”


“The mission statement is where we are now, the vision statement is where we want to be. It is important to have the two statements in place, and ideally, at the very least your senior management understanding what the vision is. Because when opportunities do arise ad hoc, you will know it instantaneously, whether you want to pursue that opportunity or not. There's no point in spending management time investigating whether you want to purchase the business next door that suddenly come up for sale, if that isn't part of your vision statement and wasn't part of your three year strategy. So it again, having that vision in place will save you hours of management time in the short run, not just the long run.”


Transcript


Anthony Story


Today I'm with Chris Grubb. Chris is a freelance Financial Director. So I like to think of him a bit like an ancient mystic or maybe as zoroastrian yogi wandering through the sands wet lands of Bournemouth metropolis, dispensing pearls of wisdom to anticipating business initiates, eager to integrate new ideas into their strategy. Is that too much?


Chris Grubb

No, that's right on point. You've got me to a tee there. Yeah, meandering definitely.


Anthony Story

Okay but I'm piling on the romance a little bit because I think that what you do is probably one of the more under appreciated talents and doesn't always get the respect it deserves by your typical free-wheeling entrepreneur. So I think the power a good Financial Director has to shape business thinking can be pretty profound. Many entrepreneurs are driven by passion and vision but can be flawed by a question as simple as, "how much money do you need to make in quarter four?" And I mean, where's the passion and discussing quarter four? But without clear targets, how do you know when you've reached your destination? So, Chris, you're an accountant, you're a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, and you might be getting the impression that I think you're sometimes a little under appreciated. Is that just me? Or do you find that when you are talking to people about what you do that, on the whole, they don't always understand the value that you're there to offer?


Chris Grubb

Yeah, absolutely. Most people would see the accounts department or finance function, as a back office function. It is one where we essentially keep score of the results going on, and it's not one that necessarily builds value, or can create value for a company. And you're right, that's why, what I can achieve today with this, is to convince people that there is value to be had from a good finance department.


Anthony Story

I mean, how do you see yourself? Do you see yourself as a finance department? Do you see yourself as an accountant? Do you see yourself as a consultant?


Chris Grubb

I would see myself more as the finance department, I would say, on a consulting basis, less so as an accountant, although like you say, I am a chartered accountant. I think generally when people hear the role accountant, they want to be talking about their own year-end tax, corporation tax and submissions to Companies House. Whereas from my perspective, it is more the forecasting, budgeting, setting targets, then comparing the actuals to the budgets and the forecast and seeing where we are.


Anthony Story

Yeah, okay. I think using the word accountant can be a bit of a dangerous territory because, I've been doing some research, and it seems to me that accountancy is uniformly painted in pretty grey and dull colours. But you don't actually strike me as being part of that mould, I mean, people can't see, but you are the picture of sartorial elegance today. No suits, no tie to be seen, but still, you are the butt of 1000 jokes.


Chris Grubb

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.


Anthony Story

And I've been looking into some of those jokes. I'm not convinced all of them are funny. So I think we should maybe try and explore that a little bit, to liven things up. The background for me in both of those departments, are that I first became aware of the concept of the Financial Director, when I was delivering a project for London electricity, which was one of the old big energy companies back in the day. So I'd helped organise a big cross company conference where all the directors had to give a presentation about the visions. And then on comes the FD, and it was interesting because it was the first time I appreciated that there was a difference between the role of an accountant and the strategic mind who understands how commercial finance works. And I think that was quite important. He then came on and I think he was quite aware of his own image, and in he self-confessed his own propensities caused boredom, and said he'd been told that he had to tell a joke. And he said, what's the difference between an introverted accountant and an extroverted accountant?


Chris Grubb

I don't know.


Anthony Story

Well, an extroverted accountant looks at your shoes when he's talking to you. So I still remember that but I'm not sure that it's very funny when I say that joke, but I think when he said it, it actually it was quite funny because the room was laughing. So we'll come back into that, but anyway, what do you think the differences between an accountant and the FD?


Chris Grubb

I think the FD focuses on the business and the operations. It's there to try and make more money, more efficiently for its shareholders, ultimately. We can do that by recording more data and analysing that data and making decisions based on the information we have at hand. More so than an accountant that for me, is more focused on producing a set of year-end results, which they can then file with Companies House. So we're purely based on making improvements to the business operationally and hopefully financially.


Anthony Story

So when you come to a company for the first time, what are the first questions that you ask them?


Chris Grubb

What bookkeeping software do you use? How do you currently record your data? Every company is going to have a different set of revenue streams, are you actually splitting out those revenue streams within your bookkeeping software? If you are, and I would probably say none of the companies I've gone to yet we're, now we look at the direct costs related to those revenue streams. Are we able to allocate those costs or divide them up among those revenue streams? And we can then begin to see the margins related to the sales mix, we can start to look at where the best margins are, and are we able to increase those volumes or is it potentially easier to increase volumes where there might be a smaller margin, but the economies of scale and the volumes will improve quicker?


Anthony Story

So when you split a revenue stream what does that actually mean in practice?


Chris Grubb

You've got revenue or income or sales as a whole 100%, month on month, or we can talk in terms of 12 months for the year, you can divide that up however you like. You could divide it up by the different services you provide, you could divide it by the different products you provide. If you were a graphic designer, and you only ever designed logos, then I might be looking to divide it up by either your client market or the markets you're working in. So it other design houses or design industry that you're that your work is coming from? Or is it may be private sector or public sector? Is it the farming industry, or some other? Or you might be looking at geographical location. There's multiple ways but I would say however you divide it up, only divide it up by four or five different segments, you're not looking for much more than that.


Anthony Story

And what's the benefit of that? Is it because then you can start to see where your main revenue is coming from?


Chris Grubb

Absolutely, yeah, if you can divide it up by, say four or five, and let's say 60% of your revenue is coming from the government or the public sector, and you know that there's going to be a freeze on budgets coming up, then we now know what percentage of your revenue and your business is likely to be hit, or at least reduced by this by this budget hold. And then we might then look to grow the other revenue streams that you've got going. We know now where to focus your marketing attention relative to the different streams.


Anthony Story

So you can understand especially in the early days, that your approach is just to try and get customers and the approach is, if we just throw enough jelly at the wall, some of its going to stick, but some of it's stuck over there, some of its stuck over here. And so what you're trying to do is to use the numbers, to educate the people who are running the business, to say, "look, this is where your core market is coming from". And it's quite hard, maybe they know that a bit, they just haven't admitted to themselves?


Chris Grubb

Yeah, I think to be fair, when you are starting out, you want mud to hit anywhere. So I think we, probably don't need to analyse that too in depth, but I think after two to three years, when you've got a steady stream in different markets, then it's worth understanding where the revenues coming from, and which revenue streams were making profit on. In addition, have you got a business strategy which is going to focus on a certain industry or certain products? If you've got a Business Development Director or Manager or Sales or Marketing, and you're giving them a fixed budget to increase the revenues in a certain area of your business, then don't you want to know where you were, and where you are after 12 months or 18 months, 24 months, relative to the forecast that that Business Director gave you or promised you prior to you handing them the budget? So for me it's this constant feedback loop, working with the business, business strategy, setting budgets forecast, and then reporting the actuals against where we want it to be.


Anthony Story

So I guess the other part of that equation is the costs as well, how much you spending in terms of trying to service those particular clients that you're trying to segment?


Chris Grubb

Yeah,


Anthony Story

So are you able then to try and link them? So, these clients might be bringing in a lot of revenue, but actually, they cost a lot of money at the same time. So even though it looks like they could be where the profits of all the business is going to be, all they're doing is keeping things ticking over and actually, the profit lies somewhere else, because we can service them at a fraction of the cost it takes to do these other people over here?


Chris Grubb

That is precisely it. So that's where it comes into the sales mix. So at the top you've got the revenue or the sales, and then when you take away the cost directly relating to those sales, then you can look at the gross profit, and it's by analysing the gross profits in the different revenue streams that you can start to see "where are we making our money? And where are we running around like headless chickens?". And obviously, the key is to focus on where the margins are the highest, unless you know of a revenue stream, which you can grow quickly and easily. Ultimately, it's not about percentages, it's about pounds, so if you can increase the pounds via a lower percentage, then I would recommend you head that way. If not, then then you need to focus on where the higher percentage margins are.


Anthony Story

I mean that starting to deal with quite a lot of figures, so presumably, some of those figures exist, a lot of them might exist in the back of an Excel spreadsheet somewhere. Probably some of the the time that people spend is not quantified at all, not everyone has time sheets and maybe time sheets don't actually work, we know some companies who just don't believe in time sheets at all. So when you come in and you start to sprinkle your FD magic around, what do you need to do to practically try and extract this information?


Chris Grubb

First and foremost, you need to speak to the Managing Director or CEO and ascertain which markets or products or services do we want to report on? Like I said I wouldn't advise many more than four or five in each area. Most of the bookkeeping software these days has tracking codes. So we can implement those tracking codes into the software. And of course, in the first instance, we now need to record the invoices out to customers. Now, depending on the type of company that you are, if you're a business to customer type business, then it is potentially a lot harder in terms of services. Where you've just got a narrow or smaller number of invoices going out to clients on a monthly basis, which is generally the industries that I work in like the professional services industries, then it is a lot easier. And you just need to ask the sales people or the MD, which clients belong to which segments generally. And as I say, you've probably got two tracking codes you can use, in terms of what industry they're in, and in terms of what service they're in, and now you can kind of form a matrix. Allocating these different tracking codes to say people's time can be a bit harder, especially when there's project management involved, there's non billable hours, did you want to track them, don't you want to track them and so on. So it very much depends on the industry. But if you buying and selling, then it suddenly becomes a lot easier because remember, we're only using three or four different tracking codes not thirty.


Anthony Story

Yeah, okay. I think that whole idea of planning ahead and tracking chimes in really well with this joke.


Chris Grubb

Okay


Anthony Story

So a woman was told she only had six months to live. "Oh my God!" said the woman. "What shall I do?" "Marry an accountant" suggested the doctor. "Why?" asked the woman. "Would that make me live longer?". "No" replied the doctor, "but it will seem longer!" That clearly is a pity laugh. So you're doing the next joke because that was all right, that was the best of a bad bunch. I'm gonna pass you this over and you're gonna have to have a look in through some of these. So while you're having a flick through those, let me ask you this. Are you able to measure the impact? Do you have that before and after moment? I think the one thing that a lot of people fear is they'll think, "okay, kind of get the idea of an FD, I probably don't feel that comfortable in that area, especially if I don't come from that background at all. I know it's going to be good for me, but I know it's going to cost me as well." So, can I try and reassure myself that spending the money is going to pay dividends in the long run?


Chris Grubb

I've definitely worked in businesses where implementing precisely what we've just talked about, has enabled us to make decisions, which has created more profit and stopped us from chasing dead end customers or potential customers or industries that we now know are in decline. So, it depends on the circumstances, but I ultimately, you still need to make decisions based on the information that we found. Most of the clients I have would be owner managed. So it would be the manager owns the whole company, or at least more than 50%, and so it's always going to be their decision in terms of which direction we want to be heading in. Maybe there's a strategic reason why we're heading in a direction which is potentially opposite to the information, we've got a hand. But yeah, if we can take the time to make decisions based on the information, then I'm certain that there is additional money to be had, and finding out where your employees are spending a lot of time and not making much profit and it's not necessarily on the low invoicing work, but it's just where time and scope creep always seems to get out of hand. And for me, it's either related to a certain client, or it's related to a certain type of project.


Anthony Story

Okay. So that's interesting. The whole idea of being able to have a better understanding of what your staff are actually up to is important, but how do you how do you go about measuring that?


Chris Grubb

Ultimately, it would be time sheets and like you, I've come across companies that don't want their employees spending their time filling out timesheets. And I do understand that I mean, ultimately, you're trying to create a happy workplace for people to work. But if you wanted to analyse the numbers, then ultimately you do need the time sheets, but more importantly, you need someone reviewing the time sheets, and again, producing a set of information in order for everyone to make some decisions on them. There's no point in simply collecting the time sheet hours in order to invoice your client, potentially writing off hours each month, but not recording why.


Anthony Story

OK, so the time sheets might want to have some special "how much time do you spend on social media?" column to go into them as well, so you know how much time is actually being spent by your staff doing that?


Chris Grubb

Yeah, but I always want my employees to be honest. So I would never come down on employee for wherever they're spending their time. If they are taking longer on a job than they should be, then it is what it is. There's always a reason behind that. And we can assume it's not that the employee doesn't know what they're doing. Or maybe if anything, it might pick up a training need. My experience says that employees aren't going to record how much time they're spending on social media so there probably isn't so much point in adding that. You don't want timesheets to be a burden on your staff, because otherwise that's going to increase costs anyway, so we're looking to gain valuable information by asking them nicely to record where they're spending their hours.


Anthony Story

It seems that that's quite an interesting area for technology maybe to come in. So are you aware of things where artificial intelligence or machine learning might be able to track that? So you don't have to worry so much about the time sheets and it's just being taken care of in the background?


Chris Grubb

I'm not aware specifically of anything which is tracking an employee's time as they work. Certainly the tools are available, where there are sand timers and so on where you can start and stop yourself. But artificial intelligence and IT in general will be taking over the bookkeeping and accounting role. Probably sooner rather than later, especially in relation to other industries, yeah.


Anthony Story

Okay. I think we probably need a joke from you at this point.


Chris Grubb

Yeah. Okay. What's the difference between an accountant and a lawyer? The accountant knows he's boring.


Anthony Story

Actually, yeah. Okay, that's fair. I'm not sure if that's a joke or just actually quite an accurate observation. Can we say that? No, we can't say that. We like lawyers as well. All right. Shut up. Move on. So, projections is a really difficult area, particularly with the companies you're working with, particularly with with founder owner companies, where essentially it's your money you want to commit. And if you want to start planning and growing for the future, you might have to spend money up front in order to try and invest to get something in the long run. So presumably your role can come in to start looking about what the projections could be. Do you go in and ask people "Where do you want to be in one year, two years, three years?" from a financial point of view?


Chris Grubb

I try to. It often depends on how much time the MD or CEO wants to give to that. I would say any business I work in which have external investors, then absolutely we're doing that because we need to be supplying the investors with our forecasts. And then and then showing them how we're getting on relative to where we said we would be. In in an absolute ideal world, we would certainly be projecting where we're going to be, at the very least over the next 12 months, and ideally over the next three years would be a minimum for me. People don't know where to start when it comes to projections and forecasting, especially in regards to sales. And so what I always try to steer them towards is setting targets rather than what we would call projections. And you might say, well, it's the same thing. But once you understand, how much money they want at the end of each month, we can then start basing our targets on that. And we can then focus resources on hitting those targets. My experience is that smaller businesses are put off by forecasting because they don't know where to start.


Anthony Story

But presumably, if you want to try and spend some money, it's better to have some targets in place because you know, when you've achieved the goals that you're setting out, as opposed to kind of having that big vision going, "right, we want to do this, so therefore, I need to have this role, this role and in this role in place, because otherwise I'll never get there." But you're able to put in a lot more systems which would enable you to work out how that investment is paying off?


Chris Grubb

Exactly, and hopefully on a weekly or monthly basis, we can see where we are relative to where we needed to be at that point. So a lot quicker in the process, or in the life of the project or the investment, we can see where we are and whether we want to abort. Maybe if it's doing really well, we might want to apply more funds into it and increase the investment, or maybe we want to pause. So yeah, I think reporting on the actuals relative to these targets is fundamental in achieving the ultimate goal.


Anthony Story

So people say that often you learn from your mistakes. So with that in mind, are there any particular catastrophes that you've seen, that you've been witness to that you can share with us?


Chris Grubb

Gosh, it's difficult to to share. I certainly have seen some catastrophes in my time. But funny enough, it probably comes back to did we set targets? And did you make anyone responsible for the budgets that you provided them and their targets? See, for me, there needs to be a direct correlation between the targets that we all agree we need to hit and the budget you then provide to someone in order to hit that target, and then there's responsibility there. I would say when we don't set that out from the start, that's where the disaster strikes.


Anthony Story

And presumably the other thing is you actually have to measure those targets as you go along? There are some people who might just set the target, hand that responsibility over and go "away you go", but how often do you feel like you should be reviewing?


Chris Grubb

For me, it would be monthly, I would be producing monthly management accounts. And we would be reviewing where we are relative to where we needed to be at this point. So generally, a target is going to be in 12 months time, whether its how much revenue we want, or how much revenue we want from a certain sector, and then you divide that by 12. There might be a slight incremental curve from month 0 to month 12. And we can agree that from the start, and then, where are we and do we need to throw more resources in a month 2, 3 and 4 in order to get back on track?


Anthony Story

Before using the description "to be the pillar in the business " what do you mean by that?


Chris Grubb

I would like that in every business that I work in, that I am one of the pillars of success of that business. I want before the business owner or CEO makes any decisions that they're coming back to the finance function, checking on the information that we've been able to record and making decisions based on that information. And again, setting budgets and target based on their strategy and the information we've received.


Anthony Story

So it's not just about the quality of the product or the service that you're offering it's got to be profitable, hasn't it? And also if you're going to grow you need to make sure that you either don't run out of money and that you've got the right cash flow in place.


Chris Grubb

Absolutely, yes cash flow is fundamental, but I think going back to the to the question earlier about what's the difference between an accountant and a Finance Director, is that the finance director is producing information where decisions can be made, whereas an accountant is just collating the results and giving you the answer.


Anthony Story

I think that the difference between an accountant the Financial Director needs a proper punch line. I think we've got to work on that one, haven't we? That feels like it's there with the lawyer, isn't it?


Chris Grubb

Is that going to be in your list of jokes?


Anthony Story

Well, I think that was one to hand over to you. When you're talking to your other accountants in those secret WhatsApp groups you got going, that someone's got to come up with a decent punch line for that one, but you're the only people who are going to get it

unfortunately.


Chris Grubb

Yeah.


Anthony Story

Have you ever got another joke there?


Chris Grubb

What did the accountants wife say when she couldn't fall asleep? Darling, tell me about your work.


Anthony Story

My dad was an accountant. I could see that working.


Chris Grubb

Yeah, well, I must say my wife has certainly never asked me about my work so yeah, maybe I should try.


Anthony Story

So let me ask you a little about you. So where are you from?


Chris Grubb

I'm from Bournemouth originally, went to Porchester School, which is Harewood Academy now, I believe. Went to Bournemouth and Poole college, and then Kingston University.


Anthony Story

Okay, so you left and did you go and work in London?


Chris Grubb

Yeah, I was up in Kingston University for four years, worked in the City of London for three years. But funny enough, my degree was in software engineering. And so going into accounting was actually a career change, so, yeah I've now done the two female repelling, educational courses in IT and accounting.


Anthony Story

Okay. And as a software engineer that's a bit of a shift what made you take the leap?


Chris Grubb

I made the leap because software and IT wasn't of any interest of mine, and I was no good at it.


Anthony Story

And you didn't know any of this before you did the degree?


Chris Grubb

Well, you know, when you start the degree and you think that "well, it's fine, I'll finish the degree and then get a job in something that I really want to do" because you know that's what everyone does, no-one gets a job in the degree they took, and then you leave University and then all of the recruiters tell you that actually no you've got a vocational qualification here and actually, the only job you're going to get is in IT. Then if I felt stuck, I would say for three years, okay.


Anthony Story

So the reason you have ended up in the job that you're doing is actually down to your lack of careers advice at school, pointing you in the wrong direction?


Chris Grubb

Yeah, hopefully that's improved a bit these days. But yeah, I think me and all of my friends from school are probably stuck in careers, well, me no longer due to the career change but most people are stuck in careers they never thought they were going to have.


Anthony Story

And what brought you back to Bournemouth?


Chris Grubb

I actually lived in South Korea for three years after London, so I was working as an English teacher, so that's what brought me back to Bournemouth. I finished working as a teacher. decided I needed to retrain and decided I also didn't want to go back to London, I wanted to go back to somewhere I knew. And so yeah, came back, lived with my parents for a year and lived the dream with AAT accounting courses for six years.


Anthony Story

Software engineering is quite a process-driven discipline. Do you feel that the way in which you think actually is naturally lent yourself into working in this way?


Chris Grubb

When I speak to a lot of designers they seem to think that they were they were born creative, or they were they were born to be logical. I don't quite see it that way. For me, I think I've got a creative mind, and I've got a logical mind. I've always just been interested in business, I suppose, if it wasn't accounting, then for me, it would be business management or marketing. So any of those spheres, I would have been quite happy in doing, as it was, my parents owned a company at the time, who needed a bookkeeper, and so that field fulfilled my ambition of changing career into a business minded profession.


Chris Grubb

So that's how strongly they wanted to get you back out of the house was to get you a proper job, so you could afford to leave again?


Chris Grubb

Yeah, exactly that. So for one year, I was living with my parents and working with my parents at the age of about 27, so, yeah, you know that was a good year


Anthony Story

Back into things that make you attractive.


Chris Grubb

Yeah! A trainee accountant living with their parents.


Anthony Story

So when you go in and you start talking and meeting companies for the first time, then do you have a particular process that you like to take people through?


Chris Grubb

Yeah, I've actually just started to try to introduce a methodology that I'm working to and bring clients on board to that methodology. It uses something called shareholder value analysis. And that's whereby you're trying to increase your cash or your profits at the end of each year, and whereby you're also reducing your risks. And there's different drivers to enable you to increase your profits. If you took sales for instance, the only way you can improve your sales or increase your turnover is by either increasing your prices or by increasing your sales volumes. You can increase your net profit by reducing your costs and you will improve your gross profit by improving your sales mix and that's by dividing up your revenue streams in the categories that you want to and researching where you're making the most profit relative to the others. But in addition to that, there's other ways of improving the cash at the end of each month at the end of each year. And there's different drivers you can use. But whereby we can report on the age debtors analysis, age payables analysis, that's whereby you're bringing in cash quicker than you having to spend it. And so again, when I come into a company, I would look at what are there average debtor days at the moment? What are the average payable days? And try to implement some processes, whereby we can receive cash quicker than we're having to pay it out, and that ultimately improves cash flows and equally in time will increase the amount of money that the owners or the investors are able to pay themselves on a on a yearly basis.


Anthony Story

And I think we've talked about four categories that you like to try and look at, in terms of the four key pillars, which are going to have an impact on that bottom line.


Chris Grubb

Yeah, that's right. In terms of operations, there's sales, there's the direct costs, then there's other costs. So in terms of increasing sales, the only two areas you can focus on is increasing your prices, or you can increase the volume. You can increase prices on new clients, or you can increase the prices across the board, you could potentially increase the prices on new products or new services. And in terms of increasing volume, then you starting to look at even new markets in terms of geographic locations or markets in terms of product or you can increase the number of products that you're offering. So you can increase the markets, or you can increase the products.


Anthony Story

And you've also talked about trying to create a happy workplace?


Chris Grubb

Yeah, again, through experience, I think the happier the workplace, especially in terms of professional services, businesses, whether that be technology or design and digital, where you're offering a service, then you really want to be retaining your workforce, especially the good the good staff. And by creating that happy environment for people to work within, it helps them to want to stay with you and stay with the company long term. Ultimately, that means it's going to reduce your training costs overtime too and also your recruitment fees.


Anthony Story

In terms of trying to set goals, you've got goals, which are tangible, and there in figures, but what about things that team can rally around in order to understand what's going on? I think you can talk about mission statements and you can talk about vision statements. And often people have got the mission statement, but you need to have the vision as well do. What's the distinction you see on that?


Chris Grubb

Yeah, well, the vision statement is part of the business strategy. And certainly, that's where we want to be in say, three years or five years time. And for me the mission statement is where we are now, the vision statement is where we want to be. It is important to have the two statements in place, and ideally, at the very least your senior management understanding what the vision is. Because when opportunities do arise ad hoc, you will know it instantaneously, whether you want to pursue that opportunity or not. There's no point in spending management time investigating whether you want to purchase the business next door that suddenly come up for sale, if that isn't part of your vision statement and wasn't part of your three year strategy. So it again, having that vision in place will save you hours of management time in the short run, not just the long run.


Anthony Story

So the mission helps everyone understand what they're doing on a day to day basis, and the vision stops you from being diverted into things which going to distract you from achieving those goals?


Chris Grubb

I think precisely that, it stops the distraction doesn't it. When you're in business, opportunities arise on frankly a weekly basis. Especially where if you've got cash in the bank and you're wondering what to do with it you know which opportunities you wish to pursue, which is going to get you nearer to your vision and which ones you can disregard without wasting anyone else's or your own time investigating.


Anthony Story

Thank you for your time Chris.


Chris Grubb

Thank you for having me.