Jeff Nock is CEO and founder of Prescient Consulting, LLC, which helps companies achieve their growth goals. He has helped numerous organizations big and small, develop cash flow initiatives.
Jeff explains, “When new businesses are launching, it’s an exciting time, and everyone involved is geared to succeed and make their mark on the world, but during these ramp-up months and first few years, it’s important not only on revenue growth but also cash flow management.
Not always an easy task, it’s essential to have a plan and to stick to that plan.”
Jeff Nock’s 5 Tips
#1 Know When You Will Break Even
Many startups are led by visionary, goal-oriented people. By having goals for the company that include when the company will be cash-flow positive and break-even to profitability, founders will not only focus on top-line revenue growth but also cash flow management
#2 Keep Your Eye on Cash-Flow Management
During the startup phase, it is important to monitor spending not only monthly but even on a weekly basis. This doesn’t mean that founders should micro-manage the team and create a miserly culture, only that founders should have a very keen understanding of where cash is going when and make sure that both revenue and savings opportunities are achieved.
#3 Hire or “Outsource” Finance as Soon as Possible
Even if financials are a core competency for the founders, you shouldn’t handle the finances for your business. Many early-stage startups outsource the finance role to CPA’s who can come in a few hours a week and handle accounting and cash flow management. Once cash flow allows it, hire a controller and eventually a CPA. Founders should focus on growing the company and delegate to specialists.
#4 Utilize Smart Hiring
Often, those who have never been part of a successful startup and are financially focused, recommend that founders don’t hire people until they absolutely have to do so. In many cases, this is the exact opposite of what should be done. Smart hiring allows early-stage companies to bring on the talent they need to gain early market share and win the fight for early adopters. If founders can hire “smart” at this early stage, they can often recruit top talent that is highly skilled and often capable of taking on the role of two people in the company.
#5 Always Make Use of Technology
So often early-stage companies keep their financials on their hard drives or a plug-in. This makes the company very vulnerable to losing data entirely or having it stolen. Today, the best practice is to store all company data, including the financials, on a secure cloud platform. Not only will these platforms keep data safe from local file corruption/loss/theft, but it will also give your company secure access to your data anywhere in the world.
Jeff Nock is an experienced executive, consultant, and world-class leader who has demonstrated a history of growing startups, nonprofits and established companies. He is skilled in areas such as leadership development, strategic planning process, financial oversight, marketing, business development, and presentation development.
Business Consultant, Jeff Nock has validated essential entrepreneurial and leadership assets over the years in various positions, improving both small-scale businesses and larger corporations. Jeff Nock works one on one with business professional and leader on all levels.
Want to wow venture capitalist, clients, or staff with your presentation? The issue with many pitch deck presentations is an overabundance of information squeezed onto the slides. Jeff Nock, CEO & Founder of Prescient Consulting, LLC, explains what makes and breaks pitch deck presentations.
1. Everything should be clear and concise and should include well-suited images
2. Introduce your company, leadership, executive team or key players
3. Present your product, service or device and explain why there is a need. Does it solve a problem? Is it original, better or next generation?
4. Show real-world examples of how it works.
5. What is your commercialization plan or business model projections? Show how you will produce revenue?
6. What is the goal of the presentation? Do you want investors? If so, how much money are you asking for and why? Do you want branding and referral growth? If so, state how much you’ll need from your target audience. Are you looking for a partner? If so, how do they fit into the plan?
7. Final pages are for contact information and questions.
All pitch need to be thorough, but brief. People do not want to waste their time, and if you plan to present every detail of your company, you will lose interest very quickly. Pitch decks should be approximately 10 slides long and with the readable sized font. You need to make a great impression, so don’t read your slides word for word. Keep it interesting, professional and enticing. Visualization is key. If your presentation is full of ongoing bullet points or paragraphs, people will not be listening to you talk, they’ll be reading. You’ll need to add graphs and images that apply to your specific needs and niche.
Jeff Nock’s consulting business helps early-stage and mid-cap companies grow and ultimately achieve their goals by offering a range of services, notably business planning, and software application development. He teaches companies how to effectively improve the entire business from the top down, strengthening production, and encouraging healthy growth with time. Jeff Nock is highly skilled in areas such as business planning, the strategic planning process, management development, comprehensive marketing, sales, and presentation development.
Jeff Nock is CEO & Founder of Prescient Consulting, LLC, a consultancy that helps funded early stage and mid-cap companies achieve their vision and growth goals.
By offering services that include C-Level mentoring, strategic planning, business planning, financial/budget management, business model ideation/evolution, market analysis, competitive niche analysis, business development, operational efficiencies, and brand evolution.
While many people have business ideas that could become viable companies, few people have the energy and drive to turn that idea into a company and even fewer people can raise the capital necessary to get their company off the ground. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs will find themselves repelling down much more quickly than it took to launch their idea. Jeff Nock shares his insight on finding funding for startups.
The first option for raising money is typically called bootstrapping or friends and family funding. This includes the entrepreneur utilizing personal savings, credit cards, or money from friends and family to fund the initial cash needs of the startup. The risk, of course, is that if the business never becomes profitable then the entrepreneur ends up with depleted savings and/or a huge credit card debt or frustrated friends and families. Nonetheless, Jeff Nock has seen companies raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for their business from friends and family with little or no loss of equity.
Crowdfunding through social media allows for smaller investments from individuals or organizations, but on a larger scale of reach and frequency. Crowdfunding creates public interest, free marketing, and in many cases, significant funds to launch your business from the ground up. However, there is intense competition from other business ideas, non-profits and others that often results in companies raising very little for their company. Jeff Nock advises that even though the rate of success may not be high, depending on the business idea and the public’s interest in that idea, many companies have raised considerable capital through crowdfunding.
For both friends and family money and crowdfunding, it is often possible to raise funds before the product or service is even available. This initial funding allows the startup to get off the ground and show enough legitimacy to potentially gain the attention of the next level of funding which comes from angel investors. Angel investors, in return for a small portion of the equity in the startup, invest in very early stage companies for which they truly buy into the business idea, the entrepreneurs or both.
There are also federal (SBA-Small Business Administration and others) and state (economic development agencies) loans available but many of these loans will require some sort of collateral.
Once a company has a product or service up and running and typically after revenue is being generated, many high tech or other scalable companies may pursue venture capital to expedite the growth and market share of their companies. Venture capitalists manage large funds and invest in multiple startups with the goal of getting a 5x or more return on their investment within three to five years. A venture capitalist, for example, may have a portfolio of 10 investment companies and expects 2-3 to fail, 2-3 to break even and two to three to be huge winners.
According to Jeff Nock, “Many entrepreneurs think they can get venture capital funding at the idea or pre-product launch phase and that may have been true back in the dot com era, but today venture capitalists want to see a product in the market that is working and can benefit from additional funding to scale and gain market share.”
Jeff Nock is passionate about helping people achieve their dreams by bringing new products and services to market that help the world be a better place.
Business Consultant, Jeff Nock sheds light on scalability through acquisitions. Acquiring companies is one way that allows organizations to grow, gain market share and increase revenue and profits.
Jeff Nock encourages businesses in the position of acquiring other organizations to do so under specific guidelines, most importantly considering the cultural fit of the company to be acquired. While there are proven methods to financially analyze whether or not to acquire a company, evaluating the culture of the company to be acquired is more challenging.
When considering an acquisition, it is of course to evaluate profitability, market share, and other metrics, but a key to deciding whether or not to acquire a company is to get to know the leaders and people of the company being considered for acquisition.
Observing the company in action as well as spending time over dinners and networking events will help to acquire companies learn if the culture or the way they do their work is consistent with the culture of the company considering the acquisition.
This is one of the reasons Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway have been so successful when acquiring or investing in companies. They not only run the numbers on companies to be acquired and know the industry but they get to know the people. Mr. Buffett and his team are excellent evaluators of leadership and culture within companies.
“So often when companies are pursuing an acquisition, they take a good hard look at the numbers and in some cases see an opportunity to eliminate competition but they don’t look at the people and the culture of the company and whether or not those people will be a good fit within their companies culture.
In addition to spending time with people in the company, it is also helpful during the due diligence process to talk to customers and partners of the company to be acquired and ask them what the people are like within the company.” Said Jeff Nock.
Acquisitions require significant due diligence of not only the numbers but the people. Being resourceful and open-minded to change is essential to growing. When organizations are acquired the overall company will only benefit from the acquisition in the long run if the remaining people in the acquired company will but into the new company culture and be willing to work hard for that new company and its leadership.
Jeff Nock continued, “Scaling via acquisition may seem easier than organic growth but because of the complexity of combining two teams and two cultures into one, acquisitions often are not successful in the long run. It can compromise the acquiring company’s culture. It is pivotal to evaluate for culture fit when conducting due diligence as part of an acquisition.”
Jeff Nock, CEO & Founder of Prescient Consulting, LLC. Prescient, which is a management consultancy that helps funded early stage and mid-cap companies achieve their vision and growth goals by offering services that include C-Level mentoring, strategic planning, business planning, business model ideation/evolution, financial guidance, market analysis, competitive niche analysis, business development, operational efficiencies, and brand evolution.
In the 1960’s there were few tools to use for long term corporate planning. Business plans were 30-page tomes that no one ever read and did not enable employees to connect to the plan in a way that was executable. To address this problem a management consultant named Albert Humphrey at the Stanford Research Institute invented the SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Companies who conduct a SWOT analysis evaluate internal strengths and weaknesses and external opportunities and threats.
Jeff Nock explains, “A SWOT analysis can be an effective part of the overall strategic planning process. It is helpful not only for leaders within the organization to evaluate their own strengths and weaknesses as well as external opportunities and threats but also helpful to bring in a third party (such a business consultant) to get a fresh perspective. Often company founders and CEO’s are too close to their own businesses to be objective when conducting a SWOT. Employees will often be more comfortable sharing their thoughts on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats with an experienced consultant who is conducting the SWOT in a way that assures confidentiality. This can unearth amazing growth opportunities for the organization and potentially bring to light issues that need to be addressed that could hinder growth.”
For example, a recent SWOT analysis by a consultant for a young technology company (all major stakeholders within the company and key customers were interviewed as part of the SWOT analysis). The results showed that the company strengths include extremely bright and talented people and an excellent culture. Weaknesses included internal processes that weren’t scaling as the company grew. Specific new industries were identified as opportunities for growth and various competitive factors were identified as threats to the company.
“Once the company had this information from the SWOT, a strategic planning process used that data and other data such as more specific customer feedback to complete an annual strategic plan that assured the company would continue to hire great people, address the process scale issues, take advantage of the new regional growth opportunities, and put in place strategies to fend off competition. While conducting such a SWOT analysis takes time, the return on investment is incredibly beneficial .” Jeff Nock shared.
CEO and Founder of Prescient Consulting, LLC, Jeff Nock is an experienced executive, consultant, and world-class leader who has demonstrated a history of growing startups, non-profits, and established companies. He is skilled in areas such as business planning, the strategic planning process, financial analysis, leadership development, marketing, sales, and presentation development.
Jeff Nock, a seasoned business consultant, has a comprehensive experience that involves helping companies advance and grow their capabilities, as well as implement clear objectives to obtain and exceed goals and overall success.
Jeff Nock has a vast understanding of the elements necessary to achieve organizational growth. In doing this, companies must have a customer analysis strategy to reach their potential and make sure they are meeting or exceeding customer expectations.
Jeff Nock says, “Customer analysis is an important ongoing practice that all companies should utilize. Setting up regular feedback mechanisms from customers ensures that companies have an ongoing understanding of what is working and what is not working and provides direction for future growth.” Jeff continues, “Customer analysis is both a quantitative and qualitative assessment of your business’ customers which considers customer satisfaction, reasons for buying patterns, reasons for why certain products and services are not being purchased and put a spotlight on good and bad customer service issues.”
Setting up a consistent customer experience management program is a great way for B to B companies to learn about customer satisfaction. Many customers use the Net Promoter Score (NPS) by Satmetrix as the key metric for their program. NPS is a customer survey that measures customer experience and predicts business growth and allows companies to compare their NPS or service score against other companies in their industry. Jeff Nock explains, “With NPS companies not only measure customer satisfaction but also measure brand recognition and unearth potential growth areas.”
While NPS is a great way to get quantitative data on customers, more traditional one on one business relationship strategies, like taking customers out to lunch and inviting them to networking events or conducting online video updates, help ensure that customers are not only feeling valued but also have the opportunity to share their perspective on the business relationship directly. Some people prefer to share their thoughts verbally rather than fill out an online survey.
Keeping track of all customer contacts, whether electronic, on the phone, video chat or in person is critical. Utilization of a customer relationship management (CRM) tool such as Salesforce or HubSpot enables companies to track and make sure that each customer is being contacted in the appropriate strategic way on a regular basis.
Jeff Nock is CEO and Founder of Prescient Consulting, LLC, He is highly skilled in areas such as business planning, the strategic planning process, financial oversight, leadership development, marketing, sales, and presentation development.
Business Consultant, Jeff Nock has demonstrated fundamental leadership qualities over the years in various positions, improving both small-scale businesses and larger corporations. Jeff Nock shares insight on what makes a successful business leader.
“Being a good leader requires steadfast values that promote growth and stability. Leaders must be an example to their staff, peers, and clients on multiple levels. Without good leadership, the culture falls apart, and the business can’t scale from a start-up to a sustainable, growth-oriented company. “Every leader should be sincere about learning the professional interests of their team,” says Jeff Nock, “but they also need to be able to communicate effectively with their team to gain acceptance and drive for the plan and to be able to execute that plan.”
Jeff Nock is the CEO & Founder of Prescient Consulting, LLC, understands good leadership. His business helps early-stage and mid-cap companies grow and ultimately achieve their goals by offering a range of services, notably strategic planning, leadership development, and software application development. He teaches companies how a values based, positive leader will affect the entire business, strengthening not only the company’s scalability but also the career potential of each team member.
Jeff Nock believes that integrity in business may mean making decisions that hurt the company’s growth in the short run but are the right thing to do and help the company in the long run. When a leader has authentic integrity, he or she will be well-trusted and gain buy in from the team. Patience and integrity go hand in hand. “A great leader must be patient,” says Jeff Nock. “But as the speed of business and especially startups is so fast these days, a good leader must enable action and not allow ongoing deliberation.”
Communication is essential for leaders to be successful. They must listen and understand as well as coach, accept feedback, take charge, and be open-minded to individual needs and concerns.
Lack of communication will likely lead to employee uncertainty about their roles and eventually turnover and poor operational results.
Leaders must also be decisive and willing to take risks. Jeff Nock explains, “A leader who falters on decision making or who is too timid about executive decisions will hinder progress across the board. They should accept opinions or counsel and be open to debate but also be prepared to make the tough call when the time comes. A great leader will also empower their team instead of creating fear, doubt, or animosity.”
CEO and Founder of Prescient Consulting, LLC, Jeff Nock is an experienced executive, consultant, and world-class leader who has demonstrated a history of growing startups, non-profits, and established companies. He is skilled in areas such as business planning, the strategic planning process, leadership development, marketing, sales, finance and presentation development.
Jeff Nock shares his insight on strategic planning to encourage businesses to make sure they have a strategic plan and that everyone in the organization understands their role in that plan. He believes that every business must have a vision, mission and strategic plan with operational goals and objectives that all can understand and contribute to.
The vision for the organization is the perfect state if everything goes well. Since the world isn’t a perfect place, the mission is the purpose of the organization. While a vision and mission are incredibly important as they should drive everything in the organization, they won’t be effective unless they have a good strategic plan that aligns objectives with that mission and clearly articulates how each person in the organization will contribute to those objectives.
Once the vision, mission, and objectives have been defined it is then important to establish key performance indicators (KPIs) or metrics for each objective. How do you know you are being successful if you aren’t measuring your progress? KPIs should be easy to understand and relatable for everyone on the team. Top line revenue for example is a simple metric and the strategic plan should make it clear who in the organization is responsible for which components of revenue generation. Operationally, what quality, quantity, and on time KPIs does the company have in place? Each area including finance, human resources, marketing, engineering, and others should have defined objectives with clear and easy to understand KPIs.
“After these objectives and KPIs have been determined,” says Jeff Nock,” businesses should determine a time frame for reporting results and make adjustments when necessary when KPIs are not met. Some KPIs can be done real time and others may be reported weekly or monthly.”
According to Jeff Nock, the senior leadership team of the organization should have a dashboard of high level KPIs and each department or area within the organization should have their own KPIs that connect to the higher-level dashboard. Business is a competitive landscape and consistent measurements should also be taken of external key factors such as customer and partner satisfaction. While working hard is of course important, it is also important to work smart and to know what you are trying to achieve, when, and whether or not you accomplished your objectives.
In today’s ever-changing world, companies can’t be afraid to dynamically adjust their strategic plan to take advantage of new opportunities or address objectives that aren’t working.
IOWA CITY, IOWA— In today’s polarized world, it is often challenging to share one’s beliefs as inevitably those beliefs will inspire some and upset others. Jeff Nock is a Christian and has learned through many years of business leadership that utilization of Christian values can be beneficial to all business leaders regardless of religious belief.
Jeff Nock is an experienced executive, consultant, and leader with a demonstrated history of growing startups, nonprofits and established companies. Skilled in strategic plan development and execution, business plans, leadership development, marketing, Sales, finance and presentation development, Jeff has a strong, well-rounded background with a Master of Science in Management.
No surprise, given the topic of this article, Jeff Nock is a committed Christian blessed with four children and a long-standing career as an expert in growing companies. He is motivated to work long hours to see his business thrive as the Bible teaches to utilize the gifts people are given to help others. He also understands that he has been given an awesome responsibility of being a parent and utilizes time management skills to ensure he is there for his children when they need him and is the best possible leader for his family.
Jeff Nock asks shouldn’t the following biblical values be at the core of all company cultures?
Love – Do I demonstrate true compassion for my fellow workers, customers, clients, and partners?
Joy – Do I maintain the attitude that regardless of the current circumstances, everything will work out in the end?
Peace – Do I calmly go about my work- or do I “rant and rave” or “get upset” when things don’t go smoothly?
Patience – Do I maintain an attitude of “allowing people to grow” or do I demand they “have it all together” right now?
Kindness – Do I genuinely treat others with dignity and respect?
Goodness – Do I really have the best interest of others in mind when I talk and work with them?
Faithfulness – Do I speak the same of others when I am not with them, as when I am? Do I put in an honest day’s work?
Self-Control – Do I maintain the discipline to do my job with excellence? Am I pro-active or do I act re-actively? Do I take personal responsibility – or do I blame others or allow myself to be a “victim”?
Jeff explains, “In the end, whatever your religious beliefs, these values will enable you to be an empowering leader who is respected by your team. This doesn’t mean that difficult decisions should be avoided but it does mean those decisions should be made within the filter of these values. The leader of the organization is responsible for the culture of the organization. Whether you are Christian or not, you have a responsibility to set the example by living your own values in your daily work.”
Jeff Nock is CEO & Founder of Prescient Consulting, LLC, which is a management consulting business that helps funded early stage and mid cap companies achieve their vision and growth goals by offering services that include C-Level mentoring, strategic planning, business planning, business model ideation/evolution, market analysis, financial analysis, competitive niche analysis, business development, operational efficiencies, and brand evolution.
Jeff Nock, CEO & Founder of Prescient Consulting, LLC. Prescient, which is a management consulting company that helps fund early stage and mid-cap companies achieve their vision and growth goals.
By offering services that include C-Level mentoring, strategic planning, business planning, business model ideation/evolution, market analysis, competitive niche analysis, finance, business development, operational efficiencies, and brand evolution.
While all companies should have a strategic plan that connects to each individual’s role in the organization, companies should only invest time in a formal business plan when there is a specific demand for that business plan.
Such demand could come from potential investors, banking institutions, potential partners and potential acquirers.
Since the strategic plan provides the guidelines for the daily, quarterly, annual and three to the five-year direction of the company, much of the content in the strategic plan will also be of value for the business plan.
Jeff Nock understands that it is important to know your audience when writing a business plan. Before putting a lot of work in, ask the people who have requested the plan what they would like to receive.
In most cases, it is no longer necessary to write a 30-page business plan as it was many years ago.
In today’s world of bytes of information, it is important to be more concise. Often a 10 to 12-page plan will hit the mark. Highlight the following in one to two pages; Executive summary, company description, market analysis, competitive analysis, product/service description, marketing plan, sales plan, leadership overview, financial projections.
Write this section last. It summarizes, in one page, all the other sections of the plan. Make sure to emphasize the highlights as some readers will only read this section and the financials.
Describe your business model. What problem or opportunity is your company addressing? What is your value proposition? Who is your target market?
This section will show the reader that you thoroughly understand the industry you are planning to enter. Use data to show where the market has been and where it is going to be in the coming years.
The last thing a potential investor or partner wants to hear is that you think you have no competition. Every company has competition even if it is the status quo. Educate the reader on who the leaders are in the industry and why.
Now that you have described your competitors, describe in some detail your product or service and be specific about how you differentiate from the competition. Why are you better than the rest? If you aren’t, you won’t be able to compete against existing, entrenched companies.
Marketing is your “one to many” strategy for how to establish your brand and drive interest in your product or service. Describe how you will establish your brand in the market and how you will get potential customers to believe in your value proposition.
Sales are your “one to one” strategy for influencing potential customers to purchase your product or service. Describe how you will close prospects.
Often investors and partners go with a strong team of people even over a great idea for a product. Make sure to share who your leadership team is and why they are a great team. Jeff Nock understands a company’s culture can be a huge key to future success. Describe your company culture and why people want to work hard to make your company and themselves successful.
Share your revenue, expense and income forecast for the next year by month and for years two and three. Be pragmatic with these numbers.
You don’t want to be so conservative that the reader sees no potential in your company, but you don’t want to be so optimistic that you lose credibility with the reader.
Typically reviewers of business plans will cut revenue forecasts considerably.
When a business shares their business plan with an investor, vendor, client, or whomever they desire, they must be accountable for not only the successful outline of their initiatives but also their passion about the company.
The fervency of this passion is one of the most critical aspects of the business plan’s authenticity.