Strategic Services Practice Group
In every business, times arise when deep expertise is needed to address special opportunities or new challenges unfamiliar to your current team. Our strategic services team helps your company to be both effective and efficient in addressing such moments. These include such needs as:
- Assess new business opportunities and develop practicable plans to pursue them,
- Review and optimize current initiatives and operations,
- Identify and evaluate options to address changes in the business and the market, and
- Identify opportunities, evaluate and conduct due diligence for mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and partnerships.
Our experts work with executives to identify options and scenarios to help clients reach their goals. We design and implement smart strategies and work with clients to align these new plans with existing operations, customers and partners.
Based on our experience, we have three principles we share with clients.
- Strategies and plans are not the same. Strategies are concepts or ideas intended to help a company grow or improve. Plans are the well-considered steps to take to make a strategy bear fruit. Plans consider the strengths, weaknesses, barriers and resources available or needed to execute well. Plans must consider both internal and external elements, including customers, suppliers, partners and the markets. Plans also include ways to monitor the actual results relative to the anticipated outcomes.
- Strategies can fail for three reasons. In the main, nearly 65% of strategies fail in business, as a result of three vulnerabilities:
- Not recognizing the resources and relationships needed for the desired outcome,
- Not aligning operations to the new strategy, and
- Not assigning the right amount of management support or addressing conflicts among priorities, budgets, regions, business lines, or other activities which are out of synch.
- Effective Strategies and Plans require three important ingredients. Companies who do well in linking strategy to planning excel at:
- Creating a planning process that is staffed and funded well, with a realistic timeframe and clear, objective focus;
- Having a management team that provides focus, energy, resources and support and
- Implementing strong project management across functions to ensure continuity, meeting deadlines and optimizing results.
Strategic Planning Facilitation: A Key Service
Strategic planning is the foundation for business success. The time executives dedicate to strategic thinking lets a team discover new ideas, point the way towards new opportunities for business success and determine the best ways to address challenges and priorities.
We help clients deepen the value of their strategic thinking. Working with senior executive teams, we facilitate sessions to shape sustainable strategies and effective action plans. Moreover, our approach to facilitating this team thinking is not traditional: we stretch our clients to envision new opportunities and ways to improve their businesses, invent or renew a promising vision and create the best ways to put the vision to work.
Here is what our clients say after a day with us:
“ I personally want to thank you. The workshop you facilitated for us was absolutely perfect. It was exactly what we needed. We left with a new mission statement, a new name and a passion for our future. Everyone was so pleased with the workshop so: hats off to you!!!” — Uber
“Thank you so very much for leading us through a successful and energizing planning retreat. You did a magnificent job! With deft skill, you elicited the unique insights and best thinking each of us had to offer. We emerged with an inspiring vision for 2020, a framework for the next steps, and a strong sense of comradery with each other. The ideas and inspiration we gained with your outstanding assistance will carry us forward, as we work together to realize our vision for a Global Network for Transformative Gender Justice! Thank you so much for the gift of your time and expertise. “ — Iangel
“Thank you for your leadership in facilitating our strategic planning. Many great ideas were generated and you helped us especially tease out the bright spots on which to focus. We especially appreciate your inspiration and your marvelous collation and organization of the work!” — Stephanie Watson, Independent Institute
“When we adopt strategies they recommend, we meet our goals and objectives without fumbling the ball. We are constantly going back to them.” — Krispy Kreme Doughnuts
“Donna, I am so appreciative for your ability to facilitate our planning session. You succinctly and clearly gave us the key points to design a great road map to plot our course to 2020. It’s amazing how much we were able to do in such a short amount of time which is a tribute to your good leadership.” — International Action Network for Gender Equity and Law
Practice Leaders – Tom Sheppard and Donna Hamlin
Tom Sheppard is a strategic-minded CFO partner. He combines strategy, finance and operations to help companies build, grow and improve their businesses. He asks the right questions, gets to the answers and can execute on decision implementation. He is an advisor to senior executives on evaluating and driving their strategic business decisions and works on such issues as new businesses, markets and channels; financing; mergers and acquisitions; strategic partnerships; supply chain strategy and responding to changes in their business. Clients range from pre-funding start-ups to major multi-national corporations.
Clients rely on him to evaluate complex issues; determine how things work; uncover barriers and opportunities; and develop practicable, cross-functional solutions and the teams and relationships needed to succeed. He provides deep experience in solving problems, managing challenging issues and getting things done. He is a leader, coach, mentor and evangelist for ideas, decisions and projects to drive needed change.
Strategic Planning Expert
Donna Hamlin co-leads the Strategic Services Practice Group, working with clients in all industries to facilitate their strategic planning and business performance improvement. With more than 35 years of experience in strategy, change management and human performance improvement, she works with clients ranging from Fortune 500 global enterprises to start-up companies spanning more than 40 countries. Examples of client work include: facilitating strategic planning retreats for senior executive teams in more than thirty companies spanning two dozen industries, coaching senior executives to help them exercise thought leadership and improve personal performance, developing marketing and global positioning plans for corporate and product brands, are designing human resource functions to meet strategic shifts of companies and working with company boards to align the strategic planning process with board oversight.
Her strategic focus was shaped by executive experience and education. In the past, she served as the Senior Vice President of Strategic Change, Executive Planning and Leadership Development for CitiGroup’s Associates First Capital Corporation, and as Vice President for Human and Organizational Performance for Texaco, Inc. She has a Ph.D. and M.S. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a B.A. from Siena College.
Who We Serve
All companies – young or old – experience change. You may want to enter new markets, new channels or new businesses. You may have outgrown your current market or the market has moved away from you and you must expand to new areas or change directions. Technology shifts can affect every area of your business, requiring you to change processes and how partners work. CFOs2Go Strategic Services Group works across your business to develop integrated and implementable solutions. From risk and opportunity assessment to option identification and then plan development, we help you bring together the right team, with the right combination of skills to help. We assist you to design a successful strategy and to implement a plan and get you to a successful outcome. We combine our expertise with your knowledge to achieve fast and positive results.
When you have a great idea, how do you turn it into a business? Many people can write you a plan but we will build your business! We can help you evaluate the opportunity, identify your options, develop an integrated business and operating plan and finally build the processes and relationships needed to succeed. We help at each step to assess your position and options on how to move forward.
It is a great stage to find yourself with a portfolio of opportunities. Unfortunately, you also have a portfolio of challenges. If you are a private equity company, investor or a creditor, you are involved in these companies to benefit from their growth. Most of your companies can be lean and resources and time are tight. CFOs2GO’s Strategic Services Group can provide the expertise and resources to assess and help drive the growth in which you invested. We can act as a trusted advisor, project consultant or problem solver. Do you have companies growing too fast, too slow or troubled by an unseen shift in the business or market? We can help get back on track or find a new direction new one?
Our advisors – who have deep bench strength and experience across many industries – provide two lines of support to match client needs.
Most clients prefer to start with “baseline” help. That is, we begin with a discovery step to assess your overall practices and needs and outline what are the best solutions and changes to make significant improvements. This is your “gateway” to well-planned progress based on business priorities.
Thus, if your company needs risk assessment, evaluation of problems, diagnostics and process maps or reviews of risk management and ways to improve internal processes, our experts work with you to review, consider and propose solutions. This assistance typically focuses on specific needs. Such a as an objective, third-party assessment or counsel about a timely issue.
Significant Business Change
For more robust initiatives, we offer a wide array of services. A partial list of these includes:
Advisory and Consulting Services
- Risk Assessment
- Problem Identification
- Position Diagnostics & Process Mapping
- Risk Management & Process Improvement
- Design Solutions
Strategic & Business Plan Development
- Plan assessment & review
- Opportunity identification, evaluation & development
- Penetration and partnership strategies
- Business model development & optimization
- Implementation planning, budgeting & forecasting
Internal Growth Strategies
- Current business review
- Critical process review
- Customer management & profitability, financial systems, supply chain, distribution channels
- Metrics, KPIs, other performance systems and tracking
- Opportunity identification, evaluation & development
- i.e. process improvement, expansion & pivot strategies, business model change
- Plan development & management
Capital & Funding Strategies
- Strategy, business and financial assessment & review
- Capital & Funding preparation & improvement
- Capital & Investor plan and pitch review and coaching
Mergers & Acquisitions
- Management & due diligence assessment
- Deal preparation
- Due diligence management
- Opportunity identification & strategy
- Due diligence management
- Integration advisory & planning
- Integration management
Successful Client Engagements
Business Plan Development & Turnaround, SaaS Software Market
Developed the business model and plan for a company to deliver SaaS based, workforce optimization software, for the professional services market, for a private equity company. Plan included rollout plans, market analysis and penetration strategies for an integrated set of SaaS/Cloud based services. It detailed drivers and barriers for customers and partners, competition and pricing analysis, strategic and operational hurdles, priorities and benchmarks, KPI’s for both company and customers and revenue and budget forecasts for the different services. The PE Company re-funded and implemented this plan after 3 years of failures with prior management and consultants.
In an effort to leverage existing relationships in the PE Company’s portfolio, we successfully repositioned another portfolio company in the SaaS market, to be an important contributor going forward.
Strategic Process Initiatives, Electronics Market
Advisor to the executives of a large electronics company on a range of issues and initiatives in the years following a management buy-out. Initial problems included: heavy losses from inventory imbalances; a failed implementation of several business processes, in their ERP system; and dramatically falling industry prices caused by globalization and a structural change in the industry. These were having a large negative impact on their product line, customer and company profitability and customer relationships. Worked with management on solving these and other issues and brought in finance, supply chain and other teams as needed. Our role varied from advisor to the executive committee, to consultant and project manager.
Corporate & Venture Investments
Led teams to evaluate potential and existing venture investments for major corporate and venture capital clients. Issues included the state of a company’s products, plans, processes, technology, contracts, market position and financial viability. Recommendations ranged from improvements in their operations, strategy and business models to the sale or liquidation of a company.
Business Plan Development & Interim CFO, Digital Graphics Market
Interim CFO for an early stage software company developing content and tools for the professional digital imaging market. Developed business plan with complete go to market strategy, including direct, strategic partnering and e-commerce strategies, operating budgets and detailed long-term forecasts. Participated in negotiations through 2 rounds of funding, a potential acquisition by a major industry participant, licensing issues with a large OEM customer, marketing opportunities and agreements with strategic partners and non-US assembly operations.
Mergers, Acquisition & Investment Strategy, Consumer & Electronics Market
Led team of consultants for a major consumer & electronics manufacturer to determine major growth opportunities in several areas of interactive multimedia and the Internet. Starting from a long list of areas of potential interest, reduced list to those of highest interest and then performed full value chain analysis of each if those markets. This broke each market into component products and services, supply & distribution chains and components, technology and market opportunities and hurdles, component market sizes and business rules. We then advised the client on potential target markets and strategies for penetration, future development, partnering, investment or acquisition, to match their goals. Some market opportunities that appeared obvious failed the cut after closer evaluation, while other surprising opportunities emerged.
Strategic Initiative, Metal Fabrication Market
Developed the business models and plans for a large metal fabricator to move some of its sales and distribution to the internet. Led the team that evaluated market requirements, business processes, relationships, hurdles and opportunities that existed in its fabrication market. Developed initial budgets, forecasts and the critical benchmarks to achieve these goals. Also identified a major inefficiency in the design integration stage of the market that the company was able to exploit through a strategic partnership.
Our experience spans more than two dozen industries and regions, including Europe, the U.S., and Asia. Our business model provides virtual CFO advisors where and when you need them. No matter how far-reaching or complex the challenge, we can support you. Call to chat with one of us to learn more.