Starting out on any kind of business on your own, is a lonely, and often scary, process.
It’s hard to push through the disappointments but it’s equally hard to understand when you’re doing well. When I work with people one-to-one on developing that Portfolio Executive workstyle, I often introduce them to other members of the Portfolio Executive Community to compare and contrast their activities.
But for me, being part of the Portfolio Executive Community, is so much more than a few ad hoc conversations with people on the journey. For me, there are four distinctive benefits that you have by joining the Portfolio Executive Community.
1) Understand your opportunities
The first thing is to learn from others who have the same professional background as you. In the community currently there are a number of people who have been in Accounting and Finance in their professional careers and as they move to becoming a Portfolio Executive, they have chosen some quite different routes. By talking to them, you would understand some of the choices that you have as a Portfolio Executive, some of the trade-offs they’ve chosen to make and some of the insights they’ve developed.
So, to give you three separate examples.
- One of them has completely focused on corporate finance. He positions himself as the part-time CFO, who can help you to raise money and manage investors, but he also does a lot of valuations that inform that fundraising process and he has strong relationships with a number of law firms. He does have an assistant who helps him, but primarily it’s him spending his own time with clients.
- A second one has focused around, working with private equity and other acquisitive organisations where they support the post-acquisition, post-merger processes. They providing very high value support for those transitions, both in terms of the preparation for the transition and the post transition activity. Their particular strength is blending the understanding of the strategic finance function and some of the often quite complicated, but significant, HR implications.
- And then the third person chose initially to focus on being a part time Finance Director but, increasingly, provides a full finance function outsource to their clients. So rather than just turning up and giving them the benefit of their advice, they also have management accountants who prepare the monthly management accounts. They also have bookkeepers who do the basic transaction processing. Their more senior people are also capable of migrating from one financial accounting system to another. Specialists will provide credit control and improvement to prompt payment. Now the offer is a complete finance function outsource capped off with his high value expertise as a part time Finance Director.
These three models can also be adapted to other professional roles. So an HR or IT director can provide a full or partial HR/IT function outsource service, specialise in merger, acquisition and disposal or focus on providing just the executive director role.
2) Support of others on the same path
The second benefit of being part of the Portfolio Executive Community is checking out with others how you are doing.
They’ve all been on different journeys and approached their future in different ways. On their journey they have found that different stages are more difficult or easier than others. They’ve also picked up lots of wisdom along the way. As part of the community you can share your experiences, you can draw on their experiences, and avoid some of the mistakes others have made. You will also see that those things you’re finding difficult, some will find easy and those things you found easy, they found difficult. This can be a source of enormous encouragement to you.
3) Cross Referrals
As a Portfolio Executive you should have a very privileged relationship with the CEO. You should be their trusted advisor, and you should have insight into all of the different operations of the organisation that you’re working for. If you’re a Finance Director, you may be aware that the sales function is not performing. If you’re the Sales Director you may be aware the marketing function is not performing. If you are the Operations Director, you may have real concerns about how some of the customer service function or HR function is operating. Now you will have other trusted Portfolio Executives within your network. You will want to draw them in, because you want to do the right thing for your client.
I’ve seen again and again, opportunities where a client starts with an FD, and then takes on an HR director. Sooner or later they want somebody to lead as product director, CTO or marketing director. It may be the gap is for a sales director. Quite quickly a growing business can need two or three part time Portfolio Executives, who, together, accelerate the growth of the organisation.
4) Shared promotion
Finally, as part of the Portfolio Executive Community, you will feature on our Portfolio Executive Community website, and you will be actively promoted through our regular LinkedIn posts which will increase your reach and access to potential clients.
In summary, being part of the Portfolio Executive Community will help you to better understand your opportunities, have the support of others, find clients from cross referrals and finally, to leverage the wider community to get promoted into your target marketplace.
Charles McLachlan is the founder of FuturePerfect and on a mission to transform the future of work and business. The Portfolio Executive programme is a new initiative to help executives build a sustainable and impactful second-half-career. Creating an alternative future takes imagination, design, organisation and many other thinking skills. Charles is happy to lend them to you.