This is the third and probably last blog that I will get out of this year’s fantastic cyber 101 boot camp that was held at the end of November.
The focus of the afternoon was on business function, making sure that you had the right processes, people and, of course, access to money.
Once again we had four sessions but with six mentors, Alex Simpson and Tony Gillham from Ryecroft Glenton, Sue Ormerod and Paul Newton from Nigel Wright Group, Caroline Churchill from Womble Bond Dickinson and Rick Charnley from Northstar Ventures. Each gave us a 15 minute presentation on the subject after which, as in the morning, we broke into four groups of companies, which each group having a mentoring session.
Alex and Tony spoke to us about business modelling, at least financial modelling, which is basically your ambition for the future of your business over the long term. I wondered what the difference was between this and the strategy The model is a financial manifestation of your plans. It takes time to develop and it helps to have an epoxy to work with as it is something you are going to think about all of the time. If you and your management team are not thinking about the finances then you are not in business.
Sue and Paul described how a healthy recruitment market relies on people looking, moving and creating vacancies. For one reason or another people are not moving as much and so the market is not fluid. We need to be creative in how to attract good people, yet attracting people is the first challenge. Keeping talent is another. Your advert has to be better, your interview has to be better and you need to work with the new recruits well before they walk through your door s=to start with the business. The best way to retain people is by being connected to them.
Caroline Churchill brought us up to speed with the thinking on the GDPR regulations. Cyber security is working with personal data and all cyber security businesses will be doing just that. Through the course of our work we will see things we perhaps shouldn’t and we need to understand our responsibilities.
Finally Rick talked about the different types of investment that are available to startup and scale up businesses. Each source carries a different risk to the business and different obligations to the lender. Lenders want their money back eventually but be careful, it is not always the product that they are interested in. Investors invest in the team, they want to invest when the market is right, they want the business to be scalable and they want to see you build a market position that is defensible, one that you can occupy long enough to get that return.
Oh, and there is no such thing as a free lunch.