Business Tip Image by Pete Linforth from PixabayThis is the 39th in a series of business tips from industry leaders that Enterprise Times has interviewed.

Scott Brown is the CEO and President FinancialForce. Enterprise Times interviewed Brown (not to be confused with Dan Brown, CTO at FinancialForce) as the company emerged from the pandemic and headed toward a potential recession.

Brown has an insight into how leaders should approach the next few months. As the world heads for economic uncertainty and an inflationary economy, how should CEOs approach this compared to the recent COVID and historical economic challenges? Is it different? The last period of high inflation was back in the 1970s, and many will not remember those days as business leaders.

Scott Brown, President and CEO at FinancialForce
Scott Brown, President and CEO at FinancialForce

“There are differences. The first thing that we did was we locked up all the financial resources that the company needed for the next three to four years before all this hit. We went out and capitalised in a way that allows us to have all the financial resources, cash, and investments we needed in the business without any additional fundraising for the next three to four years. First, I would make sure your company is on a solid financial footing. We’re on extraordinarily solid financial footing.”

Change your approach to focus on business value

“The second thing is, as you begin to interface with your customers, the conversation changes. One of the things we’ve spent a lot of investment on and work on is our business value realisation team. They go in and have conversations about in this kind of environment, how can we be part of the solution to your problem? Because what’s happening is the cost of services delivery is going up, the cost of people is going up, the complexity of that is going up.

“The inflationary environment means that you’ve got to become more efficient with technology. You can’t become more efficient with people; by the nature of an inflationary environment, it becomes impossible because the cost basis continues to go up too quickly.

“Customers ask us to go in, do a whole conversation and study with them about the business value you can get from these kinds of investments. What’s the payback, period and ROI? What is the Order of Battle of things that we should do that will help them get that return?

“It really pivots from, in growth times to be about how do I support the growth of the business. Now, it’s a conversation about business value. How do I deliver that business value to my customers? How can I improve the economic model of my company, during these times when the costs are, in many cases, outrunning either the ability to either have price increases, packaging differences or delivery differences that help you to keep that business in a very profitable light.

“We’ve beefed up our business value team. We’ve beefed up our ROI models. We beefed up a lot of the things that we’re doing in terms of the conversation about what is the right way to implement these, to help you to solve some of those problems. Because we know ultimately, in this inflationary environment, if we don’t help them solve, the efficiency, the utilisation, the cost basis, the billing basis, all those things need to work towards keeping the company in a good position from a profitability standpoint, with the headwind being inflation.”


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