The ‘Tipping Point’ – Propelling Your Business Forward with a Non-Exec Director

The ‘Tipping Point’

Every successful business is built on the foundation of passion, knowledge, and hard work invested by its visionary leaders. You’ve come a long way, establishing yourself as a key player in your industry, driven by your expertise and dedication.

However, now you find yourself at a turning point. You’ve reached a stage where you’re unsure of how to navigate the next phase of growth, even though you possess an in-depth understanding of your product and industry.

This critical juncture, often referred to as ‘The Tipping Point,’ is where external help at the board level becomes invaluable in propelling your business forward.

Enter the solution: a Non-Executive business leader.

Hiring a Non-Executive Director can be a highly effective option as they bring extensive experience from serving on multiple boards, guiding SMEs through periods of growth and important business events.

The right Non-Exec Director will possess situational experience tailored to your SME, having successfully led businesses on journeys similar to the one you aspire to undertake. While domain experience and industry expertise can be beneficial, it is the situational experience that holds the utmost importance when appointing a Non-Exec Director (NED) or Chair. Your Senior Leadership Team already possesses the domain expertise that has brought you this far.

A NED’s perspective

Martin Boddy, a seasoned NED/NXC with a background in the tech space, exemplifies the value a Non-Exec Director brings. Martin, appointed by Rowan to Tech consultancy Space48, partners with owner/founders to drive SME growth based on his extensive situational experience. By leveraging his expertise, Martin helps businesses navigate the challenges and seize the opportunities that lie ahead.

But how does he currently help the owner/founders he partners with?

“Currently, we are in a period of inflation that many owner/founders haven’t experienced before, and they are unsure of what steps to take. Understanding this dynamic in the market and the effect it has on a business’ margin is critically important, and I work hand-in-hand with owner/founders to steer them through this period.

Contrary to many owner’s instincts who are focused on client retention, now is the critical time to raise prices, as businesses are being ‘squeezed from both sides’ by cost and wage inflation, so need to shift their focus from sales to margin.  Raising prices whilst retaining clients all comes down to how the price rises are implemented, and I have practical experience to share.

An experienced NED or Chair can add a lot of value here, as articulated by Martin.

I advise the owner/founders I work with to have an ‘always on’, balanced approach to driving new business. Often SMEs will win business, but then focus too hard on delivery, neglecting their pipeline. Business growth is an admirable ambition, but sustainable, profitable growth is what really counts.

I work with businesses to put the proper systems and processes in place to mitigate these swings, or ‘peaks and troughs’, creating more predictable, sustainable growth.”

Martin, and other successful Non-Exec Directors use their situational experience to de-mystify the journey that their client SME is on.

They’re the ‘safe pair of hands’ that has been there before; offering clarity, surety and experience to the ambitious owner/founder.

Rowan’s NED practice

Johnathan Massey heads up Rowan’s NED practice, and his team run a robust, rigorous process when appointing Non-Exec Directors. This is enhanced by Rowan’s proprietary solutions suite, ‘Leadership Dynamics’, which allows us to objectively evaluate, at arms length, senior leadership teams in competitor and peer group businesses as well as look at an individual leader’s situational experience. 

On appointing Non-Exec leaders to drive growth Johnathan said:

“I always want to make sure that our clients get the right person for the part of the journey they are on. 

Often clients think of a Non-Executive Director in terms of governance, but that is just one aspect. We are looking to appoint people who can really drive and add value. Like any role there should be clarity about the expectations and requirements of a NED along with robust assessment and referencing.

We combine a consultative approach with our data and technology platform to deliver great results.” 

To discuss how a Non-Exec Director or Chair could be transformative to your SME, contact Johnathan here.