Tell us the basics: Who are you, what’s your company’s name and how long have you been at this company?
I’ve spent 30+ years as a business advisor or COO/CFO. I moved to Richmond from New England in 2007 and joined Fahrenheit Finance in 2011
What’s your background? What did you do before going into the fractional finance business?
I spent 22 years with Price Waterhouse, the last 10 as a partner in Boston and Providence; I left to work more with mid-market and emerging businesses. I have worked ever since as a finance and tax advisor or CFO for numerous growth-oriented companies, many with technology-driven business models (including Web services, software, life sciences and energy), but also in retail, services and manufacturing. I have lots of experience with planning and implementing M&A, partnering, capital raising, and other strategic transactions, and related tax planning.
Are there common mistakes or problems you see in small businesses when they call to ask for help?
Many entrepreneurs underestimate the complexity and pitfalls that require experienced advice even at the earliest stages. And, even in the middle market, many CEOs do not appreciate the advantage of different skillsets within the financial function – the reason that Fahrenheit usually offers a fractional CFO/ controller/bookkeeping team to help make sure the right person efficiently handles the right task.
What’s a lesson you’ve learned during the recession?
Be prepared for sudden, unanticipated market shifts. Be a strategic partner with your key customers, for staying power when times get tough. And build up reserves to shift gears if you must.
What’s a business you admire, and why?
Markel Ventures – their strategy defies conventional wisdom by investing in a wide variety of mid-market companies with no exit intentions. That’s a great model for owners looking for growth capital.
Is there a secret to your personal success? Perhaps a piece of advice you’ve always remembered?
I’ve been most successful working with clients and partners who have also become personal friends – usually people I connect with on both a personal and business level.
What’s coming up in the next year for you and your company? What about in the next five years?
The rise of entrepreneurialism, the tight economy, and the usefulness of fractional management are creating great opportunity for us. Both young and seasoned companies can stay lean by engaging the right type of financial help only as needed. We are quickly building a stable of promising growth companies, and their investors, who will continue to retain us in various ways if we help them succeed.
What, at your business, is the best way to connect with customers?
On the golf course (just kidding!). I can provide most value by being a key part of the management team and bringing the right solutions to the table, whether it’s me advising on fundraising, M&A, tax, etc. or bringing in a great controller or systems integration specialist from the Fahrenheit team.
What’s the part of your job you dread the most?
Seeking seed capital for a significant innovation in this risk-averse market. But a more robust angel market in the region and crowd funding in certain circumstances are opening up new possibilities.
What’s the part of your job that excites you the most, the thing that makes you want to hurry to work?
Working with smart, visionary people, who value building a great team around them.
Learn more about Brian – read his professional bio here and connect directly with Brian by email here