Advising and mentoring leaders of businesses developing electronic products

Driving Business Forward

New product development can be an expensive and risky business. To drive a technology business forward you are going to need a well-defined business model, clear vision and defined goals, careful planning and good risk management. But setting out the strategy is only the start – delivering it requires determination and focus. It is too easy to get sucked into the day-to-day problems of the business and lose sight of where you are supposed to be heading.

Scaling Up

There’s a critical moment for a young, growing technology business. Possible signs of this are when the first product is in the hands of customers, when the CEO can no longer manage everything directly, when investor and grant funding starts to be replaced by customer-generated revenue or when worrying about survival is replaced by worrying about capacity to deliver. Big changes will be needed, quickly – building an executive team, adding new organisational functions, boosting sales and marketing, creating a new, robust plan for the next phase of the business.

Getting Change Done

Significant change is often called for in a growing and developing business, perhaps to address new markets, to support new technologies or to adapt to the needs of a larger organisation. Implementing change is often difficult. Many change initiatives end up still born as organisational inertia and resistance overcomes the limited management time available to push it forward. With the right approach though, the change your business needs can be made to happen.

Optimising Your Team

Are you getting the best from your team? How would you describe your culture? Does everyone share a common purpose and vision? You may have the brightest scientific and engineering minds, but they will need to be motivated and pulling in the same direction if you are to reach your goals. Investing time in your staff and providing regular, interactive communications will be needed to bring everyone along on the journey.

Focussing on your Customer

We can all get carried along by the excitement of the novel science or engineering behind a new product, but are you focussed on selling the technology or on the needs and desires of potential customers? If your technology provides a better solution than existing products, are you communicating those advantages clearly? If you are developing something unique, with no comparable competition, how will you persuade potential customers that they need this product at all?

Helping your business to grow and succeed

If you are a CEO looking for an external advisor or mentor, of course you need someone who has serious hands-on experience of managing a business and its key stakeholders – owners/investors, customers, and staff. But if you are working with electronics and software, you also need someone who knows how hardware is designed, how software is written and how products are manufactured and tested, because getting these functions working well is central to your success.

I have been working in technology SMEs for 35 years, as a design engineer, project manager, business developer, technical director, and CEO. My experience covers applications in scientific instruments, critical national infrastructure, defence, automotive and medical devices. As a director and CEO I have delivered disruptive technology, created new skill sets, built new markets and revenue streams, transformed staff culture and grown revenue, profit and cash reserves.

I took the decision to step down as CEO of Plextek in 2021 so I could dedicate myself to mentoring and advising CEOs of SMEs developing electronic products, helping them to grow and scale. In doing this I will bring to your business a fresh perspective, insight, clarity of thought, breadth of experience, strategic thinking and exceptional people management skills.

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