The Art of Co-Parenting Your Business

How to add the Nurture to Your Enterprise’s Nature

Being the driving force behind a start-up or SME means means wearing many hats. But it’s also crucial to understand not every one of those hats fits your head and that there are only so many that can be piled on top of each other. In this article we explore the questions those responsible for a company’s sustainability and growth need to ask themselves when assessing if the moment is right to consider co-parenting and pass one of the most important hats over to either a full or part-time CFO.

Whether you are a founder, co-founder or part of a small management team, when you are responsible for nurturing a fledgling or growing enterprise to sustainability and growth you live and breathe the challenge. It’s business but it’s also hard for it not to become personal. You feel greater responsibility and determination than is generally the case when working for a well-established or already significantly sized organisation.

The Nature and Nurture Metaphor

This difference in responsibility between nurturing a growing business and taking care of a well established business is a bit like the difference between parenting a child or teen and mentoring an adult. A well established business can still be immensely rewarding and as a professional you will commit to doing it to the best of your ability. But is, at the end of the day, responsible for it’s own development and you are just a resource they can tap into. It’s not quite the same depth of involvement or responsibility as parenting a growing business or the same sense of ‘project ownership’.

As a guardian of a growing and developing human or a growing and developing business, you are directly responsible for a lot. You have the essence of a potentially great company, or human, and you have to make sure it is provided with the input that means that potential is realised. Are the funds in place to cover day-to-day requirements (eg. the office rent at work and paying the mortgage at home) and future development costs (eg. new products at work and a college fund at home)? You are involved in helping set the moral compass (ethics at work and at home) and a whole host of other responsibilities.

As a parent you have to accept you can’t do everything. If you don’t send a child to school or to extra-curricular activities to acquire knowledge and skills but try to do it all yourself, when will you have time to work to support the family? And can you really teach physics or train karate? Probably not. Even if you could, would the child grow up to be a well-rounded, skilled and sustainable individual if they’d been denied access to any point of view, field of knowledge or approach to life outside that of their parents or immediate family?

Just Nature is Not Enough

The correct management, strategy and vision for a growing enterprise’s finances are as key to it maximising its inherent potential as education and training are to a developing individual. A company can have amazing products or services but unfortunately that’s not enough. In fact, many of the companies offering the best products and services either fail or fail to realise their potential, outdone by competitors with a better commercial model, deeper pockets or both.

Making sure you give your company the best financial structure, guidance and vision is as key to it realising its potential as providing a child with an education. And as a founder, co-founder and management team, the chances are at a certain point you can’t realistically do that if you want to be able to give your time and focus to what you are really experts in. A child has to be sent off to school when they reach the appropriate age, the experts continuing the education process the parents start and still contribute to. An organisation also reaches a point in its development when financial expertise and an objective eye becomes the sensible and necessary way forward.

In the next blog post we will explore challenges in measuring the return on investment (ROI) and value added by a CFO.

About The Scalable CFO

TSC was founded in 2016 by Linda Luu, Fadi Halwani and Oreabetse Matlhare. A team of Professionals aiming to provide the first dedicated source of flexible Finance Experts for Startups and SMEs in the UAE. TCS introduces customers to a new breed of CFO, and through meaningful collaboration, provides a service that is essential to a market that cannot afford or does not meet the service qualification threshold of large professional service firms.