Conversation with an A-Player

Start a Conversation with Bob!

Bob Weber, MBA, has been a Managing Director with Next Stage Solutions, Inc. since 2012. Possessing extensive financial management experience, Bob is a global financial executive with over 40 years of Commercial and Operational Finance experience in the Life Science space, primarily within the MedTech and Pharmaceutical companies of healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson. In addition, he has been Director of Business Development for the J&J Orthopaedic Company; Vice President of Finance and Executive Committee member for a foreign based, privately owned Medical Diagnostic company; and been responsible for financial operations in the US, Canada, and the UK.

Over his career, Bob has assisted Company Leadership as business advisor in the development and execution of business strategies to support company growth objectives. These activities have ranged from new product evaluations/commercialization; negotiation of strategic business alliances; and implementation of critical business systems.

    

We are proud to present a sample of his accomplishments for both NSS and other organizations:

  • Participated in the worldwide commercialization of over 20 new products in highly regulated industries with combined revenue in excess of $500 Mil in annual sales.
  • Led development of formal strategic planning process for two $175 Mil worldwide business franchises with strategic goals, divisional objectives, and interactive financial planning capabilities.
  • Conducted comprehensive financial and business analysis that reduced manufacturing structure from nine facilities to three centers of excellence avoiding $2.5 Mil in consolidation costs.
  • Led pricing negotiations that shifted $5 Mil in profit margin from strategic business partner to company, while resetting the pricing matrix agreement for our future relationship.
  • Directed implementation of Activity-Based Management and developed operations performance measures for 7 manufacturing plants saving millions in cost reductions and elimination of non-value added expenses.
  • Negotiated numerous New Business Development agreements (distribution, licensing, and supply agreements) with annual sales in excess of $20 Mil.
  • Organized and led highly successful CFO searches for midmarket companies in expansion mode.

Are you looking at growth differently, or what we call nonlinear growth?  Bob is easy going and the guy to talk to.  He will be delighted to start a conversation with you.

Email Bob at weber@nextstagesolutions.com or

call 617-449-7728

Update from the NSS Team

Update from the NSS Team…..

Last quarter of 2012 was a busy one for NSS. Some highlights here:

Blu Homes, Inc. makes beautiful green homes suitable for a wide range of residential, commercial and institutional buyers. Blu engaged NSS to provide them with  immediate and seamless interim CFO support during their executive search for a permanent hire. See Blu Homes’ endorsement.

The bakery that makes you feel good with its products and are free of additives and artificial ingredients. Swissbäkers engaged NSS’ services to drive project financing as well as to create the operating business systems to maintain control over growth and profitability as the business scales to new, much higher volumes.

New in 2013

NSS was assigned to work with 8 companies nationwide  through the Larta Institute. Five are through the NIH and three through TATRAC funding agencies.  The focus is to guide the companies towards commercialization with an investor presentation, an 18-month milestone plan and a Quad Chart.

Congratulations to Swissbäkers who was awarded one of the Matching Grant in Manufacturing. Last week, Swissbäkers moved into a very large baking/café facility and NSS is advising them on the plant layout and how to efficiently utilize their new footprint. Stay tuned for the grand opening of the Café!

Planning Growth: The CEO Challenge 2

NSS Workshop Series for CEOs and Business Owners

CEO Workshops are part of our continuing series of educational forums where CEOs participate in peer-to-peer exchanges of ideas and thought leadership. We focus on the CEOs role as the center of the business. Prof. Advisors may attend with a CEO.

Planning Growth: The CEO Challenge

Wed | March 13, 2013 | 10:30am – 12:30pm with a light lunch

Place: WilmerHale | 850 Winter Street | Waltham, MA

Join a group of CEOs addressing strengths, opportunities and threats for the upcoming 12 months while reflecting on the past 6 months. Each CEO, teamed up with a CFO, chooses a challenge they are faced with and a course of action.

They then present the solution to the advisory board that will examine, question and probe the team from different angles.  The audience will add questions and comments and vote at the end whether or not to approve the course of action then will vote the solution a go or no-go.

Our theme is around the Strategic Challenge CEOs face:

  • Strategic Market Assessment
  • Organization & Talent Management
  • Growth Strategies from planning to delivery
  • Infrastructure build-out to achieve scalability

CEOs:

Laurie Halloran CEO of Halloran Consulting Group

Paresh Shah, CEO of  Mindleaf, Inc

Moderator:

Carol Kunik, CEO Coach, Vistage International will focus on the overall planned growth and how to realistically achieve it.

Advisory Board Members:

Joshua Fox, Partner at WilmerHale will stress the importance of looking at acquisitions for growth.

Bonni DiMatteo, President of Atlantic Consultants will focus on company culture and communications.

Bill Schmidt, Managing Director at Next Stage Solutions will consider the cost/benefit of the solution.

Planning Growth: The CEO Challenge 1

NSS Workshop Series for CEOs and Business Owners

CEO Workshops are part of our continuing series of educational forums where CEOs participate in peer-to-peer exchanges of ideas and thought leadership. We focus on the CEOs role as the center of the business. Professional Advisors may attend with a CEO.

Planning Growth: The CEO Challenge

When: Thursday | January 10| 10:30am – 12:30pm | Light lunch served

Host: WilmerHale, 850 Winter Street, Waltham, MA

REGISTER TODAY!

Join a group of CEOs addressing strengths, opportunities and threats for the upcoming 12 months while reflecting on the past 6 months. Each CEO, teamed up with a CFO, chooses a challenge they are faced with and a course of action. They then present the solution to the advisory board that will examine, question and probe the team from different angles. The audience will add questions and comments and vote at the end whether or not to approve the course of action then will vote the solution a go or no-go.

Our theme is around the Strategic Challenge CEOs face:

  • Strategic Market Assessment
  • Organization & Talent Management
  • Growth Strategies from planning to delivery
  • Infrastructure build-out to achieve scalability

CEOs:

Annette Tonti, CEO of MoFuse, Inc

Linda Moraski, CEO of PeopleServe, Inc

Moderator:

Neal Yanofsky, Strategic Partner at New Delta Partners will focus on the overall planned growth and how to realistically achieve it.

Advisory Board Members:

Michael LaCascia, Partner at WilmerHale will stress the importance of looking at acquisitions for growth.

Laurie Kirk, Founder of The Board Forum will focus on company culture and communications.

Ben Weller, Managing Director at Next Stage Solutions will consider the cost/benefit of the solution.

NSS CEO Workshop | Mock Board Meetings with CEOs | Sept 27

NSS Workshop Series for CEOs and Business Owners

CEO Workshops are part of our continuing series of educational forums where CEO’s participate in peer to peer exchanges of ideas and thought leadership. We focus on the CEO’s role as the center of the business.  Professional Advisors may attend if accompanied by a CEO or Business Owner. No solicitations allowed.

Planning Growth:  Looking Back 6| Moving Forward 12

When: Thursday | September 27 | 10:30am – 12:30pm |

Light Lunch Sponsored by NSS client

Host: Gray, Gray and Gray at 35 Southwest Park, Westwood, MA 02090

 

REGISTER TODAY!

Join us for 4 Mock Board Meetings addressing strengths, opportunities and threats for the upcoming 12 months while reflecting on the past 6 months. Each CEO, teamed up with a CFO, chooses a challenge they are faced with and a course of action.

They then present the solution to the ‘board’ that will examine, question and probe the team from different angles.  The audience (shareholders) will add questions and comments and vote at the end whether or not to approve the course of action then will vote the solution a go or no-go.

CEOs:

Mobile | George Adams, CEO of ViziApps, Inc and NSS CFO Derek Smith

Life Sciences | Bonnie Fendrock, Co-Founder of Hepregen, Inc and NSS CFO Bob Weber

Healthcare | Patrice Lamour, CEO of  Lamour by Design, Inc and NSS CFO Frank Bahl

Retail | Mike Savage, CEO of FitnessEM, Inc and NSS CFO Ben Weller

Board Chair: Carol Kunik, Coach for Vistage International will lead the panel of experts as board chair

Expert Panel as Board Members:

Neal Yanofsky, Strategic Partner at New Delta Partners will focus on the overall planned growth and how to realistically achieve it.

Michael Cecere, Partner at Gray, Gray & Gray will consider the tax implications of your solution.

Michael LaCascia, Partner at WilmerHale will stress the importance of looking at acquisitions for growth

Shelley Hall, Managing Director of Catalytic Management will be looking for a sound sales strategy and a strong emphasis on customer relations.

Larry Stybel, VP of Board Options, Inc will want to see a solid talent acquisition and retention plan in place.

Jay Karamourtopoulos, Senior Vice President Relationship Manager at CitiBank will consider the capital market status as an opportunity to growth.


Format:

  • 4  Mock Board Sessions
  • 15 minutes Board meeting
  • 5 minutes for Shareholders (Audience) to ask questions, then take a vote

Quote from last event:

“I did find the panel format lively and a very relevant topic for my client”  – Debra J. Drapalla,  SVP Commercial Banking, Webster Bank

VIDEOS from our last Workshop with 23 CEOs attending

We hope you can join us to witness the energy, seriousness and enthusiasm and to take back some new ideas in how to grow your business.


To CFO or not to CFO? Better Invest Now!

By Rudi Scheiber-Kurtz, CEO of Next Stage Solutions, Inc, a leading on-demand financial management advisory firm.

Are you tired of reading about the economy, the uncertainty, the election, Greece and the possible fall of the Euro when all you want to do is grow your business?

So many uncertainties and yet how do you calculate them into your forecasts? To CFO or not to CFO is firstly about whether you make the choice, or not, to work with a CFO and secondly, how to augment the missing expertise or skill set to work with your trusted CFO and/or Controller so not to harm sustainability and growth. Believe it or not, the right CFO can make all the difference. In this article we give you ideas and a checklist how to identify CFO capabilities that stretch way beyond the conventional CFO boundaries. We will explore ways to access or augment expertise without compromise.

Let us take a few minutes to explain why a CFO is so important to your growth and why you should invest in such a solution! What do your current finance functions look like?

Are any of the above people your partner who can offload some of your responsibilities so you can spend time ON the business? Do you gather information and problem solve 24/7 and have to make all the decisions on your own? Does the finance staff even have the time to work ON the business with you and what might be the barriers to your growth?

You see, with the right CFO you can actually delegate important executive level tasks. Controllers are very important in that they keep you compliant, give you the financial, monthly reports, take care of payroll and reconcile your bank statements, important but mostly tactical. The VP of Finance oversees the tactical side and provides administrative and HR support.

Let’s discuss the other side of finance, the strategic, forward–looking and value creating aspects of finance. Here are some examples of what your Accountant, Controller or VP of Finance do not do or help you with, but the CFO will:

The list above exemplifies what a cross-functional, modern CFO must bring to the table and where small and medium size companies make the biggest concession in hiring a ‘Jack of all Trades’ or one person who can do it all. They can’t, it is that simple. For them, a part-time team solution involving a CFO, Controller and Accountant is appropriate. To maintain sustainability or achieve growth, especially in a sluggish economy, you must consider alternative resources appropriate to your stage and size of company. You want to have most of the above items checked to eliminate business performance gaps.

Think about your strategy, expectations and goals and how you are going to achieve them before you go out and start a search for a CFO or Controller. Consider the next level of financial sophistication to meet your objectives and goals so that the value-driven support benefits your business growth and increases your valuation.

So often we see CEOs struggling with this issue of what the CFO should bring to the table and what a Controller takes care of.  Should they be strategic? Why are they not interested in your vision? Why do they never have the time?

The reasons vary by business, often we see that the CFO has to oversee all finance functions and is simply bogged down with all the daily, transactional tasks. The CFO should help you grow the business in a sustainable manner.  If s/he spends time working on monthly reports, then you are compromising and overpaying, because that is Controller work. In fact, a team will bring you more bang for the buck than one person who will accomplish some of the tasks some of the time. You may also consider augmenting the current CFO’s tasks or skill set with a consultant who can provide you the additional expertise needed to move your business forward. Frankly, no CFO knows everything in today’s complex business world, so budget for extra support to access the needed expertise.

In the table below we have identified key questions and expectations you want to set when searching for a CFO or identifying the resources gap between what you have and what you need.  Again, when the CFO is allowed to focus on the value drivers of the business, the results are value creation driven.  It takes soft skills to successfully achieve the hard skills. Communications is an important attribute and soft skill for a CFO to have, since the metrics and expectations (hard skills) you set for the employees are relationship based and require buy-in from all employees to succeed.

Once you create this gap analysis you will want to consider how to augment the missing capabilities. Let’s say you are a company with under $20M in revenue. You can rarely justify a fulltime CFO. The team approach to finance including a part-time CFO, Controller and Accountant is very effective. CFO Turnover is still close to 18 months and ends up a very costly event for a business. Think hiring bonuses, severance pay and more.  The CFO you have currently may no longer have the right skill set, especially since you want to double your growth over the next three years. Often s/he has become your trusted advisor but you easily can eliminate business performance gaps with a consultant.  A CFO Consultant is often better positioned to provide you frank and objective feedback on issues and problems that need fixing, whereas a fulltime employee might be more cautious.

Yes, it is a paradigm shift in how we think about the finance function and how much to expect from them. On the other hand, how we conduct business today has also shifted and gotten more complex. Tomorrow’s companies need to be agile and fast in making changes and corrections on the fly.

To CFO or not to CFO is an important decision to make for you and having the right CFO and finance function is where a profound difference will break down the barriers to growth. Take action today, evaluate your finance team, perform a gap analysis, budget for the appropriate resources and make the necessary corrections sooner than later.

Next Stage Solution benefits its clients because we set very high expectations for the CFO role, the FUTURECFO™, who brings the GPS of Finance™ tools and methodologies to the discussion. Our CFOs understand how to parse out the financial responsibilities so that you benefit from a strong compliance side with a Controller, to the business insights, metrics and growth opportunities from the CFO.  Our team approach gives you seamless support when you need it with capital efficiency and highest productivity. And no, you will not find our CFOs or Controllers doing Sudoku in their office!

With our assessment tools, we help eliminate business performance gaps and define the right finance functions for you. We’ll have a conversation about how to reach your aspirations and solve the upcoming challenges.

Take action today and give us a call at 617-449-7728 or contact me directly at scheiberkurtz@nexstagesolutions.com | http://www.nextstagesolutions.com

Articles of Interest Related to the FUTURECFO™:

For CFOs, A Move Past Finance – Wall Street Journal | July 31, 2012

As your Business Grows, don’t hesitate to hire a CFO – The Globe and Mail | June 18, 2012

Where Finance Efficiency meets Business Insight – 2010 IBM Global CFO Study: Where Finance Efficiency meets Business Insights | March 6, 2012

Moving from CA to CFO – A Competency Framework | Queen’s University | 2010