Financial Management Clinic
Financial Management Clinics were developed to address a common pattern that CETAC observed among many of its early-stage clients; they don’t read their financial statements. Each clinic is limited to three or four companies and each company shares their financial statements with the other attendees. The clinics are facilitated by a mentor with expertise in financial management and the participants analyze each other’s financials in order to learn what their financials can tell them about their businesses so they can use them as a management tool.
The facilitator also discusses opportunities to improve the functionality of the statements. The content of the clinic depends on the skills and abilities of the entrepreneurs in attendance as well as the size (revenue) of the company.
Business “mentoring” is a critical element and daily activity of CETAC services to SMEs. Based on the needs of the entrepreneur, CETAC offers different mentoring services – One-on-One Mentoring, Team Mentoring, Peer Advisory meetings, Monthly Management Clinics and Advisory Boards.
Mentors Round Tables
Mentors Round Tables are offered to clients that CETAC has identified as being at a stage in the commercialization process where they could greatly benefit from formal mentoring sessions. Mentors Round Tables are of limited duration; typically one to three sessions and are intended to help an entrepreneur to develop a strategy for a particular challenge.
Advisory Boards provide clients with on-going direction to manage growth. Meetings are held approximately quarterly, and clients are expected to be prepared with agenda items that include key strategic challenges and financial statements. Advisory Board members are an intermediate step to full, legal boards but have no legal responsibility and their advice is non-binding.
Monthly Management Clinics
While Team Mentoring and Advisory Boards provide SMEs with much needed assistance with developing their strategies, CETAC-WEST has found that clients still need help with meeting regular management challenges between quarterly Advisory Board meetings. Therefore, CETAC-WEST developed Monthly Management Clinics, with the goals of instilling management discipline and financial accountability, and measuring progress against strategic goals and milestones.
Monthly Management Clinics will be customized to help each client with their highest priorities. In some cases the focus will be around R&D objectives while in others it will be on developing new markets. Clinics will consist of monthly sessions with an SME and their CETAC champion, the CETAC CEO, and up to two of CETAC’s “alumni mentors.”
Peer Advisory Group Meetings
Entrepreneurs at early stages are often working in isolation. The opportunity to meet periodically with peers and mentors to discuss challenges and seek opinions is invaluable. Similarly, entrepreneur CEOs whose companies have cash flow and are experiencing growth challenges will also benefit from regular discussions with peers. Thus CETAC has formed two Peer Advisory Groups – the Entrepreneur’s Club and the Exit Club. Both groups meet regularly along with two or more mentors.
The Entrepreneur’s Club was established for companies in the early stages of commercialization. Participants have an opportunity to brainstorm with fellow entrepreneurs and one or two seasoned mentors on pertinent issues or challenges they are experiencing in moving forward with their business ventures. They are invited to bring their challenges to the group for discussion or to provide input into those of their peers. Group size is limited to a maximum of eight companies.
The Exit Club is for Presidents and CEOs of more established companies with positive cash flow. Each meeting has a topic and may include a guest expert. In addition to the SMEs, CETAC invites mentors to share their wisdom with the group. Highlights of these meetings are prepared and distributed to attendees.