Happy Anniversary25th October 2017
It’s a big week for us here at Insight Associates.
You see, it’s 25 years ago that I founded the company. Given that most new businesses don’t last three years, it feels like an enormous milestone.
We’re planning to raise a glass with clients old and new, many of whom have become personal friends, and probably wax a little nostalgic.
We’ve all come such a long way together.
After an early career in various businesses in the corporate sector, the idea of Insight Associates was born when I started working as finance director for a family business selling building insulation.
To say this was a sea change for them was an understatement.
They’d never had a professional accountant before.
The company was very profitable because the owner was intensely charismatic and his team could sell ice to eskimos.
Yet I soon discovered that they only saw their accounts once a year, almost the day before they were due to be filed at Companies House. Although they had seven branches, they had no stock control (this was a distribution business!). It was six months until I saw the owner put pen to paper….
It took me 18 months to sort out their financial management. I had to spend my first board meetings teaching the directors the difference between profit and cash.
Later, I got them into a routine of producing monthly accounts and taught them how to read them. I also ensured their cashflow was regular.
Eventually, their accounts were in good enough shape that they could invest in a proper office building – and they were then snapped up by a competitor.
I became determined to help other growing companies get the same financial management, skills and systems that a corporate would take for granted – and the idea of Insight Associates was born.
In a sense nothing’s changed. 25 years later, that’s still exactly the service we provide for a long list of lovely clients. Being able to do so is what makes me get up every morning.
But in a sense everything’s changed.
We started off helping distressed businesses and nowadays focus more on healthy companies that are growing fast. We have hired so many people…. Learned so much… Implemented strategies I’d never dreamed of 25 years ago…. The technology available to do our job has totally transformed. (Can you believe that when we started, we didn’t have email?)
It would have been easy to have forgotten what motivated me all those years ago.
To be honest, there were times when that happened. When I got so caught up in the day-to-day grind of running a business, that I lost sight of our original vision.
But we always come back to it, even if the way we deliver it evolves.
And when we have that clarity, it makes it so much easier to make the right decisions about how to develop the business and where to invest our financial resources. It’s also easier to motivate our staff, to communicate what we’re about, and to feel satisfied that we’re doing something meaningful.
And that’s the message I want to leave you with today.
Every business needs a clear purpose. When you set up, you are usually very clear about your big “why”.
Don’t let that get lost as you grow. It’s tough, but stay focused on what you’re really trying to accomplish for your clients and the difference you make.
The clearer you are about what you’re trying to achieve, the more likely you’ll succeed.
Thanks for reading, and for being part of our journey. Here’s to the next 25 years!