Question. John, could you please tell us about yourself and your professional experience.
Answer. In one sentence, I work as a consultant, analyst, author, lecturer, conference host and presenter.
I’ve had twenty-five years of sharp-end, real-world receivables finance experience, plus ten years board level consulting. In that time, I’ve worked with many clients in many countries.
Examples include being a Non-Executive Director within a range of finance businesses and other positions have included Consultant Advocacy Director of Factors Chain International (the global trade organisation for the Receivables Finance Industry) and being Coordinator of EU Federation for the Factoring and Commercial Finance Industry trade organisations.
Much of my time is spent with individual businesses; as a Strategic Adviser to both fintech and traditional finance operations in emerging and developed markets, as an “Agony Uncle”, problem solver and mentor to many CEOs and Management Boards, developing with them close, high trust relationships dealing with sensitive and business critical issues.
I’m also known for being an analyst and author, e.g. of a ground-breaking Whitepaper on the EU receivables finance Industry, the editor of a unique EU receivables finance Legal Study and I am a frequently published magazine columnist.
I am also often a speaker, panel host and compere of receivables finance Industry Conferences.
Last but not least, I am a lecturer, course creator and trainer in novice to post-graduate level education in the receivables finance Industry.
Question. What can you say about your project and plans of its development?
Answer. I deliver all these functions through my business vehicle, Roundwindow Consultancy Services. Nearly all my work comes from recommendation and personal introduction.
Accordingly, always delivering high quality service and maintaining the satisfaction of clients is critical to my reputation and ongoing business. You are only as good as your last assignment!
Because there is only one of me, I’ve often been asked would I like to develop the business and take on partners to deliver even more. There is of course an attraction to this approach; a greater variety and range of skills would of course mean more opportunities.
But I find that one of my key market differentiators is precisely that I offer a confidential one to one service; that my clients know exactly who they are dealing with and can put their trust in. So, for now at least, I will continue to accept the volume constraint that being a “one-man band” creates.
Question. What do you think about crowdsourcing, OmniGrade and our clients?
Answer. Without doubt, external consultants like Roundwindow require a significant investment in time and money. And not all consultants will have the necessary expertise in all areas of a business. How then can someone access good quality advice? How do you find a good adviser in any case?
This is where crowdsourcing and Omnigrade come in. Here you can access the knowledge and skills of a very broad range of experts, drawn from many backgrounds, countries and cultures.
Working in this way creates opportunities for accessing completely new ways of thinking, to seek tangential analysis, an ability to look from the outside in. It offers opportunity for input from people who don’t have the same preconceptions of what can and can’t be done.
In short, it’s a unique way to gain a fresh perspective on your business or venture, both for now and in the future; I’d recommend the approach to anyone.
Question. What experience and feelings do you get as an Omnigrade expert?
Answer. As an expert I’m constantly impressed by the quality of the businesses using the service; it takes a special type of business leadership to make itself open to the advice and challenge of the crowd.
But in a highly competitive world, business leaders need to move and adapt quickly; crowdsourcing gives them a key tool to help them make such important decisions.
Sometimes the questions posed can be highly strategic, other times the discussions can become quite operational. For me, it’s important to be able to stand back and look at what’s critical for a business. So I may not respond to all the questions, but I hope that when I do, my thoughts can make a difference!