Working with James and Chris has been transformational for our business. Two wonderful businessmen with charisma, charm and brains! Their role as non executive Directors has assisted in changing our senior management team into a very proficient Board of Directors. Their guidance and mentoring has enabled us to focus on key issues of business performance. We now have excellent management reporting and governance, invaluable financial information, KPI’s and clear vision of our goals and business strategy. Its an absolute pleasure working with them both.
Derek Walker, Managing Director, Walker Sime
Chris and James first contacted us in the winter of 2014. We were quickly impressed by their approach. They showed a sincere interest in our business, asked a great many meaningful questions and took the time to develop a deeper understanding of our business and our goals as company owners.
We formalized an agreement with Strategy Exchange on June 1 of 2014. This has proven to be a wise decision that has been invaluable in helping us to hone our strategy, increase efficiency, expand our vision and prepare the company for future management.
In the three years we have worked together, Chris and James have impacted our efforts in innumerable ways. We meet in person on a quarterly basis in addition to frequent SKYPE meetings. Essentially, we have gained experienced partners with a wealth of knowledge and contacts who provide valuable advice and serve as a strong sounding board for the management team. They have also provided a solid working framework that has guided us through an ongoing process of strategic and tactical review and analysis.
As a first step, Chris and James collected copious amounts of information about all aspects of the company, including financial, procedural, client, competitor and performance. They met with key managers and teams. They developed a picture of our culture and traditions. Ongoing discussions were had throughout.
We and the team now share a vision for the company that builds off of our strengths and have realized opportunities that were not previously on our radar. Chris and James have assisted in helping through the process of aligning our systems and procedures with our goals.
Another key benefit of our relationship has been the focus on Succession Planning. At their suggestion, we have created an Executive Committee of key team members from all aspects of our operation who meet on a monthly basis. This committee also serves as a training ground for future senior managers. We are supplementing these meetings with individual developmental plans for each manager to prepare them for higher level responsibilities down the road. Each step of the way, Chris and James have walked us through a unique process that they are expert at executing. They have challenged us and guided us. As a result, we are a more focused, facile, more efficient and more valuable entity.
Joseph W. Small, CEO, AHI International
The Strategy Exchange provided us with deep insight into ITC and its competitive environment, which helped North Edge to build a compelling investment case and strengthened our sector-specific credibility with the management team, in turn helping to give us a strong competitive advantage throughout the bidding process.
Ray Stenton, Partner and Head of New Business, NorthEdge Capital
Key Travel was a complicated deal, with a number of concurrent diligence streams executed to a short timetable. Chris and James provided a set of experienced, industry eyes over the top – helping to bring together the bigger picture, testing specific points of detail and providing the commercial context of an operator to the diligence output as it formed. It was also great fun working with them.
Edward Brett, Partner, Elysian Capital
I have worked with James and Chris for over 20 years, both in their capacity as operators and subsequently in their roles at The Strategy Exchange. I would rate them as the most informed industry experts I know, coupled with a keen understanding of deal dynamics and subsequent value creation through operational change.
Mervyn Metcalf, Managing Director, Dean Street Advisors
TSE added value to the business that went far beyond the sale process. Their in-depth knowledge from a buyer-side perspective delivered value that greatly simplified the process and helped to increase our valuation. Throughout the sale their advice was invaluable. Following sale completion, I continued to rely on TSE’s assistance through the earn out period. I would not hesitate to work with TSE in future – however, next time I would bring them into the process much earlier.
John Charnock, Managing Director, Inventive IT
Chris is a standout strategic thinker, able not only to ask the right question, but also to deliver his own unique and non-plagiarised insights. He possesses that rare combination of being super-bright but is also a highly professional, hardworking and competent operator who delivers. His extensive and broad ranging experience, allied to the aforementioned intellect, make him a highly valuable resource to call upon across a wide spectrum of situations, issues and opportunities.
Miles Hill, Chief Executive Officer, Sykes Cottages
It’s rare that you come across standout talent like Chris’ razor-sharp strategic thinking. He profoundly understood our strategic challenges, pointed out the right questions and guided us in such a respectful, intelligent manner that we finally believed we found the solution on our own. Later I was able to join Chris in a few M&A projects witnessing his skills to work efficiently and precisely, unaffected by time pressure and always paying attention to the people involved. Apart from his sharp mind I appreciate Chris’ reliability, straightforwardness and sense of humour.
Thomas Meier, Managing Director, Carpe Diem
Chris is one of the few strategy guys I’ve met who really gets it, who understands the need to synchronise strategic planning with commercial imperative, who buys into the journey from short term commercial wins to long term market positioning and who truly understands the frequent barriers and risks which confront businesses in pursuit of their strategic goals. I have valued his advice on many occasions, and he’s a good bloke too!
Darren Neylon, Chief Executive Officer, Ski Club of Great Britain
Chris is MR STRATEGY with capital letters. I have rarely come across someone who is able to guide a strategic way forward like him. Chris is a multitalented person with also great M&A stealth. Above all straightforward, honest and down to earth. No hidden agendas and a great sense of humour.
Karel Vos, Managing Director, Bookit BV
Chris is the first person I turn to for advice about the important things in business. He has an uncanny ability to take an impossibly large situation and distill the vital focus that helps me be a better leader, and he does this with charm and humour. I make better decision when informed by Chris’ insight. He is someone I trust completely.
Adrian Nixon, CEO, Nixene