Illumin8 wanted to build forecasts with different variables to give clients visibility over what could happen next to their businesses. Working with businesses who are in growth, all the way to companies looking to be sold, granularity was needed. The firm wanted to display their own figures to show venture capitalists, too, so they could continue to grow and show their professionalism.
Futrli’s powerful forecasting gives the business owner a great idea of what to do next to keep the company looking healthy. Illumin8 go as far as showing clients their own dashboards and data to display just how powerful Futrli’s projections can be. They show this data to VC funding companies too, with no extra effort. Time-saving was crucial and is achieved with real-time syncs with cloud accounting packages.
Making the most of Futrli’s forecasting capabilities has made for much happier clients. Client relationships have improved, and trust levels have increased between clients and Illumin8 advisors. The firm gives businesses health checks to see how they’re performing and can give clients valuable advice to help them stay on the right path. With all the time saved by adding real-time data to accounts, Illumin8 can visit client businesses. This means the team get a much better understanding of what clients need and how to help them move forward.
We use Futrli because of the value we receive for it personally – we always try things ourselves and won’t recommend something that we wouldn’t use. When got really heavily involved in it we saw the benefits really quickly. I built three forecasts with multiple variables, and we had four dashboards we could show clients. Coming from that, I use the forecasting side of Futrli a lot. I’m now running day sessions with clients to discuss their budget, and show them reports where we can track their KPIs as we go forward. We’ve got a few on a regular basis where we can identify problem areas and begin to understand the meaning behind their numbers.
Being able to have a snapshot of where you’re at, and where you could actually be through forecasting, and actually being able to reflect on what that looks like compared to your prior information as well, is so valuable to us.
In our first client meetings, we don’t actually talk about accounting. We spend the hour getting to know them and understanding who they are. I draw a graph on the board say, ‘this is where your business starts and ends’. I ask a lot of questions about their personal and professional futures. We then get them to draw a cross on the graph to say where they think they’re at. Then we’ll unpack it and ask how they operate and why. At some point in the meeting, I’ll get up and put my own cross on the graph and say, ‘this is where I see you positioned right now’. Clients may be ahead of where they thought, or think they’re doing really well when there’s a lot of opportunities they’re missing out on.
After the initial meeting, we ask if we can spend an entire day with the client. That day is spent unpacking, in detail, the why and what and so on. We’ll spend the morning really getting to grips with the value of what they do. We’re getting to the point where we’re starting to do more accurate profiling on the clients that we want to work with.
Then in the afternoon, we get down to the financial side of things. We keep it friendly, have lunch, and get to understand the business. We then pull up Futrli and start comparing forecasting to actuals, identify the key drivers (eg return on wages) and get as much detail as we can. It’s been a really great way of operating for us as we have variety in our clients and can help people from all different backgrounds achieve their goals.
Typically we look for four key profiles. One is property, whether you’re buying, selling, developing; the second is creative individuals in marketing, graphic design, photography, film, etc. Or it could be people who are doing things a bit differently. Then we’ve got young entrepreneurs. We want to work with people that have ideas, then help them identify, and go through, the necessary steps to get the idea off the ground.
The fourth one is one we can’t forget: people going through growth and maturing their business. They might be ready to sell it after 30 years, for example. That’s also a key market where we can come and add value. They ask us, ‘I want to sell this company, how can I get the most value out of it?’
I show clients my own Futrli dashboard, which shows them how I run my business. They transparently see my numbers and targets – which is a little bit scary at times – and I think they connect to the fact that I’m using it myself. They trust me more as they’re my numbers and I’m not afraid to show them. It’s always a really easy conversation. I can even show them a decision I had made three months back to hire someone and can show clients how that affected everything via the reports.
I’ve got one client at the moment who is going through some venture capital investigations, so we’ve been going back and forth and having meetings with them. We built a forecast so we can see what everything will look like over the next three years and then we have a conversation. Out of that conversation, a lot of things change, so I just jump onto Futrli and edit some of the key numbers that we’ve identified. It then pushes out those projections again.
What’s really great for me is I don’t have to spend hours and hours to redo these things. So in the meetings with venture capital people, we can put Futrli up on a screen and say this is where the business stands, and where it’s going, and they can look at it. It gives an air of legitimacy and shows we know what we’re doing with nice looking reports and it’s all really professional.
It allows us to give insights to clients where previously it was not available. I love the snapshots – there’s just a little line that says where you stand and where you should be with your budget. It’s a really easy way to show a client how we’re tracking all of their data, and we use it too so we’re constantly engaging with our own figures as well.