David Kennedy Director of Dublin based Deor Financial Consulting reveals to IIBN that he helps companies become ‘Investor Ready’ – building on over 15 years of financial, investor relations and operations experience as a CEO and CFO in successfully growing and scaling businesses, he provides strategic financial advice, covering areas such as scaling strategy, business restructuring, commercial and pricing strategy, investor relations, fund raising and M&A.

You can contact David at david@deor.ie

What are your main priorities and goals in your role?

To help companies scale successfully, by creating an understanding of the cause & effect relationships between different components of their business model, particularly the impact of the ‘soft stuff’ – culture, behaviours and leadership – on performance and growth.

What are your biggest challenges?

Executives’ focus and attention is often drawn towards the most pressing short-term symptoms, rather than their underlying causes – the ‘Squeaky Wheel’ syndrome – which means the real problems go either undetected or unaddressed. It can often be a real challenge to get people to step back from the noise in front of them to look at issues such as psychological safety or behavioural leadership, and how they can influence every aspect of an organisation’s performance.

What are the challenges facing your industry going forward?

In the short-term at least there is going to be a lot less face to face interaction, and while that works for most meetings, it can be a challenge when you want to do a deep dive into a strategic discussion or group self-reflection. That might take a little longer to develop the required rapport!

What new trends are emerging in your industry?

The disruption caused by the pandemic and lockdown has magnified and accelerated pre-existing fault lines in how organisations are managed and led. If a consequence of this experience is (for example) a shift towards some element of remote working, what impact will that have on how teams are managed, or how businesses innovate, or even how leaders communicate with their people? I think we are in for an extended period of disruption and change.

Are there any major changes you would like to see in your sector?

If you look at the numbers of SMEs in Ireland, and in particular the numbers that progress from an ‘S’ to an ‘M’, I believe that, despite the best efforts of bodies such as Enterprise Ireland, we still have a national capability gap in terms of the funding supports and skills required to scale businesses, particularly to compete internationally. There is a good support infrastructure for start-ups, but once a company moves beyond this phase they are often essentially on their own. These businesses are the backbone of a country’s economy and competitiveness, and more needs to be done to create an environment where they can flourish.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given, or would give, in business?

I’m not sure it is advice, more of a personal learning; it is important not to let toxic situations that you encounter make you become cynical or bitter – there are more good people than bad around. On that basis, you should value your true friends and have a good mentor, and if you find yourself in a toxic environment, leave.

What opportunities or plans for growth do you see in 2020/21?

I do believe that out of this traumatic event will come a lot of opportunity. Irish people are often at their best when challenged, and this will be no different. I think that many organisations will need help adjusting to the new reality post-Covid, whether it is in terms of their digital capabilities, their operational agility or their commercial model.