Historically, Meridian Venture Services has worked primarily with management teams and investors at small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that have an established market presence and consistent revenue from ongoing operations. However, we also work selectively with local governments, pre-revenue companies and non-profit entities that have reliable access to outside funding from private or public sources.
In all cases, our goal is to build strong relationships with leaders who recognize the power of data to help organizations make better decisions, solve problems and communicate more effectively.
Right Relationship. Right Time.
Even in the world of large corporations, organizations don’t always recognize the importance of research and analytics until they find themselves without the information they need to make important decisions or communicate intelligently with sophisticated outsiders. For this reason, clients tend to come to us at specific moments in their evolution.
These “moments of truth” test clients’ ability to provide fact-based answers to critical strategy and operational questions and to tell a data-driven story about their organization’s history, current performance and future direction:
- New Business or Program Launch. The focus at this point is usually on product or service development, customer acquisition and managing cash flow from early financing. In addition to help with business planning, clients require a basic management information infrastructure–organization, processes and systems–to support initial activities.
- Early Capital Raises. Clients are engaged in more sophisticated business planning and communicating more formally with prospective lenders and investors beyond the “inner circle” of family and friends. Both of these activities require mastery of a variety of data and data-driven assumptions as well as the ability to demonstrate a clear and compelling road map for the company or its project.
- Executive Onboarding. Clients with new senior leadership–whether a CEO, CFO, CMO or other C-level executive–find themselves under pressure to deliver high-quality management information to professionals who need to get up-to-speed quickly to have an impact early in their tenure. Difficulty obtaining useful data and analytics slows onboarding and reduces executive effectiveness, potentially pointing to a need for new or revised reporting processes and systems.
- Expansion Stage Growing Pains. Clients have outgrown their internal capabilities and now need to professionalize and expand management to cope with increasing scale, complexity and specialized requirements beyond core operations. Research, analytics and advisory needs typically center on increasing senior management visibility into key aspects of performance and upgrading the planning process.
- Investment Leaps. Clients are considering (or have recently made) major bets on new facilities, equipment or staff and now must dramatically increase revenue to make these investments pay off. Management priorities often involve systematizing and scaling up marketing and sales operations.
- Alliance Negotiation and Management. Clients are assessing potential relationships with other parties or are already working with them in ways that require ongoing planning, communication and coordination beyond what is typical of their normal customer or vendor interactions. The need for executive sponsors and alliance managers to share selected information across organizational boundaries and monitor alliance performance introduces the need for new streams of data and analytics.
- Revenue Stalls and Organizational Resets. Clients are cutting expenses and (potentially) redefining the business to cope with revenue setbacks. At the same time, they are trying to retain important management capabilities and preserve options for future growth. Reducing overhead, simplifying operations and improving efficiency are often urgent priorities. Strategic exits from product, service or market segments require careful analysis of future revenue impacts as well as reductions in headcount and fixed costs.
- Acquisitions, Divestitures and Business Combinations. Clients who are evaluating potential purchases, sales or mergers have concerns that range from appropriate valuation and structure to post-transaction planning and performance management. Stakeholders must be convinced of the strategic and financial logic of the transaction while managers tasked with execution must be able to track progress and solve problems. Research and analytics play a key role throughout the process, from developing and communicating expectations for the transaction to actually making it work.