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35 min listen

Work in Progress Episode 5 – Fail to plan, plan to fail

Financial planning. Entrepreneurs either love it or hate it. This time on Asto’s Work In Progress, we find out how to create targets, budgets, business plans, and growth strategies that really work.

Joining our host Bex Burn-Callander this week are three inspiring entrepreneurs who have built three very different business models. They share their secrets to planning for success, revealing the numbers they rely on to take the temperature of their businesses and their tried-and-tested routes to growth.

Joining the podcast this week is:

Debbie Wosskow OBE, a serial entrepreneur who successfully grew and sold HomeSwap, the home exchange website, and now runs Allbright, an investment firm, networking group and members club for women.

Ben Jackson is founder of Capsicana, the authentic Latin American flavours brand. The chilli fanatic started his business in 2009 and his products are now sold nationwide.

Seni Glaister is the driving force behind social eating craze WeFiFo. This start-up helps home cooks turn their culinary skills into money-spinning ventures – a sort of Airbnb meets Supper Club.

Every business owner needs to learn to plan, according to all three guests. “It’s important, as an entrepreneur, to like a list,” says planning whizz Wosskow. “Anyone can have an idea, it’s all about the execution. The misnomer for entrepreneurs is that we don’t have tidy minds, but most of us do.”

However, building flexibility into your financial plan is crucial, especially when businesses are growing fast, says Glaister. She didn’t factor commercial partnerships into WeFiFo’s original model and this is now a major revenue generator for the business. “This wasn’t in the original model but is now a really important part of our business,” she says. “It guarantees the switch from start-up to scale-up. I know we will be feeding 100,000 people in 2019 just with one corporate partnership. It wasn’t in the plan but I’m really glad it’s in the plan now.”

Jackson advises fellow business owners to make time to check in on progress and review targets. “As a general rule we have a monthly operational meeting, he says. “We’re not big so we talk constantly about financial planning but we also do a deep dive once a quarter.”

Wosskow recently raised £14m for Allbright, which is now rolling out its women’s member club model worldwide. Financial rigour has been key to her success, she claims.  “You learn very quickly to check the bank account every day and be in the weeds of the numbers,” she adds. “I watch our weekly burn like a hawk.”

Financial planning may sound dull but it is the cornerstone of all business growth, according to the three entrepreneurs. “We’ve built a model that is focused on scale,” says Glaister. “We will be ramping up very fast this year.”

Bex Burn-Callandar headshot

Bex Burn-Callander on twitter


Debbie Wosskow OBE | Ben Jackson | Seni Glaister

Some extra reading:

How to find the right funding | Top tips on taking control of your finances

Additional listening:

Life outside the London bubble | Collaborate or Die – Part 2

Come back soon for more insight and advice from some of the UK’s most enterprising business owners.

The views and opinions expressed by any individuals interviewed or participating in our Work in Progress podcasts are their own and do not represent the views or opinions of Asto.