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Propellernet - A CFO Case Study

Updated: Feb 28, 2020

If you find Propellernet online chances are you will read that they are a Marketing agency. Read a bit further and you’ll see that they help customers get found. Just another agency? Not so quick, it’s not quite that simple.

Propellernet thrives on curiosity and engagement. They have become famous for the Dreamball Machine which gives employees a chance to fulfil their dreams. It has generated books - like Nikki Gatenby’s Super Engaged as well as encouraging a renegade group from the future called The Red Stars to play at festivals like Boomtown and Glastonbury.

Amongst this excitement Propellernet has also built two incredibly successful Software as a Service (SaaS) businesses. By solving dull, time-consuming tasks in simple, effective and productive ways, CoverageBook and AnswerThePublic have taken flight after some inspiration, hard work and bootstrapped financing.

I joined this fascinating, challenging and interesting company nearly 10 years ago as a part-time CFO. I loved it so much I’ve spent a decade there; bought into the people so much, I became a shareholder and it has inspired me to take a different direction later in life than is entirely sensible.

Behind the scenes, my job was to make sure the numbers supported the core business and that we had sensible targets, good management information and a different point of view. Propellernet’s great strength has been a willingness to take risks but know when to stop. For that you need really good numbers.

How did we do this? Simplicity, clarity and focus.

We cut back on the volume of numbers. We focussed on improving our Revenue Per Head (RPH) and this influenced everything. From our fee structures to our daily rate everything was based on managing our RPH. We looked at utilisation, we looked at RPH by client and by department. We shared this information so that everyone knew what we were doing and how they could help.

I’m taking a step back now. I have recruited a replacement FD to take my place. I’ll still be around to see the next adventure though; I’d be mad not to.

But now is the time to try something different. Drawing on my experience with Propellernet (and many, many other agencies) I’m bringing out a CFO Reporting Service to provide best in class monthly reporting for agencies and SaaS businesses of any size at a fraction of the expense of hiring someone like me.

This CFO Reporting Service will focus on the numbers that really matter to your business and, more importantly, what they mean. I’ve distilled 25 years of experience into a simple, easy to understand, monthly report that will help you manage your business more profitably.

Now, the odds are you don’t know me. Part of being a good CFO is about building trust. To do that from scratch I’ll do the first CFO report for free - I’ll need some information (obviously) but if you’re unsure what your numbers really mean contact me -

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