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ASK ETHAN: Managing Growth Inside a Fast-Growth Firm

CFO-Thought-Leader-Horz-599-131How do you manage growth inside a fast-growth firm?  Ethan Carlson, co-host of the CFO Thought Leader Podcast, tackles our questions concerning strategies and the best practices organizations are adopting to manage rapid growth.

Join us as Ethan Carlson, CEO of Carlson Management Consulting, once more answers our questions to supply you with answers and a new mindset designed to help empower your finance organization to look ahead.

The following is an edited abstract from CFO Thought Leader’s “Ask Ethan” podcast featuring Ethan Carlson, CEO, Carlson Management Consulting, and Jack Sweeney, co-host of CFO Thought Leader.

CFOTL We’re speaking with Ethan Carlson, the CEO of Carlson Management Consulting as well as our co-host here at the CFO Thought Leader podcast. Ethan, welcome again.

Ethan It’s great to be back.

CFOTL Ethan, a lot’s happened since we were last speaking with you. In fact, Inc. rolled out its annual Inc. 5000 list, and there was Carlson Management on it this year.

Ethan Yeah, we were very excited to be recognized at No. 553 on the list that Inc. put out. And I think it’s attributed to the team’s effort and having a true client-centric focus and delivering great value to our customers. And so it’s an honor and we’re excited about it. And hopefully we can glean some information from our growth and talk about managing growth here with our listeners.

CFOTL Well, yes, so let’s take this from the point of view of the finance leader and ask the question: what needs to be top of mind with CFOs when it comes to managing growth?

Ethan I think any finance leader managing a growing organization is it’s a pretty easy four-letter word, cash. And so as you’re growing your business, you need to make sure that you have the cash flow and assets available to you to manage that growth. That’s sort of the short answer, and I think the longer way to look at that is I think that when you’re managing a high-growth organization, you have to be very focused and tactical on how you look at your business. Like I said, you have to make sure you have the ability to operate, so cash, but also looking at key metrics. You don’t have as many assets or they’re being pulled in a lot of different directions. So the ability to allocate resources effectively is always important, but I think it’s even more important in a high-growth situation.

So both our sales and customers of ours. We have a number of our clients who were also recognized in the Inc. list and we’re very pleased to see them with that recognition as well. And we find that the organizations that are focused on that and look at it in a way of being, like I said, very tactical, what are the next things they need to do to get them to that next major milestone, the organizations we see that just have a five-year projection, very rosy, with a big hockey stick at the end, they’re not as on top of things. But the ones that know what’s the next major milestone or what are the key tactics to getting there are the ones that we see being very successful.

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