Shaping tomorrow’s leaders and creating business wealth
An interview with Nasser Elaheebocus (Business Pulse Advisory & Investment Group)
Posted: 7th September 2020 12:21For Nasser Elaheebocus, founder and owner of Business Pulse Advisory & Investment Group, the potential that great business mentorship has to create successful leaders cannot be understated. Nasser’s personal background in business and many years of cooperation with companies of all types, sizes and specialities has allowed him to develop solutions covering the entire spectrum of management, including business growth, working and business growth capital, corporate planning and control, finance and accounting, crisis management, and management continuity.
To find out more about Nasser’s leading reputation as a business consultant, Corporate LiveWire spoke to him about the importance of mentorship, what it takes to become a great leader, and his work as a Business Ambassador to the Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity.
What services do you offer at Business Pulse?
Business Pulse works with small- to medium-sized business owners seeking a professional, non-executive finance director (FD), a business financial strategist, or an investment specialist. My focus is creating business wealth for tomorrow out of today’s crisis; in other words, creating and transforming financial strategy to positive effect.
As a professional consultant and mentor, I bring fresh perspectives to organisations, hold senior management to account, and create opportunities for growth. I particularly focus on instigating change in culture and mindset in all board environments – big or small – leading to dramatic improvement in financial bottom line results. Helping to control business finances and formulate long-term strategies that pay dividends now and into the future, I often work with business owners from the UK, though Business Pulse has a global reach.
How can mentorship help to improve business leadership?
Mentoring supports and encourages people to manage their own learning, so that they can maximise their potential, develop skills, improve their performance, and become the person that they want to be. Mentorship is particularly important at the beginning and during growth stages of a company – following this, the reins should be loosened or cut accordingly to allow the owner(s) to move the business on in their own manner. The relationship between the company and the mentor is vital, and this is what success relies upon. Human-to-human interaction is the basis of mentorship, so both parties must be comfortable with each other and have mutual trust and respect.
A good mentor is a guide, who can help the mentee to find the right direction and develop solutions to career issues. Mentors rely upon having had similar experiences, in order to cultivate empathy with the mentee and an understanding of their problems. This provides the mentee with an opportunity to think about business options and progress, and serves as a powerful personal development and empowerment tool. A highly effective way of helping people to progress in their careers, mentoring is becoming increasing popular as its potential is realised across a wide range of sectors.
How does your work advance financial bottom line results for clients?
- Cash/capital raising through peer-to-peer funders.
- Growing the revenue top line.
- Being tough and ruthless on costs where necessary.
- Refining and redefining sales and marketing initiatives.
- Identifying business inefficiencies and eradicating them.
- Mentoring key business staff.
- Year-to-date (YTD) profit and loss compilation.
- YTD balance sheet compilation.
- YTD executive summary, showing monthly variance compilation.
- YTD budget variance compilation.
- YTD profit and loss actual vs. budget report compilation.
- YTD cash summary, breaking it down to exact client percentage income compilation.
- YTD aged debtor list compilation.
- YTD creditor list compilation.
Why should business owners take a step back from the day-to-day to focus on long-term strategies?
Taking time out to create and action a strong, detailed strategy appears to be a key path to small business growth. For small business owners, good professional advice can offer the most effective way to devise – and maintain – such a strategy. The first step is recognising the importance of spending time working on, rather than in, your business.
Why is cost control so integral to success?
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are drawn from the budget for specific areas of cost controls. This enables the owner to periodically check on the performance of the business to ensure that it is functioning in compliance with the budget. If so, then the intended profit objective will be reached.
Cost controls are an essential function for all small business owners. Every business should start the year with a profit plan, and everyone needs to understand their role in achieving that profit objective. Cost controls are the mechanisms that an owner can use to monitor the performance of the business and improve its operations.
How does your work with the Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity benefit young people in the South East?
The amazing Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity positively impacts the children and families they serve in a variety of ways. They help children under five with cerebral palsy and other motor learning impairments to make the best possible start in life – and give families the support and skills to continue their development at home. As the charity say: “We celebrate the children we work with, no matter their ability, to show parents and the wider world everything they can do.”
Children with cerebral palsy struggle to learn fundamental skills – they do not have the typical early experiences of their peers because of their disabilities, and they are often excluded from everyday activities in their communities and unable to attend mainstream nursery provision, limiting their opportunities for socialisation and integration. They are at risk of isolation and early intervention is crucial.
The charity’s early intervention service – based on the methodology of conductive education – creates a space where:
- Parents and children work together in a supportive environment.
- Improving a child’s physical, social and emotional skills is the focus.
- Sessions are hands-on structured and one-to-one or small group.
- No formal diagnosis or referral is needed to access services.
- All services are offered to families free of charge.
Their transdisciplinary team includes paediatric physiotherapists, child and family support staff, speech and language therapists, music therapists and special educational needs (SEN) swimming instructors. Children also have access to assistive technology, such as a white board and a dedicated sensory room with bubble tubes, fibre optics and soft furniture. Each service is designed to benefit fine motor skills, gross motor skills, communication, social skills, emotional wellbeing and self-care skills. For more information on the charity’s lasting impact, you can visit www.dvlcc.org.uk/our-impact.
Why is charity important to Business Pulse?
Ultimately, I believe that we all should be given the opportunity to better ourselves at every opportunity – regardless of colour, creed, gender or disability. Children under five-years-old who have cerebral palsy (and their parents) should be given every opportunity to excel with the opportunities presented to them, whilst enjoying themselves at the same time.
As the charity says: “Nasser has been in partnership with Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity since September 2015. He has been an invaluable advocate for us, providing us with great introductions to other businesses (some of whom are his clients and others whom he thinks we could and should be meeting). And through these contacts, we have gained a number of corporate champions. In addition, Nass has organised corporate networking race days at Brighton, Lingfield Park and Goodwood racecourses for our benefit, and held networking events at our centre in Cuckfield which together have raised £7,000 for our charity.
“Nass’ efforts for us behind the scenes have been significant. He is a fantastic champion for this charity – he understands the importance of charities and businesses working together (and in a plethora of different ways) and ensuring that we are able to share our story more widely.”[JD1]
The charity is wonderful, and I am honoured to be have been asked to become a Business Ambassador. I am delighted to give my corporate support by organising a couple of events each year, including an annual race day to raise funds and networking opportunities for introductions to other businesses who may wish to partner with the charity.
Why is high staff turnover such a widespread issue?
COVID-19 will lead to mass redundancies, reduction of business and personal liquidity and hardship across the board. That said, there will be opportunities and new business markets emerging. Being able to adapt, retrain and seek advice and partnerships will enable us all to get the economy back up and running. As a nation, we rely on big businesses to employ the largest number of people, but below are some important statistics on small businesses in the UK:
- There were 5.8 million small businesses at the start of 2019. Compared with the previous year, the private sector business population increased 3.5% (+200,000 businesses).
- At the start of 2019, there were 5.82 million small businesses (with 0 to 49 employees), 99.3% of the total business. SMEs account for 99.9% of the business population (5.9 million businesses).
- SMEs account for three-fifths of the employment and around half of turnover in the UK private sector. Total employment in SMEs was 16.6 million (60% of the total), whilst turnover was estimated at £2.2 trillion (52%).
- In 2019, there were estimated to be 5.9 million UK private sector businesses; 1.4 million of these had employees and 4.5 million had no employees.
- The UK private sector business population was made up of 3.5 million sole proprietorships (59% of the total), two million actively trading companies (34%) and 405,000 ordinary partnerships (7%) in 2019.
- 2.6 million private sector businesses as registered for VAT or PAYE, 45% of the estimated total population.
These statistics show us that – as a nation – we can survive crisis like this, but we will all need critical help and support, and a plethora of partnerships and collaborations.
How important is successful networking?
Very important. Choose the right forums for your business, and assess who the decision makers are within their companies. The most connected people are often the most successful. When you invest in your relationships — professional and personal — it can pay you back in dividends throughout the course of your career. Networking will help you to develop and improve your skill set; stay on top of the latest trends in your industry; keep a pulse on the job market; meet prospective mentors, partners, and clients; and gain access to the necessary resources that will foster your career development.
How can any individual become a better leader?
There are five levels of leadership, with each one blending into the other over time as you develop great leadership qualities:
- Positional– people follow because they have to.
- Permission– people follow because they want to.
- Production– people follow because of what you have done for the organisation.
- People development– people follow because of what you have done for them.
- Personhood– people follow you because of who you are and what you represent.
Level five – personhood – is achievable for all, but attainable for just a few. For your leadership to remain effective and act as the ‘lifeblood’ of your organisation, you need to have exhibited a collective influence on other leaders within your organisation, successfully mapped out a succession plan, and brought the rest along. This level of leader is not interested in divided interest or divided loyalty at the detriment of his or her organisation.
This level of leadership will show levels one, two, three and four either in the past or in accumulation, but will ultimately have the following:
- Staff loyalty.
- Low turnover of staff.
- High morale and productivity.
- Mentoring skills to bring along other key leaders.
- Speaker and consultative qualities that are sought by other companies, bodies and organisations.
- An ability to transcend the organisation in a positive manner.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Everyone is a leader, because everyone influences someone at some stage. Not everyone will become a great leader, but everyone can become a better leader.
Business Pulse Advisory & Investment Group was awarded Most Innovative Independent Business Consultant by the Corporate LiveWire judges. To find out more about Nasser’s work, visit www.businesspulse.org.uk.
[JD1]As this is an interview with Nasser, it reads as though he is talking about himself in the third person. I know this is a comment from the charity, but I’m not particularly keen on the text. I think we should either cut this text or have it as a callout.