Company and market intelligence

Are you having trouble finding crucial business data?

Are your expansion or investment plans being held back for lack of mission-critical information? You may have selected a potential target for acquisition or investment, or a likely partner for a strategic alliance or joint venture. But before you can safely take any action, you’ll need to know:

  • the standing and reputation of the potential target or partner, its senior management team or a particular director or employee – both within the organisation itself and in the perceptions of external groups such as competitors, suppliers and customers
  • the target’s current strategic direction and goals
  • any succession plans that are in place
  • the target’s appetite for international expansion and/or mergers and acquisitions (M&A)
  • the target’s existing values and company culture, including the “tone from the top”
  • the answers to queries about the target company or its market that are difficult to resolve in the case of regions where transparency is poor, such as Indonesia and Russia
  • the target’s weaknesses, sensitivities and critical risk areas
  • other relevant external issues.

If you are having difficulty unearthing any of the above, that’s where my company and market intelligence service comes in.

Whom can I help?

I work with:

  • private equity (PE) firms, venture capitalists and angel investors seeking critical insights about companies they are considering funding
  • market and business intelligence organisations that need help finding information for their own clients
  • the M&A teams of companies seeking information about target businesses
  • senior management teams contemplating a strategic alliance or joint venture with one or more other organisations
  • CEOs and board directors who need data on which to base their strategic plans
  • companies that operate in – or are planning to enter – a vertical market and need indepth information about the niche in question
  • investors, acquirers or other parties seeking knowledge about a particular geographical region.

Why am I your best source of hard-to-find information?

During my 25-plus years in the commercial world, I have helped a plethora of businesses grow – both organically and via M&A. I have worked with both global and smaller organisations in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and the Russian Federation. The considerable network of contacts I have built up as a result provide me with an enviable source of information that is otherwise elusive – often because it is not in the public domain.

Since the early 90s I have served as a director, board adviser or NED to companies such as:

  • Aestimo Technologies, Cirkularis 8, Hine Legal, Dixons Carphone GM and the Lakethorne Group, all based in London
  • Greenfisher in Reading, Holt Lloyd in Wilmslow, Cheshire, and European Business Groups – Brent International in Iver, Buckinghamshire
  • Henkel Russia in St Petersburg and Moscow
  • Henkel South-East Asia in Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Bangkok.

My contact network is therefore very wide, both geographically and in terms of industries. It is this resource that will enable me to dig out the vital information that you are missing.

What does my service include?

I offer intelligence gathering help to company boards, private equity investors and venture capitalists. I deliver crucial data that is often not in the public domain or available via the usual market or business intelligence routes. This allows my clients to make more informed decisions and reduce risk. 

The principal strands of my company and market intelligence service are:

  • support for M&A or investment activity
  • market Intelligence data on a target’s external environment, usually via:
    • news websites, company websites and  annual reports
    • secondary data sources such as social media
    • my own network of well-informed contacts.
  • business intelligence from accessible internally recorded events such as sales, shipments and purchases.

How do I deliver the service?

The process starts when the client gives me a brief, which usually includes: 

  • their budget for the assignment
  • a list of questions they want answered about an organisation, individual or market 
  • their deadline for receiving my findings.

I then reach out to those of my trusted contacts who are – or have recently been – directly or indirectly involved with the target area, and ascertain their willingness, ability and availability to contribute to the project. Most of them will be at senior management, divisional or main board level. They all know that their comments will be reported anonymously. 

Next, I give my client a general indication of the seniority of these contacts, and why they are appropriate people to answer their questions. In some cases the client will indicate the organisations and seniority level of people from whom they would prefer input. However, it is important that I don’t release any details that could identify my sources, as this could damage my relationship with them and end their willingness to participate in future projects.

Once I know that I will be able to speak to the relevant contacts, I confirm to the client that I can take on the project. This usually takes between 24 and 36 hours from receipt of the brief. 

I have contacts all over the world and in most industry verticals, but if I cannot reach the right people I will not accept the assignment.

The conversations take place at a neutral venue or via telephone. I take notes, including quotes. I then write these up in a report and present it to the client. 

I report only on what was said during the conversation. If I want to offer any interpretations or comments on the material based on my own knowledge, I add this in a clearly marked “personal comments” section at the end of the report.

Once the client has studied my report, I answer any questions they may have. 

Finally, as soon as the assignment is complete, I destroy all the material and files I have used in the execution of the project.

Important points to note

  • I never pay sources to obtain insights.
  • I am the only person speaking to the source.
  • There are no breaches of confidentiality.
  • There is no disclosure, to anyone, about people or organisations for whom I am working – either in general or on any specific project.
  • There is no gathering or disclosure of anything that could be deemed:
    • inside information under UK law
    • material non-public information under US security law
    • any similar classifications of information under laws and regulations in other jurisdictions.

What now?

Would you like to know more about how I can give you the insights that will help you reduce your risk? Then contact me now to discuss your needs.