Business Advice

I have been giving business advice to companies since 2005, to both small teams and large organisations. I advised large companies when working at McKinsey & Company until 2009, and since 2009 for the Software Improvement Group (see my linkedin profile and my home page for details). For small teams I have been doing this independently in my ‘spare time’ (check the website of Otterloo Ventures, the investment fund that I run). For me as an advisor it is really refreshing to give advice to startups: it is much easier to act on advice for a small teams than for large organisations. Therefore I am still giving advice to startups (and other companies with a startup mindset). I typically only spend 1-2 days per month on the same project per month: I want to be a lean advisor with a fresh perspective. Below are the topics I have helped companies with before.

Business strategy and innovation advice
When trying to do now things and enter new markets, it can be very helpful to involve someone with an outside perspective. I have been reviewing business plans and product proposals for at least five years as a coach in Newventure, and have been helping the companies that I am investor in with sales and product development advice. My main experience is in technology intensive or complex products, often involving software.

IT strategy  advice
Through my work educational background (AI, math, computer science) and work at Software Improvement Group and McKinsey & Company, I have very broad general knowledge about the role of IT in business. Many questions start out as IT questions but turn out to be business questions. I have seen this at many startups and might be able to help you to discover what business decisions can be made to get rid of the IT problem.

Advice on Agile, Scrum and Lean startup methodology
Many companies use processes with short iterations. Startups often do this automatically out of necessity; large companies choose to do this because the frequent feedback makes their projects more successful. I have been working with the agile and scrum since 2008 and know a lot about whether and where to get training, how to involve the whole organization, and how to validate the business value of features. I am not available for a permanent scrum role in a team, but more than willing to help you get started.

If you are interested in getting started on agile, scrum and lean, you might want to check the following resources first:

Advice on negotiations and investments
Both as an investor and as an advisor I have some experience in closing investment deals and partnership agreements. It is important to determine your goal first before determining a strategy: sometimes you need to be tough when negotiating to protect your business, in other cases the price is not so important but it is better to focus on closing as quickly and smoothly as possible on a good enough price.

Startup valuation
Determining the value of a startup is a difficult problem. In many cases there is no single best answer but a range of possible outcomes. There are different methods, some methods use assumptions that are hard to verify, and the real market value does not only depend on the company but also on the market interests and the parties that are involved.

In a first meeting, we can discuss why you need a valuation, I can explain various methods to you so that you can start estimating the value yourself, and if needed I can help you find an expert that can do a detailed valuation.

Advice on IT due diligence
It is a best practice to do some due diligence (investigation into risks) into the software assets of a company before investing in or buying the company. I can explain in a meeting how a software due diligence works, what you should pay attention to (either as buyer or target) and what to put in contracts about due diligence. If needed, I can help you get in touch with SIG to get a good due diligence proposal.

Next steps / contact
To discuss any business advice related topic, please contact me through phone (+ 31 6 24 25 67 18) or email (otterloo at gmail . com). My main drive is not commercial so a first meeting or call is free.

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