LinkedInNick Shepheard

Nick Shepheard

Strategy Consultant, Chairman

Location
Brighton, United Kingdom
Industry
Computer Software
Current
  1. Clear Layers
Previous
  1. Feedback plc,
  2. Cayder Ltd,
  3. Trinity Management UK Ltd
Websites
303connections

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Clear Layers

Clear Layers

Strategy Consultant

– Present

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Background

Summary

I help improve the fortunes of technology companies operating in complex business-to-business markets.

I build clarity, cohesion, commitment and action into go-to-market strategy, and then help management teams execute to gain market share, develop the business, enter new markets, and exit or grow.

I stumbled into the worlds of leadership and strategy after cutting my management teeth over ten years at Dun & Bradstreet and Reed Elsevier via a micro startup. In 1999 I found myself running a commercial and cultural turnaround against more than 300 years of organisational baggage at the world’s oldest and recently privatised newspaper.

Three years later, having fought daily battles of people issues, new product development and corporate nonsense, I emerged with the very strong feeling that there must be a better way. To all of it.

I was lucky enough to find like-minds who wanted to explore that way. For the next five years we wove strategy consulting with a stakeholder bias at Trinity and I became more-and-more interested in how organisations work, and what leadership and management would look like if you treated them as professions.

In 2008 I started Clear Layers to take things further and where I have tried to simplify strategy to the component parts of understanding, problem solving and making choices.

Between 2011 to 2014 I applied my own medicine when I re-crossed the floor to take on the turnaround of AIM listed Feedback plc which involved a complete restructure, disposals, acquisitions, fundraising, and readmission to the market.

I’m on a life long mission to understand the business of business and I’ve never met a concept or whiteboard I didn’t want to introduce to each other.


Out of the office I have something of an endurance sport habit - I have a sub-ten hours amongst my Ironman finishes, and on one glorious day in the sun I went under three hours at the London marathon. I like what my wife and children call plinky-plinky jazz.

Experience

Strategy Consultant

Clear Layers
– Present (6 years 3 months)London and Brighton

Clear Layers offers consulting services and strategy development with an emphasis in improving the fortunes of technology companies operating in complex business-to-business markets.

I build clarity, cohesion, commitment and action into go-to-market strategy, and then help management teams execute to gain market share, develop the business, enter new markets, and exit or grow.

This starts with creating "productive clarity" in product and management teams about the disciplines that drive a change in performance. I help organisations prepare and develop strategy as a collaborative and cohesive process that brings the team together and turns ideas into value.


I'm a specialist at dealing with the challenges of the day whilst working towards long terms goals. Clients take on the issues, connect the dots between strategic intent and operational reality, and build confidence and cohesion within their management team.

I’ve worked with companies ranging from publicly listed to solo entrepreneurs. Always business to business, normally in technical markets. Chief product offerings: market development strategy and exit strategy. I also mentor a number of other consultants and like public speaking. When handling larger projects that need scale, I work with a cadre of trusted professionals.

Examples of engagements:
* Spinning out new companies from established market leader
* Repositioning manufacturing-data software company
* Restructuring consultancy to allow it to pivot to new markets
* Developing strategy to offer software as a service from legacy hardware manufacturer
* Leadership development for newly appointed managing director

Chairman and Chief Executive

Feedback plc
(3 years 9 months)East Sussex and Cambridgeshire

Turnaround of AIM listed electronics manufacturing company founded in 1958. This involved the restructure and disposal of all operating subsidiaries and property. The company then became an investing company under the AIM Rules before readmission to AIM with two reverse acquisitions.

Within the constraints of extremely tight cash management:
• Increased group turnover by 13%, turning a £800,000 loss into breakeven within 6 months
• Fundraising - completed in September 2011
• Restructured all operating companies and group board
• Disposed of £5m business unit – completed in May 2012
• Cut overhead by 40% in remaining operating subsidiary whilst maintaining all revenue lines
• Disposed of £2m business unit – completed in May 2013
• Disposed of former headquarter premises – completed in July 2013
• Converted into AIM listed investing company looking for reverse acquisitions
• Acquisition of two quantitive medical imaging companies - completed in May 2014
• Readmission to AIM

Non Executive Chairman

Cayder Ltd
(8 months)Bristol

A start-up developing software for the effective management of hospital in-patients and staff. Active in the period immediately after concept development and up to the point of first customer ship
* Managed organisation restructuring from consulting business to product company
* Defined start-up strategy that saw sales to NHS trusts of £500,000 in 18 months with 25% annuity

Chairman, Strategy Consultant

Trinity Management UK Ltd
(7 years 7 months)London, United Kingdom

Go-to-market strategy for technical experts, in complex markets, with a growth agenda.

My work was primarily "inside the building", working with management teams to develop strategy and raise funding.

Clients include an online wine auction house, a hardware distributor, crowd-funding for music publishing, technology for golf course management, electronic cash systems, refrigerated server towers, engineering training equipment, warehouse scheduling software.

Interim Managing Director

Steljes Market Development Ltd
(9 months)London, United Kingdom

Started this market development company as a division and then subsidiary of Steljes Ltd; the UK's leading value added technology pioneer specialising in identifying, customising and implementing technologies that challenge convention and support innovation.
* Built team from three to thirty three staff
* Market share raised from 38% to 58% in rapidly growing education market
* Developed and introduced a market development toolkit for new product entry
* Took new product to number two position in established category

General Manager, Gazettes

TSO Ltd
(3 years)London, United Kingdom

The London, Edinburgh and Belfast Gazettes (The London Gazette is the world’s oldest newspaper, founded in 1665)

A division of a newly privatised ex-government agency. My brief: to commercialise the business, update the culture from public sector to commercial and to build and introduce new products.
* Built a Jet Engine: one of the earliest XML content management systems
* Introduced first generation of digital products for credit reference industry contributing an additional 11% in revenue
* Started an online trade surplus auction company (in the heady days before the dot com bust)
* Commercialised the business, updated the culture from public sector to opportunity focused whilst reducing cost by 8%.

Skills

  • Business Strategy
  • Strategy
  • Strategic Planning
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Business Planning
  • Product Development
  • New Business Development
  • Management
  • Management Consulting
  • Business Development
  • Change Management
  • Team Management
  • Leadership
  • Marketing Communications
  • Product Management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • See 1+  See less

Publications

Skip to Market(Link)

ShearingLayers.com
August 2010

THE PURSUIT OF SKIPPINESS

Anyone can take control of their business and make it skip.

Anyone can make their company into the kind of place where staff skip in to work, ready and willing to take on the challenges of the day whilst working toward goals they care about, where customers are so pleased with their products and services that they quietly appoint themselves as guerrilla evangelists, and where owners get handsomely rewarded for their involvement and support.

Skip to Market is about turning any business into a place like that. It’s about finding a simple, unambiguous, directional kind of productive clarity that brings out the energies and talents of everyone involved, gets them on the same heading and keeps things moving forward, no matter what.

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