How Young Entrepreneurs Position Themselves Tactfully in the Marketplace
Updated: Nov 30, 2020
In an increasingly volatile economic climate, it is imperative that young entrepreneurs position themselves tactfully in the marketplace, and avoid frivolous spending. Such expenditures dampen a firm’s ability to grow and spread its core message, forcing budding companies to take on a significant debt burden, or markedly diluting their ownership stake. Without a deep understanding of their firms’ capital structure and broader financial strategy, these young executives expose themselves to extraneous expenses which are both unnecessary and unsustainable when attempting to scale. Today more than ever, many ambitious business owners find themselves lacking the critical financial knowledge and understanding to make strategic high-level financial decisions, both to grow their sales and to secure capital funding. To evolve into a leaner, more streamlined operation, these growing companies must first identify the key drivers most essential to their business; this process starts with broad, yet nuanced, understanding of their company’s financials and capital structure. After graduating from Lehigh University, I, Christopher Andrassy, along with fellow alumnus Alfonso Alburquerque, founded The Astral Consulting Group LLC with the aforementioned problems in mind. Our vision starts with growing businesses and their ambitious leaders poised to disrupt their respective industries. As a startup ourselves, we have a unique perspective of the most pressing issues afflicting entrepreneurs and their companies. We have worked with growing companies across a myriad of industries, from commercial manufacturing to fintech, and grown accustomed to the unique challenges facing each new venture. Financial strategy stands as the most critical facet of running a business in terms of efficient cost management and fundraising. Access to capital funding, and the business acumen to optimize capital structure, striking the most efficient balance of debt and equity funding, is also crucial. My business partner and I both hold degrees in analytical finance and mechanical engineering. We were both members of the Integrated Business and Engineering honors program at Lehigh University, where we had the opportunity to work alongside startups to grow their businesses and to pitch angel investors. In addition, we have worked at two leading consulting firms in both technology and financial M&A consulting. We also have technical expertise from working in mechanical engineering and supply chain management. We bring a broad skill set of both deep analytical understanding and knowledge of the operations and financial strategy of businesses. At our firm, we work closely with our clients to assist them with a multitude of financial and data-driven projects; these range from performing company valuations to creating strategic financial dashboards that effortlessly give entrepreneurs the high-level insights they need to make critical decisions.
With the guidance of the entrepreneurs and experienced business leaders we have met thus far in our journey, we have quickly grown to providing value to growing businesses in many ways. Our core business is financial strategy, financial modeling, and creating elegant dashboards and analyses that streamline complex financial projections and metrics into actionable, digestible, takeaways. However, we also work closely with clients to tailor our solutions directly to their unique needs, and as such do not use a cookie cutter approach. These projects often include data-driven work, including financial app development and data manipulation. Recently, we finished an engagement for a fledgling startup that is revolutionizing the tooth fairy experience for kids across the United States. To help their CEO, Shannon, with pushing into the second round of fundraising, we revamped her current financial projections to create an efficient, intuitive model which allowed her to understand and analyze her key business drivers. In addition, we helped prepare her fundraising pitch by breaking down various funding scenarios in our financial forecasts and company valuations. As all financial projections are inherently inaccurate to some degree, we work to build flexibility into our analysis to accommodate the inevitable uncertainties and challenges which lie ahead. For Shannon, this meant understanding the breakdown of her capital structure, analyzing her new marketing channel’s P/L implications, and gearing up for pitching to investors. Armed with a deep understanding of her financials, she is well on her way to securing the funding she needs to permanently transform the magical experience of losing teeth as a child. We look forward to working with her in a second phase shortly, working to enhance her inventory management with a data analytics procedure, and to strategically advise her financial decisions.
The Astral Consulting Group approaches every business case with a clean slate, and applies our unique framework to build a workflow to suit each client's individual needs. Our founding partners come from engineering backgrounds, and understand the importance of reasoning from the ground up. As such, we combine this "first-principles" style of thinking with a holistic growth mindset to evaluate each case from both the top-down and bottom-up. This creates a comprehensive process unique to each solution we develop, and gives our clients insight into both the granular details of their business and the high-level strategy and vision to propel them forward.