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Read this before joining CMR
Many CMR members are successful and build an excellent financially independent career
Some members do find it more difficult to achieve success
Success cannot be guaranteed - effort and ability is required!

CMR MEMBERSHIP - A PERSONAL SUMMARY - by Mike Downey, Managing Director

CMR was originally created with two primary objectives:

1)       To provide small to medium-sized companies with the resources they need for profitable growth and in particular the funding, management and specialist expertise not normally available to them.

2)       To provide high-ability senior executives with the opportunities and support network to enable each to optimise their potential as independent business people.

CMR's organisation was designed to be particularly attractive to those executives who want to be pro-active in building business activity, and importantly, have the personal skills and ability needed to be successful.

Obtaining business and revenue through CMR is not automatic;  success does require the input of effort and ability.  CMR provides the most comprehensive range of resources for small to medium sized companies.  Those CMR members who are able to relate to clients, understand their problems, formulate solutions based on all the resources and expertise available within CMR and effectively communicate with the client, will be successful.  Those CMR members who do not have the ability to do this will find it more difficult, but will nevertheless be able to work and earn alongside other colleagues.  CMR provides every assistance to help new members become effective through training/mentoring programmes.  The bottom line is ultimately dependent on how active and how effective the executive is personally.  An entrepreneurial streak is a positive benefit!

Business comes to CMR through four main channels:

1) Companies approach CMR Centre directly for funding or for the other specialist resources we offer.

2) Marketing and networking connections made locally by CMR Regions, Affinity Groups or Special Business Groups.

3) Propositions referred by CMR members from contacts they have made privately.

4) CMR has alliances with some of the largest online business angel networks and many of the propositions handled each month are passed to CMR for executive support and assistance to the entrepreneurs and companies involved. 

Some executives who join CMR from senior positions in major companies may find it personally difficult to relate to the different environment of independent business life and the operating modes of smaller companies.  The need to personally create and develop opportunities has not necessarily been part of their career experience and there are some who cannot make the change successfully.  CMR membership is therefore not a guaranteed path to riches.  Whilst many will earn substantial incomes through CMR, it is a reality that some members will fail to earn the level of income they anticipate or get as much from their membership as others.  CMR membership benefits are however wide-reaching and because of the low cost of membership, happily there will be few who do not find it worthwhile.

CMR is essentially a friendly cooperative operating on a not-for-profit basis with its executive members.  As a policy, the cost of being a member of CMR is kept to a minimal level, not just for the monthly membership subscription, but also for the training programmes and other facilities, which are all provided at or below actual cost.   Even the least able CMR member should find CMR to be good value for money, whilst those with real ability will find CMR to be the springboard to many superb opportunities. 

There are two main caveats concerning CMR executive membership:

1) To be successful a CMR executive must have an entrepreneurial skills base and the ability to empathise with and understand business situations - and importantly to be able to see and communicate solutions to the client.   Not everyone has those skills at the required level - and those that do not will find dealing with clients and earning good fee income more difficult, but will find many helping colleagues to move the process along.  Most members find CMR membership to be of great value - some spectacularly so.  We have many members who have been with us for well over a decade.

2) Whilst many of CMR's clients will initially make contact with us because they seek funding support (it is THE best door opener to new clients) - the reality is that many will be unfundable in their present state and often funding is not the best way forward for them.  Even for those suitable for a funding solution, the national statistics produced by the BBAA (British Business Angels Association - of which CMR is a member) show that only 2.8% of applicants get funded (that does include start-ups that have a high failure rate).  Those who have watched the BBC's Dragons Den (and bear in mind that extensive filters have been applied by the BBC), or the USA Shark Tank, will know this to be the case.  Incidentally, CMR provides the BBC with some of the propositions they screen.  For CMR members this generally low percentage means we cannot rely just on funding success fees to make us wealthy - we have to develop our business by helping clients in other ways too.  Our biggest fees, apart from funding success fees, come from doing important things like turning them around, merging or selling them, licensing intellectual property, providing senior management support, etc.  Most SMEs have many problems and difficulties to overcome - we are here to help them.

So a summary of the pros and cons for CMR and why you should join if you are suitably qualified by seniority and experience:

CMR will give you:

A superb business base, both by you handling CMR’s direct clients and also by enabling you to acquire new clients if you wish, using CMR’s considerable resource and product range of essential business services.  We receive a constant stream of businesses and entrepreneurs looking for business and funding support, which are then handled by our executive members.  For those members with good motivation and ability there is absolutely no lack of opportunity to develop good business and an excellent independent career.

Each one of these potential clients will be seen/talked with by a CMR executive to discuss their needs.  It is quite likely that their business proposition is not viable as it stands, and will not attract investor interest because of deficiencies in their strategy or operational arrangements, and not having an adequate business plan that properly communicates to investors the reasons why they should invest.

So the first stage is for the CMR executive to discuss the plan with the owner/client covering the above points and more.  There is a big advantage for the CMR executive in that the client will view us as a potential investor and will usually act in a somewhat deferential way - happy to answer all our questions and show us around.

The CMR executive is effectively pre-vetting the company on behalf of our investors and can ask all the questions and see all the things that an investor would want to do.   That process will lead into examining all the weaknesses and problems the company has.  That in turn will lead into how to eliminate the weaknesses and how to solve the problems.  Clearly a proposition cannot be presented to investors until those weaknesses and problems have been properly addressed.  This of course, is the perfect opportunity for the CMR executive to propose the way forward to the client – if handled correctly, then business for us will almost always follow.

Whilst we expect (and will only recruit) joining executives to have many of the business skills and experience already onboard, we do give all new CMR executives comprehensive training in CMR’s products and operations – and on how to handle clients in the best way.

Of course, we know as indicated above, that even perfectly presented propositions will often fail to attract investor interest.  So during the discussions we will also try to identify other routes forward for the client if funding proves not possible.  In fact quite often we find that funding is not the best way forward and we will advise the client accordingly.  We will often develop a Plan A and Plan B approach – Plan A being looking for the funding, and Plan B is looking at the best way forward if funding fails to materialise.

Where we do actually believe the proposition has merit and should be funded - but our own investor bank has not reacted positively, then the CMR Executive managing the client should look for other possible external funding sources - venture capital companies, VCT's, Private Equity houses, crowd funding, etc.  When CMR first started, there were very few funding sources available - now in many parts of the world there is a plethora - we should make use of this for our clients, but of course only for those projects we really think are good (not all will be!).  

I hope this gives you an insight for how we work with clients to obtain the best outcome for them.  It’s important to understand that this is not a selling operation for us, but is a process where we discuss a client's business with them from a point of strength and influence (as potential investors) and then jointly work out the way forward.

You can probably see that this process puts our executive on the inside track with the client - and handled properly will normally result in business being obtained.  I cannot emphasise enough the importance of the word properly.  The CMR executive handling must have the personal experience and gravitas to handle this conversation.  Whilst our training will cover this process, much of the ability to handle clients in this way will be drawn from the ability the CMR executive has already acquired during their own business career.  Very often we will have a small team of CMR execs who have specific experience of the client's business, working on a project, enabling the sharing of skills and opinions between colleagues.

Please do not join CMR if you are financially desperate to earn money very quickly.  Whilst it can and does happen, you should assume that time will be needed to establish yourself and build a good earnings base.  It is important that you can be reasonably relaxed about that - both from your own viewpoint, but also from the client's too - they can smell desperation and if you are too obviously keen to charge them fees, that will be a turn-off for them.  Subtlety is the key word when negotiating fees with clients.

Most executives joining CMR will find it a very rewarding organisation with many business opportunities and a great network of similarly experienced senior executives.  It's that combination that makes CMR such a happy and worthwhile company to be with.  We have transformed many careers and lives by enabling financial independence and a much better working lifestyle balance for our executive members.

Mike Downey

Managing Director

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