Barry Nightingale has worked with some of the biggest names in business.
His impressive CV has included spells as chairman of Yearsley Group; CFO of Monarch Airlines and The Restaurant Group; finance director of Betfred; and managing director of webuyanycar.com owner UK Car Group
More recently he was a director of Manchester-based connected vehicle data startup wejo and he’s in demand as a NED.
Speaking at TechBlast’s Going 4 Growth roundtable he identified some of the key traits of what makes a successful business.
“Your starting point, and you’d expect me to say this as a CFO, is what is the cash trajectory?” he says.
“I think every business I’ve worked in has either succeeded because they have cash or they’ve failed because they didn’t. That’s a clue. Focus on the cash.”
Nightingale says data is crucial in modern business but believes there is still room for following your instinct.
“I’ve been CFO to three billionaires or three billionaire families,” he recalls. “One were the McKee brothers, who are best known for inventing webuyanycar.com but had three or four successful businesses before they came up with webuyanycar.com.
“I also worked with Stelios (Haji-Ioannou) who founded easyJet and I’ve worked with Betfred founder Fred Done and his brother Peter.
“All of these businesses have data at their core with one exception. The one exception is Betfred. Fred was the ultimate hunch player. He had a hunch and went with it.
“More recently I had the great experience of working with Richard Barlow of wejo and helping him build out his data stack.
“It’s about making sure the cash runway is right and understanding the marketplace. Getting to understand your marketplace is absolutely critical and then ruthlessly executing the plan.”
Nightingale says it vital people aren’t afraid of making mistakes.
“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes because everyone of the entrepreneurs I’ve had the pleasure of working with have made more mistakes than they’ve had successes,” he says.