This Main Page records the MJF GROUP growth after being formed in 2004. At the time Dr Michael Freestone, the founder, was facing a decision to stay in corporate or to become a professional business advisor as he was getting many requests from both unknown companies and companies owned by his friends.
These requests included helping with accounting services, internal auditing, a due diligence request and queries around where funding could be obtained as everyone seemed to want funding for their business.
As Michael had never produced a complete business plan before, to the extent required by IDC, it led him to Palo Alto who had developed a Business Plan. He signed as an affiliate, as Michael was convinced that this software was the best in the market. He uses Business Plan Pro-Premier, for almost all of his funding applications.
The power of this package is that it can be modified to suit the Agenda of each funder. It has three powerful modules; accounts receivable, accounts payable and inventory, which can be manipulated to affect real-time cash flow forecasts. Companies/Individuals can buy this package from the Side bar widget on this site. If the user gets stuck we can aid them in our “one on one mentoring program”; prices found in our Group Sessions page.
We also signed up with a company offering DISC analysis, however, we caution ” only to our own customers”, as we do not sell online. The company providing the backroom service is DiSCProfile.com, of whom we are a signed affiliate.
It did not stop there as others wanted marketing consulting and others wanted to know how to motivate their sales staff; this led to us joining Marketing Profs, a Professional Marketing organisation offering support to its 640,000 membership list.
Michael went through their real time training courses on marketing and sales. They offer a section on “Marketing University” as well as thousands of marketing white papers, video training and webinars, almost on a daily basis.
In addition, we purchased the Palo Alto’s Marketing and Sales Planning Software package. This package is also found in our side bar widget and we also offer a “one on one mentoring program” for those who get stuck.
Our first real assignment was for Michael to become an outsourced CFO for an Amerian Company who owned a business in Bethal Mpumalanga South Africa. Michael is still their CFO to this day.
Nest and virtually simultaneously was to deal with a request on “how do we grow from here” from a medium-sized training company, using email marketing thus far very successfully. They had reached their ceiling and wanted know how to grow past this. A detailed statistical and business process analysis was carried out. Conclusion; “keep doing what you are doing but increase the volume and increase the product offerings”
Michael realised he needed to learn to become a professional consultant as what he was now doing was very different to what he had been doing in the corporate environment in which he had worked for 32 years. His last twenty years was in Africa North of the Limpopo, working as Africa Director in Mining, Processing and Refining of various commodities such as gold, diamonds, tantalite, cbalt, wolframite, uranium and tin.
He was invited to an IIB session in Johannesburg after-which he attended an IIB Watford UK Training course on becoming a Business Advisor. On his return, he went Professional.
Now A PROFESSIONAL Business Advisor
As a veritable newcomer to the Business Advisor scene, he was plunged head first into networking and soon met a host of start-up CEOs who were all looking:
- to raise money,
- battle the challenges of growing a high-growth company and
- getting a handle on how to run an investment backed business, with hostile boards.
- dealing with uncertain and unpredictable revenue streams.
It was clear – so many entrepreneurs, big or small, were facing the same struggles and had similar questions.
Many of the contacts made were faced with inadequate financial reporting systems, poorly trained bookkeeping staff, which resulted in being hounded by SARS, CIPC, Creditor due to arrears and such like. Poor invoicing bad collection process and dismal cash flows made him realise he needed to offer a new service and Riverstone Accounting Payroll and statutory Services was born. THe services included accounting, payroll and statutory services. Companies were also asking for Accounting Officer Services as well.
Riverstone Accounting, Payroll and Statutory Services (RAPSS)
This new business, a Closed Corporation, in which Michael had no shares, was soon added to the MJF GROUP portfolio and run by Michael’s partners Gloria, his wife, and Nikki, his daughter. Nikki has since migrated to Ireland.
Riverstone was closed down and has recently reopened to support those S/SME’s that need these services.
Michael is an authorised Accounting Officer who provides this outsourced service to RAPSS. In addition, he is a South Africa Revenue Serve (SARS) Practitioner and a Corporate Governance trainer.
We shall shortly be creating a page and contact details for RAPSS
The Beginning of GROUP SESSIONS
This was started in his home but rapidly moved to a more professional venue at one of the Protea Hotel Venue rooms.
The first few sessions were full, in fact overfull, and very stilted as no CEO really wanted to open up as they felt they would be looked down upon.
Michael then decided that he would limit the Group to 8 CEO’s and that they would be held from 12 pm on a Friday until 3 pm. Well, that was the plan, but at times it did run longer.
On each Monday all CEO’s were to send in a problem statement that they were dealing with. Michael chose 2 (two) for each Friday and did his own research if the group could not help.
He soon realised that those other 6 still had problems and they were invited to sign up for our Business Support for the CEO program, which involved a contract for 192 hours per annum of coaching and mentoring. This went extremely well and those who he coached personally became excellent contributors to the group discussion.
So many CEO’s thanked him for what he had started that he soon realised that, as he had found as a CEO in one of Anglo’s divisions in Africa, the CEO position is one of the loneliest positions in the business world. They are supposed to know and be able to deal with everything and everyone and have no-one to turn to in their own business for fear of them losing their mystique as being the ONE WHO KNEW IT ALL.
These Group Sessions continued monthly and as the original group’s companies grew, so did the idea that this resource could help many more executives. So we went to a weekly meeting with 8 other CEO’s from another region.
In all, we hosted 4 meetings a month dealings with 32 CEO’s across complementary industries in non-competing companies, at a time, in each Region.
Mrs G A Wright Freestone. Partner.