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Editor’s letter: Making the most of it

OPPORTUNITY AND risk. Always on the same coin? Take UK zoos, for example. Beholden to the weather. Up against other attractions (museums are free), and reinventing themselves to satisfy the ethical and moral demands of their customers.

Throw in a lack of spending capacity among the population, and it makes you wonder whether it’s all worth it.

Well, there are zoos still out there, entertaining and educating.

Many have diversified into broader family entertainment. Others are looking at indoor habitats to entice customers.

The Olympics won’t be halted by weather. Unless the gods, in a fit of pique that Paris missed out, decide to dump the Thames on east London.

But, as you’ll read in our cover story, for some FDs, the hurdles put in front of them in the process of planning for the Games were positively leapt over: they are driving their business forwards to exciting things. Others, unfortunately, have found the hurdles too high to clear.

It definitely puts the onus on senior finance professionals to be forward-thinking, have strong financial risk modelling capabilities in place, and, dare I say it, be positive.

Reinvention, or making the most of an opening, becomes more difficult the bigger and more complex a business is, particularly where external stakeholders are concerned. For CFO Divinia Knowles of Moshi Monsters business Mind Candy (interview page 34), it was a case of the creative business ditching its previous big idea and moving onto the next. I hasten to add that I’ve made that sound a hell of a lot more easy than it was.

With so many businesses fighting against the tide, surely it’s more sensible to make the most of unusual events, things that are out of the norm – such as a sporting occasion or the Queen’s Jubilee.

And the question you’re dying to ask: will the Olympics prove a drain on London’s other attractions? One FD told me that he didn’t know for sure, his business had contingency plans in place even if it did – and projections from previous Games suggest an uplift in tourism for the forthcoming years, of which businesses intend to make the most.

Positive thinking, backed up by numbers.

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