Blue Ocean & Blue Skies
“Business models are all about assumptions. Most people make their assumptions and then believe them. And that’s a dangerous thing to do. It was really good to have somebody come in and challenge our assumptions.”
CEO & Managing Partner
DeSpir Logistics Network has worked hard – and smart – to thrive with a blue ocean strategy, being largely uncontested in their market with a unique service offering of carrying ultra high value freight. “We manage high risk, high value cargo,” says John Carr, CEO and Managing Partner. “The psychographics of our buyer is somebody that needs to transport goods in a very secure controlled fashion.”
Building a company like DeSpir Logistics takes vision and strategy. Carr sees himself as the strategist. “I’m a serial entrepreneur,” he acknowledges. “I helped [my partner] build out a venture model. And he went in and pitched it to a couple different companies, and they wouldn’t fund it. So I did.”
John has a keen sense of the unique challenges DeSpir Logistics faces, not just in the business environment but in its own growth. “Companies go through stages of development, just like people do. This is what I term a third stage and early third stage company. So at this point, it’s all about market dynamics, and extending middle management. Our basic processes are in place, and we have a quality management system that we’ve developed.” At this stage, DeSpir Logistics is fine tuning the systems and processes it needs to increase efficiencies, better understand and meet its market, nurture satisfied customer relationships and sharpen costs and profitability.
Why DeSpir Logistics Engaged a Part-Time CFO
As part of their strategic awareness, Carr and his team have a strong grasp on what their resourcing needs are. “To hire [a high caliber CFO], at the stage that we were at when we first engaged ProCFO Partners, would be like bringing a Howitzer to a knife fight. Full time, it’s just overkill. But again, there are stages where that level of expertise is absolutely necessary. And it goes beyond my innate ability.”
John and DeSpir extended those abilities with, at first, the capabilities of Haleh Fardi, ProCFO Partners Co-Founder and Managing Partner.
The Value of ProCFO Partners to Despir Logistics Network
“She’s absolutely brilliant.” Carr says of Haleh. “She was constantly challenging the status quo. Business models are all about assumptions. Most people make their assumptions and then believe them. And that’s a dangerous thing to do. It was really good to have somebody come in and challenge our assumptions. Ask, ‘Does it really make sense? What’s the truth of that assumption? Has it really proven on?’”
Challenging the status quo is part of the fabric of ProCFO Partners and it’s unique approach to business. As Carr points out, many organizations see their CFO, Controllers and other financial functions as essentially report generators. Often those reports are interpreted in ways that skew towards assumptions and bias. For the experts at ProCFO Partners, a financial framework helps investigate all angles of a business to uncover, as Carr puts, the truth of assumptions.
As the team working with DeSpir has expanded beyond Haleh and to Carlos Sava, Carr senses his company moving into new stages. “We’re at the stage where we can probably use a full time CFO, but in the interim we continue to use a ProCFO resource. They continue to provide great value.”
“You have to be an adrenaline junkie”
Summing up his perspective on serial entrepreneurism, John says, “You have to be kind of an adrenaline junkie. You know, some guys like going to the racetrack and betting on horses. And I think that that’s just a form of madness. And people look at me, and they think that this is a form of madness.”
Call it what you want, John Carr and DeSpir Logistics are building something special, maybe made more rewarding to think back to when investors weren’t interested. Their team has grown to the mid-40’s, and Carr thinks they might have a staff of a hundred strong by the end of the year. Managing that kind of growth with sound strategy and financial guidance is precisely the kind of value ProCFO Partners can contribute, with leadership that complements even the most ambitious people and their vision for success.