Geoffrey Marshall has spent the last five years as managing director of G.T. Marshall & Associates, a financial consulting firm he started after more than 30 years at P&G. He is also one of the newest members of the Queen City Angels bringing his experience to help solve business challenges with companies of all sizes for entrepreneurs and start-ups in QCA’s portfolio. During his long career at P&G, Marshall served in operational finance, most recently managing a 400-person global supply chain organization that guided the integration of Wella, Clairol, Gillette and Braun into a single business unit. His accomplishments during his time at P&G show an ability to cut costs, increase cash flow and drive productivity. Since he left P&G in 2012, he has been doing the same thing for small and medium-size companies and non-profits. However, start-ups is what always intrigued him.
“This is an entirely different world than I grew up with at P&G. We’re talking a big company with a lot of resources versus a start-up with minimal resources,” said Marshall. “That said, P&G is big, but throughout the company, you have a lot of little projects. I helped jump-start Reflect.com which was the first e-commerce venture that was started from scratch. I had to set up bank accounts and payroll, and then we moved the organization to San Francisco. I am fascinated by start-ups and how they can succeed.”
His experience with BigCos provides him with valuable insight into the QCA team.
“I know what BigCos and VCs are looking for, so what are the things we can do creatively to help entrepreneurs manage capital, access resources, because that’s the key thing they need, and do it in a way they can use other people’s money,” added Marshall.
Marshall sees his role at QCA as someone who can help the entrepreneurs see the big picture and not run past the stop signs so they can find the big payday.
“Entrepreneurs can be overly optimistic and can run past the stop signs,” said Marshall. “My role is to help them understand what has to be true to get past the stop signs effectively. Here are the things you need on the balance sheet, on the income statement, the history you need to demonstrate and milestones you need to hit to get to that payday.”
Since joining QCA, Marshall has been impressed with the background of its members and the level of experience in the meetings.
“Every time I get a chance to get to know the members, I am fascinated with their backgrounds, and I see an opportunity to learn more and pick their brains so I can better understand what to watch for as I participate in more investments,” stated Marshall. “I want to take their experience and use the things they have done on new projects.”
Marshall is also impressed with the level of engagement in every investment.
He added, “There is such a breadth of knowledge around the table and everyone is engaged financially and through sweat equity and thought equity. There is a lot of mindspace invested in every deal and the level of due diligence is even more than I had expected.”
Marshall also shares his enthusiasm for the entrepreneurial spirit that has enveloped Cincinnati.
“The city and the surrounding communities have made huge progress in the past few years,” said Marshall, who was involved on teams that started YourEncore and Cintrifuse.
“We need a lot more Assurex Health success stories and a lot more wins. Winning begets winning begets more funding begets more winning. We certainly have an advantage in our cost of living and as a family focused community, but how do we make this area an even more attractive place to start and build a business?”
Marshall believes it starts with retaining talent, drawing similarities to the challenges of his hometown of Austin, Texas, in the 1970s.
“ Austin is now a thriving city, and I would like to see similar things happen here. The city recognized that it was losing people to Houston to work in oil and started to implement strategies to keep people home.”
In addition to talent, as an African-American business leader, Marshall sees organizations such as Mortar playing an important role in expanding growth and building entrepreneurial successes in Cincinnati.
“The question is how do you change the mindset of an entire community,” said Marshall. “The answer is that everyone needs to be involved in raising the boat as the tides rise. Success at business is not a white or black issue, as the same learning can be applied to everyone.”
Marshall sees QCA has a leader to keep Cincinnati moving forward.
He added, “There is so much experience and talent within QCA that I and others can learn from. Every time I meet someone at QCA, I learn something new. The variety of experience is fascinating in a group like this, and it gets me energized to do more.”