“To dispel the view that non-execs are expensive luxuries for large companies and to promotes the value that an experienced, practical business professional can add to a small business.”
NXD Ltd was launched at the end of 2009 with the specific aim of bringing the benefits of non-execs to the SME world in a big way. The intention was then, and remains, to change the way small privately owned businesses view non-execs and get them to realise that they can, and in many cases are, very relevant to small businesses – to dispel the view that non-execs are expensive luxuries for large companies and to promotes the value that an experienced, practical business professional can add to a small business.

The origins of NXD go back to 2 years before this when its founder Stephen Barter left the corporate world and decided to build a portfolio career for himself working with small businesses and using the general management skills he had gained during his time in the corporate world where he had operated at board level for much of his career and had been MD of a couple of companies along the way.

In starting to build his portfolio, Stephen identified two complementary gaps in the market. The first was the lack of a good company to help senior executives transition from a full time role into building a portfolio career; and the second, a massive latent demand for smaller businesses to have some input from top quality experienced business professionals. It was this that caused him to not just build a portfolio career for himself, but to form NXD to help many others do the same and instigate a fundamental change of thinking in the SME world.

In order to make it easier for a small business to engage with NXD, and differently from the recruitment world, Stephen set NXD up as a membership organisation. The business model is that NXD’s income comes from its members and not from the final customer who doesn’t have to pay any kind of up front placement fee.

From a very difficult start – NXD was launched in the depths of the recession – NXD has evolved and grown into a sizeable membership organisation of some 150 business professionals from all sectors and functions and with a wide variety of skills and experiences. The 150 members is however not the impressive thing, it is the quality and attributes of those members that makes it a really interesting and indeed unique group in the UK and possibly in the world.

NXD members have three things in common:

Firstly, we have all been very senior in the business world and have practical, first-hand experience of running businesses, most having been CEO or MD. We can help business leaders with both heart and head knowledge, we have the scars and have learnt from mistakes and we understand how lonely a role it can be.

Secondly, we all look first and foremost at the value we can add to a business ahead of the fee we can take out of it. It’s not that the fee isn’t important, it is, it’s just that we never want to be in a position where we are earning fees for the sake of earning fees – we want to earn fees because we genuinely believe we can add real and significant value. We’ve all had great careers and have been very fortunate and we want to give something back and help others be equally successful.

Thirdly we all believe in good old fashioned values and standards, we stick to our word, don’t renege on commitments and try to treat everyone with respect and courtesy. When people join NXD they all have to sign a values statement and we do expect people to stick to it – it is the one reason we will remove people from membership for.

We now have many and varied examples of where and how our members have helped a wide variety of businesses and all kinds of sectors and all types of circumstances – the only criteria we insist on is that the business concerned has an ambition to achieve something. We intend to continue to grow but retain our values and our overall objective of changing the way small businesses view non-execs and also to retain our business model whereby our customers don’t have to pay any placement fees.

We are starting to make a difference and want to see it turn into an irresistible force for change whereby SMEs in the UK becomes the most successful and profitable small businesses in the world through this mixing of todays’ SME  business leaders’ energy, innovation and ingenuity with the experience, skill and contact networks of our NXD members.

Copyright ©2015 NXD Limited. No material on this website may be reproduced without the written permission. We take care to ensure that the information featured on this site is correct but regret that we cannot be responsible for any loss incurred as a result of omission, inaccuracy, misjudgment or misunderstanding. We do not accept any liability for the content of external websites and links.