About Us
For centuries, sailors leaving for a long voyage have been told “Fair Winds and Following Seas”. A gentle but consistent breeze to fill their sails, and a procession of tame swells pushing their hull onward. Fair Winds Strategies is re-inventing the business services model to assist small businesses with something they aren’t used to having – fair winds and following seas – a smooth and successful passage to growth or recovery – by providing an innovative price and delivery approach.

Let’s Start with Why

We didn’t decide to enter the small and medium business market without doing a lot of research first.  According to a mashup of statistics from Entrepreneur Weekly, Small Business Development Center, Bradley University, and University of Tennessee Research, almost half of small business failures are due to poor decisions – including pricing decisions, lack of planning, and poor financial choices.

  • Failure Due To Bad Decisions 46%
  • Failure Due To Lack of Managerial Experience 30%
  • Failure Due To Lack of Product Experience 11%
According to the SBA (pdf) (The US Government Small Business Administration), only half of new firms last for longer than five years, with over (on average) 600,000 new firms starting each year and over 500,000 firms shutting down.  The SBA says that reasons for failure include lack of experience, insufficient capital, over-investments in fixed assets and poor financial management. We asked ourselves and numerous small business owners, “Why is this the case?” The overwhelming answer? “We’d love to get the experience of others but our cash flow doesn’t allow us to spend that kind of money.” So we started Fair Winds Strategies.

About Us

We’re not your normal consulting company. We recognize that most small businesses and medium businesses would like to have outside help but often can’t afford the huge fees of hiring advisors. They already pay accountants and lawyers. Bringing in others has a big impact to cash flow. So we set about to solve the problem. Introducing Fair Winds Strategies – your one stop shop for helping your business grow or stabilize, but with a unique model of fixed monthly pricing for access to our stable of consultants and outsourced activities. Our focus is on improving your company – and improving you while we’re at it.

Principals

Chris Labatt-Simon Headshot
Chris Labatt-Simon, Managing Partner
Before founding Fair Winds Strategies, Chris was the CEO of one of the largest fast-growth information technology companies in upstate New York – ranking for multiple years on the Inc 500 list of fastest growing US companies – and led its sale to a New York City based private equity firm. Chris has extensive experience with leadership development, buying and selling companies, strategic planning, finance, contract law, corporate integration and processes, and information technology.  In his last role, he was the Chief Innovation Officer at a one hundred person strong Internet Marketing company and was responsible for managing innovation processes and identifying strategies and new technologies to enhance and augment existing business processes and goals.  Chris has won numerous awards, including the prestigious Forty under Forty award, and has also been invited to speak at many conferences.

Additional Information

Code of Values

Code of Values

We require that all of our consultants follow a set of plain English guidelines.  These represent the foundation of our company and were created to ensure we have a long-lasting relationship with each and every customer.

  1. No Bull.
  2. Be honest and truthful.
  3. Communicate.
  4. Always do the right thing.
  5. Maintain total confidentiality – even within the customer’s organization.
  6. If you aren’t right for the project, don’t do the project.
  7. If the project isn’t right for the customer let them know.
  8. The customer always has the final say.
  9. Give back to the community that gives to you.
Our People

Our People

Names aren’t important, nor are titles.  What is important is what we’ve done.  Our people count among their accomplishments:

  • Multi-year Inc 500 winners and winners of many other business growth and executive excellence awards
  • Bought companies
  • Sold companies
  • Positions included CEO, CIO, COO, VP, Bank VP, Loan Officers
  • We have led strategy development and operations for both small businesses and mid-sized businesses
  • We’ve been on loan committees
  • We’ve been responsible for over $100 Million of commercial and retail lending
  • We’ve developed financial reporting packages
  • We’ve managed human resource departments
  • We’ve implemented and been responsible for financial controls
  • We’ve completely restructured IT departments to move to emerging tech such as cloud computing
  • We’ve been at companies when they’ve gone bankrupt (so we understand how to prevent this from happening)
  • We’ve worked in for-profit, not-for-profit and with government

If you would like references for any specific capability, we’re more than happy to provide them.

Community Involvement

Community Involvement

Fair Winds Strategies believes that you need to give back to the community that provides for you. With this in mind, we give at least 5% of all of our profits to charitable causes each year. In addition, we provide paid time off for volunteer work and encourage our team to use their skills to help regional causes improve their organizations.

Startup Mentoring

Startup Mentoring

As part of our community involvement, we select several startups to provide mentoring to. The mentoring is aimed to assist a new CEO in improving their skills and giving them more tools that can make their business successful. If you are interested in our mentoring program, please contact us and let us know.

Contact Us!
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