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Why are you in Business?

Ask most entrepreneurs what their business does and how it does it and you will get a clear answer.  But ask WHY do you own your business and the answer is often a bit fuzzier.  Yes, there is the immediate – I want to make money.  But what is the rest of the story?  Ask yourself: Do I want to create/carry forward a family business to the next generation? Do I want to ultimately sell the business to outside buyers (financial or strategic)? Do I want to take the company public? Do I just want an income and I am not worried about after I am finished in the business? Each one of these WHY’s requires you to manage and invest in your company in slightly different ways.  There is no “best” WHY.  Rather it is your WHY. One of the major...

Traditional Strategic Thinking in a Social Dynamic

Does the influential work by Michael Porter regarding competitive advantage and the forces that influence that advantage still hold true today?  Porter’s original works were created in the pre-Internet days.  Large companies and brands still dominate the landscape, but have their advantages that were created by scale still as advantageous? In the past, development of new product and applications of those services were developed within the company and were marketed outwardly to consumers.  Having the brand, the resources (human and financial) provided great advantages to large global companies at the expense of smaller companies. But, in our socially connected world consumers have more influence than ever and they are exercising that power.  Is your...

Mission Statements with a Mission

Is your mission statement a reflection of your company’s vision, or is it an abstract view of what your company wants to be?  All too often, a company’s mission statement reflects what it strives to be but lacks the passion that is in fact its mission.  Mission statements are generally composed by a committee of executives and communications professionals with the goal of telling what the company intends to accomplish, but in a manner that does not set the company up for failure against that statement.  In short, they are tepid and boring caricatures of what the business’ vision. Consider a baseball team with that type of statement – “Our mission is to be the best we can be through teamwork.”  Where’s the passion? Where is the audaciousness?...

Collaboration and Building a Thinking Platform

Collaboration works and fails at a multitude of levels.  As an entrepreneur and business owner, it is imperative to work effectively with others at a variety of levels. Doing so will give greater insights into the challenges that face your business, help you develop better solutions to those challenges and give you more time to focus on execution.  Building an effective Thinking Platform is the foundation for establishing an efficient and successful collaborative process. By definition, Collaboration is working together towards a common end.  However, without a process to guide the process, most efforts to collaborate fall short of expectations or worse fail altogether. The primary reasons for this disconnect are: Lack of clarity and buy-in surrounding goals,...

Thoughts and Ideas: Building Value in Your Business…

Over 50% of businesses fail in their first five years of operation… 75% of businesses do not survive beyond one generational change. WHY? Most small and mid-sized businesses never grow past the “Entrepreneur Factor”. This is to say that the business never progresses past the expertise and drive of the owner… the business revolves completely around the owner “Chief Everything Officer”, but in this scenario while the owner makes money… he/she is not building value or sustainability in their business. So what can you do to break the cycle, build value and have your business work for you as opposed to you being a slave to the business. Key Thoughts: Know where you are going and why: What do you want your business to be? How...

Building Value: The 5 Keys for Achieving Success

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"This book is written to help business owners think about the complex value of their companies.  If you take away just one new idea, then you are ahead." – Bruce Dole – President, Autco Distributing, Inc.