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Breaking Down Operational Optimization to Maximize Value Creation

Team rowing or crew, requires a group of people to work in unison to go the fastest in the most efficient manner possible.  If only one member is out of rhythm then the team will lose.  It is the old proverb, “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link”.  In business we aspire to win in terms of growth and profitability, but if sales and operational effectiveness are not working in unison it will erode the value of your enterprise.  On the surface this insight is incredibly obvious, but in the “heat of battle” (especially with small and mid-sized companies) the balance between the need to generate sales and the ability to meet demand often get out of sync.  This disconnect creates a drain on capital, internal dissention, and the...

When your greatest strengths get in the way

Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur.  There are certain personality characteristics that are requisite to starting your own successful business. But how you apply these traits is also key in determining if you grow a “sellable”  and sustainable business or just own a profitable job. Research has shown the top five characteristics exhibited by successful entrepreneurs are: Passion and Vision Comfortable with Risk Comfortable with Ambiguity Resilience Strong Sense of Self All are critical to getting a business off the ground. Each trait is required to drive an enterprise forward especially when it is just starting out, but they are also some of the traps entrepreneurs fall into as their businesses grow. Each characteristic (with the...

Where business value and reality meet

Do you know the worth your business?  Is it your guestimate of value or have you had to full valuation done within the past two years?  Do you understand what you will need to get out of the business when you “retire”? Have you identified ways to resolve any potential shortfalls or protect your gains.  You’ve worked successfully over the years to build cash flows, market share, and profit margins. But the reality is often that your drivers of value are not consistent with the way an outside investor would value your business. The fact is that if you do not have a strong and independent management team.  If you do not have effective, adaptable, and documented operating procedures.  If you do not have open and auditable accounting and...

How many casualties did your crisis cause?

Congratulations! You own a business! You are the boss and you are a person of action.  You are successful.  You have a strong team of associates that help you run your business and you are diligent about staying focused on the 5 Keys that Build Value in your business.  But you have this nagging feeling that the business is not as efficient/effective/profitable as it could be.  Your business is moving forward, but it does so in fits and starts.  There is not the traction you want. You are not quite sure what the cause is, but you know things are just not clicking. Before you jump on your team, look at yourself.  Every business is faced with challenges large and small, long-term and immediate.  HOW ARE YOU DEALING WITH THOSE CHALLENGES?  Does every customer...

Effective Brainstorming – Getting the Most Out of Your Team & Yourself

Brainstorming by definition is a group problem solving technique, but often it devolves into a session dominated by one or two individuals, or meanders aimlessly or becomes a group think rubber stamp.  This will not allow you to achieve your desired end – PROBLEM SOLVED.  In order to help get the most out of your brainstorming sessions there are several “tricks of the trade” that will keep you and your team focused and get everyone contributing. Preparation: At least one week prior to your brainstorming session, assemble the team and define the desired results in broad terms.  Assign broad areas where you like each team member to focus their efforts.  For example, logistics, accounting, marketing, etc.  Then provide the team with...

Aligning Core Company Values and Strategic Focus

It is my experience that most companies have a mission and vision statement.  However, often they were created as a marketing tool for both customers and employees, rather than a true embodiment of company’s core values.  The result is a mis-match of actions versus expectations that can derail the company.  To correct this potential disconnect it is critical you inspect your core vision versus not only the perception in both the market and internally, but against your execution to your vision as well. Questions to consider: What are the 3 to 5 words that define your company? Some examples might be creative, innovative, honesty, results, integrity to name a few. What is the company’s focus? It’s Passion? In other words, what niche do you...

Building Value: The 5 Keys for Achieving Success

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