Posts Tagged ‘CEO’

Measuring and Maximizing the Value of Your Firm: Insights from Joel Stern, Chairman and CEO of Stern Value Management, on Critical Mass Radio Show

December 15th, 2017 by Richard (Ric) Franzi, MBA

As firms and businesses grow, making sure to maximize the value within is an important factor. Stern Value Management helps clients develop implementations and programs designed to maximize the value of the organization. Rather than developing from the top down, Stern Value Management believes that all employees have something to offer, regardless of their status. Chairman and CEO Joel Stern joined us to discuss how you can maximize the value of your business/firm. Here are three takeaways from our time with Joel Stern on Critical Mass Radio Show:

1. Look at your firm’s performance from a new angle. While on the show, Joel Stern discussed EVA ­- Economic Value Added ­- a formula developed by his company to measure a company’s performance and value creation, as well as show management how to prioritize on new investments. According to Stern Value Management’s website, “EVA measures the wealth a company creates (or destroys) each year. It is a company’s after-­tax profit from operations minus a charge for the cost of all capital employed to produce those profits – not just the cost of debt, but the cost of equity as well.”

2. Size variables are not value variables. When it comes to your team, value does not necessarily correlate with the number of individuals working for your company. It is important to ensure that your team members are providing value, as demonstrated by return on investment. Actively choose value over size when it comes to your team, and create incentives that are based on improvements and added value.

3. View your team members as partners in creating value, not simply employees. Joel discussed his belief that every person has entrepreneurial energies, and that the ultimate goal should be for all team members to release those energies constructively. By doing so, team members will add value to your firm, ­regardless of their position in the company, acting as partners who are invested in the business, rather than just employees.

Listen to our full interview with Joel Stern here:

How Effective Decision-Making Can Transform Your Firm: Insights from Mike Whitaker, Author of The Decision Makeover, on Critical Mass Radio Show

December 10th, 2017 by Richard (Ric) Franzi, MBA

Behind truly successful people lies the ultimate decision­-making skills. Author of The Decision Makeover Mike Whitaker uses his background in professional services to share how much of a difference effective and efficient decision-­making can have on an entrepreneur’s success. He joined us on the show to share more insight. Here are three takeaways from our time with Mike Whitaker on Critical Mass Radio Show:

1. The quality of a CEO/entrepreneur’s decisions can dramatically impact the outcome of the business. Effective decision making drives success, both professionally and personally, and can help you get the life and business you are striving for. Mike Whitaker discussed how business success delivers dividends throughout our lives, which makes it even more crucial to recognize the difference between effective and ineffective decision making in everything you do. He added that if we fail to make good decisions in business, our lives won’t follow suit.

2. Know when not to make a decision. Emotion often comes into play when trying to make decisions. Whether we are hurried, desperate, tired, facing rejection, or facing another emotion, decisions can often catch us at our worst, and it is important to know when to step back. The first step, Mike said, is be aware that you have a decision in front of you. From there, you must be aware of whether or not you are in the right mindset to make the decision. Don’t be afraid to say “let me think about this,” or “I’ll get back to you” if you are in an emotional place and need some time to regain clarity about the decision at hand. Consider the long­-term consequences of the decision, not just your current feelings.

3. Success comes from more focus on less things. Mike described how, when you try to make everything important, nothing is important, adding that the best CEOs and leaders are hyper-focused on a few key goals. Identify your “prime goals” ­ the most important, achievable milestones you would like to accomplish moving forward. Narrow down your top 5 goals, and from there, identify your #1 goal. Don’t let any goals interfere with your number #1 goal, but rather, build a structure in which everything works toward the achievement of that goal. Your #1 goal should take precedence over all other objectives, and help guide your decision- making. For example, if your #1 goal is growth, every decision you make should reflect this goal, from raising capital to hiring new team members. When you are focused and intentional in everything you do, you are almost guaranteed to move towards your definition of success.

Listen to our full interview with Mike Whitaker here:

Grow Your Leaders Within: Insights from Ally Spinu, Founder and CEO of USA Link System, on Critical Mass Radio Show

December 10th, 2017 by Richard (Ric) Franzi, MBA

The secret to USA Link System’s success is that they study the ins and outs of their clients’ industry to understand their business whenever they conduct a marketing ad campaign. Founder and CEO Ally Spinu joined us to discuss how her firm has grown from 2014 to 2016 and is the #1 company on the San Fernando Valley Business Journal’s list of private companies. Here are three takeaways from our time with Ally Spinu on Critical Mass Radio Show:

1. When you are doing something right in your company, your clients will become your brand’s advocates. Ally Spinu’s firm stays true to that standard, adding that she discovered her firm was doing something well when her own clients started referring and selling the brand/services as if they were employees themselves. Work to develop a relationship with your clients/customers in which they believe in your brand so much that they are compelled to act and promote your firm in their daily lives.

2. Ultimately, the culture of a company sells the job to the candidate. In such a crowded marketplace, it is important for a company to stay relevant and unique. A large segment of this truth lies within a company’s culture. While many companies have “perks” for employees, these things are meaningless if the organization’s culture does not reflect the values and atmosphere that a candidate wants to be a part of. The “soul” of the company needs to be visible for a hire to be successful. As you go through the hiring process, take the time to recruit the right talent, as doing will drive the success of the company. Business success depends on teamwork, so ensure that every employee is motivated to stand behind the company’s culture, vision and goals. Hiring the wrong talent can hinder your organizational culture, so know when to fire candidates who are not good fits for the culture of your firm.

3. Grow your leaders within. Motivate your team to always go the extra mile to exceed the customer’s expectations, as the entire company will move forward and grow as a result. With that, know who your star team members are and help them grow into the future leaders of your organization. Your team members know the most about you, your company’s clients, and the firm as a whole. Use these assets as an opportunity to look toward to future of your firm, and capitalize upon the strengths of team members who already reflect and believe in where your company is going.

Listen to our full interview with Ally Spinu here:

Be Positive, Be Real & Be Brave: Insights from Mika Leah, Founder and President of Goomi, on Critical Mass Radio Show

December 1st, 2017 by Richard (Ric) Franzi, MBA

Goomi brings on­-site classes, which stretch both body and mind, directly to the workplace, promoting the values of Be Positive, Be Real & Be Brave. Founder and President Mika Leah joins the show to discuss her firm and what makes Goomi unique from other wellness firms. Here are three takeaways from our time with Mika Leah on Critical Mass Radio Show:

1. Cultivate the overall brand experience. In order to change behavior, you have to expose individuals to repeated positive experiences. Eventually, these experiences can be transformed into new habits and ways of life. Whether you are trying to find new ways to engage your employees in terms of wellbeing, or engage customers with your brand, cultivate an actionable experience that will leave every individual your brand interacts with more fulfilled. Don’t provide knowledge without the support and action to back it up. Engage your team and your clients in a meaningful, hands-­on way.

2. Maintaining rapid growth and consistent credibility/quality is a balancing act. Open a dialogue among your team as to how to maintain the brand’s image as the company grows and expands. Mika Leah said that, for Goomi, a large piece of the puzzle lies in recruitment efforts, and how to find the right talent to represent the firm and its values. Mika said that social media promotion efforts have helped increase interest among prospective team members, and that this has been a way of reaching the intended audience with very little financial investment. In order to ensure the quality and values of potential Goomi team members, Mika said she personally interviews each one, especially because the brand is still in its early stages. She added that it is important for prospective employees to be mission driven, not just financially driven.

3. Don’t ask “am I going to make this work?” Ask “how am I going to make this work?” The entrepreneurs who make it are those who believe they will. If you have a vision, follow it all the way, as if there is no plan B. Go all in, and commit to your brand. Don’t let anything stop you from finding ways to make your vision a reality.

Listen to our full interview with Mika Leah below:

23rd Annual Economic Forecast Conference: Insights from Anil Puri, Director of the Woods Center for Economic Analysis and Forecasting

November 7th, 2017 by Richard (Ric) Franzi, MBA

I had a great time attending the 23rd Annual Economic Forecast Conference and interviewing Anil Puri, Director of the Woods Center for Economic Analysis and Forecasting.  Here are three takeaways from my time with Anil Puri:

1. US expansion will continue, with slower but continued economic growth predicted over the next several years. Anil Puri said that the depth and breadth of economic growth will depend acutely on mix of fiscal and monetary policy that has yet to unfold. The current economic recovery in the United States is in its eighth year (100 months), making it the second longest recovery since 1987-2000.  While all recoveries come to an end sooner or later, Puri said that there is no particular reason for the current recovery to come to an end now, and feels it can last longer. However, this all depends on fiscal changes such as interest rates and tax reform,  as well as economic policies, he noted.

2. Slow growth is better than no growth or negative growth (recession). The United States is a mature country, meaning that growth does not have to be staggering to be positive, compared to developing countries in which growth has more of an effect.  Puri said that if the United States can maintain its growth and stay within a respectable range, households, workers, business owners, and the US economy as a whole will all continue to thrive.

3. The last recession is still impacting the OC business climate. New businesses are created when people are optimistic about the state of the economy. In Orange County, small businesses are not starting at the same rate as in the past because of the social impact of the last recession. After every recession there is a time of hesitation/discouragement before new businesses pick up again – a temporary cyclical phenomena – but Puri said he feels Orange County will begin to move past that soon and see an increase in business creation. He added that business, education and other sectors should work together to consider any financial, social and economic barriers for entrepreneurs, and ensure that the OC continues to be the source of “vigorous new job growth.”


Unleash Your Expertise: Insights from Mitchell Levy of AHAthat on Critical Mass Radio Show

November 3rd, 2017 by Richard (Ric) Franzi, MBA

Having compelling content, or that one eye-­catching line, is crucial for business leaders to attract consumers. Mitchell Levy and his team at AHAthat make it easy for companies to easily create that “Aha” moment. He joined us to share how his expertise is turning executives into recognized thought leaders. Here are three takeaways from our time with Mitchell Levy on Critical Mass Radio Show:

1. Create an asset and market it effectively. Writing a book is a strategic way for a business/thought leader to demonstrate expertise in a certain area. However, simply publishing the book is not enough. Don’t spend all your time creating an asset without taking the time to use it to your advantage through marketing efforts. Focus on gaining credibility in the eyes of your prospects by identifying their pain points and connecting with them by effectively marketing your content. We live in a second soundbite economy. Make your message count by strategically communicating it to your prospects.

2. We all have expertise inside of us. Life is about time and money, so invest what you can in finding and sharing your expertise with your target audience. We don’t buy from nameless, faceless companies; we buy from individuals who represent a brand. Work to find your AHA messages ­ the ideas that differentiate you as a thought leader and define your brand ­ and take the time to share them with your key audiences. Pull out the genius inside of you and share it.

3. Business is all about trust. In order to develop a positive brand image for your company, it is essential to build trust with your consumers/clients in who you are and what your company is all about. Trust is generated by vulnerability and integrity. If your company is not a good fit for a client or customer, be honest and recommend an alternative. It is also important to trust your employees and allow them to explore what the company brand means to them. Let your team have their own brand an approach. When happy employees share who they are and what they do with their networks, their community will respond, which will result in increased brand awareness.

Listen to our full interview with Mitchell Levy here:

Trends for Small Business Success: Insights from Jodi Duva, Vice President of Cox Business Orange Coast Market, on Critical Mass Radio Show

October 28th, 2017 by Richard (Ric) Franzi, MBA

Small businesses are the heart of Orange County. As the Vice President of Cox Business for the Orange Coast Market, Jodi Duva is responsible for leading a world-­class team, delivering customized communications solutions to local business communities. Jodi joined us on Critical Mass to discuss more of Cox Business’ services and the latest trends small market businesses are using for success. Here are three takeaways from our time with Jodi Duva on Critical Mass Radio Show:

1. If you fall, get back up. Success starts with being passionate about what you do, so approach work and life with extreme focus and determination. The business environment is ever­-changing, so resiliency is very important. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t achieve something. Be a powerful presence, lead by example, and inspire those around you by your ability to set goals, make effective plans and communicate with your team to ensure that everyone is empowered and engaged.

2. Utilize social media for increased customer engagement. Small businesses are using technology and social media to their advantage, more and more so each day. Social media is effective because it is fully scalable depending on the needs of each business. Companies can customize their message and level of engagement with their customers in addition to creating buzz, and encouraging word­-of­-mouth communication.

3. Technology is a necessary tool for creating a positive experience for both employees and customers. Whether it be phone lines, surveillance, or internet service/wifi, new technologies are necessary to running a business operation effectively. In our increasingly digital age, having free wifi available to customers can create a more comfortable environment when they visit their business. Also, with our society’s increased focus on social responsibility, environmental impact and becoming more “green,” utilizing technology to go paperless with receipts and other transactions can be an effective way to integrate this growing trend into the culture of your organization.

Listen to our full interview with Jodi Duva here:


Invest in Long-Term Value: Insights from John Cavalieri, Executive Vice President of PIMCO on Critical Mass Radio Show

September 29th, 2017 by Richard (Ric) Franzi, MBA

With over 45 years of experience and hundreds of offices across the globe, PIMCO is making a name for itself as the world’s premier fixed income investment management organization. The company believes in being prepared, tested, and invested when it comes to investments. Executive Vice President John Cavalieri joined us on Critical Mass to discuss PIMCO’s unique approach, and how the brand is creating opportunities for investors in all environments. Here are three takeaways from our time with John Cavalieri on Critical Mass Radio Show:

1. Focus on long­-term value. Markets have natural cycles and rotations. Look beyond today, pay attention to market momentum and flow, and what is likely to happen in the future. With that said, rebalancing is often the best practice. When a particular investment is on the rise for a long time, it may be strategic to look towards the future and reallocate some of those funds. Buy low, sell high, and make educated, disciplined, unemotional value based investment decisions. Rather than simply following today’s trends, look towards the future potential of emerging markets, including those you may not have considered, such as international markets.

2. Strategize from the bottom-­up, as well as top-­down. Implementing a bottom­-up micro strategy, can add additional value, independent of large, macro market moves, whether it be through portfolio management, analysts, etc. While it is not always possible to predict what will happen in the market moving forward, you can work to implement strategies to be more effective in your investments.

3. Look beyond current trends. How can you make money if you are only doing what other people are doing, or have done? If you do so, you risk buying high and missing potential value opportunities elsewhere. Focus on a “buy low, sell high” strategy. The market is cyclical, so value isn’t necessarily found in what is doing well now, but rather, what has potential to do well in the future. While most people feel more comfortable doing the opposite, don’t be afraid to strategically sell stocks that have been doing well for a while, and invest in stocks that are not popular but have potential.

Listen to our full interview with John Cavalieri below:

Request, Promise, Followthrough: Insights from Gary Tomlinson, Author of Discovering Execution, on Critical Mass Radio Show

September 29th, 2017 by Richard (Ric) Franzi, MBA

Every action takes execution, and the quality of one’s execution makes all the difference in terms of the outcome. Author of Discovering Execution Gary Tomlinson joined us on Critical Mass to break down the concept of execution as discussed in his latest book, and provide insight as to how we can plan, engage, and implement effective execution within our businesses. Here are three takeaways from our time with Gary Tomlinson on Critical Mass Radio Show:

1. Everything with purpose takes execution. Whether it be putting together a strategy, implementing a plan, or engaging with others along the way, developing effective execution skills is necessary in all aspects of leading an organization and accomplishing business goals.

2. Execution occurs at the individual level. Execution is commonly used term, and most of us think we have an understanding of what it entails. However, execution is often thought about in terms of company, division, department, or team ­but in truth, it doesn’t happen at these levels. Execution truly happens at the individual level, as a person works to develop relationships built upon an effective execution cycle, with a request, promise and followthrough. By becoming more effective in execution, an individual is not only more likely to achieve greater results, but also become someone others can count on.

3. Effective execution cycles maximize the likelihood of achieving desired results. An execution cycle consists of three parts: request, promise, and followthrough. Don’t mistake a demand or statement for a request. It is important that the request incites action, rather than simply stating information. Who are you asking the promise from? What do you want? Exactly When do you want it? In what form do you want it? In order for a request to be effective, the person must think of the it as a promise that they have an obligation to follow through on.

Listen to our full interview with Gary Tomlinson below:

Create Value, Embrace the Unexpected: Expertise from Julie Williamson, Author of Matter: Move Beyond the Competition, on Critical Mass Radio Show

February 20th, 2017 by Richard (Ric) Franzi, MBA

Julia Williamson - Author of Matter: Move Beyond the CompetitionThis past week, Julie Williamson, author of Matter: Move Beyond the Competition, Create Move Value and Become the Obvious Choice, was my guest on Critical Mass Radio Show. How do you build a company that truly matters? With so many companies within the same industry, it is important to make sure you address what is important to clients while also making a name for yourself. During her time on the show, Julie Williamson discussed the key facts and tactics that top companies have adapted to succeed within their industry, and how successful companies use disruption to matter and win. Here are three takeaways from my time with Julie on Critical Mass Radio Show:

1. Disruption can be an opportunity.

When the unexpected arises, choose a different narrative. Find a way to thrive through change, as building this muscle within your organization will benefit the firm as a whole moving forward, regardless of the circumstance. Change is not the end, and it is important to embrace change, as it will not go away; change is consistent. Rather, figure out how to orient differently towards the idea of change. By implementing a system to navigate disruption, you will add value to your company as a whole.

2. Create a platform for your product.

Think about brands, such as Apple, where you are a loyal consumer. Apple creates a platform, rather than just products. On the Apple platform, all of your data transfers seamlessly from one device to another, creating “stickiness,” or the desire to stay on the platform, for consumers. Additionally, the abilities of Apple’s platform add value by making it easier to access certain information and perform certain tasks, such as listening to music across devices. With your own brand, prioritize creating a long-­lasting platform over creating single products; doing so will increase stickiness and brand loyalty.

3. Seek out the right partners.

The world is becoming increasingly complex, and with that comes more complex problems to solve, which generally require more than one individual, team, or company. Finding the right partners is critical in order to solve the problems that matter to your customers and your industry. With that said, it is also important to address these questions in order to show that you care about more than profit, especially short-­term profit. Building a more effective team of advocates also increases brand allegiance, as, when you show that you care about more than profit, people feel good about spending money with you.

Listen to our full interview with Julie Williamson below:

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