Posts Tagged ‘strategy’

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

January 7th, 2020 by Richard (Ric) Franzi, MBA

Three skills are essential to survival as a start-up that you must eventually “unlearn” to grow a business. While these talents are prerequisites for getting a business off the ground, they become a liability as time goes on.

1. Flexibility

In the early days, when cash is scarce, you need to be flexible. Instead of hiring full-time employees, you may need to subcontract work to a partner. This arrangement works well as you pay subcontractors only when you have work, and they pay their expenses.

You also stay flexible when dealing with customers. If you’re just starting up, you’re likely not in a position to dictate to your prospects, so you listen carefully and adjust as necessary to suit their needs. 

Instead of setting up a physical location, you may create a makeshift office by patching together a home office or working out of a coffee shop. 

All of this bootstrapping allows you to get your business off the ground on a shoestring budget. The problem is that being too flexible can start to become a liability. Your contract employees may have other clients and can’t be at your beck and call when you need them. Your customers may start to ask for so much customization that the only person in your company with the technical skills to fulfill their special requests is you. And, eventually, a customer will want to see where you work and may think less of you if your office is your car.

Flexibility, a prerequisite in the beginning, actually becomes a liability as you grow.

2. Thrift

If you’re self-financing your business, you have no choice but to make it profitable from day one. If it doesn’t make you money today, you don’t do it.

This discipline of getting an instant return on cash invested allows us to get a business off the ground. Still, the problem with fixating on immediate profit is that it can undermine your ability to grow.

For example, redesigning your website won’t make you more profitable this month, but it could be a necessary investment to attract larger contracts from more significant customers in the future. 

It’s true that you should never overlook profitability entirely, but it is a good idea to place an equal emphasis on top- and bottom-line results—even if the investment doesn’t pay off right away.

3. Self-reliance

With no money or people to delegate to, a new business owner gets things done on her own. Many of us grow to like the control of doing things our way and fear things might get messed up if we give them to someone else.

Since we can do every job in our company, we often just keep doing some things long after we should. But once you start generating more profit, a few extra bodies are necessary to ensure you’re managing your calendar appropriately and not wasting time. 

If you’re not self-reliant in the early days, you won’t even get a business off the ground. But at some point, your inclination to roll up your sleeves and do it yourself can be what stops you from growing.

Overall, flexibility, thrift, and self-reliance are the essential ingredients of any start-up, and for your company to become a world-beater, you somehow have to unlearn those tendencies for a new set of skills. 

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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:

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:

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:

Happy Monday from Critical Mass Company

January 20th, 2014 by Richard (Ric) Franzi, MBA

Be agile, change is here.  What are you doing to embrace it?


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