Archive for August, 2014

Success = Believe in Who You Are!

Posted: August 17, 2014 by Tom Heuer in Uncategorized

Tom Heuer, Miami University Center for Entrepreneurship“Business is difficult today.” We hear this statement from the executive leaders that we consult with and from the recent graduates who are in their first or second position. We are not hearing that “business has been robust over the past few months.” Now, we wish that this was an anomaly, but reality is telling us that many companies are struggling. Beyond experiencing difficult economic times, why are many companies not meeting expectations?

The answer is very simple – most organizations are too fixated on delivering today’s results and not preparing their company for tomorrow. “Today” is important. Without today’s success, you may never arrive at tomorrow. However, many leadership teams come to the understanding way too late that organizations must prepare every day for their future. The hard work of business sustainability/growth relies on allocating time to thinking and focusing on the future. What is happening in the marketplace? How is our industry changing? What firms are entering the market innovating and creating disruption? How are our customers’ needs changing? Are these changes being factored it into our future?

Our experience is that most companies and their leadership teams can avoid sluggishness if they work hard at envisioning the future while staying true to who they are. Yes, the markets and business environment are evolving rapidly. But, leaders who are in touch with their company can adapt to disruption swiftly. The adjustment will be difficult if senior management is primarily concentrating on delivering the monthly or quarterly plan.

So, what are “real growth” companies eagerly doing to sustain their revenue opportunities? In working with clients, we have discovered five distinct approaches:

  1. These companies know who they are and have worked hard to share this with their stakeholders. The leaders believe in their identity. This belief inspires their view of the future. So, with support of their stakeholders, they are committed to their vision long term.
  2. Culture is everything to these companies. Success starts with a defined culture. Leaders embrace and promote the culture. They hire people and entice customers who reflect their values and culture. Culture adherence makes companies powerful.
  3. They know their customers intimately and reinvent their product offerings and services to reflect their customers’ articulated and unarticulated needs. These companies are uncanny in creating demand and ultimately, sustaining their business – because they know their customer.
  4. By realizing their identity and understanding the customer intimately, these companies put serious resources behind developing the capabilities necessary to execute the business/service Securing the capabilities is their promise to loyal customers. This drives sustainable revenue growth.
  5. Achieving margin growth is second nature. These companies will jettison businesses, products and people that are no longer in line with their identity and/or are underperforming. This approach provides the resources to build the capabilities for delivering the value proposition and sustaining sales.

Success in today’s difficult business environment requires all companies to know their identity and stay committed to it. This is leadership’s job. Your stakeholders will expect you follow this path. So, stay disciplined and be encouraged by the company’s steady and sustained sales growth.

Please let me know your thoughts. Send me your comments –

Let Your Company Grow Up

Posted: August 10, 2014 by Bob Gilbreath in Culture, Leadership, Startup

BobGilbreathAhaAn entrepreneur knows that a new company is his baby. Not the picture-perfect infant that looks cute and sleeps soundly. Rather, it is a bawling, hungry beast that keeps you up all night and makes you wonder why you got into this mess to begin with. Like a real baby, as the company “parent” you must be hands on at all times and personally handle many of the day-to-day tasks. But true success only comes when you let the company grow up and run on its own.

Earlier this year I was away from the office and unplugged for nearly three weeks due to a vacation immediately followed by a death in my family. It was a point at which I knew that family life would have to trump work life for some time, and I purposely logged off for the duration. I also turned over all of the hands-on sales and customer work that I had been handling myself. Thankfully, our team back at the office let me have the time off uninterrupted.

A funny thing happened while I was away: They excelled. I returned to find that there were some usual wins and losses, but no disasters. The people I had hired and coached made decisions together and independently without me. They solved problems, uncovered opportunities, and managed their customers with excellence.


What Inspires You

Posted: August 3, 2014 by Chuck Matthews in Innovation, Leadership, People

Dr. Chuck MatthewsThere is nothing impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!”Audrey Hepburn

Summer is a reflective time. I enjoy the long days and still nights, especially when there is cool breeze, fireflies, and a star lit sky. Too often, we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of day-to-day activities and forget how important it is to pause and reflect on where we are, where we are going, and how we plan to get there. I hadn’t really thought about it in a while, but of course that gave me an excuse to stop and consider the importance of the sources of inspiration and renewal in our lives. We draw inspiration from all that is around us and use that energy to transform our work and our leisure.

This is especially true in the start-up and/or the running a small or high growth venture. Entrepreneurs are the busiest people on the planet, juggling multiple tasks, deadlines, and putting out a myriad of fires on a daily basis. They are inundated with advice, information, facts, figures, sales pitches, and more all on top of rapidly changing technology that is often more confusing than time saving.