Information is power. We’ve all heard that expression, but it has a special meaning for those who run businesses. For them, information is empowering. Accurate, timely, easy-to-understand information enables leaders to make optimal decisions in how they deploy capital, where they will focus their businesses and what areas need to be improved. In 2019, however, we’ve noticed many business leaders continue to struggle to get the information they need. Nearly all have adopted some form of information reporting system, whether they call it a scorecard or dashboard, or perhaps they just include various metrics in a monthly reporting package (for
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I worked for a businessman that said, “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.” Although there may be truth to that, this witticism allows people to delay making decisions. The status quo is always easier than forging a new path or admitting that you had made a mistake. The smart move, though, is to make those hard decisions as you see business problems looming in front of you. It seems the decisions that are hardest to make involve employees. Every business owner has faced a mismatch of an employee to a position. In most cases,
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More clients depend on software for their operations. The amount of data produced is staggering. But it takes sophistication, beyond Excel to excise precisely what’s needed in a data set for meaningful analysis. At times it can be like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack. I started out as a software developer back in the days when creating your own programs was the only way to procure and sort data from various systems. As I transitioned to leadership financial roles, I’ve discovered that I often dip back into my engineering background, especially as meaningful data becomes key in financial
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A long time ago I learned a valuable lesson to about how to make a business successful. My focus as President was always on aggressively planning sales, marketing, and customer service strategies to grow a business both internally and through acquisitions. A sure sign of success was to tell everyone how large the sales are and how we grew! Right?… WRONG. The problem was while driving sales and the value of the front end of the business, we lost focus on the business as a whole. Cashflow tightened. We began working longer hours looking for answers to control costs. We
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A mission-critical lesson that was reinforced for me in 2019 is that risk and return are inverse when it comes to investing financial capital in human capital! A common adage when it comes to investment of any kind, from managing a real estate deal or a portfolio of stocks: the greater the risk, the greater the potential return. The economics 101 definition: “Higher risk is associated with greater probability of higher return and lower risk with a greater probability of smaller return. This trade off which an investor faces between risk and return while considering investment decisions is called the
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I recently attended a Crain’s Chicago Business Small Business Breakfast. The panel consisted of 4 CEOs of dynamic companies – the Boka Restaurant Group, Athletico, Career Builder and Hickory Farms. There was wide-ranging conversation about their work history, what inspired them, and how their companies have grown. During one part of the panel conversation, there was a brief discussion on dealing with customers. A lot of it was focused around keeping customers happy, since happy customers lead to sales. There were two stories, two Major Factors that caught my attention: Understanding the beginning and end of that experience The challenge
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Entrepreneurs, start-ups, and founders of privately held businesses can be excellent at projecting and planning for the success of their business. But in the honeymoon days of a new business, many partners are reluctant to consider what will happen if a dispute arises. To help ensure true success, however, businesses must plan for disagreements and even, in the worst case, the dissolution of the business. To do otherwise could be a costly mistake. With a little planning on the front end, and a well-considered operating agreement, likely disputes can be avoided or resolved without placing the business in jeopardy. To
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As a business owner, you face Business Risk on a daily basis. Here are three business risks that you must address. If you don’t manage them ahead of time, you will have to chase solutions later. It’s painful, but much easier to plan for these before they strike. Employee Risk Risk of Change Succession Risk Employee Risk There are really two issues involved here. The first is Retention, and the second is Engagement. There is a certain amount of churn among employees in any industry. As unemployment rates drop, there are fewer skilled employees to select your next employee from.
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happy businessman boxing
We’ve all seen the headlines touting the companies that have found an untapped niche in the market and have taken off like rockets.  Their outlook was extraordinarily promising in terms of a captivating vision – so many of them the darlings of Wall Street. On paper, everything with these companies seemed almost perfect; leaders with excellent credentials, top notch education, the perfect product, the best pitch, meaningful purpose, etc… It seemed that they could do no wrong and people started believing everything they said was the holy grail…. Until it wasn’t Ultimately taking a look underneath the hood, often there
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“The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins” by Dr. Seuss was one of my favorite books as a youngster. It’s the story of a boy that tries to take off his hat when the king comes by, but another one just pops up in its place. He gets into trouble, as he keeps taking the hats off, and new ones appear on his head. Each one was grander than the one before, until the final one, which was the most glorious hat of all. Bartholomew is a bit like every entrepreneur I know. As you start a business, you’ll be wearing
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