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6.20.19

10 Steps to Improve and Grow Your Business

Part 1 of 2: Gaining Clarity & Checking Team Alignment

By Tony Fareed, 360accel and Bridge Global Capital Group

Growth is Easier Said Than Done

Over the past three decades, I’ve worked within and with a wide variety of companies to drive business performance improvements and growth acceleration. Regardless of the size, stage, or type of organization, the most common challenge remains, “I’m too busy working in the business to work on the business.”

There are those who think their businesses are running perfectly and don’t need to improve or grow. Maybe they’re right, but this type of thinking goes against my guiding principles. For those of us who recognize the importance of change through improvements and growth, success typically boils down to commitment, prioritization, focus, discipline, action, and leadership. It’s always easier said than done.

Relevant Success Story

When it comes to focus and action, one of my favorite clients is a leading niche provider of live event production and network broadcast solutions. They provide end-to-end audio, video and data solutions to broadcasters of high-profile live events, such as the Super Bowl, US Open, Tony Awards, etc.

In 2017, the CEO began exploring ways to incorporate new technologies into their solutions. He identified a tremendous market opportunity, especially around two specific technologies that were emerging in the market. This strategic thinking refreshed his vision of the company in a rapidly evolving marketplace and was the catalyst for making business improvements and accelerating growth throughout 2018 to now.

His leadership forced discipline and action throughout the entire organization. Behind the scenes, my team assisted with the methodical facilitation of our 10-step growth program. The company has benefited from making performance, organizational and operational improvements; developing new high-margin solutions using new technologies; and divesting from a joint venture that provided limited strategic value. Their efforts have already resulted in an increased and diversified customer base and a 20% increase in EBITDA margins.

 A Roadmap to Get Going

If you want to take steps to improve and grow your business, here’s an achievable 10-step express solution. However, you must be willing to commit at least 3 hours a week for 10 weeks and get some of your key team members involved.

Like anything, it will take ongoing commitment to achieve results. It’s best to focus on making incremental progress, and “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” Once you cycle through the process, you will likely begin incorporating the steps into your normal business routines.

While it’s ideal to have someone independent to help facilitate the process and hold you accountable, you will be able to achieve meaningful results on your own if you stay disciplined. Just keep focused on making progress, not perfection.

Part 1:

Gaining Clarity & Checking Team Alignment

1. Perform 360º Business Self-Assessment

2. Analyze Your Data

3. Analyze Your Market & Competition

4. Refresh / Validate Vision

5. Check Team Alignment

Part 2:

Exploring Opportunities & Taking Action

6. Explore Business Improvements

7. Explore Growth Opportunities

8. Make Decisions & Recalibrate Strategy

9. Reallocate & Secure New Capabilities

10. Communicate, Take Action & Drive Results!

 

  1. Perform 360º Business Self-Assessment

Self-assessments allow for honest self-reflection. Every time you self-assess, you become more empowered with deeper insights. You can easily build a customized self-assessment questionnaire covering 30 to 50 key business criteria.

Email me and I will send you our basic self-assessment template, which will fast-track getting started. https://360accel.com/contact/

  1. Analyze Your Data

If you already perform periodic reviews of data analytics, you are ahead of the game. You have a treasure trove of data in your operating systems (general ledger, ERP, CRM, etc.) and marketing platforms.  Are you putting your data to work?

List the meaningful data and reports that are readily available. Determine the most relevant 15 to 20 key performance indicators (KPIs) covering financial performance, operations, production, sales, and marketing. Your CPA can likely give you guidance on relevant KPIs.  Also, quick Google searches can provide many additional KPIs.

Consider comparing individual KPIs over time to identify potential trends or anomalies. After you crunch and analyze the numbers, summarize your conclusions for each KPI. Eventually, you can turn your data assets into a competitive advantage and tools for making ongoing strategic decisions.

  1. Analyze Your Market & Competition

You may rely on your team to perform periodic market research. I suggest you also do your own research. Drill down on the competition, market trends, and new emerging technologies and business models that may positively or negatively impact your business. Connect with knowledgeable people within your industry to pick their brains and strengthen your network.

Summarize your conclusions (the good, the bad, and the ugly) on the market and your company’s current and expected future market positioning.

  1. Refresh / Validate Vision

After thinking through your conclusions from steps 1 – 3 above, ask yourself whether you’re on the right track. Restate the company’s vision, which will force you to either refresh or validate your broader view of the business. It will also present you with a refined focus on direction.

  1. Check Team Alignment

Now that you have more clarity, it’s time to bring in your inner circle. Select a small group of individuals from your team who you rely on, trust, respect, and who will challenge you. Ask each of them to independently complete the self-assessment questionnaire.

Get the group together to discuss the results of the self-assessments with a goal to align on areas of misalignment. Share your views on vision and conclusions on the KPI and market analyses. This should spark valuable discussions and diverse perspectives. It’s imperative to listen, stay open-minded, digest feedback, and keep all discussions collaborative. Ultimately, you will need your entire team fully aligned to successfully improve and grow. This inner circle is a great place to start.

Stay tuned for “Part 2: Exploring Opportunities & Taking Action.”

 

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Hudson Valley Manufacturing Workforce Center Receives Grant from Rowley Family Foundation

Johnnieanne Hansen with the Rowley Family accepting a grant from the Rowley Family Foundation to help HVMWC encourage women and girls to pursue careers in manufacturing.

 

The Rowley Family Foundation’s new Fund for Women and Children awarded grants to 15 organizations in Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster counties including The Hudson Valley Manufacturing Workforce Center, Inc. The awards, totaling $516,791, all had a common goal of supporting innovative programs geared towards empowering women and children.

The Hudson Valley Manufacturing Workforce Center, Inc. received $16,000 to create videos targeting the young women of the tri-county region, that can be used on GoMakeIt.org., in classroom presentations and on social media. These videos will spotlight women in manufacturing at all levels from apprentices to engineers and showcase the many opportunities for success available throughout the region. They will encourage young women to visualize themselves in rewarding careers allowing them to earn a living wage, raise their families and thrive in the Hudson Valley. Videos and programs like www.gomakeit.org help connect women with local jobs, encourage them to enroll in apprenticeships and assist them in taking the first step towards a fulfilling career.

“This grant will go a long way in helping increase the visibility of the career opportunities available in manufacturing right now and hopefully encourage more women to consider this as an option. From middle school girls learning to code or design on computers, to women re-entering the workforce and those interested in a STEM career, manufacturing is an excellent path to pursue,” explains Johnnieanne Hansen, Executive Director, Hudson Valley Manufacturing Workforce Center, Inc.

The newly created Fund for Women and Children is a unique philanthropic effort designed to identify and address pressing issues impacting some of the most vulnerable members of our community. Through targeted and specific funding, the goal of this initiative is for nonprofits in the region to elevate their programming to empower the women and children of Orange, Sullivan and Ulster Counties. Grants were awarded in sums ranging from $15,000 to $50,000. The other recipients: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County, $23,268, Children’s Rights Society, Inc., $46,364, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, $15,000, Newburgh Free Library, $25,000; Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, $50,000; Regional Economic Community Action Program, $40,610; Sullivan County Community College, $35,000; Sullivan 180, Inc., $17,000; Center for Creative Education, $50,000; Ellenville Regional Hospital, $49,063; Ulster Community College Foundation, Inc., $30,000; St. Luke’s Cornwall Health System Foundation, Inc., $50,000; Catholic Charities of Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster, $44,236; and Braeside Camp, $25,250.

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