Family Business Case Study #52: Conclusions

Uncategorized Apr 05, 2022

 

Well, here we are. Perhaps you are thinking: “At last!” Work Session #52 of the 52-Week Family Business Case Study. Yes -- #52!

It’s really a momentous event. 

The client and I have worked for about 16 months now. Even though it has been named a 52-week case study we experienced some delays here and there, including some meetings that had to be skipped and modified due to the exigencies of the reality of business. And that has resulted in the aforementioned 16 months or so.

It’s really an exciting event too – because there are some fascinating outlooks of the future to hear and to recall.

 

What Lies Ahead 

Let’s dive right into the main bullet points, the main conclusions, the main results of the 52 meetings, from the point of view of the future state of the business in the next 3 to 5 years. There are four items.

OUTLOOK #1:

In-House Manufacturing will represent over 75% of the business revenue in the 3 to 5 year period...

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GK Chesterton Leadership Lessons

Uncategorized Apr 04, 2022

 

Who can teach us leadership lessons?

Besides my dad and some great mentors, G.K. Chesterton taught some great
leadership lessons wrapped up in simple quotes:

  1. Nine out of ten new ideas are simply old mistakes.
  2. If a thing is worth doing it is worth doing badly.
  3. Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that
    dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.
  4. A dead thing goes with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.

Our great team assists clients daily with leadership challenges. We help principled leaders excel!

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Answer Business Questions Directly

Uncategorized Apr 01, 2022


Ever been in a situation where in some kind of a Q and A panel or a presentation someone asks a question and you listen to minutes of excruciating commentary before getting eventually to an answer, and by which time you have lost the plot or moved on to checking your phone?

For sure!

There is a simple business technique that many professionals, especially top-level people in the organization chart, still haven’t figured out.

Give the answer FIRST, and then follow with all the other supporting background information.

There is this excruciating habit some have of giving all the background and eventually leading to the conclusion. This is sort on an inductive method – but it is painful if used in business.

When someone asks a question in business, the answer should be “Yes” or “No” or “I don’t know” or “Yes we can” or “No we cannot” – THEN YOU SAY: "AND here’s why”. Once you give the answer...

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Investing and the Catholic Economy

Uncategorized Mar 31, 2022

 

How investment will work in the Catholic economy:

The reason to invest in Catholic businesses is, simply, to build more Catholic businesses. The end result is to support the Catholic family and allow us to engage the culture more on our terms. This can reduce the pressure on those employed in the corporate sector.

 

There are 3 types of support: grants, loans, and equity

 

1. Grants

Grants should be available to worthy Catholic start-ups and other businesses. People at the parish level, or wider, can contribute to a pool of funds that would be distributed to worthy businesses who had advisors. 

Money could be granted with certain parameters and due diligence. Even if it’s a fairly small amount, like $10,000, it would help Catholic businesses survive and thrive. The good ideas would get funded while the poor ideas or the ideas that need more thought, would not.

 

2. Loans

We could have a pool of funds for loans at the local (parish) level or larger...

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Family Business Case Study #51: Story of a Business

Uncategorized Mar 29, 2022

 

Today we embarked on the penultimate, or second last, session of our 52-week case study. 

It’s been a captivating story:

  • Real life family business
  • Real-time look into the routine and not so routine aspects of a business
  • Real growth
  • Real problems
  • Real challenges
  • Dedication and focus
  • And some interesting twists and turns

 

Today I asked my client to summarize how the last 51 weeks have impacted him personally as the leader of the business.

What has he learned?

What would he do over?

What has changed about his perspective on the world and business?

Has he benefited from the mentor relationship that we have built over the past 51 weeks?

NOTE: Next week is the ultimate or last session in the case study -- #52 wherein we will look ahead and make a prognosis of the future state of the business, now that the past 52 weeks will have formed the foundation for growth.

 

Some Thoughts From My Client:

  • He himself sees the year as transformative. His own perspective...
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Avoid Being a Ghost in Business Communications

Uncategorized Mar 28, 2022

 

Do you "ghost" in business email communications? Ghosting, as you know, is that thing people do when you send them an email, or other communication, and they don’t respond.

In personal communications it is understandable that some people just hate the idea of the proliferation of emails, that silly expectation that we are supposed to reply within minutes or else are considered to be committing some kind of irredeemable offense. We are already trapped into the dopamine cycle enough as it is. So why worsen it?

What about business? Should you bring your quirky personal habits to work? Or should you adopt some kind of a business etiquette, a courtesy, a sympathetic view of the world that says, in justice, other business people deserve an acknowledgement that you have received their message and are thinking about it, or that you received it okay, or that you are simply saying thanks for the information.

Otherwise the sender will wonder whether you received it – hence...

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What to do if You Face Board Fatigue

Uncategorized Mar 25, 2022

 

We have assisted clients in the past who are beginning their CEO gig or are part way through it and begin to see board “fatigue” (either in a business or not for profit setting).

What are best practices to deal with this?

  1. Watch for an inward focus, a certain lethargy, a lack of drive, and a shortage
    of creativity. Chronicle an honest and complete report card.
  2. Initiate a “microscopic truth” conversation. Use your best diplomatic skills
    but probe into this problem, first with the board chair and ultimately with
    the executive committee or full board.
  3. Create a skills matrix for future board members or as stretch goals for
    present board members. Socialize this list.
  4. Initiate a strategy process. Lead from your CEO seat.
  5. Bring forward creative initiatives regularly – each board meeting.
  6. Set a timeline. Get ready to either succeed or move on.

Our great team assists clients daily with this and other strategy challenges. We help principled leaders excel!

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Family Business Case Study #50: Valuation of a Business

Uncategorized Mar 22, 2022

 

Today the client and I discussed a singular moment that only happens about once a year – that special moment of high frustration where you just want to pack it all in and sell the whole thing to someone “this afternoon”!

Without getting into too much private information, here is the story:

  • A cascading series of events, errors, machine failures, staffing challenges, over a three-day period.
  • A time period where the boss had to do weekly road trips when a route driver resignation coincided with planned vacation absences of other key staff.
  •  This combination put quite a few people into positions with which they were competent, you could say, but unfamiliar.

Fast forward to the end of that episode. 

Don’t worry. All’s well that ends well. The moment has passed. The business is not for sale and the boss has returned to his normal feelings of contentment with this business. It’s okay. Don’t worry.

But the episode did spark a...

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Negotiating an Exit From Your Technology Start-Up

Uncategorized Mar 21, 2022

 

Best practices when negotiating your technology exit.

That great moment arrives when you are actually in a real negotiation to exit your start-up. But it’s your first time and you want to avoid the usual traps.

Here's what to do:

  1. Remember to agree to a short close. Don’t do the 18-month or two-year close
    with performance stages. Keep it short.
  2. Time your close and your negotiation to coincide with the length of your
    patent or other intellectual property protection. Don’t wait too long. You
    could devalue your uniqueness.
  3. Avoid signing an exclusivity deal except in extremely rare circumstances.
  4. Keep parallel negotiations or exit paths alive – at least one or two others,
    even if at an earlier stage. You need options.
  5. Develop numerous exit ramps. Talk freely with the other party about what
    circumstances would lead to each exit ramp. Have the guts to talk about this.

Our great team assists clients daily with this and other business negotiation
challenges. We...

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Better Strategic Planning Process

Uncategorized Mar 18, 2022

 

Is there a new model for the dreaded strategic planning process?

Yes.

Many entrepreneurs treat the strategic planning process as a task to be shown on the calendar and ticked off in an hour or two of work. Not good enough.

 

Best practices for strategic planning:

  1. Book a half-day time slot every quarter to do some strategic planning and thinking. Do this yourself and ask key team members to do this too. Individually. Not as a group.
  2. Usually you should go somewhere outside of your office. Otherwise you will be constantly interrupted. Most don’t think you should go home or to the coffee shop either. A quiet place like a library or a church would be creative and conducive to good thinking. Be creative.
  3. The new model is to avoid the dreaded three-day strategic planning session led by someone where a massive group of staff sits around and bravely tries to contribute. Worse yet is the breakout group model.
  4. Do hold a two-hour meeting about twice a year with your key...
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