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The Summit Blog

Want to enrich your business day with solid advice you can apply right away? Looking to be inspired? Want to warm up the old thinking cap so you can focus on what’s important? Check out The Summit Blog…

Losing sleep over business growth?

There are four general categories that can be sleep-busters when your business is in full-on growth mode (people, strategy, execution and cash), and we’ll touch on each of them here. Your company may be stuck in only one of them, or you might be battling on all four fronts. Regardless, there are solutions to all of them.

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How a toilet paper analysis led to a higher stock value. Really.

Some business owners, particularly in closely held companies, are a bit squeamish about sharing financial information with employees. They have shared with us their concerns about team members missing crucial pieces of information and drawing inaccurate conclusions about the company’s health (or the owner’s new home!). Stack’s toilet paper example demonstrates the hard dollar value in bringing ownership of the numbers directly to the individuals that affect them.

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Strategy alone won’t get you there

Execution is often the place where you’ve been when you’re at the end of your work day and wonder where the time went. Execution symptoms appear, in day-to-day dramas that can create conflict among employees, dissatisfaction for customers, and crises for you to resolve. Moreover, if you’ve got execution issues in your company it’s likely that you also have a business hurting for cash instead of a well-oiled cash generating machine.

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How do you know you’re doing the right thing?

Waiting can be excruciating for a person of action, or for someone who was raised to believe that instant pudding tastes as good as cooked. But no worries. During the gap between decision and result there are signs that can tell you whether you did the right thing.

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Are you the smartest one in the room?

What rooms should you be in that you are not in right now? What people can you add to the rooms inside your business to raise the corporate IQ and push you and everyone else to the next level? In what ways do you need to get over yourself and make yourself vulnerable enough to learn, risk failure, and stretch?  Want your business to grow? You know you want to. So go find some rooms already!

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Need more cash to fuel your business? Read this.

In each of the processes in the cash cycle you have options: reduce errors, take steps to improve your cycle times, or even change your business model (like Dell computer did when it started requiring payment up front for custom computers). You’re busy every moment of every day. You will have to make a choice to allocate the time to improve your cash situation. We can help you think through it determine the best next steps to take. Wouldn’t you like to have more cash on hand right now?

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Unleash hidden talents on your team

In the short term it might cost you a bit to make the space for talent discovery and talent development. But if you invest in discovering and developing the talents in your company, its value and sustainability return your investment many times over.

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Co. culture starts with core values and purpose

The ultimate test of alignment is when your team sees and hears you and the other senior managers in action. If you are not uniformly singing from the same hymnal and reinforcing the same things you will NOT succeed in shifting your culture. Your company can be no better than you are. If you see behavior downstream that is out of alignment, look upstream from those folks for the individual they are modeling after. Even if your outlier is a senior executive, if you are authentic about your core values he or she needs to go.

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Do your plan before you set your budget

Stephen Covey calls planning a Quadrant 2 activity – it is not urgent (pulling at you) but it is important. If you don’t plan now you will be more likely to be reacting later. Reaction is more expensive than prevention. If you don’t plan first – and we know you don’t have a bunch of extra time floating around – you’ll spend more time downstream making decisions because you don’t have research and resources at the ready.

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Market advantage starts with identifying core customers

This is not a broad and wide strategy. It’s narrow and deep. If you shift resources to focus on the needs of your core customers, you might not please everyone in your current customer base. You might lose some high maintenance clients, or customers who squeeze your margins in some ways. Losing some customers is OK – IF you have taken the time to identify your most profitable customers and their needs, and then built your products, services, and buying experience around them. 

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What problem does your business solve?

It is not only for your marketing department to determine and then communicate what the benefits of your products and services are. You need to know FROM YOUR CUSTOMERS what problems your products solve, and what customers want from them. Then you can use the information to inform your new product development, your manufacturing process, packaging, delivery – even billing and payment systems.

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Are you too rigorous, or too easy on your team?

As you found out in high school, the easy A only sounds good. The people who succeed over the long haul are those who are investing in the future with knowledge and accountability practices. And they are doing it routinely as part of the way they do business.

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