Looking for Zebras

Looking for Zebras

As I write this I’m sitting in the dining room of a quaint inn on the Rosneath Peninsula overlooking the North Shore of the Firth of Clyde. And I have absolutely no idea what any of this means!

What is Your Grand Canyon?

What is Your Grand Canyon?

A few days late on my return from Northern Arizona in the land that technology forgot…

Last week we headed up to Northern Arizona for vacation. Part of our plan was to spend a couple of days on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Having never been there, I was looking forward to its majesty.

It did not disappoint.

Stop Waiting For THAT Bus

Stop Waiting For THAT Bus

Throughout my career, I’ve worked for a number of start-up organizations. It’s obviously not a coincidence – it’s what I love to do and what I’m good at. The ability to perform at a high level without a net – well, there’s nothing quite like it.

Newly formed companies - by nature - often have limited processes or procedures. Looking back, there was countless times where someone would say, “What if Sally or Bob got hit by a bus – we’d really have a problem.” We’d sit around and say that we should really get their knowledge or process or job documented and then promptly forget or put it off until the next time we brought it up. Every once in a while a manager would actually say to Sally or Bob, “We need to train Mike and Mary on how to do your job – in case you get hit by a bus!”

Taking the Slow Train to Kyoto

Taking the Slow Train to Kyoto

Many years ago I had the opportunity to visit Japan. On this April day, we were riding the train from Kobe to Kyoto. Known for its cherry blossoms and many temples, Kyoto is one of Japan’s most beautiful cities. Because we were at the end of our journey and nearly broke, we took a “slow train” (one that had stops).

The Business Owner’s Guide to 5 Assumptions About Part-Time CFOs

The Business Owner’s Guide to 5 Assumptions About Part-Time CFOs

When it comes to hiring part-time CFOs, there are, as you would expect, many different perspectives, experiences, and opinions.

You hear whispers of:

  1. “A part-time CFO will cost you an arm and a leg!”
  2. “Good luck with that… they just don’t know your business well enough.”
  3. “You’re better off hiring someone full time to lead your vision.”

Depending on the situations, any (or all) of those could be true…

….or not.

When We See What We Want To See

When We See What We Want To See

The other night I watched an old movie – The Undefeated. John Wayne westerns are popular in our house (thanks to my husband). And I have to admit, since spending so much time in Arizona over the last few years, I always enjoy looking at the topography to see if this movie was filmed near where we now live.

Why Bother Doing It The Hard Way?

Why Bother Doing It The Hard Way?

Whether you want to sell your business next year or a decade from now, you will have two basic options for an external sale: the financial or the strategic buyer.

9 Warning Signs You’re a Hub-and-Spoke Owner

9 Warning Signs You’re a Hub-and-Spoke Owner

If you were to draw a picture that visually represents your role in your business, what would it look like? Are you at the top of a traditional Christmas-tree-like organizational chart, or are you stuck in the middle of your business, like a hub in a bicycle wheel? 

Is Your Company a Fixer Upper?

Is Your Company a Fixer Upper?

Years ago, my husband’s brother, Bud, was just a year away from realizing a long-held dream – designing and building his dream home. However, not long after the architect had finalized the drawings, escalating building costs forced him to rethink his decision. Receiving an unsolicited offer to purchase his dream lot for much more than he paid for it, he made the decision to sell and look at other options.

The Next Chapter

The Next Chapter

Sara Berry pulled into her parking space. She let out an audible sigh.

She looked up at the historical building that housed her company – BabyBerry – and remembered the first time she saw it. Her realtor, claiming she had found the “perfect” place for Sara’s growing company, urged her to look at the space. After five years, BabyBerry had outgrown Sara’s basement and kitchen table, and it was time to find a proper space. The original tenants – Stone & Sons Trunks (for “Ladies Fine Garments”) – had left years ago, and the building had endured several reincarnations after the need for steamer trunks had passed. But on that first day Sara could see the potential and fell in love with the old brick building.

5 Ways To Get Your Business To Run Without You

5 Ways To Get Your Business To Run Without You

Some owners focus on growing their profits, while others are obsessed with sales goals. Have you ever considered making it your primary goal to set up your business so that it can thrive and grow without you?

A business not dependent on its owner is the ultimate asset to own. It allows you complete control over your time so that you can choose the projects you get involved in and the vacations you take. When it comes to getting out, a business independent of its owner is worth a lot more than an owner-dependent company.

Are You Ready to Change Lanes?

Are You Ready to Change Lanes?

When I wrote my last book, Tandem Leadership: How Your #2 Can Make You #1, it was with the intention to help entrepreneurs and business owners be more successful in adding that first “#2” or “second-in-command” to their team. Successfully adding that first key person to share the journey can be pivotal, and the impact felt for years to come. At the beginning of your business you may need someone to help you deal with the daily challenges of a start-up, someone who shares the will to succeed and enjoys the thrill of navigating uncharted waters. It is often at this crossroads that we have to confront our weaknesses and understand that it is no longer advantageous to us or our businesses to go it alone. Implemented correctly, an intentional strategy of opening our businesses to the right #2 gives us added momentum that moves us more quickly toward our chosen destination.

We Are Born Fearless and Learn to Be Brave

We Are Born Fearless and Learn to Be Brave

A young family has two small daughters. Mom takes the baby the pediatrician for her one month appointment while Dad stays home with the toddler. As sleep deprived parents with young children know to do Dad decides to catch a few minutes of sleep while the toddler takes her afternoon nap.

An hour later Dad is awakened by the doorbell. Groggy, he finds his front door ajar – a kitchen chair and a stool nearby. A stranger is holding his daughter clad only in a diaper.

The Anatomy of a Successful Exit

The Anatomy of a Successful Exit

“Being All In is what creates the 1% mindset shift that is the difference between success and failure, between going through the motions of life and answering the call to go everywhere
you are meant to go.”

 

Behind the Curtain...

Behind the Curtain...

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”

Who can forget that line in the Wizard of Oz? This is when the great and wonderful Oz is unmasked by Toto to be a mere mortal, a self-described humbug, working the levers and controls behind the curtain. Even with that unveiling, he still bestows on Dorothy’s companions their life’s desires – courage, brains and a heart as well as a way for Dorothy to find her way home.

The Business of Letting Go

The Business of Letting Go

While the problem of succession and leadership transition vexes many businesses, it is never more evident than in the eponymous Fashion Houses throughout the world. Ralph Lauren, Oscar de La Renta, Givenchy are just a few of the familiar names that have struggled in moving past the founder  Ironically, there are few businesses more dependent on a successful creative and leadership transition for its legacy and livelihood than a fashion label.

Why We Can't Google An Exit Strategy

Why We Can't Google An Exit Strategy

If you google “how to start a business” your search will return over a billion answers!

However, if you do a similar search on “how to exit a business” it will return approximately 250 million answers – less than 25% -- of the total number found in the start a business a search.

Outsourced CFO - Worth the Investment?

Outsourced CFO - Worth the Investment?

It’s been a long day, and you have a critical meeting with your banker tomorrow. She expects to see the financials from last months close, as well as your rolling forecast in order to consider granting the loan that you are requesting.

Your blood is boiling, though, because your bookkeeper just informed you that your monthly financials won’t be ready for three more days.

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Recently, one of my clients was complaining about yet another (ridiculous) hoop one of his top customers was asking him to jump through. I suggested he not only look at the revenue this customer was bringing in but the cost of service. Finally, after some prodding and sending him this article, he did some analysis. And sure enough, slowly over the past year, the revenue and its margin weren’t matching the amount of effort he and his team were expending to keep their customer’s business. But more importantly, it was keeping my client from pursuing and supporting the new business we had identified as the keys to his company’s long term success.

Your Next Best Work

Your Next Best Work

“I read this 3 times and I just can't follow. I feel like my head just went through a washing machine. Too many characters and first person isn’t working. You may want to try third person. I think everything needs to be much simpler.”

This was the feedback I received from my editor last week. After a stringing together four or five days of productive writing I was feeling particularly proud that I was meeting my deadlines and was on the downhill stretch. After submitting four chapters (of nine) I felt great and kept moving forward.