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Business Bankers: Getting to the heart of your client’s business

Your annual client meetings are preceded by analysis of their financials and ensuring covenants of loan agreements are still within bounds.  Next you spend time with the clients to ensure their business is on track. But how much time do you put into digging deeper into the long-term general welfare of the client and their business?  Is this even your responsibility since the bank’s investment is protected with collateral and insurance policies?

The answer to the question depends on your bank’s marketing strategy.  If your marketing is (more…)

Financial Advisors: Have you discussed your client’s largest asset?

You carefully analyze your client’s needs to create an appropriately balanced portfolio for them.  You then diligently manage the portfolio by continuously monitoring corporate earnings, the markets and the economy.  But for most business owners, their largest single asset is outside your control. That asset is their company.

What is your responsibility for maximizing the value of your client’s company? After all, that is (more…)

Attorneys: You counsel business clients to take action. Are they following your advice?

Have you ever had the situation where you provided a business client exactly the advice needed but wondered if they could successfully implement the business end? Or, maybe you knew implementation would happen but speculated if that implementation would go smoothly and/or maximize the business’ potential?   The question then becomes how much ongoing operational advice and oversight are you able to provide?   Outside of actually conducting onsite and ongoing detailed reviews of their operations, how do you best help your clients? (more…)

Going Off-Mission to Stay On Mission

The president of a local company (and now a client) initially said to me: “I’d like to work with you but taking that time would be taking me off-mission.”  That is not the first owner who expressed concern about going “off-mission” and letting things lapse back at the office.  This always leads into a discussion on the different meanings or uses of “mission”: the standard or military definition versus when paired with the word “statement”. (more…)

Achieving Success by Contemplating Failure

As business owners we are driven to achieve success. It is who we are.  And it is why we are entrepreneurs; working harder than most with higher risk so we can experience that success.

Failure is anathema to our very being.  But, by taking the precaution of contemplating failure we increase our chances for success. Harvard Business School Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management Amy Edmonson studies why businesses fail and suggests four questions you need to ask before starting a new venture in order to avoid failure. (more…)

Business Planning vs. The Alternative

When I think of the need for planning I’m reminded of the husband who volunteered to plan and prepare Thanksgiving dinner for his wife’s extended family.  Following his well-meaning plan, he started preparations the evening before including taking the turkey out of the freezer.  It was still frozen the next morning when he went to start cooking it.  Needless to say, his wife was not happy.  But at least his plan included ample appetizers, side dishes and desserts.  Imagine what it would have been like had there been no plan!

Businesses are a lot like Thanksgiving dinner.  A poorly thought out plan will result in crisis.  Having no plan leads to (more…)

The Small Business Forum: Owners Supporting Owners

In doing research for The Small Business Forum, I found two authors who succinctly describe a major source of frustration for business owners.  The first states: “One of the toughest things about starting a business is the feeling of loneliness and isolation…. The leadership position alone can cause loneliness and disconnectedness, and that sometimes results in self-defeating behaviors.”  I’m sure many owners can relate to this sense of “isolation” as well as the “self-defeating behaviors” listed by both authors:  Conflict avoidance, Procrastination, Intimidation or Subpar feedback to employees.

How can owners overcome this? Both authors point to building and regularly consulting with a trusted team of advisors.  This is perfectly describes the purpose of The Small Business Forum. (more…)

Planning: Don’t put off until tomorrow.

Do you know a business owner with a good idea for expanding their business but they “don’t have the time” to plan out let alone implement the idea?  This is the reason a client engaged my services. His idea was a good one: A natural extension of his market with little competition.  The owner just never took the time to create an implementation plan in the two years since conceiving the idea.  Then the recession hit and the business’ lack of diversification almost put him out of business.

So what was my client (or any of us) waiting for? (more…)