Guident Newsletter – December 2018 – Issue 32

The Boss needs to be “The Coach” for the team I began working with a company where “The Boss” was frustrated and exhausted.  The Boss was playing the roles of operations manager, sales manager, and being The Boss over the entire company.  The Boss had begun the company many years ago and the revenues had grown into the millions of dollars. Now The Boss felt like he had a “tiger by the tail” and was just hanging on without really controlling anything.    I asked The Boss why he felt he needed to fill the management roles for all the departments and The Boss stated none of his employees were ready to take on the responsibilities.  The Boss was a big sports fan, so I used a sports analogy to explain what I was seeing. The Boss had several key positions open on his team and was waiting for an MVP player to show up to occupy those positions.  Because The Boss felt he did not have an MVP player on his team, The Boss left the positions vacant or tried to fill them himself. Imagine if he was coaching a football team and the right tackle position on the […]

Guident Newsletter – November 2018 – Issue 31

How do I begin to change from an “enablement” culture to an “accountability” culture? In past newsletters, I have written about the challenges facing business owners when they have an “enablement” culture versus an “accountability” culture.  Recently I began working with The Boss to change a company’s enablement culture to an accountability culture. I asked the six supervisors in this organization to list the eight most critical job duties of each of their direct reports.  Then I asked the employees of these supervisors to list what they thought their eight most critical job duties were. In the next step, we compared what the supervisors identified as critical and what their employees reported as their most critical.  In most cases, the supervisors and direct reports were in-line on about five or six of the most critical job duties. This left us with an opportunity to improve efficiencies and workflow. Efficiencies can be gained when employees understand what The Boss sees as most critical to the company’s success and in turn their success.  The other duties listed by employees, but not seen as most critical by The Boss, were taking valuable time away from the truly critical duties necessary for the organization […]

Guident Newsletter – October 2018 – Issue 30

Step #1 – You are a business first! When I first begin working with a new business, I often hear business owners say they are printers, landscapers, mechanics, etc.  The first step in changing a culture and growing a business is to change the way the business owner sees their company. You are a business owner who is first running a business that happens to do printing, you are a business owner who is first running a business that happens to do landscaping, and you are a business owner who is first running a business that happens to repair automobiles.  It’s a new discipline for most small to midsize business owners who relate the business to their personal talents. One of the businesses I was a partner in was a sign company.  We built the types of signs you see on the street corners and on the fronts of buildings.  We had a talented workforce, but the business was stagnant. In order for us to grow the business, we had to change the way we thought of ourselves.  Most all of our employees see our business as a sign company building signs. The business had the ability to be much […]

Guident Newsletter – September 2018 – Issue 29

Ten Good Old Rules! In my office, I have a small piece of paper with “Ten Good Old Rules” on it.  Back in 2001, I found these ten rules in the fall issue of a business magazine named, Business Edge.  I have been carrying these rules around for going on sixteen years so I thought it would be a good topic for this newsletter.  Here they are in the order they appeared in the 2001 issue; Control expenses Emphasize cash flow over growth Conserve cash reserves Eliminate or reduce unprofitable product or service lines Maximize efficiencies in the usage of energy, materials, and labor Reduce inventories Reduce or eliminate the number of free services Take advantage of lower prices for essential goods and services Watch for opportunities to acquire a competitors’ business if offered at a bargain rate Don’t get emotional; it’s just business Let’s break them down by the numbers.  #1 Control expenses by creating an annual operating budget and analyzing each month using the actual versus budget function from your accounting software you will be able to see what expenses are on target and which ones need attention.  #2 Emphasize cash flow overgrowth; often I see businesses with […]

Guident Newsletter – August 2018 – Issue 28

Change is hard for this old guy, so what did I do?”  I did my research.  Recently, I hired a marketing firm to work with my company, Guident Business Solution, LLC, because I thought I needed a “subject matter expert” to help me evaluate how I communicate the benefits of my company in today’s dynamic business environment.  Even though I was the one who initiated the relationship with a very well-known professional company I had resisted making some of the changes they suggested.  One such change was the re-design of my company logo which I have had since 2009 when I started the company and by the way, I designed the logo myself.  I don’t know why I resisted, maybe because I designed it or because I invested significantly in promoting the logo in the market.  So, what did I do?  I went on a quest to prove that my logo was the better design of course.  After all, I am the business owner and I launched this company many years ago and just to be sure, we are doing very well helping businesses succeed and grow.  Why change something that is not broken I thought!  So, I began to […]

Guident Newsletter – July 2018 – Issue 27

Think of your business as a spider web Are you considering writing a strategic plan for your business?  When you do, think of your strategic plan using a spider web model, begin with these key areas in mind; management, production, marketing, human resources, finance, sales, and purchasing.  Each of these seven areas acts as anchor points of the spider web. When one of these areas is doing poorly, the others are affected, like pinging one side of a spider web and watching the opposite side vibrate.  To demonstrate I explain when sales are low, financials in the form of cash flow are affected. When HR has to lower the staff count due to cash flow issues, then production is affected. When purchasing is out of sync with the rest of the company, then production and financials can be affected.  You get the picture. If this seems familiar and is happening to your organization, then changes are in order.  Begin your process by evaluating each of these seven areas to determine which area is strong and which area is a weak link within your business.  Most often the financials are a weak link and your first target for change. I cannot […]

Guident Newsletter – June 2018 – Issue 26

Release that stranglehold you have on your company. Most often when I am contracted to come into a business it is because The Boss has asked me to help solve a problem that has The Boss stumped. During one of my first conversations with The Boss, I usually state that the solutions are often found within the organization. I am most often told, “Not in my business, I have looked everywhere for the cause of the problem and I can’t find it.” It has been my experience that it doesn’t take long for someone from outside the organization with a fresh set of eyes to identify the issue(s). In a recent client call, I had to confront The Boss and say, “That stranglehold you have around the throat of your business is the issue!” The Boss looks at me with a bewildered look and then says, “What the heck are you talking about?” I am talking about the stranglehold The Boss has on the talent in the business, the smart knowledgeable people who know the issues and know some of the solutions but are not able to act because The Boss wants to control everything. The Boss has a stranglehold, […]

Guident Newsletter – May 2018 – Issue 25

If it’s not wrong, it must be right, right? As a business consultant, I’ve been privileged to work with business owners who wanted to improve their operations and increase their bottom line results.   During this process, I get to know their businesses intimately, and in doing so, we often uncover inefficiencies and sometimes errors in tasks performed by employees who are doing what they feel is “the right thing.” Once these errors are uncovered, “The Boss” often wants to react quickly with disciplinary actions or other penalties which they feel are appropriate for the mistake.  I caution them to first “look in the mirror” with regards to their own miss-steps. When I talk with the employee(s), who have been doing these tasks they often explain that they didn’t fully understand their job because of a poor onboarding process and/or poor training practices.   They told me they really were not sure if what they were doing was correct and “The Boss” was often not around to ask. This will happen in smaller companies where “The Boss” wears several hats and is often “on the move” to get things done. The employee will say they did what they felt was best and […]

Guident Newsletter – April 2018 – Issue 24

So you want to start a business, throw out the Jokers! When I was a child, my sisters and I would like to play a card game called Rummy 500.  Those of you who know this game understand the goal is to reach 500 points before anyone else.  In Rummy all cards are counted as their face value except the Jokers.  They were considered “wild cards,” and we could make them equal to any card in the deck. When I was in college, my buddies and I would like to play Poker.  When I played with them, we were serious and played for money.  Because we were playing for money, we didn’t have “wild cards,” and we didn’t use the Jokers. I often advise people who are considering starting a new business to throw out the Jokers, eliminating them from the deck.  When starting a new business, the Jokers were not “wild cards” but “failure cards.”  The thought of failure is not an option when starting a new business.  You cannot even have the “Failure Card” in the deck because when the going gets tough, and it will, you don’t want to be tempted to throw that “Failure Card” onto […]