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    4. July 19, 2019

      2019 Is Halfway Gone - Now What?

      Tony Cord

      Tony Cord
      Partner and Managing Director - Mid-Atlantic /Newport LLC

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      5 Moves Entrepreneurial CEOs Should Consider Right Now!

      With Q3 now in full swing, what moves can you and your team make that will yield immediate benefits for your enterprise?   CEO Advisor Tony Cord recommends 5 high-impact moves.

      We know that emerging growth and lower mid-market leaders are constantly challenged by what we call the "the Tyranny of the Urgent" - that constant, heads-down, firefighting mode preventing you from taking a strategic look at your business. The problem is that the rest of 2019 may whiz by without you ever getting to higher ground for a holistic view of your business from these key perspectives: Customers, Employees, Vendors, Competitors, Capital Sources

      • Customers - Are you still aligned with your market? Do you REALLY know what customers are thinking and what they need and want RIGHT NOW?
      • Employees - Do you have the right team in the right seats to optimize the business, and is it a performance-based culture or a founder-loyalty culture you oversee?
      • Vendors - Is your current business model allowing you to focus on core competencies while outsourcing or partnering non-core activities to trusted 3rd-party partners?
      • Competitors - What moves are your known competitors making that pressure your position in the market - and what about UNKNOWN competitors entering your space?
      • Capital Sources - Unprecedented amounts of capital are available and searching downstream for growth plays - are you thinking of a transaction or transition, and are you positioned to take advantage of this flood of available dry powder?


      Get out and see your top 3-5 customers - A CEO visiting customers to learn what they need and more importantly what they want gives you a visceral read that is tough to get when your insights are clouded by others telling you what they hear. Customers are typically happily surprised and grateful for such visits - Schedule these 3-5 asap and attend with your account or sales exec who has the day-to-day relationship.

      Assemble your team and ask their ideas to rethink your legacy org chart - Perhaps the same people have been doing the same things a long time. What if they are stale. Maybe they are in over their heads. Perhaps they are unchallenged. No matter - they still likely have good insights based on their familiarity day-in and day-out and can suggest changes and enhancements - Schedule a meeting with your inner circle management team to review the org chart, roles, and responsibilities and discuss suggested new assignments to start in August.

      Invite key vendors onto your turf to discuss what best practices they see - Often your suppliers and professional services providers have insights from their broader view of the marketplace. Host a working lunch in August and ask "what do you see in your customer base that is innovative that we can be doing here?" Can you outsource non-core activities to improve your business? Your vendors will want to act as partners if you empower them to do so.

      Gather your sales team to discuss who your known and unknown competitors are, and what are they doing better than you? - Most salespeople have untapped knowledge based on what they see their competitors doing. Just ask! An even richer discussion can revolve around unknown threats - who have they seen that are new entrants in your market? Schedule a happy hour discussion to catch your sales team outside their productive morning, mid-day and afternoon sales times.

      Have a roundtable with your financial team - your commercial banker, outside accountant and your internal Controller or CFO should be able to give you ideas on optimizing your financial operations - Do you need more capital to expand? Can you reduce your cost structure? Do you have the right mix of debt and equity? Is the business capital market ready for a transaction? Are you able to see your key financial and operating metrics easily? What does your accounting firm advise that you can implement now to improve your financial ops? Invite your commercial banker and outside accountant to visit you and your internal finance people - they'll be delighted to be asked for counsel and you'll benefit immediately from their insights and recommendations.

      While many take the dog days of summer to unwind, a best practice is to get to higher ground now to assess and work ON  your business. The five moves above give you a competitive advantage going into the second half and can position you for more success in 2020.

      Need help? Reach out via my advisorycloud profile.


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