Possibly The Most Powerful Question ..Asked by Stephen Pierce and Steve Pohlit Replies

I highly recommend the blog DTalpha.com by Stephen Pierce. Today’s post is the question What Is The Cost. Click Here for the page with this message. It is absolutely outstanding.

The following is part of my reply. Read the entire post at his site

Certainly our most valuable resource on this earth is time. A some point the clock stops for all of us – no exceptions. Your message on the cost of inaction or ignorance is very important. For me the key is to understand what really blocks properly directed action including strengthening the right relationships, implementing the key steps in my business and allocating energy to the best information.

Click Here for the Stephen’s message and my reply plus comments posted by others.

Steve Pohlit, Business Development Consultant and Coach
http://www.stevereports.com

Stop Blaming The Economy..Or Anything Else For That Matter

I was using Comment Kahuna to build some back links recently. One of the most valuable features of this free program is that it surfaces some pretty cool high PR sites. Well one of the top financial market blogs had an article by an educator with all the credentials for teaching at a top B School. The article detailed the statistical difference between profit growth and cash flow growth in 2007. The conclusion was that another indicator was pointing to economic doom and gloom.

My response was that this was a perfect example of information that is likely to be completely accurate and totally useless. This is content designed to fuel negative thinking.

The facts are there are successes all around us and we can find them in any country and any economy. There are also companies in trouble and going out of business in any economy. Personally I have worked with business doing extremely well in a recession and ones on the brink of extinction in a booming economy. What are the key characteristics of success in any economy?

Success companies:

1. Have a very clear definition of their customer base and target market

2. Have clearly established performance goals for the company that are then redefined as goals and action plans for each function within the company.

3. Assign accountability for the action steps required to achieve the goals at the functional level.

4. Measure actual vs. plan on a timetable that makes sense based on what is being monitored. Cash position for example may be monitored daily.

5. Act quickly on variances from positive and negative variances from plan.

That is about it and while there is more detail at http://www.10minutemba.net , these five steps apply to every business and the emphasis is on every.

People fall into two categories. They either manage the business using the above five steps or use excuses like: it is the economy, or the dollar, foreighn competition, I don’t feel like it, I can’t expect them to do their job today; or “we’ll get to it soon” Do you want to find the successful businesses? The next time you meet a person who has makes no excuses, doesn’t complain about external factors and is generally on purpose, ask them what business they are in. I’ll bet it is a very successful one.

Steve Pohlit, Business Development Consultant and Coach
http://www.stevereports.com

Stephen Prierce Asks What Would You Do?

The lessons from Stephen Pierce at his blog DTalpha are excellent . Click Here listen to the message and my response below will make more sense to you. Stephen welcomes all comments

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The answers come when we are grounded on who we are. Anger, resentment, stress serve no purpose other than to make us sick and in some cases become the source for some disease. However, all of us have traditional programming so while we still have an ego driven reaction it is best to let time pass in a situation like the letter which could be similar to a challenging situation with your child, job, business or someone you just met at a service station.

The severity of the situation will guide you to the time you need and the support of others. There is no substitute for a powerful network. My career accelerated the fastest when there was a continual stream of terrific people coming into my life. Now my business position is different but there is no shortage of outstanding people. Stephen Pierce for example provides guidance here and I am networked with him on www.facebook.com as well a other terrific people (join us).

On a higher level, for me it has been important to make a commitment to a life of peace and happiness. See several recent posts on this at http://www.prosperitytip.com

Wellness, happiness and prosperity to all
Steve
http://www.asktheconsultant.biz  

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There are two reasons why companies ask me for business consulting assistance:
1. They know what to do but want an independent third party experienced business development consultant to drive the process as that approach demonstrates management’s commitment to achieving the goals.
2. Management understands the need for improved performance and understands they do not have the experience to implement what is required.
3. There is actually a third reason and that is where a business is in a crises situation and turnaround business consulting procedures need to be implemented fast. Nobody likes that situation, even the consultant. However, many companies can be salvaged with the right action. Think of the what goes into action when a person has a heart attack. Timing and action are the differences between life and death.

Be Well and Prosper,
Steve Pohlit
Business Development Consulting

Steve Pohlit has more than 20 years experience running very large and medium sized companies. Steve consults with clients to design and implement processes that will deliver improved business performance for the long term. Learn more about the process of Increasing Profits by 30% or More In 90 Days or Less by visiting 10 Minute MBA or you can call 727-587-7871 and speak with Steve directly. Have a question? Click Here To Visit Ask The Consultant

FREE Blog and Hosting Package Just Released

Most know that I am an avid fan of WordPress Blogs. Just look at the links I have to Blogging for Profits and Blogging for Riches. I just completed a package offer as part of a giveaway promotion that offers FREE Blog set up and FREE Hosting for three months. Of course you are going to get a lot more with this.

My loyal subscribers to Steve Reports deserve to know about this offer and not only will you have access to my offer you will be able to pick and choose from many more very valuable gifts so Click Here For Your FREE Blog and Hosting Offer plus much more.

Be Well and Prosper,
Steve Pohlit
Business Development Consulting


Steve Pohlit has more than 20 years experience running very large and medium sized companies. Steve consults with clients to design and implement processes that will deliver improved business performance for the long term. Learn more about the process of Increasing Profits by 30% or More In 90 Days or Less by visiting 10 Minute MBA or you can call 727-587-7871 and speak with Steve directly. Have a question? Click Here To Visit Ask The Consultant

P.S. If you know a business that needs help remember I pay a very nice referral fee for new clients. I would love to write you a check that would pay for a new car.

The Exact Steps Required To Turnaround A Business That Is Cash Flow Negative (In Trouble)

I have led companies in the retail, real estate, transportation and restaurant industries from  near catastrophe to stability and profitable growth. Companies find themselves in a dire straits position for a multiple of reasons when the economy is strong as well as weak … more so when weak.

The current business climate is tenuous and an increasing number of businesses find themselves in a profit and cash flow crunch. If you or someone you know is in that position, time is of the essence. Literally every hour that passes is critical when a company’s profit and cash flow are on a downward trend. The faster action is taken to restore the business to a positive cash flow position, the more likely it can be further strengthened to renewed profitable growth.

The following steps are the major ones that I have guided clients through who have been in this situation:

1. Stop issuing checks until Step 2 and Step 3 are completed. The exception would be payroll and any utilities if you are at the point of being shut off if the bill is not paid. If you have a trucking company you have to buy fuel. If you are a restaurant you have to buy food. If you don’t have the funds to pay “life support costs and expenses” there are still options but they would have to be addressed on a case by case basis. You want to avoid getting to the point of not being able to pay the must have expenses.  There is a wide variation of the definition of must have items. The clients I have helped were very surprised at the literal definition of “must haves” but they thanked me later.

2. Be certain as to your exact cash and liquidity position. You need a very accurate snapshot of the free cash in your bank account, the quality of accounts receivables and a precise accounts payable listing that includes all invoices. You would be surprised as to how many companies do not know their actual cash position, ignore problems in their accounts receivable balances and forget that oftentimes there are bills sitting in unopened mail and desk drawers.

3. Develop an eight week cash receipts and disbursements forecast and don’t leave one cent off of the disbursements list. If you are not sure how to do this, there is an example at 10 Minute MBA This is a core schedule that I implement with all clients and is very valuable when used properly.

4. Document an organization chart with each person’s position and compensation.

5. If the business sells a physical product, it is important to evaluate the inventory. You cannot sell what you don’t have and you can’t replenish inventory if vendors have shut you off.

6. If there are debt agreements in place understand all debt compliance covenants.

7. Identify all critical support functions. For example, the company’s internet connection, maintenance agreements on machinery and equipment and key licensing agreements if any.

The goal is to have an accurate picture of all the facts no matter how dismal they are. I can’t tell you how many times I have been blind sided by additional pieces of information that were very important in finalizing the turnaround plan.

What Actions Are Typically Taken Once There Is An Accurate Picture of Situation?

1. Cut all non- essential spending and payroll.

2. Implement a temporary reduction in pay for as many people as possible. That is always difficult and may be impractical if there is a union or a large hourly workforce. Every situation is different but normally payroll has to be cut and it is often delegated to the outside consultant to handle.

Note: many of these steps are implemented quickly. Even while the entire picture is still being developed. That is where experience with these situations is very valuable. Experts with turnaround experience know how and where to act fast.

3. With people you want to take the action one time and then meet with those that remain and explain to them what is going on and how it is going to be fixed.

4. Vendors on the accounts payable list will need to be called and given a date when they can expect a workout plan. This is not fun work even for an expert consultant. However, whatever needs to be done to save the business and restore profitability should be addressed.

5. If there is a sales staff, look to move those people to full commission status and if possible add to the staff with full commission as the compensation package. Be careful if out of pocket expenses are paid. They have to be limited and per diems in place.

6. Assign clear accountability for collecting receivables and put in place a three step collection process. In certain cases discounts are negotiated for paying early.

Notice all the emphasis at this point is on cutting expenses and build cash once that process is in place then

Work on your building business and profits plan. Make sure it is realistic and focused on the next 90-180 days. When that is drafted including the financial projections you are now in a position to negotiate with bank debt holders, capital equipment lease venders and other long term lease agreements in place.

Some clients may need to file for chapter 11 reorganization. This should be avoided at all costs since it is very expensive, time consuming and a major distraction. However sometimes it is the only available option other than shutting your doors. Chapter 11 is usually the best answer where selling assets, selling the business or parts of the business is part of the the turnaround plan.

I hope this helps and while it addresses many points there are always more depending on the business. The following is right from my Turnaround Consulting Site

Do you worry about running out of cash?
Do most of your key vendors have you on COD?
Have checks issued by your business bounced?
Are revenue trends decreasing and accounts payable increasing?
Have any of your valued employees left for a “better opportunity”?
Are you spending all of your time fighting fires?
Do you wake up at night fearing you will be out of business?
Do you fear you will not have enough cash to meet your next payroll? What about the next?
Are you thinking or have been advised that a reorganization of your business under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy code may be the answer?

“If You Answered Yes To More Than One of These Questions, Then You Need To Call Steve Pohlit at 727-587-7871 Right Now. That Is My Direct Line. I Will Personally Determine If I Can Help You Solve Your Business Problems or Refer You To Someone Who Can. This Call Will Cost You Nothing and May Well Save Your Company.”

____________________________________________________________________

There are two reasons why companies ask me for business consulting assistance:
1. They know what to do but want an independent third party experienced business development consultant to drive the process as that approach demonstrates management’s commitment to achieving the goals.
2. Management understands the need for improved performance and understands they do not have the experience to implement what is required.
3. There is actually a third reason and that is where a business is in a crises situation and turnaround business consulting procedures need to be implemented fast. Nobody likes that situation, even the consultant. However, many companies can be salvaged with the right action. Think of the what goes into action when a person has a heart attack. Timing and action are the differences between life and death.

Be Well and Prosper,
Steve Pohlit
Business Development Consulting

Steve Pohlit has more than 20 years experience running very large and medium sized companies. Steve consults with clients to design and implement processes that will deliver improved business performance for the long term. Learn more about the process of Increasing Profits by 30% or More In 90 Days or Less by visiting 10 Minute MBA or you can call 727-587-7871 and speak with Steve directly. Have a question? Click Here To Visit Ask The Consultant

The Exact Steps To Increasing Profits In A Challenging Economy

There is a very important fact to understand that applies to every business…”nothing stays the same”. The current business environment in the United State is one where the real estate market in general is one with declining property values, the value of the dollar is declining, and revenue for many companies is under pressure.

So!!!

Companies struggle because they continue to do the same things while everything around them is constantly changing. Every business, in theory, has a primary goal of increasing revenue and profits. The process of achieving that goal is no different in an economy that is experience major challenges in key sectors than in one that is vibrant. The introductory lessons in my 10 Minute MBA Program gives away the roadmap.

There are a huge number of examples of companies thriving and failing in both strong economies as well as weak ones. The only thing that matters for your business is what is happening in your business in relationship to the clearly defined performance gaols you have set. You have clearly defined business performance goals correct? These goals are in alignment with your own personal mission and lifestyle goals correct?

I am injecting the point about personal mission and lifestyle goals since I realized one of the key differences between many business successes and failures is the passion of the company’s leadership for the business and there is a direct link between the level of passion and the individual’s view of how the business contributes to the achievement of their personal mission.

For the record this goes way beyond achieving personal income objectives and includes: how much you really enjoy the business model; is your position one where you know you are using and developing the talents and skills you are passionate about and does your position fit in with how you want to develop the family, friends and community relationships that are important to you? I am now very focused personally and with clients on addressing the total picture of satisfaction and not just the business goals. Join the growing Prosperity Tip List that is FREE and you will be surprised at what this material will do for you personally.

Here is an example of a common situation that I have found in business. Business leadership will say, when the profits improve or when the cash flow improves or when this acquisition is done, or we fill this open position, or etc. then I will spend more time with my family or fishing or restoring my favorite antique or …well you get the idea. I submit to you the personal activity, whatever it is, never happens for those people even when those business milestones are achieved. If you are spending a lot of time with your professional mission, I hope you really love it. If you do not and you are frustrated because you are not spending time with your family, if you are not exercising like you should, if you are not enjoying your home, your car, your boat or your fishing pole then there is no way you will optimize the performance of your business. The negative personal energy will transmit throughout your organization and you will not consistently optimize your performance. If you have lifestyle issues, they need to be addressed. How do you think I know that?

Back to delivering what I promised with the headline of this article:

The Exact Steps To Increasing Profits In A Challenging Economy:

1. Set clear clear measurable performance goals for the next 12 months. For example: Revenue and profit goal is an increase of 30%.
2. Understand and instill in the culture that performance goals for the next 12 months are achieved by what happens today. All parts of your business need to be in sync with achieving the goals for the company. As and example what do sales need to be this week and this month to hit the 30% growth goal? What does gross margin need to be and with what expense structure for the 30% growth in profit goal to be achieved?
3. Each function within the business must have clearly defined performance goals and defined accountability for achieving those goals.
4. An objective performance monitoring process must be in place to identify quickly any areas of unusually positive as well as shortfalls in performance. For the revenue, gross margin and expense driver areas of the company this usually means a formal weekly meeting along with informal daily monitoring. There are exceptions and one is where there is a cash crunch situation. Cash flow is then monitored very closely daily.

There are two reasons why companies ask me for assistance:
1. They know what to do but want an independent third party experienced business development consultant to drive the process as that approach demonstrates management’s commitment to achieving the goals.
2. Management understands the need for improved performance and understands they do not have the experience to implement what is required.
3. There is actually a third reason and that is where a business is in a crises situation and turnaround business consulting procedures need to be implemented fast. Nobody likes that situation, even the consultant. However, many companies can be salvaged with the right action. Think of the what goes into action when a person has a heart attack. Timing and action are the differences between life and death.

Be Well and Prosper,
Steve Pohlit
Business Development Consulting

Steve Pohlit has more than 20 years experience running very large and medium sized companies. Steve consults with clients to design and implement processes that will deliver improved business performance for the long term. Learn more about the process of Increasing Profits by 30% or More In 90 Days or Less by visiting 10 Minute MBA or you can call 727-587-7871 and speak with Steve directly. Have a question? Click Here To Visit Ask The Consultant