The Billionaire’s Self-Curse: This Mistake Could Limit Your Company

It’s a big day in Helsingbord Sweden – opening day for the Museum of Failure, which features such items as Harley-Davidson perfume, Bic pens for women and Google Glass.

Failure can be very entertaining – when it hits someone else. For company leaders, failure is to be avoided at all costs.

And yet, so many company builders report that their success was achieved after a spectacular failure. You would think this leads to a lifelong lesson to embrace setbacks, but for most it doesn’t. We seem to be hardwired to avoid failure.
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Selling in a Few Years? Start Packaging Your Company Now

According to a Harvard Business Review report, the failure rate for mergers and acquisitions sits between 70 and 90%. Even before the deal closes, it’s not uncommon for deals to unravel.

If the odds can be overwhelmingly negative, what can you do to increase your chance of success if you are looking to sell your business?

Prepare.

Don’t wait for the M&A process to begin to get your team in gear – that’s a sure fire way to fail. Continue reading →

What Does “Strategy” Really Mean? Move Over Behemoths, The Little Guys Are Coming for You

After a call with a “strategy” director (I hate quotes, but let me do this just once) at a multibillion dollar public company, I couldn’t help but thank Forrest Gump for popularizing the proverb:

Stupid is as stupid does

This company is in a sleepy industry and to continue to grow they must find new ways to innovate. Our conversation circled around a request to help in what would be a major, breathtaking pivot into a completely new sector. To succeed, the company would need more leadership and more firepower than organic growth would provide, meaning they were looking to acquisitions. And we had the perfect target – a fit so good as to be called an epiphany.
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What is an Interim Leader?

An interim leader is an accomplished operating executive, highly skilled from extensive training in corporate or entrepreneurial environments. Interim leaders focus on helping companies through periods of change, transformation, or transition. Assignments can run anywhere from a few months to two years, but the executive is usually focused on helping a company get to the next stage of growth or turnaround.  Examples of when an interim may be brought in include:

  • Turning around a company from decreasing or stagnant revenue
  • Putting processes, systems, controls, and operational improvements in place
  • Ramping up a company’s growth to prepare it for investment or sale
  • Increasing sales, brand positioning and awareness

Interim executives engage around the world with client companies ranging from startup to growth mode, private to public to nonprofit and NGO, multibillion dollar robust multinationals to struggling or failing businesses, products and divisions.
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You are Only as Good as Your Team

Basketball legend Magic Johnson has made a success of his career as a business owner and investor. But it didn’t come easy or naturally. One of the mentors he credits with imparting priceless lessons is Creative Artists Agency co-founder Michael Ovitz. When Magic was just about to embark on a career in business, the legendary Hollywood agent told Magic that he’d never become any better than the people around him.

This made sense to Magic, and the next day he fired his entire staff. Magic detailed this recently at a speech delivered to the Association for Corporate Growth in Las Vegas, showing the audience by placing his hand at chest height and saying “my team could take me here” and then raising his hand to head level and saying “but they couldn’t take me to here.” Continue reading →

How Much Does An Interim Executive Cost?

Once owners, board members and investors figure out exactly what an interim is and how an interim can help them, the next question is invariably, how much does an interim executive cost?

The short answer is: there is no off the shelf rate card for interim execs. Or more precisely, it doesn’t exist for the best interims in the world. There are a couple reasons rate cards don’t exist, at least not amongst our RED Team, an elite group of interim, project and fractional executives who have been selected because of their track records creating incredible results in companies.

Company Situations Vary Greatly, So Scope of Work is Always Unique
Your company is your baby and your baby isn’t like anyone else’s in the world. As such, the caliber of leader you need and the process and deliverables necessary to achieve the best outcome is a tailor-made solution – not an off the rack, one size fits all experience. Continue reading →

Seven Signs an Interim Executive Can Help Your Company

Interim executives, or interims, have recently become an important tool that organizations can use to effectively address a variety of pressing needs. Having said that, many companies are either unaware that interims are even available or appropriate for their current situation. The most common understanding of the role of an interim is to fill an immediate need in the executive team caused by a sudden voluntary or involuntary departure. In this case, a seasoned executive can step right in and allow the company to progress unabated. While much of what an interim does is similar to consulting, successful execution is critical and unique to the role of interims. This blog presents seven case studies to help companies better understand other instances where interims can help. There are certainly more examples, but these are representative. While seven represents everything from the apocalypse to luck in gambling, we’ll stick with seven.

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The Three Upgrades Private Equity Make When They Buy a Company

The best private equity funds talk about backing great CEOs, entrepreneurs, and management teams. But in the lower middle market ($2-$15 million in EBITDA), what’s a private equity fund to do when the company they are acquiring lacks resources and the management skills to earn great returns?

What if serious talent doesn’t extend beyond the CEO or founder?

Douglas Song, co-founder of Prodos Capital Management and an investor in lower middle market companies, says that “there’s always a way to think creatively and unlock value in any lower middle market company.” He especially finds common themes among companies where entrepreneurs or families have built a great business over time, but are lacking in certain areas where partnering with additional resources will help them take the business to the next level. Continue reading →