Linear Solutions Not Adequate

This week’s Boston Globe article by Jeffrey Sachs “Beyond the Bottom Line” makes an attempt for the reader to understand better the complexity of our Federal Budget.  Policy debates, he states “are designed to obscure rather than reveal the truth.”  I am truly fascinated with his view and outline for change, an out of the box view, yet so essential if we want to make real change in how we run our businesses and governments. I know, it is easier said than done as change is ever so difficult.  It does take a different mindset to leadership that is both nonlinear thinking and a bit outside the norm.

This reminded me of an effort from 12 years ago, that I am still very passionate about today.  My friend and neighbor Ravi, a retired CEO of a large alternative energy company, and I discussed the services of our local transportation system of small buses called ‘Lexpress’.  The inefficiencies around fiscal ineptness and ridership let us to investigate further as we began a conversation with the local town officials on a volunteer basis.

bus  We gathered all the business intelligence available to us on current costs and revenues. We found 3 problems facing the sustainability of these services:

  1. 1. Services offered from 7am – 6pm nonstop only had two time slots a day where demand was extremely high, that of beginning and ending of the school day. Students in fact were often left behind because the buses were full, making parents quite upset.
  2. Low to NO demand the rest of the day, as buses were running around town empty.  Our diligence discovered that only about 2% of elderly in town used ‘Lexpress’ in addition to an occasional rider. Very different of what town officials estimated.
  3. Annual loss of $350K to the town, including state grants.

Regularly the funding of this service would come up for discussion and eventually get funded again.  Ravi and I looked at alternative models in how the town could serve its customers better and with a lesser fiscal burden.  We talked with a local taxi service to offer a point-to-point service for a flat, slightly subsidized fee from the same state grant, and one that elderly actually would use.  We proposed to double the am and pm runs for student and then recommended ‘Lexpress’ for other services outside of town. Our financial model predicted a reduction of loss by 85% or $300K to a $50,000 per year loss based on existing usage, not including the huge potential uptick in ridership to bring it to break-even or even a slight profit.

You see where I am going, long story short, they literally laughed at us and told us not to come back.  Today and 12 years later the buses are still running EMPTY with accumulated loss of $5Million, not nothing for a small town. Adjacent towns implemented similar on-demand services that we recommended which have been very popular.

Now, moving over to your private business!  You could not possibly run with a loss over a long period of time, eventually it catches up with you.  What are some of your processes and customer needs that have been neglected simply by doing it the same old way?  Should you take the time to evaluate your processes and whether every step is a value add step?  Have you been working with your customers the same old way or could you improve in how you serve them better, benefitting both sides?  We indeed get stuck in the way we do things and change is often viewed as a threat and unattainable.

However, automation and robotics are here to stay.  The Wall Street Journal today has a great article on Target and the long term investment they are making in hiring a Massachusetts company Symbotic, LLC  in setting up a new distribution center.  Autonomous robots that travel unattached within the storage space.  According to the article, “distribution-center labor costs will be reduced by 80% operating in warehouses that are 25-40% smaller”.  With other words, 100 robots will replace 20 humans who currently walk 20 miles and lift 50,000 pounds during one shift.  This is the new future.

Could and would you want to look for such savings in your business? In our experience working with midmarket businesses, we found that a good first step is to move the business from an annual budget process to a Rolling Forecast.  This alone can save you up to 50% of budget preparation time. This is a first step in changing the culture and the mindset and a Rolling Forecast can be the culprit of looking for ongoing solutions in running your business faster, better and cheaper.

budget

Let me encourage you to step outside the box.  Call us to start the conversation in how we may partner with you to take you through a transition.  You may be amazed what you and your employees come up with and the real changes you can begin making.  You know darn well, if you don’t, the competition will.  The complexity that Jeffrey Sachs is talking about may be “outside the political mainstream” but not for you, the private midmarket business who must be looking into the future for sustainable growth.  Simple linear solutions will no longer be good enough.

Dog Day Afternoons

BrunsliSmallMy dog Brunsli is not fazed by the hot and humid weather, she just sleeps it away in the cooled house! Hope you are staying cool! Lots responded to my Lemonade request and it has been great to catch up with so many. It is still hot enough to have Lemonade, so don’t be shy….

This has been a summer of many distractions and also points to pause. Europe with its Brexit, multiple terrorist attacks, Deutsche Bank possibly in need of a bail out and overall currency fluctuations. This may indeed affect your business if you are doing business in Europe.

Here we are in the middle of the US presidential campaigns. It is not politics as usual……or is it?

Last week I attended the funeral of a client and dear colleague, Kevin Gosnell. Kevin was the CEO of T&K Asphalt Services, loving husband of Kathleen and father of three handsome sons. He died of ALS after a 15-month battle. What is so remarkable about Kevin is that once he was diagnosed with the incurable disease, he pulled out all plugs and decided to use his leadership skills from running his company and the Vistage group we shared, and bring the fragmented medical community together to pool funding and speed up research through ALS One with the hope to eventually have a cure. Take a look of the videos and support this great cause. Kevin is a hero in my eyes in how he took is death sentence public and made an incredible difference in a very short time. RIP Kevin and healing thoughts to his family.

Life intertwines with business as we all know. I am sure you are looking for the balance the way I have and figuring out where to draw the line. Take a moment these last few days of summer to reflect on where you are, what is good and what is possible to change.

Have you taken a closer look at the internal and external risks of your business? Most internal risks you can actually eliminate. What succession plans do you have in place?

Externally, mitigating risks for your business can be tricky, but being aware of the potential economic risks and implementing some buffers into your financial plans is a good strategy to consider.

Here is a blog post that may help you get started
https://nssblog.com/2015/11/09/de-risk-your-business/

Want to have a conversation over lemonade call me at 781-929-9125.
In the meantime, stay cool, Rudi

Get Ready for a Transaction

Advisory Team Integration Strategies | Part 2

XPXboston

Thursday,  June 23, 2016 | 7:15 AM – 9:00 AM

Babson College, Olin Hall,  Wellesley, MA

A 5-Step Integration Plan to Get Ready For a Transaction | Register Now!

Facilitated by Rudi Scheiber-Kurtz, Next Stage Solutions, Inc.

In the first part of this process, we discussed how to best engage our clients in the conversation of always thinking ahead and why that is vital for their future success. Participants are raving about the first event that took place in May, so don’t miss out on our second.  This unique format let’s you participate and share your expertise in the integration process as well as learn from others’ sitting at the table.

For the second part, we will focus on the integration piece to readiness. How can your client avoid pitfalls and roadblocks costing both time and money and more often lead to losing the deal? Having your ducks all lined up will pay off when your client begins the process of succession or selling. We will consider the 5-step integration plan and how to prepare best our clients.

Bring your ideas and suggestions and join us in this roundtable discussion among advisors highlighting collaboration, enhanced value and client leverage. Each advisor will hear other advisor’s perspectives on the whole business transition/transaction process, and be able to present their own. The goal is to help educate all of us and open our thinking on collaboration and the benefits it brings to us individually and to our clients.

Register Now!

Agenda
7:15 – 8:00 AM Full Breakfast & Networking
8:00 – 9:00 AM Program

Every CEO Faces Agility Issues

Our 3rd CEO Leadership Event of our 3-part Series at the Lanam Club, Andover

Wed, May 18th from 12noon – 2pm- JOIN US!

HOW DO SMART COMPANIES GROW?

What can we learn from fast growth businesses and why you need to know?  What is the fundamental path to growth in a fast paced business environment? Here are the 3 Reasons:

  1. The economic picture will continue to change, both internationally and nationally, affecting all businesses small and large. EVERY business needs to understand how to become more adaptive and agile against this volatility to survive.
  2. How do fast growth businesses adapt daily to these external changes and how do they keep their businesses agile? The CEOs will describe the different stages of growth and how it affects their culture; how they go about finding the right people, a challenge we all face.
  3. Come and hear how the digitized world helped them and what YOU can apply to your business today!  An industry agnostic approach.

REGISTER TODAY TO HAVE A SEAT AT THE TABLE!

PANELISTS:

CloudLock   Gil Zimmermann, CEO & Co-Founder, CloudLock

Mobiquity   Bill Seibel, past CEO, Mobiquity

CTP   Chris Greendale, Founder & CEO, Cloud Technology Partner

MODERATOR:            Rudi Scheiber-Kurtz, Founder & CEO, Next Stage Solutions, Inc

WHERE:  The Lanam Club, 260 N Main Street, Andover, MA 01810

Register Today!

Rudi Scheiber-Kurtz of Next Stage Solutions, Inc. | 617. 449. 7728

Andy Snider of Snider Associates | 617. 947. 1170

SniderNSS

Where Big Ideas Come From

Our 3rd CEO Leadership Event of our 3-part Series

Wednesday, May 18th from 12noon – 2pm

Logo Exec Lead

What can we learn from fast growth businesses who live and provide the latest technology?  How do they find the right people? Where do their big ideas come from? Does culture drive growth or does culture adapt?

Join us for a rich conversation over a lovely lunch and no traffic!

REGISTER TODAY TO HAVE A SEAT AT THE TABLE!

PANELISTS:

CloudLock   Gil Zimmermann, CEO & Co-Founder, CloudLock

Mobiquity   Bill Seibel, past CEO, Mobiquity

CTP   Chris Greendale, Founder & CEO, Cloud Technology Partner

MODERATOR:            Rudi Scheiber-Kurtz, Founder & CEO, Next Stage Solutions, Inc

WHERE:  The Lanam Club, 260 N Main Street, Andover, MA 01810

Register Today!

Rudi Scheiber-Kurtz of Next Stage Solutions, Inc. | 617. 449. 7728

Andy Snider of Snider Associates | 617. 947. 1170

How Fast Growth is Achieved

Addressing the Challenges of Succeeding the 21st Century

Spiral Wednesday, May 18th  12-2pm   Part 3

Approaches that worked in 2000 are not enough to succeed in 2016.  Digitization of things is upon us. What can we learn from fast growth businesses who live and provide the latest technology and what opportunities can we create when we are ready to embrace the new state of doing business?

PANELISTS:

Mobiquity   Bill Seibel, past CEO, Mobiquity

CTP   Chris Greendale, Founder & CEO, Cloud Technology Partner

CloudLock   Gil Zimmermann, CEO & Co-Founder, CloudLock

MODERATOR:   Rudi Scheiber-Kurtz, CEO, Next Stage Solutions, Inc.

Learn about techniques that the most advanced companies are using to achieve extraordinary results and to make their organizations more adaptive.

WHERE:  The Lanam Club, 260 N Main Street, Andover, MA 01810

Register Today!

Rudi Scheiber-Kurtz of Next Stage Solutions, Inc. | 617. 449. 7728

Andy Snider of Snider Associates | 617. 947. 1170

XPX Summit 28 April

“When you Fail to Plan, you’re Planning to Fail”

This classic John Wooden quote isn’t the tagline of XPX Boston… but it could be!  XPX sets the national standard for leadership in the critical area of assisting business owners to prepare for what is usually the most significant financial transaction of their lives.

XPX Summit

Annually, XPX hosts the Summit, a full day of learning from thought leaders in many disciplines that deliver world-class content. For this year’s event – the theme is “From the Outside In – the Buyer’s Perspective on Business Value”

Our very own Rudi Scheiber-Kurtz, CEO & Founder of Next Stage Solutions, Inc., a business and finance advisory firm to midmarket businesses, will be moderating a break-out session called:

When You Get to a Fork in the Road, Take It!

The only way you can follow Yogi Berra’s advice is to build value for your business today to achieve multiple options for your next stage. You will hear from the 4 CEOs how they built value for their organization over time and why it is important to start early.
Jim Bourdon, CEO, Accounting Management Solutions
Emily Green, Former CEO, Smart Lunches, Inc.
Gary Harnum, Former Founder, CFO & CAO, i-parcel, LLC
Hilary Potts, CEO, The HAP Group

Exceptional keynote speakers include Chris Oddleifson, the CEO of Rockland Trust who will be speaking about his experiences after completing six successful acquisitions in the last nine years; Dr. Daniel Korschun, the author of “We Are Market Basket will share firsthand accounts of what he and co-author Grant Welker learned from the streets and executive suites as they studied and documented the unprecedented Market Basket story while it erupted and unfolded during the summer of 2014.

A number of great breakout sessions focused on how business owners can increase the value of their businesses in a myriad of ways that help ensure a successful sale.

XPX generally sells out this event – last year there were nearly 180 attendees. If you’d like to attend you should consider registering soon!  Early Bird ends April 14th!

Sign up