Measure So You Can Manage

Having the right performance metrics helps you drive growth. Let me share with you six steps to implement effective measures to manage. Keeping a competitive edge in today’s marketplace requires ongoing investment in the transformation of your business. As Mark Twain said:  To stand still, is to fall behind.

1)      Clearly define your corporate goals

Without a clearly defined and documented strategy, it is impossible to set expectations and monitor performance. You can only manage what you can measure, so if you lack such a strategy, begin to brainstorm and evaluate opportunities for continued growth.  Understand what your weaknesses and strengths are and begin documenting so that when it is finalized, you can share it with your employees. You may think that everyone knows where you are going, but don’t’ assume.  No one has ever over communicated!

2)      Identify short-and long-term operational goals

Take your strategy and identify what you want to accomplish short-term (3 mos) and what needs a bit more time (12 mos).  This would include approaching the weaknesses and turn them into strengths. In operations you want to evaluate each step taken and whether it adds value or not to the final product or services.  Think lean here and optimize the process.

3)      Establish milestone, deliverables and tasks to support your goals

Now you may be ready for the roadmap.  Establish milestones, deliverables to be achieved and identify tasks and who performs them.  Now that you have documented and shared the strategy with your employees, it is important to listen to them and get their input.  Agree on goals, objectives and timetables.  Evaluate whether you have adequate resources, so you have a better chance of succeeding.

4)      Develop and implement metrics for all key activities

This is where the measuring starts. Make sure you engage your employees in setting performance metrics.  Here are some examples: Customer retention rate, supply chain rate of return, funnel conversion rate or call center support metrics. Be proactive and pay attention to leading indicators in your industry and pay less attention to lagging ones.  Clarify expectations with your executive team and staff, empower your employees and boost their engagement. Set some incentives in advance and make sure that all metrics are objective and not subjective.

5)      Monitor progress and make improvements as needed to stay on course

Now you have a roadmap in place that you can begin to monitor and manage. Your employees understand what is expected of them and how they can help the company grow.  Making a difference goes a long way in terms of talent retention.  There needs to be purpose and connection to the larger scheme as participation can give them a better understanding of how they personally can affect the business.

6)      Assess the effectiveness of metrics and modify if necessary

Close the loop by evaluating regularly how the metrics are working.  What is the assessment of your staff and how well are they adhering to these metrics?  Do you need to change them, are they giving you information that is meaningful to the future of your business?

Start the conversation today regarding how you can drive results with the right performance metrics. Transparency and accountability will be on your side as you seek a way to measure and manage. This is an ongoing process and of course, if your business changes, so do your performance metrics.

My book “Stop Compromising” has its own chapter (chapter 5) on this topic and explains ways to think about KPIs and performance metrics.

Let me know what KPIs and performance metrics have worked for you and what particular leading indicators you use for your roadmap.

 

Finance your Growth Now?

Is it a Good Time to Finance your Growth?

We think so. Accessing the capital markets for future growth before interest rate increase makes sense.

My dear friend and colleague Debra Drapalla, SVP of the Middle Market Lending Group at Webster Bank shared the following with me. Keep in mind that her middle market lending group focuses on companies with $50-$500M in annual revenue.

“Presently, there is an abundance of capital available in the market by banks which are sitting on large reserves from the Fed’s stimulus programs to thwart the Great Recession.  If a middle market company presents a sound business plan for their financing needs, they should receive very competitive proposals from banks for both interest rates and credit structure. It is definitely a buyer’s market for bank loans during this stage of the economic cycle.”

If your company falls below the $50M revenue range, it can be a daunting task. The smaller your business the harder it gets to access reasonable funding and convince the lender.

According to the Pepperdine Report for Q2 2015 on Private Capital Markets, 61% of companies with $5-$50M in annual revenue will be looking for debt financing from a bank. Of those, 39% are projecting that this will be difficult.

PepperdineAccessing the right-sized capital at the right time is a balancing act and requires adequate time.  I created a chart for you below that might help you identify the approximate stage with a sample of capital markets available to you. The smaller the business, the more difficult it is to raise capital. It is so very important, that you can de-risk your inquiry for capital to the investor by providing solid and realistic numbers and you may have to provide a personal guarantee. Having a strong sales history and being on a fast track also helps.

Capital Market Chart                                                                                                    We  know that interest rates will be raised, some speculate as early as September. The US economy is starting to show signs of strength and hopefully will lead us toward faster growth. What happens when the interest rate is raised? Things that it will affect will be Cost of Borrowing, Effect on Prices and Plans for Marketing. This will also affect your vendors, so allow for some elasticity in your forecasting. You might want to revisit your strategy and business plan and evaluate whether you have the proper outlook and risk criteria in place.

Let me emphasize the importance of size of your business. The larger the annual revenue, the lower your Cost of Capital (CoC). The market views it as less risky. Public companies will enjoy an even lower CoC and gain more trust in the market, as they typically are run more efficiently. More on that in another blog!!

However, if you are in the $5-$50M revenue range as many of our clients are, you may benefit from working with a trusted advisor like NSS who can guide your through these complex preparations and transactions. We can provide you with alternative options you may not have thought about, such as:

  • Mezzanine debt
  • Subordinated debt with warrants
  • Leveraged asset-based loans
  • Secured trade credit

This of course also depends on where you are in the process. NSS tailors its approach to your needs. You may want help with the preparation, connections to the right lenders, negotiate the best terms or all of the above.

Listen to our RudiTuesday video on “Access to Capital” for additional tips in how to prepare.

Rudi TuesdayTake this opportunity and act on it now before interest rates increase significantly. Securing the appropriate financing now can give you a competitive edge so that you can expand, grow and bring on the right talent.

We also developed a funding guide and check list for our clients to properly prepare for a lender meeting. We will be glad to provide this additional resource so you can start on your deliverables. Sign up here for a copy and we will be glad to send it to you.

Begin to work on that list, let us know if you need help, so that at the end you have a greater chance of locking in a strong financial round.

So where might you be in this process? If you are not ready, you are not alone, the majority of businesses we work with do not have the internal resources or time to have all the ‘docs’ lined up! Start today with the conversation of how much money you need to raise, the timing of it and the financing options you should consider. Decide where you are in the process and give us a call if you need help!

Where in the Process

In conclusion, it is a buyer’s market and a great time to access capital. Larger companies have easier access to the capital market. Smaller companies can fundraise successfully too, so consider closing the funding gap today and remember, first impressions are lasting.

According to lenders, companies are generally not prepared. You can change that statistic!

Contact us at 617-449-7728

Addressing Scalability Issues

MDG Logo MDG partners with NSS with a NSS LogoCEO Breakfast Series on Growth Strategies for Small to Mid-cap Companies in the MedTech Industry

REGISTER TODAY!

GROWTH STRATEGY III | Scalability Issues

Wednesday | June 10 | 2015

7:30am—9:30am | Place: Constant Contact | 1601 Trapelo Road | Waltham

Join CEOs Mike Tamasi and Gordon Craig addressing Scalability Issues

Mike Tamasi Gordon

In this third installment of a 3-part Breakfast Series, we will be addressing the challenges and opportunities of mid-market companies to achieve profitable growth. Our interactive panel discussion will address the various organizational, infrastructure, and cultural changes required to scale their business and provide examples of successful strategies executed by their respective Companies in achieving real growth objectives.

The topic will be approached from different points of view provided by the experts and will look at the “Business of doing Business”. This holistic approach will include the Technical as well as the Human Capital side in the dialogue.

Discussion Leaders: 

Bob Weber, Managing Director, Next Stage Solutions, Inc.

Dick O’Brien, Principal, Nagog Hill Partners

David Danehy, Senior Product Manager, Philips Healthcare

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

For more information: Bob Weber 617-449-7728 at Next Stage Solutions, Inc. | 67 South Bedford Street, Suite 400 West, Burlington, MA 01803