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

Metrics Matter

A little over a year ago I published a blog on “Measure what you Manage” and given the New Year, I thought that Key Performance Indicators or KPIs are a good topic to consider revisiting for your organization.

KPI

At NSS we believe that metrics really matter. If properly and consistently applied, they provide you real measurements in how you are achieving your goals and objectives.

Key indicators are used to measure day-to-day monitoring, goal setting and for achieving efficiencies operationally. Metrics also change depending on your current priorities.   The importance here is not how many KPIs you are using, but rather that you use the right metrics for the right tasks.

A KPI is a metric, but not every metric is a KPI! How do you go about defining a KPI? Here are some considerations:

  • How many KPIs should you have?
  • How often should you measure?
  • Who will be accountable for the metrics?
  • What benchmark should you use? Make sure you use some industry benchmarks so you can compare yours with the competition.
  • Do the metrics reflect your value drivers?
  • Can they be worked around it and how will you guard against that?

Many of these metrics are in fact non-financial yet they ultimately affect your financials. KPIs should be aligned with your vision, mission and strategy, including short and long term goals. For example, if your company decides that customer satisfaction is going to be the primary focus of improvement this year, you want to clarify how to measure satisfaction and create the criteria in how to achieve customer satisfaction. Make sure to communicate and train your employees and empower them to realize your expectations. Let me give you a sample of customer satisfaction KPIs:

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) – How many customers like your brand to promote to others?
  • Customer Satisfaction Survey – Internal benchmark to use for future baseline and KPI
  • Customer Response Time – How long does it take to get back to customers and resolve outstanding issues?
  • Customer Acquisition and Retention Rate- measures ability to bring in new customers and of retaining them to generate recurring revenue
  • Conversion Rate – How likely is a customer to make additional purchases
  • External benchmarking comparing to competition

KPIs in midmarket companies are chosen by the executive team. You decide what you are going to measure and how you want them to perform against your value drivers.

Creating KPIs for key value drivers is not difficult per se, where it gets to be challenging is in actually measuring them consistently. It is also assumed that you base your metrics on valid data. Do you have clean data to work from and the tools to measure accurately so that you can gain accurate results? If not, take necessary steps to clean up your data.

Our experience is that many companies who have KPIs, have in fact too many. This creates a danger that the metrics become meaningless over time and employees will find a way to work around them. This brings me to another important point in setting your KPIs. Make sure your employees fully understand the requirements for the KPIs and in how they successfully can achieve them. Develop an incentive plan and recognize and reward positive outcomes. The employees need to fully understand and be empowered in how to affect a metric positively.

Audit your KPIs periodically to make sure they still make sense and that they are still relevant. If a KPI is not being followed, it should be re-examined for its validity. Discuss the relationship between performance and expectations. Think about your processes and intended actions that lead to improved performances. Do not create KPIs in isolation, they all need to be connected and tied back to your strategic intent. It is far better to have a few KPIs that are right and measure the right value drivers in your organization.

The beauty in KPIs, if consistently measured, is that they are quantifiable and measure how well you are achieving your corporate goals and objectives. They also bring accountability and identify the gaps between actual and targeted performance. The KPIs should represent organizational as well as individual factors that lead to improvement. Generally, companies that actively implement KPIs fare better in the market place against competitors. So metrics do matter.

Do you have a KPI story to share, either successful or not? Do you use them at all? Send me your comments. For another take on KPIs, watch my short Rudi/Tuesday video on performance metrics.

Rudi KPI

Happy New Year

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

De-Risk Your Business

Why De-Risking Your Business is a Smart Move!

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

No matter what your next stage for your business is, whether you want to grow and acquire or sell in the next year or so, de-risking your business will only bring you benefits.

Business risk

Let me share with you parts of our methodology and structure that we use with our clients. We have defined 6 areas of Enterprise Risk included in our assessment tool and implementation plan.

Enterprise Risk is generally high among midmarket, private and public businesses, yet with the proper management and forecasting tools, they can be reduced or eliminated altogether.  Doing nothing will definitely hurt the value of your business. Having a process and a plan in place is a worthwile investment.

Here are the 6 areas of Enterprise Risk for your consideration:

  1. Lack of a Formalized Strategic and Operational Plan
  2. No Alignment with Goals & Objectives
  3. Underperformance with Low Productivity and Utilization Rate
  4. Silo Mentality and Thinking
  5. Inadequate & Antiquated Procedures, Processes and Policies
  6. Overreliance on Key Employees

Over the years, NSS has found patterns of hidden risks typical in midmarkets. These issues come to surface when the company typically wants to engage in a next stage, such as acquisition financing or planning to get their company to market, then are surprised when the realistic value does not match the perceived value.

The good news is that the above six factors are all internally focused and under your control.  With the right management tools, awareness and a relatively small capital investment, they can be fairly easily mitigated. Once implemented, it becomes part of an ongoing process/policy called Enterprise Risk Management or ERM.

External risks are also to be considered and should be incorporated in your ERM plan.  To start the process, talk with your CFO to get support with the following steps:

  • Look at 2 Types of Risks – External, mostly uncontrollable and    Internal, mostly controllable
  • Create a structured process to identify risks
  • Identify patterns of hidden risks
  • Recognize, understand and develop a comprehensive plan to mitigate these risks

Companies confront different types and levels of risks over time and there are many common threads that define risks and how they impact critical decisions routinely made by organizations.  Having an ERM plan in place will position you for greater strength and increased value no matter what your next step is for your company.  This is not fluff, but a necessity, so begin the discussion today.

For more details on the 6 areas of ERM, watch our 6-minute  RudiTuesday Video!  It will provide you with additional thoughts and criteria to consider. Yes, we have done it many times over and would love to help you, but most importantly to me is that you get it started!  It’s all about value creation and choices.

Enterprise risk

Call us if you have questions or if you need our support in de-risking your business! 

617 – 449 – 7728

Continuous Improvements

“The value of an idea lies in the using of it” – Thomas A. Edison

I have had the privilege to talk with CEOs and Business Owners who make CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT their mantra. When you go into their businesses, there is an energy, a positivity and employee engagement unlike others.

Are you thinking, ah, that is just another ‘Toyota’ thing and spare me the rest of the conversation, I am not in manufacturing? Well, hear me out!

CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT is a culture and a mindset coupled with an employee empowerment plan and most importantly, it brings a focus of what truly adds value to your customers and clients. If it does not, you have to think seriously about why you are doing it. Questions to ask: Does the customer care? If not, why are we doing it? Can we eliminate it or improve it?

Hospitals, banks, restaurants and consulting firms are some of the industries who are earnestly looking at the CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT culture and I believe so should you! Automated systems, operational efficiency and customer focus is what will keep you competitive. In order to manage this process, you have to have a baseline to start, so you can measure it, improve it and measure it again.

In an earlier blog I introduced you to a new and comprehensive process we call VISION DAY. A simple process that leads you through the complexity of your business to assess where you are today (Point A), not in a cookie cutter way, but in a neatly customized way to reflect your company in present state, yeah the SWOT analyses stuff! Then we take you on a journey of where you see your business three years out (Point B).

Our comprehensive process does not leave any stones unturned. On this journey, after we understand Point A and B, we focus on the planning of 3-5 initiatives and come up with a milestone plan (same day). We believe at this juncture is where a lot of strategies fail, sending you back to implement all the initiatives, yet still continue with the same work load? We offer to become your sounding board, advisor and mentor over the months ahead as we help you get the initiatives implemented. We already know what you are trying to accomplish and can hold you to it and make sure it gets done. Aspirations can fade quickly when all you have is 80 hours to work! Believe me, once you get some positive changes out of the way, your employees start to bring their energy into the business and that is where CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT begins.

Creating a baseline through a VISION DAY is an excellent start. You begin to appreciate the culture change in moving from Point A towards Point B. You have a plan and step by step, you begin to implement your initiatives. This is where the rubber hits the road and of course hurdles will be in the way, but with the right support you actually can drive your business through this transformation.

CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT becomes a mantra, a way of doing business. Employees are empowered and encouraged to problem solve. This leads to increased productivity and before you know, the customer is being served faster and better. Your employees understand your goals and provide ongoing support. You also begin to notice how your operational efficiency is improving (translate: creating value) and you begin to look at all procedures and systems with a mindset of eliminating steps that bring no value. Waste is expensive.

One more thing, having NO roadmap does not get your there! Having a roadmap is ONLY effective if you evaluate and measure it regularly to assure your plan is succeeding as planned. If not, the competition will beat you and leave you in the dust with no more fuel. According to a recent PwC report on family businesses[1], the fear of competition almost doubled over the last two years and is a major concern, as the big guys keep getting bigger.

CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT is a path towards a stronger and faster business. Would you like to start a conversation with us? This is the kind of work we are passionate about, and together we can make sure you are not left behind.

I leave you with this saying by Andy Warhol

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself”

[1]  “Professionalize to optimize: US family firms are no longer winging it” by PwC, 2015

CEOs Secret Weapon:Identify & Mitigate Risk for Successful Decision-Making

CEO Workshop Co-Sponsored by Next Stage Solutions and Adaptive Planning


 

 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013 | 10:30am – 12:30pm

Host: Morse, Barnes-Brown & Pendleton, P.C. at CityPoint 230 Third Avenue, 4th Floor Waltham, MA 02451

Register Today!

With the proper approach and correct decision tools, CRITICAL business decisions can be clearly defined, analyzed, and successfully executed by the leadership of any organization.  CRITICAL DECISIONS include:

  • Acquisition or Merger
  • New Product Launch
  • Key Technology Purchase
  • Strategic Alliance/Partnerships
  • New R&D Project
  • Major Capital Investment
  • Sales Force Expansion/Re-Alignment

Overall Approach:

  • Identification of Business Assumptions/Rationale
  • Key Business Drivers
  • Comprehensive Analysis
  • Sensitivity Testing (What-if Scenarios)
  • Executive Summation
  • Post-Decision Follow-up & Outcome Comparison

The NSS value proposition as growth advisors provides the structured approach and oversight for critical decision, making, while Adaptive Planning provides the tools and methodology of effective decision support.

Adaptive Planning is the worldwide leader in cloud-based business analytics solutions for companies of all sizes. The company’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform enables finance and executive team collaboration in planning, monitoring, reporting, and analyzing financial and operational performance.

Update from the NSS Team

Update from the NSS Team…..

Last quarter of 2012 was a busy one for NSS. Some highlights here:

Blu Homes, Inc. makes beautiful green homes suitable for a wide range of residential, commercial and institutional buyers. Blu engaged NSS to provide them with  immediate and seamless interim CFO support during their executive search for a permanent hire. See Blu Homes’ endorsement.

The bakery that makes you feel good with its products and are free of additives and artificial ingredients. Swissbäkers engaged NSS’ services to drive project financing as well as to create the operating business systems to maintain control over growth and profitability as the business scales to new, much higher volumes.

New in 2013

NSS was assigned to work with 8 companies nationwide  through the Larta Institute. Five are through the NIH and three through TATRAC funding agencies.  The focus is to guide the companies towards commercialization with an investor presentation, an 18-month milestone plan and a Quad Chart.

Congratulations to Swissbäkers who was awarded one of the Matching Grant in Manufacturing. Last week, Swissbäkers moved into a very large baking/café facility and NSS is advising them on the plant layout and how to efficiently utilize their new footprint. Stay tuned for the grand opening of the Café!