Companies experienced unprecedented growth during that time. Smaller companies became larger companies and large companies got even bigger.
But was all of this growth good growth? Did the top line growth equate to growth in the bottom line? Did organizations grow with sales or did they remain static or perhaps become dysfunctional? How many companies, after all of this growth, looked like stars on the outside but remained rookies on the inside?
For years, I have seen companies plan or simply experience sales growth while ignoring ways to continue to support those sales. Strategies focused solely on top line growth often create support gaps. These occur when a company's sales grow beyond the capacity or ability of the organization to support them.
Once support gaps are created in an organization, growth crisis is usually not far behind. The larger the support gaps, the greater the crisis. The greater the crisis, the less the company is able to continue to operate effectively and profitably, continue to satisfy its customers and continue to grow successfully.
When dealing with growing businesses., one basic truth is that support gaps and the growth crises they create cannot exist in an organization for very long. One of two things must happen -- either the company increases support levels to match the requirements of its sales, or its sales will decrease to the level that can be supported.
When support gaps occur, a company can no longer provide customers with what they have come to expect. Dissatisfied customers go elsewhere, and sales decrease.
Infrastructure = support
Support comes from the infrastructure of a company. It's the right combination of management, employees, structure, systems, processes, organizational culture and ownership.
Gaps are created when the sales growth of an organization outgrows the ability or capacity of these components. They are created when twice the number of orders are processed with the same number of people on the same overstressed system.
Gaps are also created when managers who did a good job when sales were at a much lower level are now struggling to manage today's larger operation. They are created when entrepreneurial owners are still trying to directly manage every aspect of their business, like they did when the company was a fraction of the size it is today.
Gaps can be eliminated, or better yet, avoided, by planning support growth along with sales growth, then investing in people and processes. Sales plans and business growth strategies are not complete unless they include plans for building infrastructure support.
Now is the time
This may seem like a strange time to be writing about the effects of rapid growth and growth crisis, when nearly every business seems to be struggling with the effects of the economy and experiencing declining or stagnant sales.
But now, when things are slower, is when problems created by the company's growth become more evident. Now is a perfect time to get back to basics.
Now is the time to objectively assess your company's performance over the last few years and to identify the support gaps and search for symptoms of support gaps throughout your organization.
Were profits where they should have been? How well is the management team performing? Have your systems been outgrown? Ask the questions and then develop and implement infrastructure improvements designed to close those gaps.
The economy will improve. Finding and closing support gaps now, or at the least developing the plan for closing them, will ensure your company is ready for the next round of growth.
Joel Strom (firstname.lastname@example.org) is director of Joel Strom Associates LLC, the growth management practice of C&P Advisors LLC. The firm works exclusively with closely held businesses and their ownership, helping them set and achieve growth objectives while maximizing their profitability and value. Contact him at (216) 831-2663.
If those relationships end badly, feelings get hurt and the subordinate starts looking for retribution by way of a sexual harassment lawsuit. Or the supervisor begins to find a way to get that employee out of the company, setting your firm up for an unlawful termination lawsuit.
"In these cases, people tend to revise history," says Mark Valponi, a partner at Taft, Stettinius & Hollister LLP in Cleveland. "They start to say, 'I was only involved with him or her because I thought I would get fired if I didn't.' But if somebody with authority to confer or withhold a job benefit would do something like that, the company is liable."
In legal terms, that type of sexual harassment is called quid pro quo. The other kind, hostile environment, involves inappropriate sexually oriented comments and/or actions against a co-worker.
Attorneys usually advise against fighting a suit in which a subordinate sues a supervisor in a quid pro quo case. Juries rarely find for the supervisor, and the damage to a company's reputation can't be measured in dollar terms.
"More companies are flat out prohibiting these type of relationships in their sexual harassment policies," Valponi says. "The risks are just too high."
Aside from forbidding supervisor/subordinate relationships, Valponi outlined other guidelines to safeguard your company against sexual harassment lawsuits.
Put it in writing
If you haven't done so already, adopt a zero tolerance policy that forbids sexual harassment in the workplace and clearly defines what kind of behavior is sexual harassment.
Avoid the legalese. Make sure the policy contains a complaint procedure for employees if they think they or one of their coworkers are the victim of sexual harassment. Often the victim doesn't feel comfortable filing a complaint; when one is filed, there should be more than one person that can field it.
"If your policy says, 'Take all complaints to your supervisor,' but your supervisor is the one that's harassing you, then what's the point in taking it there?" Valponi says.
If you run a larger company, pick two or three people who can field complaints. For example, the person in charge of HR or another supervisor outside the department could field complaints, in addition to the employee's main supervisor.
Make sure your other policies match the sexual harassment policy. In this computer age, e-mail and the Internet are often used for sexual harassment.
Make it clear that company computers belong to the company and that they're to be used for company business only. Because it's company property, it's subject to monitoring or searching without employee notice. The same goes for telephones and voice mail.
If you're implementing a policy midstream, have employees sign an acknowledgement that they read it and indicate the date they read it. Follow up by training supervisors and employees on the issues: How to file a complaint, what to do when a complaint is filed and how to respond.
"If you do a cost-benefit analysis, what is the benefit of letting employees post nude calendars or other materials in the workplace?" Valponi says. "The cost of doing that is finding yourself embroiled in a sexual harassment lawsuit. It's not worth it."
How to reach: Taft, Stettinius & Hollister, (216) 241-2838
Executives at Fifth Third Bank believe teaching students about banking is a good start. So as part of its In-School Banking program to teach children the importance of saving, Fifth Third Bank has opened two in-school banks for students at Metro Catholic Parish School in Cleveland and Goodyear Middle School in Akron.
Run by students with supervision from employees from nearby Fifth Third Banking Centers, the banks are open twice a month for the rest of the school year for students to open accounts and make deposits.
Teaching lessons in savings at a young age is crucial. Research cited by the American Bankers Association shows that our national savings rate is lower now than it was during the Depression; Americans are spending $9.99 of every $10 earned.
In-school banking presents an opportunity for students to learn about not only saving and banking, but also about responsibility, planning and career opportunities. And the student bankers selected to run the in-school bank go through an interview and training process -- something most students may not otherwise have the chance to do for many years.
I'm writing in response to your October 2001 "Smooth Waters" column written by Andy Birol on advertising agency/client relationships.
You seem to imply that the relationship is necessarily adversarial and that agency and client interests are inherently contradictory. My experience at local, national and international agencies, as well as time spent as a client, all demonstrate the opposite. As counterpoints to your arguments:
- You talk about a compensation structure in which agencies make money not on their ideas, but on "revenue-generating production services." In fact, that mode of compensation is outdated and inaccurate.
Most agencies are compensated at least partly on a fee basis, not on production and media commissions. This provides the correct incentives to both agency and client -- agencies are compensated for their expertise in idea and strategy generation and clients receive "media neutral," unbiased production and media recommendations.
- By virtue of the above compensation structure, there is not a short-term financial incentive for agencies to engage in plots to "control" and "invade the world of business strategy" to "reap the profits" of executing tactics. Nor is there a long-term incentive.
Agencies thrive as our clients thrive, period. Therefore, to recommend strategies which benefit the agency at the expense of the client is the fastest way for both to go out of business. Not only would that be unethical, but also stupid.
- Finally, you state that small- or mid-sized clients are "not too profitable" for agencies, unless we can convince them to run a large program (implicitly, too large for what they need). Again, this thought is based on an archaic view of compensation and partnership.
Our smaller clients often find us invaluable extensions of their marketing departments. Not only do we bring strategy, ideas and passion to growing their business, but we have great depth and breadth of marketing resources -- sometimes more than they do.
Our small clients often grow to become large clients. Again, as they thrive, so do we.
I encourage you to talk to us, talk to other agencies, and most important, talk to clients. I feel confident you'll gain a different perspective.
VP, Marketing Strategy
The ability to connect anyone -- and anything -- at all times is where the real potential lies. Information can freely flow from devices to the people who use or maintain them. These devices, whether a copy machine, air conditioner or other mechanical unit, can all be integrated into a larger information system.
''Our view is that these devices contain a lot of valuable information on customers,'' says John Canosa, chief scientist at Questra, a software company that integrates the Internet into everyday devices. ''Companies are always looking at ways they can get closer to the customer. These devices are right now sitting in a customer's space, and they use them every day.''
Canosa says that by taking the basic information from a copier, for example, a vendor can provide better service. Information on how often it's used, what it's used for and when it breaks down is all sitting there untapped.
''Until now, there really hasn't been an easy way to extract this information and get it into your systems to make use of it,'' says Canosa.
Some other examples:
* Manufacturing. Computer chip makers have hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in their manufacturing equipment. When the equipment isn't working, the chip makers aren't making money.
By tying the device to the machine's manufacturer via the Internet, its performance can be monitored. As problems and degradation of performance become evident, preventive maintenance can be done before the device fails.
* Service. Every office building probably has a rooftop air conditioner. If one should develop an oil leak in the compressor, the unit will eventually stop working. And if this happens in the middle of summer, your employees will probably stop working, too.
By tying the air conditioner into a monitoring system that is connected to the Internet, the service company can detect problems in advance and possibly even perform a remote diagnostic test so it can have the right parts on hand before ever going up on the roof.
''I personally believe the device revolution will actually dwarf the impact the Internet has had on the access to information,'' says Canosa. ''There will be more timely and more accurate information that will be collected and placed into a monitoring system. This is going to change how some organizations do business.''
This technology isn't years away, either. It's here right now. Wal-Mart has had its point-of-sale devices tied into its management system for years. FedEx spent tens of millions of dollars on its package tracking system.
''They had to build the entire system, and they were successful, but they had to spend large sums of money to do it,'' says Canosa. ''The Internet is bringing this to the masses. The infrastructure is already there. They don't have to spend millions to do it.''
New business software, whether it's customer relationship management software or something else, understands the language of the Web, which enables businesses to make the most out of this new data stream.
''If this is done right, you won't even see the computer,'' says Canosa. ''You're already interacting with computers every day that you don't know are there.''
On a basic level, it might mean you never run out of toner for your copier -- or even have to order any. You might make a deal with the vendor, who would then monitor your toner supplies via the device. When the supply runs low, a refill would be automatically ordered.
''This can provide a tremendous competitive advantage for manufacturers of these devices,'' says Canosa. ''Commoditization is ongoing in a lot of products and there are huge margin pressures, making it very difficult to differentiate your products. What the difference will be is that a company will be able to offer service and guarantee a 100 percent up-time.''
Vendors will transform from selling products to selling products plus services.
''We are in the genesis of the revolution,'' says Canosa. ''What we're seeing is affecting the ways people run businesses. The changes that are just starting will be profound.'' How to reach: www.questra.com
Todd Shryock (email@example.com) is SBN Magazine's special reports editor.
How can your company walk the talk of being customer-focused? Here's a recommended course of action:
1. Involve your customers in defining programs and their ideal experience.
2. Understand your customers' definition of a job well done. Understand what they consider unacceptable, a must-do, a nice-to-do and what would wow them. Do this before you roll out a CRM program or an e-commerce site.
3. Keep the customer involved throughout the ''define and design'' stage. This will help you hone the program and work out the kinks in a preventive way, before the program or service is introduced.
4. Remember that customers at different stages of their relationship with you should be treated differently. Communication with your customers is like dating: They find you or you find them. The first interaction you have with them -- e-mail, in person, on the Web, or over the phone -- is pivotal.
5. Learn from others. Great information on best practices for e-mail marketing, customer loyalty, Web site development and CRM is readily available from books, magazines, conferences and on the Web.
6. Focus on continuous improvement. Track what is working and what isn't with your customers. Understand their priorities and identify three things you can do that would most dramatically improve your customers' satisfaction, repurchase habits and loyalty (and your bottom line). Make incremental and regular changes. Show customers you are listening and learning from them.
CRM initiatives can affect all aspects of provider behavior and related customer behavior. Costs can be reduced and revenue increased. If your efforts can influence even a single behavior or customer-related metric, the payback can be enormous.
Your investments in CRM initiatives will result in exponential returns, provided they are executed well.
I always thought this was an interesting way of putting it. This allows the country to withdraw its forces and reorganize while saving its dignity.
The same strategy can be applied to business. Some are withdrawing so they can reorganize to better face these tumultuous times. Since the inception of this magazine, I have never seen this kind of a business climate. Consumer confidence is lacking, fear is in the air and businesses are not sure what to do.
For some companies, this is a time for survival mode, while others try to preserve what they have and move cautiously forward. The tragic events of Sept. 11 pushed an already struggling economy over the edge.
So what are we going to do about it? We are going to fight. We can never give up, regardless of our circumstances. This is a time when we must all work together.
In his inaugural address, John F. Kennedy said, ''Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.'' The same goes for us. What can we do as business owners to help our country and our economy?
One of the first things all Americans did after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks was to connect with someone. We either made a phone call to a friend or family member or shared with someone at work.
This is because we are wired for relationships. It's these relationships that will see us through these difficult times, and it is relationships that will keep the economy going. As business people, we need to understand that we need each other. No person can be an island.
This is a time when we need to reach out to a fellow worker, family member or friend and share what we are going through. It is a time to reach out to other businesses and our associates to establish new relationships and solidify old ones.
Here are four reasons we should reach out to others regardless of our circumstances.
1. Wisdom comes from an abundance of counselors. The more people you talk to, the better idea you'll have of what needs to be done.
2. What goes around, comes around. Lending a helping hand in both your business and personal life now means others will help you when the need arises.
3. The best things in life are not things, they are relationships. Relationships are what define us as people and what move our businesses forward.
4. God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. Don't let pride dictate bad decisions. Performing your own strategic withdrawal in order to reorganize for another fight may be necessary to survive difficult economic times.
The world is a different place than it was a few months ago. The best way to get through these tough times -- both personally and professionally -- is to work together. People are the foundation upon which we should rebuild, because nothing can wreck a solid relationship.
So let's lend a helping hand and do our part to rebuild our fragile economy. Fred Koury (firstname.lastname@example.org) is president and CEO of SBN Magazine.
By today's standards, my grandfather would probably not be considered an educated man.
He had no formal college education, but he was very wise. You might say he had street smarts. He also had a way of using analogies and stories to teach us the ways of the world.
He especially liked to use horse stories; one of his favorites was the one about beating a dead horse. He used to say that a prudent man, once he knew his horse was dead, would either find a new horse or find another means of transportation.
If that's true, why do so many entrepreneurs and business managers seem to have a hard time with such a simple concept? Why do so many strategies seem to be based on reviving the horse rather than accepting the fact that this horse is not going to take you where you want to go?
Instead of moving on to a new horse, we try a bigger whip. If that doesn't work, we try sharper spurs. Then we try to talk to the horse and coax it back to life. In the worst cases, we may even promote it, thinking that will wake it up.
We keep pouring our limited -- and often high-cost resources -- into a revival process. Then, when we finally admit that the horse is gone, we have no more resources to invest into our next horse.
Knowing when to give up on the horse is important in all aspects of your business. It could be as large as your overall business strategy, products or services. Think of all of the businesses that used to be viable but are no longer -- the typewriter sales company, the small office supply store, the corner hardware store.
The owners who knew they had a dead horse before it took its last breath likely found a way to change horses and move on. But this also applies to smaller functions within our businesses and even to our employees and managers. Instead of facing the fact that a particular manager or employee is not going to change and become the star we had hoped for, we keep ''beating,'' sometimes for years, until we finally admit defeat.
In today's changing environment -- both economically and technically -- it is important for owners and managers of growing businesses to stop beating those dead horses and learn how to determine when it is time to fold and move on. Here are some suggestions to help you accomplish this.
Never fall in love with your horse. If you do, admitting that it's over and that you need to move on will be difficult. It's easier to leave emotion out of the decision if you simply like your horse. This may be extremely difficult for those who have nurtured and groomed their horse for many years.
The longer you wait, the less likely you are to win the race. Your horse may not be capable of getting you around the track fast enough, and if you let competitors get fresh horses before you do, it's likely you'll be behind for a long time.
Finally, remember that just because it's still breathing doesn't mean there's a future. Some of us feel that as long as the mirror fogs up, there's still hope. The fact is, even if we get the horse back on its feet, it's still the same horse. The next time we try to have it perform, it will likely collapse again.
As my grandfather said, sometimes all it takes is a little logic and some common horse sense. Joel Strom (email@example.com) is director of Joel Strom Associates LLC, the growth management practice of C&P Advisors LLC. The firm works exclusively with closely held businesses and their ownership, helping them set and achieve growth objectives while maximizing profitability and value. Contact him at (216) 831-2663.
Stories of companies laying off employees and reporting higher than expected losses have caused business owners to reanalyze strategies and relationships.
With the prospect of decreased sales and consolidating markets,owners are trying to eliminate payment and performance risk while maintaining growth. Understanding business transaction documentation and payment practices in a changing market is necessary to help achieve these goals.
The first way to eliminate payment and performance risk is to determine whether the company's day-to-day documentation will govern its transactions, and what happens if another party's forms contradicts its forms. Although the business environment plays a large part in deciding these questions, a company should have a good set of purchase orders and order acknowledgments to combat the battle of the forms successfully, or at least break even.
Without having language to try to make one's sales or service terms control, a business may find it has agreed to warranty, delivery, price and payment terms that are unexpectedly imposed by the small print of the other party.
Even if a business utilizes good purchase and sale forms, it may still face the prospect of a nonpaying customer or nonperforming supplier. Without the benefit of a guarantor, performance bond, security interest or letter of credit, a company would be required to obtain a personal judgment in court against the nonperforming party, procure a writ of execution directing the sheriff to seize any nonexempt property and hold a sheriff's sale.
The risks include the prospect that the assets have been sold, subject to prior execution, encumbered by a secured loan or subject to bankruptcy. To reduce these risks, businesses utilize security and performance arrangements.
One of the most common protections for a seller is to obtain a security interest in collateral owned by the buyer. Under this arrangement, the seller provides to the buyer value in the form of loan proceeds, goods or services in exchange for retaining as security tangible or intangible property owned by the buyer. If the seller wants to protect its security interest in the collateral against competing third parties, it must perfect its status by taking possession of the collateral or filing a financing statement.
If secured, a seller may use self-help repossession or a writ of replevin. Once the seller possesses the collateral, it may hold a foreclosure sale and go after the buyer for any deficiency.
A special type of security interest that generally provides a seller a security interest ahead of any that would otherwise be entitled to priority is a purchase money security interest or PMSI. Under a PMSI, a seller is given a security interest either in collateral it has provided to the buyer or that the buyer acquired by the use loan proceeds given by the seller.
A PMSI may not be granted in intangible property, except in software acquired by the buyer for the principal purpose of running the software on hardware in which the seller has a PMSI or with the acquisition of the related hardware. Although the law governing PMSIs in goods has been recently revised enabling PMSI debt to be secured by additional non-PMSI collateral, and PMSI collateral to secure non-PMSI debt, a seller must follow statutory filing, notice and delivery requirements to obtain PMSI status.
Also, PMSIs are susceptible to very complicated rules governing sales proceeds and competing PMSIs.
As an alternative, some inventory suppliers deliver goods to a sales representative on consignment, whereby the rep takes possession but not title to the goods. To obtain consignment status, a supplier must comply with filing, notice and signage laws.
Although a consignor may have protected its title to the goods, it still must put in place protections to reduce payment risk. Whether utilizing consignment or a security interest arrangement, a seller should conduct a lien search of the buyer.
Letters of credit
Rather than rely on the credit of a buyer, a seller may rely on the credit of a third-party guarantor or an issuing bank. Under a letter of credit transaction, a buyer directs its bank to pay the sales price of goods or services upon the seller's timely presentation to the bank of documents specified in the letter of credit.
Documents normally include the seller's invoice, bill of lading, a draft ordering the bank to pay the seller, packing list, insurance certificate and inspection certificate. The letter of credit entitles the seller to prompt payment by the issuing bank despite the existence of a dispute or claim by the buyer in the underlying transaction.
Unlike a guaranty, with which the guarantor may raise all the defenses of the buyer, the issuing bank may not raise those defenses.
Another form of letter of credit used to provide payment in lieu of the performance of nonmonetary obligations is a standby letter of credit -- the issuing bank is merely ''standing by,'' just in case the underlying transaction is not performed by the obligor.
For example, if the underlying obligation is a loan, the issuing bank would pay the lender upon presentation of a draft or demand for payment and a document certifying the borrower is in default under the loan, as well as assure the payment of monetary obligations.
Letters of credit are not perfect. Along with increasing transaction costs, they may be subject to economic and political risks that include issuer solvency and reputation (accustomed to issuing letters of credit), payment location (governmental restrictions or war zones) and the timeline to produce the letter of credit documents. Pat Flynn (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an attorney at Arter & Hadden LLP and a member of the firm's E-Group where he focuses his practice on corporate, finance and securities matters. The E-Group is a multidisciplinary group of attorneys who focus their practice on entrepreneurial, emerging growth, Internet and e-commerce companies. Flynn can be reached at (216) 696-5696. For additional information about the E-Group and to read SBN ''Matter of Law'' reprints, visit mailto:http://www.arterhadden.com/egroup.
The 2001 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award International Conference takes place this month in Palm Springs, Calif. and Northeast Ohio will be well represented, with nine regional winners SBN Magazine profiled in our July issue doing battle against almost 500 others from 44 cities across the country.
Scott Keglovic, co-founder and creative director of Arras Group and a Northeast Ohio Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winner last year, attended last year's national ceremony and says it was such a valuable motivational and networking experience that he plans to attend again this year, and maybe every year. Keglovic and co-founder Jim Hickey took top honors at the 2000 Northeast Ohio Entrepreneur Of The Year Award in the Marketing and Communications category.
The firm, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, has grown 428 percent in the last five years and expects $85 million in billings this year.
''One of things we took away from the conference was that you've got to keep pedaling, you've got to keep pushing the bar,'' Keglovic says. ''You have to keep motivating your employees, you've got to empower people to move to the next level.''
Keglovic sat down with SBN recently and talked about his experiences at the conference and some of the lessons he brought back to Cleveland with him.
SBN: What was the main impression you came away with from last year's Entrepreneur Of The Year International Conference?
Keglovic: The main thing that my partner, Jim, and I came away with was that there was a consistent message through everyone that participated that each one of the finalists had a passion for what they did, and that this was something they truly loved. They had a drive that was related more toward a sports athlete, but from a business perspective.
There was a feeling that if you could dream it, you could do it. When you boil it down to one thing, it was really passion, and passion in the fact that you could actually create your own set of circumstances and take them to market.
As an entrepreneur, I can speak for my partner also, it takes a commitment from us, but it also takes a commitment of others to make a business succeed. That's one thing as an agency or a business in today's market, you've got to have people that are team players, that are really focused on the greater good of the whole company.
We just got off of our 10th anniversary and had a party for 900 people, and what that was all about was really to say 'thank you' to everyone who helped us get here. It came off the shirttails of the Entrepreneur (Of The Year Award) a year ago.
What did you think of your competition at the conference?
There weren't a lot of marketing firms, which was interesting because (the judges) are looking for companies that are pretty unique. (These companies) have to have a specific differentiation of selling ideas, how they're going to market themselves and how they market their product.
But to even be considered in the light of some of those corporations that were much larger than ours was a fantastic thing.
We're going back this year again to the conference because Jim and I got a lot out of it last year. It's going to be an annual thing where we can rub elbows with some of the up-and-coming companies and also there's a lot of good knowledge we can gather from attending.
You're really on the cutting edge of some of the new philosophies of how business is going to be run over the next year and some of the hot things that are happening. For example, the dot-com market was very hot last year, and you can see that some of the people that spoke at the conference and some of the people that participated have had some rough times over the course of the past year.
What lessons did you start using when you got back to Cleveland?
More than anything, it was a motivating four or five days. You get back and compare yourself to what the speakers spoke about and the criteria that they set for themselves before they succeeded at a national level and became players on the stock market.
Even though we're a smaller company, we found we were doing some of those same things here, which was encouraging. But as an entrepreneur, you get this business started, and you've got all this stuff wrapped into it, but at some point you've got to rely on others to carry the load and deliver for your clients. Otherwise, you won't go anywhere.
A couple of things that we're implementing in terms of the agency are more motivation tools for our employees. One of things we're going to be doing is ''The Great Game of Life,'' which is a four-day sabbatical where the whole agency will go out on a ropes course and we'll do a lot of interacting and activities.
It's going to be one those things where, as an agency and as a group of people, it will be learning that as my teammate, I can trust you and we can talk freely. It will be team building and we'll build stronger company values. As a company, we have to empower our people to have the same type of vision that Jim and I have.
And as you empower those people, you have to give them the ability to take chances, take risks, fail and succeed.
What would you recommend to somebody going to this year's conference?
Make sure you network a lot, meet a lot of people. Remember that you're really a sponge. Jim and I really didn't know what to expect.
We knew we were sort of getting honored, but we also didn't realize the potential and level of which a lot of these companies had succeeded. When Jim and I came back to the agency to really talk about our experience, we sat down with the staff and we said, 'It's not about us, it's about the organization. We might have been the guys that have been pedaling the bike, but we're not going to be the guys that are going to finish the race.'
Another thing we learned and gathered is that process is so important to any business. Financial processes, business processes, that sort of thing, that as a entrepreneur, you're doing everything, but as you grow and as you need to evolve, you need to have those strict processes in place to really move forward and get to the next level. How to reach: Arras Group, (216) 621-1601
Morgan Lewis Jr. (email@example.com) is senior reporter at SBN Magazine.