Business

Pooled Capital

Pooled Capital 150 150 JP

The reason individuals with such high degrees of wealth comes down to pooled capital. One person can control large amounts of resources based on structure and system. Whether it’s Wall Street or Big Tech or a small business in Tuscaloosa, the leaders all compete on the field of capital allocation. Not everyone has the same level of accumulated resources to allocate, but everyone is playing the same game.

Questions Vol. 1

Questions Vol. 1 150 150 JP

There’s no reason to endlessly ask yourself these questions every day or week or month or even quarter; however, it’s crucial to do an audit on your business every year at least and check your financial performance against some benchmark. That means picking some metric (or many) to judge how well you’ve done in the last 12 months and onward. The following questions are simply a guide to that audit since the metrics are not always bottom line in nature.

Questions to guide decisions…
Are you looking to grow or get out?
Is this a business or a career?
What is your core vision of the business?
How serious about your business are you?
Why’d you get into this line of business?
What do you think you sell?
What is your cost to make it?
What are your current expenses?
What do you pay your employees?
How do you go to market? (list all the ways)
Would you say your records are in order?
Have your costs risen faster than your sales?
Do you invest your cash flow outside the business?
Do you have to buy equipment or property often?
Do you have any research or development costs?
What’s your ad budget? Where is it spent?
Do you have a social media strategy?
Do you have a mobile ready website? or App?
How could you increase the prices of your products?
How could you increase the number of times customers buy?
How could you increase your customer base?
How could you increase your employees pay?
How do you run your meetings?
Would you say they are productive?
Would you say your proactive or reactive?
Are you holding weekly meetings on your impact areas?
How can you get your troops congruent with the same message?
Do you steadily repeat core material into your organization?
What kind of first impressions are you making?
How important is confidentiality to you?
How do you spend your time daily?
How many hours a week are you working right now?
If you didn’t show up one day, what happens?
Who are your best buyers?
What are your ambitions as an owner?
Do you have a job or a business?
Do you have a plan for business and marketing?
What are your high impact areas?
Have you created a core story for your business?
Do you have a training platform for your employees?
Are you using tribal method of training? Or, systematic?
Have you set minimal acceptable requirements for every area of the business?
Are your employees performing each aspect of their jobs consistently?
What’s the ideal procedure for initial contact with a client?
What are the 5 questions you’ll ask every client?
What are the 10 follow up procedures that you insist upon?
How fast can you grow?
How much focus do you give to the 3P’s? (planning, policies, procedures)
Are you spending at least one hour a week “on” the business?

and more specific questions… 

Strategy:
Where do you see your business going in the next 5 years?
What is the driving force for you to be involved with this business?
What does your business aim to accomplish?
If there was one message you could send to all of your clientele what would it be?
How did you did you end up in this business? (How long?)
If there was one thing you could change about your business what would it be?

Brand Narrative:
Do you set quotas for your business? (What are they?)
What has been the most effective way to obtain new business?
Do you use social media to market your product?
Do you use your website to assist you in converting sales?
Do you track your marketing and sales? (What has been effective, converted sales, follow up method)
What do you do to retain clients? (Repeat customers)
How long is your sales cycle?
How do you predominantly get your message out to prospective clients?

Technology:
When was the last time you had your website updated?
Do you track how many visitors, sales conversions ect the site has?
Do you post on social media or have someone else do it?
Do you interact with current and/or prospective clients via social media?
Which social media platform do you use?
Do you think a functioning website and social media platform is a key component to running a successful business?
How do you use your website and social platforms to create an advantage for your business?

Operations:
How difficult is it for your business to keep sufficient inventory?
What are the most important processes/procedures you have implemented to ensure success?
What is the most important relationship you have outside of the one with your clients? (Suppliers)
What is the one area of your operations that would need the most assistance?
How do you assess if a procedure is working?
What would you consider your biggest strength? (The thing you worry about least)

Talent Development:
What is the first thing you look for when hiring someone for a position within your company?
Where do you find your talent?
What is the hiring process? (Apply, interview, phone, in person, do you do it yourself, HR)
How much time is spent on training new employees?
Do you keep up to date with new methods and training?
How often are employees being retrained and given new training to develop new skills?
What incentive do you give to retain the workers you have trained?
How do you determine who is a good employee?
What can someone do to get fired in your eyes?
How do you keep your employees accountable for the training they have received and the work that they do?

Finance:
Do you do your accounting in house or have you hired someone outside to do the work?
How do you budget for the the different departments of your business?
What part of your business do you believe is most important to reinvest in?
Do you have a strategy to invest the money that your business brings in?
Do you take advantage of all the tax breaks for owning a small business?
How often are you assessing where your business is and where it is going?

Risk Management:
Do you have legal representation who specializes in your type of business?
What processes/procedures do you have in place to ensure you are compliant within the scope of your business?
Have you ever had an issue with compliance that caused harm to your business or reputation?

Business Must Haves

Business Must Haves 150 150 JP

The most fundamental part of business is generating revenue at a profit so that you can place that back into survival and growth. That said, these are 14 categories that can help, curated from my 20 years of work with business leaders and investors. This is a simple, straightforward set of key focus points for business leaders…

Website
a. responsive (looks good on all devices)
b. relevant to the customer (navigation, info, etc.)
c. provide easy payment / checkout / signup
d. provide data and analytics
e. education on your market / industry / product
f. interaction via blog, chat, social posts, etc.

Social Media
a. sign up for everything (esp. Twitter, FB, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc.)
b. share videos, photos, customer interactions
c. engage with each customer directly
d. provide value via give give give give give give mentality
e. social media is an addition that can help your business
f. get customers to post how good or bad their experiences are, then make it better.

Comps
a. check other businesses in your market (website / store / location)
b. read your local business paper
c. do business with them (if possible)
d. who are the new businesses?

Easy Payments
a. Get all free processors… (square, paypal, stripe, etc.)
b. If necessary, use cheapest for majority of processing
c. give customers the ability to pay anywhere they are
d. give credit terms if possible (e.g. Afterpay)

Playbook
a. research
b. planning / goal setting
c. execution steps
d. adaption tactics
e. per department, sub
f. per different product line

Management SWOT
a. capital allocation
b. hire to fill gaps
c. train to fill gaps

Talent Development
a. on company systems
b. on sales
c. on branding
d. on service
e. on market knowledge
f. on product knowledge
g. on education that helps the employee

Exit Strategy
a. growth and IPO / Merger
b. ownership transition
c. limited engagement to dissolution

Risk Management
a. accountant
b. lawyer
c. lobbyist
d. officials

Systems
a. time management
b. hiring
c. training
d. sales
e. marketing
f. technology
g. operations
h. investing
i. performance measurement

Strategic Audit
a. valuation of the business
b. audit of strategies
c. audit of tactics
d. audit of systems
e. analysis of financials
f. every 12 – 36 months

Core Story
a. educate the buyer with market data
b. build trusted clients / customers
c. solve problems
d. build urgency
e. establish congruency
f. strategically position co.

Benefits Accounts
a. executive wealth management
b. employee 401k, insurance, etc.
c. company ownership programs
d. education and advisement

Initiatives
a. client
b. industry
c. eco
d. social
e. employee
f. brand

Value Adds

Value Adds 150 150 JP

Adding value is really nothing more than value giving because there should be nothing asked in return.

That’s a hard concept for most people to wrap their head around. Me too at times, especially because unlike many many many “value adds” touted, my company operates and is paid by members only. In the upcoming quarters I will be putting out public content and building out a public side of the business – all without ads, sponsors, commissions, etc. I’m not sure what value adds to give, but I hope that they actually do “add value” and don’t just stand there looking stupid.

What can add value for business owners?
Here are some of my ideas so far.

  • Analysis of public businesses
  • Commentary on business news, events
  • Expertise from local business owners
  • Stories about local businesses
  • Discounts from suppliers
  • Directory of B2B experts
  • Curated information, content