Leverage Your Time for Bottom Line Results with an Engagement Manager

Investing time in building and maintaining relationships – both external to the organization and internal to the organization –  is critical to the success of every CEO.

I recently learned of a structured approach for enhancing relationships by Patrick Ewers, founder and CEO of Mindmaven, a coaching firm that works with leaders AND their assistants.

Using the Mindmaven model — leverage, intent, and fellowship— I began implementing some of these principles within my own business and invited Patrick to share it with members of the Executive Forums Silicon Valley peer groups.

How leaders can “achieve True Greatness by freeing up 8+ hours a week so they can use that time to invest in what truly matters most: relationships.” 

Patrick shared with us several hands-on, step-by-step ways in which a CEO can gain leverage to build better relationships by training an executive assistant to become a CEO’s “engagement manager (EM).” 

The term Engagement Manager (EM) is not the same as a social media engagement manager, but this role has some of the same results.

An EM is trained by the CEO to address tasks that not only free up a CEO’s time, but can increase relationship building opportunities, thus freeing the CEO to focus on high value activity which impacts bottom line results.

LEVERAGE tactics Patrick suggested: 

Voice Communications via Dictation Software

Patrick demonstrated in real time how to leverage an hour or more a day using a phone application to dictate tasks, emails, and meeting notes. Leaders are much better at verbal communication and dictation can be done asynchronously (when time permits as opposed to when the assistant is available). Dictation files are delivered directly to an EM via email, text, or a project management system such as Asana. The EM receives the dictated instructions and moves the requested task forward.

Inbox Shadowing

A second technique discussed was inbox shadowing. By giving an EM access to a CEO’s email for “Inbox Shadowing,” a CEO can trust that emails are sorted by priority so they can move quickly through their inbox. Sorting labels or folders might look like this: 

  • Drafts (responses drafted for CEO review)
  • Please Handle (emails on which the EM needs CEO input first)
  • Completed (emails completely handled within authority of the EM)
  • FYI emails (to read later)

Using dictation and inbox shadowing, an EM can be responsible for drafting follow up emails, meeting debriefs, and pre-meeting planning documents.

Meeting Debriefs and LoopLeverage

With structured and habitualized Meeting Debriefs, a CEO can quickly capture important details from a meeting in a voice dictation sent to their EM who then implements the Mindmaven LoopLeverage technique.

LoopLeverage uses followup tasks, reminders, and tracking in a CRM, calendar, or project management software. These reminders, set for the EM, allow the EM to proactively follow up about promises made to and by the CEO. The personal connection information and business key facts that a CEO learns and shares in their Meeting Debrief dictation also gets tracked by the EM to bring up for robust future meeting conversations.

Together these leverage techniques—Meeting Debriefs and LoopLeverage—help a CEO build trust and stronger relationships while also lifting their mental load, ultimately resulting in increased intent and fellowship, goals of the Mindmaven model.

Culmination of Time, Training, and Small Steps Yield Results

Patrick emphasized that it takes three to six months for a CEO to make these steps natural and train an EM. However, small ideas and steps over time lead to cumulative results that can result in free time for a CEO to generate big ideas. And results.

If you are a leader who could use 8 to 10 hours a week to of free time build business relationships (internal and external) and reduce stress associated with low impact high urgency tasks, I recommend reaching out to Patrick Ewers and the Mindmaven team (www.mindmaven.com/contact) to have a discussion. 

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At Executive Forums Silicon Valley, selected business owners and leaders work together to gain clarity, insight and accountability to ignite their leadership engines, grow their businesses and improve their lives. If you are interested in learning more about Business Owner Advisory Boards, Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), Stages of Growth, Value Builder System or becoming a member at Executive Forum Silicon Valley, please contact Glenn Perkins: gperkins@executiveforums.com or call 408-901-0321. For more information visit http://www.execforumssv.com/.

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Overcome Perfectionism and Lead with Imperfection

Executive coach, speaker and author Vitale Buford presented at the Silicon Valley Executive Forum about overcoming perfectionism in May 2021.

She started by quoting Brene Brown: “Perfection is a 20-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from taking flight.”

Striving for excellence is a positive passion and a self-initiated drive that makes a great CEO or a leader, while being a perfectionist is allowing one’s worst critique constantly judging oneself as a bystander. A perfectionist mindset is based on limiting beliefs about oneself and others, and is mentally, emotionally and psychologically debilitating.

Symptoms of perfectionism in work and in life

Symptoms of perfectionism can be:

  • People-pleasing
  • Approval seeking
  • Control
  • Avoiding conflict
  • Anxiety and fear
  • Obsessive thoughts
  • High expectations
  • Low self-worth
  • Comparison
  • Procrastination
  • Feeling stuck
  • Indecision

Perfectionism is manifested in our careers like this:

  • Overcommitting, chronic multitasking, “hurry syndrome”
  • Constant need for control
  • Unrealistic expectations of yourself and others
  • Imposter syndrome
  • Destructive self-criticism
  • Setting “people-pleasing” deadlines vs. realistic deadlines
  • Chronic stress and overwhelm
  • Your career is your identity
  • Taking on too many projects and feeling burnt out

Perfectionism hinders our ability to live our lives in ways such as:

  • Always doing for others and never saying “no”
  • Not being able to make a decision and asking everyone for advice; seeking external validation
  • Constant comparison
  • Setting goals and not taking action; waiting for the “perfect time”
  • Lack of healthy boundaries in relationships
  • Overwhelm, anxiety, worry
  • Not speaking up for your needs
  • I “should” be further along

3-step process of leading with imperfection

Step 1: Awareness = Curious Observation + Pattern Identification

In identifying patterns of perfectionist behaviors, Ms. Buford listed “slow and fast perfectionism” for our intentional observation:

  • Slow:
    • Procrastination
    • Indecision
    • Fear of failure
    • Imposter Syndrome
    • Feeling stuck
    • Anxiety
    • Black and white thinking
    • Avoiding conflict
  • Fast:
    • Approval seeking
    • People pleasing
    • Unrealistic expectations for yourself and others
    • Obsessive thinking
    • Need for control
    • “Work harder, achieve more” thinking
    • Constant overwhelm

Both slow and fast perfectionism can negatively affect our relationships, personal development, family and parenting, finances, health, fun and enjoyment and the ability to lead oneself and others.

Step 2: Mindset Change

Ms. Buford suggested using  “habit of self-compassion”, summarized as “Four Cs” - criticism, curiosity, compassion, and choice, -  to reframe perfectionist way of thinking, with mantras and routines:

  1. Notice your Criticism
  2. Get Curious
  3. Show yourself Compassion
  4. Choose better

Step 3: Action

What does it take to build habits of self-compassion, other than time? 

“Reframing, mantras, routines” are the three words Ms. Buford used to conclude her presentation.  

To get out of the negative and self-destructive habits of thinking, first refrain from thinking “what if…”, insead, think “even if…”.  Refrain from viewing anxiety-causing unknown as “uncertainty”, but to view it as “possibility”. Refrain from constantly doing the “balancing” acts of pleasing everyone, and start to actively pursue your own “priority”. 

Mantras like these ones below can also help us feel good about ourselves:

“I give myself room to be human.”

“Done is better than perfect.”

“I cannot miss out on what’s meant for me.”

Action leads to confidence leads to action.

Creating new routines to reinforce new habits of thinking can gradually lead to changing perfectionist behaviors. 

To get more information about overcoming perfectionism, please contact @VitaleBuford 

www.facebook.com/vitalebuford vitale@vitalebuford.com

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At Executive Forums Silicon Valley, selected business owners and leaders work together to gain clarity, insight and accountability to ignite their leadership engines, grow their businesses and improve their lives. If you are interested in learning more about Business Owner Advisory Boards, Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), Stages of Growth, Value Builder System or becoming a member at Executive Forum Silicon Valley, please email Glenn Perkins: gperkins@executiveforums.com or call 408-901-0321. For more information visit http://www.execforumssv.com/.

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Financial Planning

Financial planner and wealth advisor Stephen Grochol of SGC Financial Services presented at the Executive Forum Silicon Valley in 2021 about all major six areas of financial planning: Current financial position, retirement planning, insurance protection planning, investment planning, estate planning and tax planning. 

To put all pieces together AND to accomplish one’s retirement goals, these steps need to be taken:

  1. Identifying goals
  2. Gathering data
  3. Analysis and planning
  4. Develop solutions
  5. Implement strategies
  6. Review (quarterly)

Current financial situation

“You don’t know where you are going if you don’t know where you are…” said Mr. Grochol.  Whether an individual or a couple, the first place to start is a current year’s balance sheet that breaks down assets and liabilities, as well as percentage for asset types such as cash, taxable investments, qualified retirement, life insurance and real estate. This first step is to:

  • Determine current income and expenses
  • Determine current and projected net worth
  • Establish an emergency fund

Retirement planning

To prepare for retirement, you need to 

  • Estimate retirement income and expenses
  • Determine retirement savings needs
  • Determine how to distribute your retirement funds

To determine if an individual or a couple have enough funds for retirement, projections will be made for possible retirement preferences such as 

  • When you can retire: early, late, or on time
  • Spending levels during retirement
  • Risk analysis for various market conditions
  • Remaining assets for your estate

Insurance planning

The purpose of insurance planning is for

  • Providing for your family in the event of death
  • Protecting your income in the event of disability

For most of the aging retirees, long term care costs can be significant without adequate long term care insurance. In the event of disability, not only will there be substantial draining of wealth, but there is also the opportunity cost as the lost investment growth on the money used for paying for care from income or from existing investments. It is important to do the following planning long before retirement:

  • Longer term care insurance planning
  • Life insurance effect on protection planning and estate transfer
  • Long term disability
  • Health insurance
  • Liability insurance

Investment planning

One important way of wealth accumulation is through investment, which requires one to 

  • Assess your risk tolerance
  • Design an asset allocation strategy
  • Evaluate investment strategies
  • Fund college education or a home purchase

Asset allocation depends on each person’s risk tolerance. Mr. Grochol presented this question for members of the Executive Forum to determine their own risk tolerance:

Which of the following statements would best describe your reaction if the value of your portfolio were to suddenly decline by 15%?

  1. I would be very concerned because I can’t accept fluctuations in the value of my portfolio.
  2. If the amount of income I receive was unaffected, it wouldn’t bother me. 
  3. Although I invest for long-term growth, even a temporary decline would concern me.
  4. Although I invest for long-term growth, I would accept temporary fluctuations due to market influences.

Estate Planning

The purpose of estate planning is to:

  • Transfer your estate according to your wishes
  • Minimize estate taxes and expenses
  • Fund estate taxes

To avoid costly and prolonged probate, these documents need to be prepared in advance of one’s death:

  • Trust
  • Last Will and Testament
  • Power of Attorney
  • Health Care Directive
  • Charitable Remainder Trust

Tax planning

  • Project federal income taxes
  • Evaluate tax-minimizing strategies
  • Investigate tax-favored investments

With every financial decision and recommendation in a financial plan, tax planning needs to be strongly considered in all areas and at every phase.

Please email Stephen Grochol at stephen.grochol@sgc-financial.co, or call: (650) 227-0380

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At Executive Forums Silicon Valley, selected business owners and leaders work together to gain clarity, insight and accountability to ignite their leadership engines, grow their businesses and improve their lives. If you are interested in learning more about Business Owner Advisory Boards, Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), Stages of Growth, Value Builder System or becoming a member at Executive Forum Silicon Valley, please contact Glenn Perkins gperkins@executiveforums.com or call 408-901-0321. For more information visit http://www.execforumssv.com/.

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Financial EQ Can Improve Your Relationship with Money

Executive Forum Silicon Valley invited Emily Scott, a thought partner working with her clients to help unpack their money stories to improve their personal and professional financial decision-making, communications, and relationships. With no assets under management, Emily’s sole skin in the game is her clients’ peace of mind and clarity in discovering their money mindset, exploring their legacy, and determining their philanthropy.   Emily works with financial advisors, and other professionals to help their clients understand the role of money in all aspects of their lives.

Identifying one’s own feelings about money

Ms. Scott started with a self assessment on a scale from 1- 10, to see the intensity of one’s feeling about one’s money, more or less categorized into four types of emotions:

  1. Grateful, secure, tranquil, enough, amazed, thankful
  2. Anxious, concerned, nervous, uncertain, uneasy, stressed, worried
  3. Vulnerable, fragile, miserly
  4. Scared, frightened, paralyzed, terrified, f*cked

When it comes to decision making the personal side of money is more important than the technical side

There are two sides to money, the technical and personal sides. Both sides are equally important and complex, but it is the personal side that drives decision-making, said Emily.

The technical side includes aspects such as taxed, investments, estate planning, cash flow, risk management.

The personal side encompasses relationships, emotions, hopes and dreams, self-esteem, sense of well-being.

Financial EQ affects decisions, communications & relationships

Aristotle said: “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” 

Everyone’s relationship with money starts with one’s core beliefs about money.  Our money story starts early in our lives by the implicit and explicit messages we receive on a daily basis. This story comes from our homes, our cultures, gender, media, and more. For most, we are taught to not talk about money and any feelings we have are deeply embedded and manifest in ways we don’t even realize.

The source of all money-related thoughts and behaviors derives from one’s core beliefs.

Thoughts and behaviors around money lead to outcomes and consequences.

Better outcomes with money depend on changing one’s beliefs, thoughts, behaviors

If you are not happy with your money situation, you need to start to adopt NEW beliefs, as shown in the below example of a  “personal wealth mission statement”: 

  • “I want my money to represent who I want to be as a human being, with my knowledge and emotions aligned to maintain my security, flexibility, freedom, and generosity.

Several things need to happen in order to achieve better outcomes:

  1. Recognize beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors that are detrimental to your new goals;
  2. Rethink and reframe new beliefs and thoughts that are intended for better outcomes; Revisit these beliefs, to get clarity and confidence;
  3. Align intentionality with developing new habits and routines for reaching your new goals;
  4. Getting your subconscious (your “computer”) to work for you, until your goals are accomplished.

To get a personal consultation about changing your relationship with money, please contact Emily Scott’s email: emily@emilyscottand.com or call her at: (415) 609-1900. 

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At Executive Forums Silicon Valley, selected business owners and leaders work together to gain clarity, insight and accountability to ignite their leadership engines, grow their businesses and improve their lives. If you are interested in learning more about Business Owner Advisory Boards, Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), Stages of Growth, Value Builder System or becoming a member at Executive Forum Silicon Valley, please contact Glenn Perkins: gperkins@executiveforums.com or call 408-901-0321. For more information visit http://www.execforumssv.com/.

A Roadmap for Pivoting a Business Towards Future Growth

In times of turmoil, we hear the inevitable cry to pivot your business into a new set of products or services. Exactly how is that done? What are the steps? 

 Do we need a crisis to pivot our business?

Shouldn’t we always be looking to pivot our business?

And, if pivoting is so easy, why doesn’t everyone do it? 

These questions were explored at the Executive Forums Silicon Valley Top Executive Forum this month through a presentation and discussion led by Beatrice Stonebanks (Stonebanks Sales Management Teams). 

The discussion explored both the impact of the current COVID 19 environment as well as general long-term industry and buyer trends. After all, no one wanted to be like BlockBuster Video who missed the trend and technology of HOW consumers wanted to procure and engage, even though they knew all along about consumer demand for video content. Same goes with many taxi companies who did not innovate and pivot towards new ways of meeting customers’ needs for transportation and missed the trend and technology of HOW consumers wanted to procure and engage.

Ms. Stonebanks walked the members through some specifics on how to use industry reports to answer the following types of questions, as a roadmap to focus on:

  • What are the trends in your market? 
  • Exactly why are your best customers buying from you? 
  • What technology will be used to buy your products and services?
  • Where are the growth sectors that value similar characteristics?
  • What happens in your target markets if a Black Swan event happens?
  • How must you embrace technology to stay relevant to your customers?

This is a concise and straightforward method using just a few key questions to determine why your best customers value your product, service or company and what additional value you can provide.

The members were led through the “Stonebanks Sales Management 10 Step Process” that acts as a roadmap to help companies work through this process. A summary of the ten steps of this process are:

  1. Access 2020 Tech Trends Report 
  2. Research Your Sector (or the sector you might pivot into)
  3. Keyword Search a Term or a Specific Niche
  4. Conduct an Ideal Client Summary
  5. Create a Decision Matrix for Your Company
  6. Choose your Preferred Target Niche(s) 
  7. Review the Top Ten Fastest Growing Sectors – Match with Your Niche
  8. Analyze Optimistic and Pessimistic Trends in Selected Sectors
  9. Adjust Your Products or Services Accordingly
  10. Create Your Business Development Game Plan

Each specific member company was presented with a quick summary of the results of this process. For example, for one member who runs a full-service printing company, the following trends were identified. Although these types of trends are just the tip of the iceberg, consider how valuable this type of data-derived information can be in developing business growth plans. These trends were  identified for the printing company:

  • print on packaging is a growth area – flexography, gravure
  • professional services to other printers 
  • geographic collaboration (FTD model) are applicable
  • sector growing by 12% through 2024

This short article cannot do justice to the richness of the discussion around this process, and how it is relevant at all times, beyond COVID 19.

So pivoting is not that easy, however, there is a process that can be used. If you are looking to skate your company to where the puck will be (or how to use the puck in a completely new game), I recommend that you contact Beatrice Stonebanks (510 338-0896 www.stonebanks.net). 

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At Executive Forums Silicon Valley, selected business owners and leaders work together to gain clarity, insight and accountability to ignite their leadership engines, grow their businesses and improve their lives. If you are interested in learning more about Business Owner Advisory Boards, Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) or The Seven Stages of Growth, contact gperkins@executiveforums.com or call 408-901-0321. For more information visit http://www.execforumssv.com/.

Justification for Your Next Vacation

Perhaps the best way to succeed in your business, is to work yourself out of your business.

The better your company runs on autopilot, the more valuable it will be when you’re ready to sell or transition. 

A recent survey by The Value Builder Score found companies that would perform well without their owner for a period of three months are 50 percent more likely to get an offer to be acquired when compared to more owner-dependent businesses. 

Let your vacation be a detective

There is no better justification for taking a blissful, uninterrupted holiday than to see how your company performs in your absence. To gauge your company’s ability to handle your absence, start by taking a vacation. Leave your computer at home and switch off your mobile. Upon your return, you’ll probably discover that your employees got resourceful and found answers to a lot of the questions they would have asked you if you had been in the building or on the end of an email or telephone call. That’s a good thing and a sign you should start planning an even longer vacation.

You’ll also likely come back to an inbox full of issues that need your personal attention. Instead of busily finding answers to each problem in a frenzied attempt to clean up your inbox, slow down and look at each issue through the lens of a possible problem with your people, systems or authorizations

People – start with your people and answer the following questions:

  • Why did this issue or problem end up on my desk?
  • Who else is qualified to answer this question?
  • Why did the organization not contact and consult that person?
  • If nobody is qualified, who can be trained for the future?

In my many years of leading and working with companies, growing the capability of the team is the most important role of the leader. 

Systems – next, look at your systems and procedures: 

  • Could the issue have been dealt with if you had a system or a set of rules in place?
  • Whose department or area should be accountable for developing that system?
  • Can this issue be solved with system automation to remove the human element? 

The best systems are hardwired and do not require human interpretation; but if you’re not able to lock down a technical fix, then at least give employees a set of rules to follow in the future.

Authorizations – You may be a bottleneck in your own company if you’re trying to control all the spending too much. 

  • Did the employees know what to do but did not have any means of paying for the fix?
  • Can you put in customer service rules with financial limits of authority?

You might empower (and encourage) an employee to spend a specific amount with a specific supplier each month without coming to you first for authorizing every payment.  Or you might give an employee an annual budget, an amount they can spend without seeking your approval. 

Let your vacation strengthen your company

Given the fires that may need to be extinguished after the fact, taking a holiday may seem more of a hassle than it’s worth. But don’t be fooled – if you transform the aftermath of a vacation into systems and training that allow employees to act on their own, you’ll find the vacation is worth what you paid for it many times over. Your company will increase in value as it becomes less dependent on you personally. 

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At Executive Forums Silicon Valley, selected business owners and leaders work together to gain clarity, insight and accountability to ignite their leadership engines, grow their businesses and improve their lives. If you are interested in learning more about Business Owner Advisory Boards, Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), Stages of Growth, Value Builder System or becoming a member at Executive Forum Silicon Valley, please contact gperkins@executiveforums.com or call 408-901-0321. For more information visit http://www.execforumssv.com/.

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5 Ways To Get Your Business To Run Without You

Have you ever considered making it your primary goal to set up your business so that it can thrive and grow without you?

A business not dependent on its owner is the ultimate asset to own. It allows you to have complete control over your time so that you can choose the projects you get involved in and the vacations you take. When it comes to exit, a business independent of its owner is worth a lot more than an owner-dependent company. 

Here are five ways to set up your business so that it can succeed without you.

1. Give Them A Stake In The Outcome

Jack Stack, the author of The Great Game of Business and A Stake In The Outcome wrote the book on creating an ownership culture inside your company: you are transparent about your financial results and you allow employees to participate in your financial success. This results in employees who act like owners when you’re not around.

2. Get Them To Walk In Your Shoes

If you’re not quite comfortable opening up the books to your employees, consider a simple management technique where you respond to every question your staff brings you with the same answer, “If you owned the company, what would you do?” By forcing your employees to walk in your shoes, you get them thinking about their question as you would and it builds the habit of starting to think like an owner. Pretty soon, employees are able to solve their own problems. 

3. Vet Your Offerings

Identify the products and services which require your personal involvement in either making, delivering or selling them. Make a list of everything you sell and score each on a scale of 0 to 10 on how easy they are to teach an employee to handle. Assign a 10 to offerings that are easy to teach employees and give a lower score to anything that requires your personal attention. Commit to stopping to sell the lowest scoring product or service on your list. Repeat this exercise every quarter. 

4. Create Automatic Customers

Are you the company’s best salesperson? If so, you’ll need to fire yourself as your company’s rainmaker in order to get it to run without you. One way to do this is to create a recurring revenue business model where customers buy from you automatically. Consider creating a service contract with your customers that offers to fulfill one of their ongoing needs on a regular basis. 

5. Write An Instruction Manual For Your Business

Finally, make sure your company comes with instructions included. Write an employee manual or what MBA-types called Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). These are a set of rules employees can follow for repetitive tasks in your company. This will ensure employees have a rulebook they can follow when you’re not around, and, when an employee leaves, you can quickly swap them out with a replacement to take on duties of the job. 

You-proofing your business has enormous benefits. It will allow you to create a company and have a life. Your business will be free to scale up because it is no longer dependent on you, its bottleneck. Best of all, it will be worth a lot more to a buyer whenever you are ready to sell. 

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At Executive Forums Silicon Valley, selected business owners and leaders work together to gain clarity, insight and accountability to ignite their leadership engines, grow their businesses and improve their lives. If you are interested in learning more about Business Owner Advisory Boards, Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), Stages of Growth, Value Builder System or becoming a member at Executive Forum Silicon Valley, please contact gperkins@executiveforums.com or call 408-901-0321. For more information visit http://www.execforumssv.com/ .

Avoid the Mile-Wide Trap in Your Business COVID 19 Response

What is the difference between a mile-wide versus a mile-deep approach to building your business? And why does it matter?

As many companies’ growth has stalled due to Covid-19’s shelter-in-place, unemployment, reduced consumption, workplace protection and other changes and limitations, some are looking everywhere for new businesses, even scrambling to diversify by adding new products and services to sell.

However, before a necessary pivot, it is important to make sure that you don’t fall into the “Mile Wide Trap” as you look to diversify your business.

The Mile Wide Trap

The Mile Wide Trap first starts to ensnare you when you do an excellent job serving a small number of great customers and they ask you to handle more of their DIFFERENT TYPES of work. You keep delivering, and they keep broadening the list of products and services they want you to supply. Your company is wildly profitable serving the expanding needs of this small list of “great customers” so you keep falling deeper and deeper into what eventually becomes “the mile wide but an inch deep” trap. 

Pretty soon, you’re an inch deep and a mile wide in offerings and the only person in your company with the depth of industry experience to deliver all of the services is you. But you’re trapped because your expenses have crept up as your revenue has increased – leaving you dependent on the sales you get from a small group of demanding customers. And the chase never ends.

Another example of the Mile Wide Trap is when there is a disruption in the market, and you look to capitalize by doing something your company has not done before. This may be particularly attractive during this time of economic upheaval caused by Coronavirus.

A Mile Deep is Better Than a Mile Wide

Instead of selling more things to a few customers, first concentrate on understanding your company’s core focus – the intersection of your passion and your expertise, then sell a few things to a lot of customers. 

In order to scale up a company, employees, not owners, need to be able to execute work with quality and speed. This is much easier to accomplish repeatedly when the company operates within its core focus where everyone is already trained to do their best. 

As an extreme example, Ferrari represents a high-performance racing type automobile. Ferrari’s core focus is: “We build cars, symbols of Italian excellence the world over, and we do so to win on both road and track.” They are a mile deep in what they do – high performance Italian cars. They know that the gold is buried deep. One might think they could go wide and diversify into high performance motorcycles, snowmobiles or even airplanes, however, they stay close to their core focus and avoid the Mile Wide Trap.

When the markets seem to be in turmoil, it is easy to fall into The Mile Wide Trap that will eventually choke off your growth.   Do pivot when necessary, but more often than not, doubling down on your core focus will provide the long term, scalable growth you are looking for.

If you’re curious to benchmark your company on growth potential and the other seven factors that drive your company’s value, take 13 minutes and get your Value Builder Score here:   https://bit.ly/36nPCKn

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At Executive Forums Silicon Valley, selected business owners and leaders work together to gain clarity, insight and accountability to ignite their leadership engines, grow their businesses and improve their lives. If you are interested in learning more about Business Owner Advisory Boards, Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), Stages of Growth, Value Builder System or becoming a member at Executive Forum Silicon Valley, please contact gperkins@executiveforums.com or call 408-901-0321. For more information visit http://www.execforumssv.com/ .

It’s All About Assets!

Business owners are often fully devoted to running and growing their companies that they hardly pay attention to both business and personal assets’ acquisition, accumulation, protection, and transition.

In March 2020, Executive Forum Silicon Valley (“EFSV”) members had a great educational discussion with Nico Wiborg of the New York Life Insurance Company around a holistic view of how business owners and leaders should think about, protect and plan for business and personal finances. The educational discussion was segmented into four key areas: 

  • Sources of Income
  • Threats to Income and Assets
  • Application of Income and Assets
  • Legacy Choices

As business owners and leaders, we are often expected to provide the right answers to our customers, teams, and employees. At Executive Forums Silicon Valley, we often focus our peer groups to make sure that leaders also are skilled at asking the right questions. It is through asking the right questions that the best and correct answers often emerge. 

Income and Asset Protection, Retirement and Estate Planning

When it comes to Addressing the Six Key Areas of Capital Accumulation and Protection, it is necessary to ask the right questions. Nico Wiborg led the group through a comprehensive review of the six key areas with thought-provoking questions that resulted in a rich discussion between the business owners. Questions that were covered and addressed with the business owners are shown in the table below.

Asset AreaKey Questions to Ask
Income Protection(Source)When will you be finished accumulating assets?How many assets will be required to replace future income?What other sources can provide the necessary income?
Income Tax(Threat)Are you trying to predict future tax rates?Do you know how to tax-diversify for the best flexibility?What strategies do you have for a rising tax rate environment? 
Capital Risk(Threat)Do you have a specific strategy to grow your assets (not income)?Do you monitor, review, and adjust your strategy on a regular basis?How are you using your business for income now and legacy later?
Asset Protection(Threat)Are you aware of the impact of creditors, lawsuits, and judgments?Do you have assets that you can shift to a different owner?Have you integrated insurance into your asset protection plan?
Retirement Plans(Application)Do you have enough assets to allow your income to completely stop?How much do you need and now much more needs to be set aside?Where should you put the assets for growth, protection, and income?
Estate Planning(Legacy)Do you have a proper inventory and accounting of your assets?Are you directing your assets or letting the existing law dictate your plan?How do you want your heirs to receive your legacy? 

Get a holistic picture of your assets and planning ahead

Sometimes as business leaders we are so focused on leading our teams and serving our customers that we neglect to rise up to 50,000 feet and take a holistic view of our assets and establish a strategy that covers all of the sources, threats, application, and legacy issues. If you think you have answers but are unsure if you are being asked the right questions, I would highly recommend that you contact Nico Wiborg (nwiborg@ft.newyorklife.com 408 655-5964) and have a great discussion about how to build and protect your assets to create the legacy that you deserve. Wouldn’t you feel better if you did that right now?

About EFSV

Executive Forum Silicon Valley (“EFSV”) is a platform where successful business owners, CEOs, and executives act as their fellow collaborators, co-inventors, partners and even “co-conspirators”, in getting a clear picture of where they want to go, what stands in the way, and how to achieve their respective growth goals. Forum members share resources, conduct self-assessment, and identify opportunities.  Members get clarity about the way forward,  obtain strategic insights to overcome their leadership blind spots.  They hold each other accountable with support and encouragement. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a member at Executive Forum Silicon Valley, please contact gperkins@executiveforums.com or call 408-901-0321. For more information visit http://www.execforumssv.com/ 

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