Monthly Archives: May 2009

How to Get Unstuck if You Are Tempted but Not Quite Ready to Bring on a CFO


Mike Lackland, the President of Storage Assets, Inc., was my guest on The Growth Strategist™ within my recent series about the impact of real estate on strategic planning. The Lackland’s continue to have profitable growth with a business model that includes several bank financed properties. They now have over two dozen locations in NJ and PA.

The Lackland’s have learned a great deal about identifying land opportunities, working with local planning boards, adding revenue to sites through cell towers and billboards, etc. And it’s particularly interesting to hear the precision of Mike’s language about how they (NOT the banks) have long been establishing their loan-to-value comfort zone.

Mike believes in continuous learning so it should be no surprise that when their company needed more precision in financial scenarios, budgets, projections, and financing. Mike brought in a part time CFO for a few years. One clear result was that Mike now thinks like a CEO AND a CFO. 99% of the companies their size would have stuck with just their Controller, paid more money to a CPA firm, not received tailored improvements, and not advanced the CEO’s financial acumen.

To listen to my full interview with Mike Lackland (first broadcast on May 26, 2009), log on to or go directly to

A Rainy Vacation

I’m at a timeshare resort this week on the Gulf Coast of Florida for a vacation with a long time dear friend. Florida has had a long term drought so the true Floridians are thrilled with the 15 straight days of rain.

But be honest, how would you react? How long would you pout or whine? Would you stand on the balcony staring at the dark clouds longing for blue skies to return…especially if vacation time and sunshine are precious commodities for you? Would you become a wet blanket dampening the experience for others around you?

Florida’s heavy rain is like the slowed economy. Yes, we have had less time swimming in the Gulf, lounging on the sand or staring at boats. But we’ve toured the fabulous Ybor City area of Tampa, dined (as opposed to just eating) at the fabulous 104 year old COLUMBIA restaurant, shopped, walked, talked, slept late….

If you still pout, complain, or whine about the recession… it’s time to move on to a fabulous week/month/quarter/year. The slowed economy is just RAIN.

Is Your Business Model Sustainable?

Peter Cocoziello has included world travel in his schedule as CEO of Advance Realty Group for quite some time.  It’s a great lesson, really. He has chosen places like China and India to see how some countries are so productive while keeping costs down.  Along with other research, his trips helped him see that the USA’s high standard of living wasn’t going to be sustainable.  Plus Generation X and Y employees don’t want to waste their lives sitting in their cars during long commutes, and they place a higher value on the ecology. The Advance Realty Group has been moving toward urban development for some time because Cocoziello sees the future and is creating a more sustainable business model for his company. Would your employees appreciate the solar panels on the roof of your headquarters that is located near a train station?

One “favor” an economic downturn provides is the magnification of any weakness in our business models. Yes, we all need to address short term problems related to profitability, credit, cash, staffing, but this is an excellent time to make sure our investments result in a sustainable business model and aren’t just plugging holes in a current leaky business model.  Ask yourself if your strategic planning process is creating a positive future, focuses on a sustainable business model, and is based on visionary research. Or is the slow economy providing an excuse to band aid a model that really needed to be changed?

To listen to Aldonna’s interview with Peter Cocoziello, log on to or to download the 5/5/09 broadcast of The Growth Strategist™.

Growth Strategy Tip


Aldonna is a perfect match for our current needs and our future plans.

Dr. Dorothy Martin-Neville, PhD
Dr. Dorothy

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