Monthly Archives: September 2011

[Video] Mergers Become More Possible During Tough Economies

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Mergers Become More Possible During Tough Economies

Maybe you have also heard a business attorney declare from a speaking platform that “There is no such thing as a merger! One company always ends up in the dominant position!” I can understand that viewpoint.  After 40 years as a business growth strategist, I have concluded that the overwhelming majority of acquisitions can be traced back to a company being in search for a more effective CEO.  Acquisitions and mergers are not just about the exchange of money. When there is clear leadership in one of the entities, that’s who ends up in control.

But mergers are more possible during difficult economic times, because comparable competitors may want to work with one another. Neither may want to dominate the other or step back and be told what to do. They may just need to share the risks, reduce their operating costs, benefit from shared marketing, be able to take vacation again, be ready to handle larger accounts, retain top performers or lay off “dead wood.”  By working together, they may feel less isolated and worried. Today’s mergers can be as simple as a “stock swap and keep going.”

Lately, I’ve noticed more trucks with dual name businesses like “SMITH & JONES Electrical Contractors.”  In my opinion, the enemy of entrepreneurship is isolation.  If you are still interested in being in business, but scaling your company to an efficient size has become more and more difficult, it may be time to consider a merger with a competent competitor.

 

Aldonna R. Ambler, CMC, CSP has earned the right to be called THE GROWTH STRATEGIST™. She has won over 2 dozen national and statewide “entrepreneur of the year” awards for the resilient growth of her international businesses across 4 recessions.  Her midsized BtoB service, technology, and distribution clients get on…and then stay on…the published lists of the fastest growing privately held companies. All of her own service businesses (strategic planning, executive advisory, growth financing, talk show, speaking, search) help privately held midsized companies achieve accelerated growth with sustained profitability™.   Ambler is in her 7th year hosting a weekly peer-to-peer-to-peer on line talk show at www.Business.VoiceAmerica.com and www.growthstrategistshow.com that features interviews with CEOs/Presidents of midsized companies (typically between $20 and 200 Mil/yr) sharing success tips about the growth strategy-of-the-week. Family owned businesses are being emphasized in 2011. Ambler is in the process of launching her 8th enterprise. She can be reached toll free at 1-888-Aldonna or at Aldonna@AMBLER.com.

[video] A Few Reminders About Why Collaboration Is More Important During Tough Times

A Few Reminders About Why Collaboration Is More Important During Tough Times

This past Sunday morning I was watching “This Week with Christiana Amanpour” on television. She is an excellent interviewer when it comes to foreign policy, global issues, political regimes, etc.  During one segment of the broadcast, she was interviewing Former US President Bill Clinton about the upcoming conference of his CLINTON GLOBAL INITIATIVE.  Continue reading

Not Doing BOLD Marketing Kills New Products

OK.  You’re scared.  Money is tight. You don’t know if your customers will respond to your new product/service. So you are tempted to slowly ease into the product launch. I can hear you now.  “Let’s see if a few customers bite before we invest a ton of money on this.”  But deep down you do know that if you are timid with the marketing and sales messaging related to your new product, your customers won’t bite, they won’t take a chance, they won’t be excited…or worse…they won’t even notice.

Think about the most successful companies.  APPLE® generated so much interest in its I Phone®, folks stood in long lines to be among the first people to buy it. Even when they had to fix some connection problems, customers forgave them and wanted more. Think about fast food restaurants. McDonalds® is successful in large part because it knows how to market its food. One company’s “burger, fries, small drink, and a toy in a box” is a HAPPY MEAL® in the hands of master marketers. Designers convince fashion conscious women to change the length of their hemlines and height of their heels year after year through effective marketing.

Enthusiastic marketing is even more important during an uncertain economy.  You need to be insistent, consistent, and persistent because so many people are preoccupied, worried, and have lost trust. Make sure your new product will truly help your customers, so you can honestly point out the benefits and tell them why it is important for them to try your product/service. Most companies are continuing to sell the same products through these tough times and a small percentage of businesses have improved their products.

If your business is actually introducing something new, important, and timely…gosh…don’t hold back!      

 

Aldonna R. Ambler, CMC, CSP has earned the right to be called THE GROWTH STRATEGIST™. She has won over 2 dozen national and statewide “entrepreneur of the year” awards for the resilient growth of her international businesses across 4 recessions.  Her midsized BtoB service, technology, and distribution clients get on…and then stay on…the published lists of the fastest growing privately held companies. All of her own service businesses (strategic planning, executive advisory, growth financing, weekly talk show, speaking, search) help privately held midsized companies achieve accelerated growth with sustained profitability™.  Ambler is in her 7th year hosting a weekly peer-to-peer-to-peer on line program at www.Business. VoiceAmerica. com and www.growthstrategistshow.com that features interviews with CEOs/Presidents of midsized companies (typically between $20 and 200 Mil/yr) sharing success tips about the growth strategy-of-the-week. Family owned businesses are being emphasized in 2011. Ambler is in the process of launching her 8th enterprise. She can be reached toll free at 1-888-Aldonna or at Aldonna@AMBLER.com.

[video] Not Doing BOLD Marketing Kills New Products

Surviving Vs Thriving

Survival Versus Thrival

George’s business has three stores.  The oldest one makes money but is still a bit too dependent on one key salesperson.  The second one hasn’t hit its sales or profit goals in a long while. And the third, a relatively new location, seems like it has great potential but hasn’t yet reached the inflection point.

If George has a survival mentality, he will close the second store, try to relocate one or two sales people back to the first store and give the salespeople in the newest store a deadline for hitting their goals.   George and a very small business might survive, but will he have something of value to sell when he wants to retire?  Will he be able to attract experienced sales people? Will his business deserve exciting marketing campaigns? Could he attract the best vendors and utilize premium pricing? Would the key salesperson in the oldest store continue to produce?

A thrival mentality asks different questions. Does the key salesperson represent the old way of doing business and should the company actually focus more on the newer sales people? Should something like incentives or a marketing campaign be added to the third store to lift it more quickly over breakeven? Is there an exciting theme or approach that could differentiate George’s business from competitors? If so, should George be looking for additional locations or considering franchising his business?

Thriving during uncertain economies involves thinking much bigger than your company is today. It actually requires bolder marketing messages because so many people are so preoccupied and distracted they will not see or hear your message right away. Growth during recessions is often easier when people like franchisees or investors share the risk.

If things don’t work out for “Survival George,” he will be on his own. If things start to go badly for “Thrival George,” bankers, franchisees, employees, vendors, and even local economic development agencies will be invested in the company and care about its future.

Aldonna R. Ambler, CMC, CSP has earned the right to be called THE GROWTH STRATEGIST™. She has won over two dozen national and statewide “entrepreneur of the year” awards for the resilient growth of her international businesses across four recessions.  Her midsized BtoB service, technology, and distribution clients get on–and then stay on–the published lists of the fastest growing privately held companies. All of her own service businesses (strategic planning, executive advisory, growth financing, radio show, speaking, search) help privately held midsized companies achieve accelerated growth with sustained profitability™. Ambler is in her 7th year hosting a weekly peer-to-peer-to-peer on line program at www.Business.VoiceAmerica.com and www.growthstrategistshow.com that features interviews with CEOs/Presidents of midsized companies (typically between $20 and 200 Mil/yr) sharing success tips about the growth strategy-of-the-week. Family owned businesses are being emphasized in 2011. Ambler is in the process of launching her 8th enterprise. She can be reached toll free at 1-888-Aldonna or at Aldonna@AMBLER.com.

[video] Reclaim Your Innovation Process

Reclaim Your Innovation Process

The economy slows and the typical midsized business slashes a few line items in their budgets including marketing, training, recruitment, and product development (R&D).  That can temporarily ease strained cash flow, but it isn’t a formula for surviving and thriving during a recession.

The most resilient companies seem to find ways to weave the innovation process into their cultures. One way to attract and retain productive employees during tough times is for them to know that their employer is still interested in market trends, customer needs, new technology, and better ways to do things.  Plus, it pays to remember that the most innovative product improvements aren’t necessarily the most expensive.

The innovation process includes five stages:

  • Investigation
  • Preparation
  • Incubation
  • Verification
  • Application

Some jobs can become tedious if the employee isn’t also invited to participate in a little research.  The second generation of a family owned business often doesn’t want to take over the business if they haven’t been invited to do research and lead innovation. What are competitors doing? What do customers really think? Which new technologies could speed up the process? Is investigation an ongoing part of your employees’ jobs?

Periodic meetings to review what has been discovered can surface patterns.  When you see which ideas have the most potential, preparation starts.  What is the idea worth? Who should be involved? How do you protect profitability as this project gets underway? What other resources might you need to analyze and design a viable idea?

You get the idea.  Verification is one of the most important steps, especially during a recession. Most of us can’t afford to make too many expensive mistakes.  In a classic article “5 Myths of Innovation” in MIT SLOAN MANGEMENT REVIEW, Julian Birkinshaw reminds not to believe “IF WE BUILD IT THEY WILL COME.” We have all heard stories about computer programmers who have generated millions of lines of code to software products that too few people wanted to buy. Customers feel important when they are asked to try your new products and services.  It pays to do a BETA test to verify if your proposed approach makes sense and will work.

Aldonna R. Ambler, CMC, CSP has earned the right to be called THE GROWTH STRATEGIST™. She has won over 2 dozen national and statewide “entrepreneur of the year” awards for the resilient growth of her international businesses across 4 recessions.  Her midsized BtoB service, technology, and distribution clients get on…and then stay on…the published lists of the fastest growing privately held companies. All of her own service businesses (strategic planning, executive advisory, growth financing, radio show, speaking, search) help privately held midsized companies achieve accelerated growth with sustained profitability™. Ambler is in her 7th year hosting a weekly peer-to-peer-to-peer on line program at www.Business.VoiceAmerica.com and www.growthstrategistshow.com that features interviews with CEOs/Presidents of midsized companies (typically between $20 and 200 Mil/yr) sharing success tips about the growth strategy-of-the-week. Family owned businesses are being emphasized in 2011. Ambler is in the process of launching her 8th enterprise. She can be reached toll free at 1-888-Aldonna or at Aldonna@AMBLER.com

Growth Strategy Tip

Testimonials

Over the 21 years that I’ve been in business, I’ve worked with several individuals and organizations that professed to have the skills, knowledge, and insight that would make my business strive. None performed like or better than Aldonna Ambler.

Greg Williams
The Master Negotiator

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