Change Management

It’s a Constant Chances are good, you just finished your 2016 strategic plan and change is in the air. Congratulations. In a few weeks deployment starts. Have you ever wondered why strategic plans stall as they try to get out of the gate? There are many reasons, but the most common is lack of a

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Follow Up: Never Too Old to Grow and Prosper

Steele Rubber Products, a Denver, NC-based manufacturer and retailer of rubber parts to fit classic cars, trucks, and hot rods, has been in business since 1958. For almost 60 years, this mid-size company (60+ employees) is still delivering hard to find rubber parts that fit a wide range of American makes and models of restoration

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Stable & Flexible

The word “stable” often describes mid-sized firms in the business literature. In contrast, executives of mid-size firms regularly report on the importance of being “flexible”. Both “stable” and “flexible” are relative terms. The question is – how can a firm achieve a balance? In practice “special project” is the phrase most often use to describe activities requiring

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Hiring or Replacing a Salesperson

In our experience, there may be no bigger transition in a growing manufacturing firm than when it moves to hire a full-time salesperson. The one possible exception is when it goes to replace its first salesperson … the one that did not work out. Part of the hiring trauma comes from the fact that, in

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Treatments and Frameworks

In our work, we constantly are reviewing financial data as a part of our mid-size business practice. What we notice is that over time accounting treatments vary and financial records become less useful — as a company looks for smarter ways to control costs, gain strategic insights, and inform operational change projects. AICPA – The

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Sources of Financing

Keeping up with sources of financing can be a chore. It can also be a costly error for CEOs of mid-size firms, if they fail to put in the time required. Fortunately, we have an ongoing effort to track the opportunities and share them. Our Capital Opportunities report highlights financing sources organized in five major

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What is Full-Potential Strategy?

When organizations put their gifts and talents to work in a favorable environment they are most likely to reach their full potential. Developed over several months, a Full-Potential Strategy takes a systems view of growth starting with a deep-dive into the organizations gifts, talents and opportunity environments. Full-Potential Strategy applies to mid-sized firms on the

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Before Change, There is Self-Assessment

In our work, we rely on a large number of research tools and assessments to inform discussions and ground the decision making process. For CEOs of mid-sized firms, we often start by asking them reflect briefly on five specific topics: Organizational Environment, Organizational Relationships, Competitive Environment, Strategic Context and Performance Improvement. You can take an

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By the Numbers…Being Prepared

Consider a banking transaction. You know what your numbers look like and what they suggest about your firm – the insider perspective with an upside bias? When you give a banker your numbers they now have your view, but they also have access to financial benchmarking data and industry / market research that informs their

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Follow Up: Sold… Brushy Mountain Bee Farm

With the SBTDC’s guidance, we were able to put forth a professional approach to the very complicated process of selling our business. Beginning in the spring of 2014, SBTDC’s Strategy & Growth Service (SGS) assisted the founders/owners of Brushy Mountain Bee Farm (BMBF), Steve & Sandy Forrest, to develop and implement an exit strategy. From offering

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Not Your Typical Book Review

When I started my career, it was as a biologist working in the R&D divisions of the Carborundum Company and later with Mead Corporation. As a technical resource, my job was to help commercialize new products and services in the context of strategic business units. It was not long, only a handful of years really,

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