Author Archive | Lauren Jefferson

Announcement: Transition of Ownership

transition of ownershipOur Founder and former President, Jim Wilkinson unexpectedly passed away in his sleep on June 15th, 2017. We are grateful for the time we had with him and to work for the incredible organization he built. He is survived by his bride of 34 years and his two beautiful daughters. You can read his full bio here.

Transition of Ownership

Over the past several months, his family and our team have been diligently looking for someone to continue Jim’s legacy at the firm – that is The Strategic CFO. It was important to find someone who had the experience, vision,  talent, and the drive to grow The Strategic CFO.

transition of ownershipMeet Dan Corredor

In 2017, Daniel “Dan” Corredor acquired The Strategic CFO. Dan was a business friend of Jim’s for over 20 years. He saw the vision Jim had for this company from the beginning. Additionally, Dan has a very similar background to Jim’s, making him the perfect fit.

With 28+ years of total experience, Dan’s expertise includes the following:

  • Accounting efficiencies
  • International operations
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Operational and financial restructuring
  • Due diligence and post closure business integration
  • Working capital, cash flow management and business improvement

He also deals with business owners and private equity groups during different phases of growth and transition. In addition, Dan has extensive international operational experience, including 10+ years working in Latin America and consulting in Turkmenistan. Dan’s experience also includes working with lenders, bond holders and ratings agencies.

He has held multiple CFO positions and was promoted twice to President & CEO. In addition, Dan has sat on boards as an internal board member and external board member.

Prior to acquiring The Strategic CFO, Dan was consulting for five years. Before that he was President & CEO of a regulated water utility, which was a company that required operational and financial restructuring after experiencing a crisis. Prior to that Dan was promoted from CFO to President & CEO at a Japanese owned Petrochemical company. Dan’s Latin American experience includes both working as CFO in Mexico for a large publicly traded water utility for 4 years and 6 years with two large publicly traded oil and gas service companies in financial executive roles.

transition of ownershipExpectations With New Ownership

With new ownership, there are often many questions. If you are a consulting, coaching, or a retained search client, you may hear from or work with Dan; everything else should remain the same. If you are a coaching participant or SCFO Lab member, all of the information currently available to you will remain the same, with more content available to you soon. Your questions and feedback is most important to us. If you have any suggestions or questions, please email us at info@strategiccfo.com.

If you are not currently a client or SCFO Lab member and have questions/comments, please contact us here. We appreciate your loyalty as we have built The Strategic CFO to this point.

Thank you for your continued support over these past couple of months!

Please welcome Dan in the comments below!

7

Demystifying the 80/20 Rule

Whether you are working with a client, putting together a reporting package, networking with potentialtheory, or closing the books, there’s a rule you can apply to make your life easier. This rule is probably one that you’re very familiar with – regardless of whether you practice it. When you are completing a job, there always seems to be a few things that push the needle further than anything else. This is the 80/20 rule.

Using the 80/20 rule is a great way to be a more effective financial leader. Click here to read more about how you can be a highly effective CFO.

What is the 80/20 Rule?

Simply put, the 80/20 rule is where 20% of the work results in 80% of the outcome. Likewise, 80% of the work only results in 20% of the outcome. While the numbers may not be spot on, the theory holds true in pretty much everything you do.

In the early 20th century, Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist, introduced this concept to explain the distribution of wealth in his home country – Italy. It first came about when roughly 20% of his pea pods made 80% of the total number of peas grown. As he continued to test this theory, he expanded it into other areas of macroeconomics (wealth distribution). Then roughly 30 years later, Joseph Juran applied the 80/20 rule to business production methods. He explained this rule “the vital few and the trivial many.”

Demystifying the 80/20 Rule

Many may argue that it’s not exactly 80/20, and you would be correct. It may even be 99/1 if you look at a particular situation. But as we demystify the 80/20 rule, we need to be thinking from a macro viewpoint. What is the minimal amount of work you can do to result in the most work.

How It Applies to Financial Leadership

As the financial leader of your company, it’s so important to know what pushes the proverbial needle forward the most. Look at your team, your fulfillment, your customers, your vendors. Then look at your role in the company. What work can you do that will result in bigger and better outcomes? Identify the work that takes up the most time without providing much. You may consider having a lower level employee work on those tasks. If that 80% work is too sensitive, then restructure your day to allow for the most time sensitive issues to be front and center.

80/20 Rule

Customer vs Revenue Relationship

Because there is no business without its customers, let’s look at the relationship between customers and revenue.

Who are your best customers? They are the ones who pay their invoices on time, don’t require extra time from your team, and never complain. They are also your most profitable customers. These customers are your 20%ers, and they make up 80% of your revenue!

But then, there are those customers who you dread receiving a call from because you know it’s going to be yet another complaint. These unprofitable customers suck your time, resources, and money. They make up 80% of your customer support/implementation/sales. Yet, because they take advantage of you, they only result in 20% of the company’s revenue (and less in profit). If you are overrun by profitable customers, you may want to think about firing that customer.

An effective financial leader is able to guide their CEO through the numbers and demystifying what may be unclear to them. If you want to more effective, click here to download the 7 Habits of Highly Effective CFOs to become a more valuable leader.

Improve Your Productivity by Applying the 80/20 Rule

If you desire for your team to be more productive, then you need to start with yourself. A fish rots from the head down. Start by analyzing your to do list. Are there a few things that will make a big difference? If so, prioritize those over everything else. Remember, not everything on your to do list will have the same impact or risk. A great way to assess the weight of each task is to use “tags” labeled: non-essential, essential, and critical. Are you chasing administrative tasks or completing the same tasks over and over? Ask yourself whether those can be automated or if a less expensive employee can complete them.

Why You Need to Be More Productive

There are so many squirrels that you could chase! There’s a million ideas that are all million-dollar ideas. But what do you need to do to meet your goals? If you continue to get bogged down by things in the 80% pile, then you risk never reaching your or your company’s goals. You need to be more productive, more streamlined. Although many see automation as a risk, we see it as an opportunity to force ourselves to be more productive.

How It Impacts How Effective You Are

When you apply the 80/20 rule to your leadership and workspace, you become more productive. You are then able to see clearly what is going to push the needle further. In our experience, our client’s experience, and our vendor’s experience, there are just a few indicators that hold much more weight. Think about it this way… If you listed everything you need to improve, you would never get it all done. You simply don’t have enough time to do everything! But you do have enough time to focus on the 20% and reap the 80%.

Lead From the 40,000 Foot Level

An effective financial leader leads from the 40,000 foot level. If you only look at an issue 2 inches away, then you are going to miss what’s causing it, what it’s impacting, etc. A good leader needs the entire picture before they make a decision for the company. This also helps you guide your CEO. Click here to download the 7 Habits of Highly Effective CFOs to find out how you can become a valuable financial leader.

80/20 Rule

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80/20 Rule

1

Business Accelerator

See also:
Dilemma of Financing a Start Up Company
Why do most startups fail?
Financing a Startup

Business Accelerator Definition

The business accelerator definition is a program that includes mentorship, education, and typically a “demo day” where companies are able to pitch their business to the business community. This business community is typically comprised of potential vendors, investors, partners, and customers.

Start ups, early stage companies, or subsidiaries of existing companies participate in business accelerators to accelerate their sales, operations, and financials.

Business accelerators are either publicly or privately funded. Publicly funded accelerators are funded by the government. They typically do not take any equity. But they generally focus on a specific industry – including biotech, fin tech, med tech, and clean tech. Whereas privately funded accelerators are funded by private entities. Because there is a higher risk for the investors, they typically take some equity or provide capital as debt.

Regardless of the type of business accelerator, it’s important to note that they are highly competitive. Application processes are usually extensive as each accelerator needs to protect their reputation – the companies they “pump” out.


As an introvert, business accelerators can seem daunting, but it is great networking place! Click the button to download our Networking for Introverts Guide.

Download The Networking for Introverts Guide


Purpose of a Business Accelerator

The purpose of a business accelerator or accelerator programs is to grow young companies by nourishing them with the support, connections, and knowledge they need to be successful. Many times universities will have an accelerator program to monetize the intellectual property created. Likewise, governments will host these programs to fill a gap in their initiatives.

Should You be a Part of a Business Accelerator?

Now that you know what an accelerator can do for you, should you be a part of an accelerator? It all depends on the size of your company, whether you need further mentorship and coaching, and if you are preparing for a round of financing.

Need to Mentorship & Coaching

Many of our clients don’t realize how valuable mentorship and coaching until they become coaching participants in our Financial Leadership Workshop. Mentorship and coaching can help further your network, your product, your process, and your brand. They provide a non-filtered, un-biased support that, while may sometimes be harsh, will help further your company.

Preparation for Financing

If you are preparing for your Series A, seed capital, venture capital, or angel investment, it’s important that you see all your options. As more companies are starting up, you will see the investor pool growing. Just because you know only one Angel investor now does not mean that is your only option. Accelerators help connect the right investor for your company to you.

Business Accelerator vs. Business Incubator

One question we get often is, “what’s the difference between a business accelerator and a business incubator?” A business accelerator can often last anywhere from a couple weeks up to a year. Whereas a business incubator holds companies from a year up to several years. An incubator’s goal is to develop a successful company, so until they are ready to fly, they continue to incubate them.

Need guidance in networking and taking advantage of your business accelerator experience? Download your free Networking for Introverts guide and start building your network today.

Business Accelerator

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Business Accelerator

1

Why the CEO Needs to Like Their Financial Leader

When The Strategic CFO was first founded in 1999, there was a lot of disregard for financial leaders and CFOs. If accountants could do their job, there was no need for a CFO. At least, that’s what many CEOs have thought. But we have been writing, consulting, and coaching those in leadership roles to lead the company financially. Companies cannot simply rely on great salesmen or impeccable marketing campaigns. They need a real strategic financial leader. As the relationship between the Chief Executive Officer and the Chief Financial Officer has evolved, we have concluded that the CEO needs to like their financial leader and vice versa.

Why the CEO Needs to Like Their Financial Leader

These two roles have two different responsibilities in the company, but they also need each other desperately. They are the yin and yang to each other.  This is truly a partnership and without the chemistry, this is a dysfunctional relationship. The CEO has the vision and drive; whereas the CFO has the financial data that should back up what the CEO wants to do. Simply said, CEOs and financial leaders need each other.

CEO Needs to Like their Financial Leader

CEO and Financial Leaders Need Each Other

While we’ve been talking about how the CEO needs to like their financial leader, the financial leader also needs to like their CEO. We have seen that when the CEO and their financial leader (CFO, Controller, etc.) have a good relationship, transparency and confidence is increased. This is a critical part of a CEO/CFO partnership.

Russell Reynolds Associates surveyed more than 100 CFOs and found that, “82% of CFOs surveyed gave their CEO high marks for overall effectiveness. Further, the vast majority of CFOs said they trusted their CEOs. But there’s still plenty of room for improvement. Less than half of our respondents gave CEOs a high score when it came to their ability to coach and develop the CFO. And only 49% of CFOs surveyed said they had a “very strong” relationship with their CEOs, the highest relationship ranking in the survey’s 5-point scale.”

It’s a two way relationship. If the financial leader trusts the CEO’s vision, they will be more likely to support their decision. Conversely, if the financial leader does not trust the CEO, then they are less likely going to support them with the financial information they need to make a strategic decision. Likewise, a CEO is going to trust their financial leader if they try to find a solution to implementing a new strategy, campaign, vision. But they will be less likely to trust their financial leader if they are what we call a “CFnO.” In addition, the CFO must have the confidence and relationship to question the CEO and his conclusions without anyone getting their feelings hurt.

CEOs Need Financial & Strategic Direction

Our team has worked with plenty of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial leaders over the course of our companies life. That being said, we have also seen how much the CEO needs financial and strategic direction. CEOs need to focus on the future of the company – the captain of the ship. They need to steer the ship to success. But they need someone to analyze the data, advise, and help them direct the ship forward. Furthermore, the CEO needs a wingman – a trusted advisor.

CEOs need a trusted advisor or wingman to guide them financially. Click here to access your free How to be a Wingman guide.

What a CEO Needs Most

The CEO needs to like their financial leader because they need someone to make their flight path clear. As a result, they need more of you (the financial leader) and a wingman to guide them.

They Need More of You

What do CEOs want from their CFOs? They need more of them. There is a misconception between what the CEO needs and what the CFO thinks they need. Check out the results of a recent KPMG survey below:

“In a worldwide survey of 549 chief executives by KPMG, 30% said their CFO doesn’t understand or assist them enough with the challenges they face in running the company. “One thing is clear: something has to change if CFOs are going to close the gap between the expectations of their CEOs and the reality on the ground,” KPMG said in its survey report, “The View from the Top.””

They need more of you, not your “no’s.” Start by providing your insight on how to make their ideas come to fruition. As the financial leader your job is not to be a road block, it to understand the operations and the financials and come up with solutions.  In addition, get involved and start collaborating with your CEO. This will both increase the amount of communication and help them with their challenges.

The CFO should be CEO’s wingman, but it’s often difficult to learn what they want and need. Learn how you can be the best wingman with our free guide

The CEO Needs a Wingman

What is a wingman? It’s a trusted advisor that guides the CEO through business challenges. One way to be a wingman is to stay current with the trends. For example, keep your CEO out of trouble.  Look at trends in your financial statements, your industry and the economy.  Know your ratios, working capital and debt covenants so your CEO does not have any ugly surprises.  A good wingman always has his CEO’s back. Click below to learn How to be a Wingman.

CEO Needs to Like their Financial Leader

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CEO Needs to Like their Financial Leader

1

Black Friday

In America, Black Friday is an event that is not only the most shopped on day during a typical year, but it also generates huge sales.

“Only in America do people trample others for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have.”

~Author Unknown

Black Friday Definition

The Black Friday definition is a retail store sale that occurs the Friday after Thanksgiving – an American holiday in November. Many consider this event to be the kick-off to the Christmas shopping season. Many retailers, such as Walmart, Kohls, Kmart, Macy’s, Express, and other major retailers, open their stores in the early hours of the morning to receive the first rush of customers. Door busters, sales, huge discounts, and giveaways are all part of this event.

The History Of Black Friday

Black Friday originated in 1952 as the start of the Christmas shopping season. Because many states in the United States considered the day after Thanksgiving to be a holiday as well, retail shops realized that there were enormous amounts of potential shoppers available during this four-day weekend. But since 2005, this event has launched into record numbers for sales, shoppers, etc. For example, sales dropped for the first time since the 2008 recession in 2014. Yet, sales boasted $50.9 billion over that weekend.

Although not all states in the United States permit workers to work on national holidays or even the day after Thanksgiving, companies have broken many boundaries to take advantage of this rush of customers. Over time, retail stores and e-commerce platforms have expanded on Black Friday to include Cyber Monday. It’s become a tradition to many.

Cyber Monday

Because Black Friday became such a hit, online companies created another shopping event – Cyber Monday. It occurs the Monday after Thanksgiving and encourages shoppers to purchase more gifts and things on Monday. Originally, it was launched in 2005.

The Cost of Black Friday

While it may be tempting to join in on Black Friday specials and sales, you have to consider the cost. Remember, a sale isn’t necessarily a good sale. It has to be a profitable sale.

Some of the costs associated with Black Friday include.

How to Win on Black Friday

In order to win on Black Friday, you have to price your products for profit. Especially since you project to sell large quantities of product, you need to make sure you don’t start with a pricing problem. If you cut prices off a product that is already not profitable, then you will loose more potential profit. Before you start planning for Black Friday, make sure your pricing is in check. Click here to download our Pricing for Profit Inspection Guide.

Price for Profit During These Sales

Each sale you make has to return a profit. Therefore, you need to allocate as many costs to each good to make it easier. How much inventory do you need to push in order to turn a profit? But also, what prices are customers willing to spend? The trick with Black Friday is that since everyone is competing for the best deal, you must know what others are pricing the same product at.

Reduce DSO by Turning Over Inventory

The risk for big sales like Black Friday is that there will be some that cancel their credit card transaction for $1,800 worth of product. Because you are putting a lot of cash up front to increase inventory, you need to collect cash as quickly as possible. For example, you can offer discounts for cash only. For other pricing tips, download the free Pricing for Profit Inspection Guide to learn how to price profitably.

Black Friday

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Black Friday

0

It’s All About Profitable Sales, The Rest Are Just Details

Many times, when we come into a company, we find that there are three buckets: sales, operations, and finance/accounting. Those buckets create silos – no one goes in and no one goes out. But over the years, we have found that the most successful companies do not have these silos at all. While their title may be in one of these three areas, their duties should always include wanting profitable sales. In business, it’s all about profitable sales, this drives everything else.

It's all about profitable salesIt’s All About Profitable Sales

Business is a game… Not life. What does that mean? There are rules and boundaries. Every company has very similar cards to play. Although you can get creative in how to win the game, there are general obstacles that you will face, including:

You have all these people or variables in the game, but driving profitable sales will help win the game. Increased sales with the proper margin increase profitability. As part of management in an enterprise we should all be concerned about sales and margins. Professionals in the finance and accounting department should be equally concerned about sales and margins.

Don’t Get Caught in the “Pitfall”

The Pitfall is that any sales are good sales. Time and time again we have seen enterprises make sales with no margin, or even at a loss. The reasoning for this is that sometimes sales people or management find themselves in a cash crunch and believe that any sale is a good sale. A sale with no margin or a loss actually pressures the bottom part of the cash flow statement. Yes it is true, any sale if collected will drive a cash collection. But if this comes at a no margin or loss of margin this pressures the rest of the cash flow statement and takes away from net cash.

If you have sales and your margins are positive, the rest are just details.

If you struggle with the concept that any sale is a good thing, you are not alone. Under cash flow pressure most managers and owners get caught in the trap that any sale is a good sale because that leads to a collection. A sale without a profitable margin does more harm than good. It eats into your net cash available.

With a sale that contains a positive margin, now you have something to manage. Below the gross margin line you can now manage the details. Are my fixed costs to high? Are my sales and administrative costs under control? Do I have options to bring in cash from debt sources?

If the focus of your company is on profitable sales, then it’s crucial that you forecast or project your sales accurately. Click here to access our Goldilocks Sales Method whitepaper to build your sales pipeline and project accurately.

It's all about profitable salesDouble Your Sales

In April, some of our team went to a large marketing conference in Arizona, called ICON. During one of the breakout sessions, they mentioned that there are four ways to double sales. Since it’s all about profitable sales and the rest are just details, we want to use this week to discuss how to double your sales (and grow your company).

For the purpose of this section, we need to go back to Marketing 101. First, you have your traffic. These are the hits on your website or the company’s in your target market. Then you have your leads. These are the individuals or companies that you have qualified and are already in discussion with. Next, you have your conversions – the clients you convert from leads to sales. Finally, you have your sales price. While this is extremely hard to do when you are established, we’ll go into more detail of how to accomplish that last option to double your sales.

Double Traffic

Traffic is the largest section of your sales pipeline. The more amount of potential clients you have in your funnel, the more likely you are to convert them into sales. For example, if you double your traffic from 1000 to 2000 with a 40% conversion rate to lead and a 10% conversion rate to sales, then you’ve doubled your sales. Let’s work that out though.

Current Sales Pipeline:

1000 in Traffic

40% Conversion Rate

400 Leads

10% Conversion Rate

40 Sales @ $100 per widget equals $4000

Doubled Sales Pipeline:

2000 in Traffic

40% Conversion Rate

800 Leads

10% Conversion Rate

80 Sales @ $100 per widget equals $8000

As technology advances and competition increases, a low-hanging fruit is to optimize your website for search engines, put more Call to Actions on the site, and then improve your sales pipeline. Other options include:

  • Networking events
  • Referral partners
  • Increasing social media presence
  • Guest blogging
  • Pay Per Click
When you double your sales with traffic, it can be difficult to put together your sales projections. Click here to download our Goldilocks Sales Method whitepaper to learn how project accurately.

Double Leads

Get fanatical about doubling your leads! The more leads, the more sales. As we move down the pipeline, it’s going to be more difficult to accomplish (and project). When you double your leads, it qualifies them as a prospective buyer. For example, a candle supply distributor offers a $0-1 wick. That’s a low cost buy-in that qualifies that lead for wanting candle supplies to make candles. Eventually, those leads will be wicks wholesale, along with other candle supplies (wax, aromas, containers, etc.).

Using the same example as above, let’s work out how doubling your leads can double your sales.

Current Sales Pipeline:

1000 in Traffic

40% Conversion Rate

400 Leads

10% Conversion Rate

40 Sales @ $100 per widget equals $4000

Doubled Sales Pipeline:

1000 in Traffic

80% Conversion Rate

800 Leads

10% Conversion Rate

80 Sales @ $100 per widget equals $8000

Double Conversions

Conversion rates should be a financial leader’s best friend! Once you set a conversion rate goal with your sales teams, it’s a great way to hold them accountable and track the likelihood of converting a lead into a sale. You can double your conversions in a variety of ways, including:

  • Offering something for free in exchange for an email address, a phone call, etc.
  • Asking a lead to purchase something for a small amount (i.e. $7)
  • Offering a lot of value for an affordable price (i.e. $50)
  • Giving a lot more value for a higher price (i.e. $200)

When you have multiple steps in your sales funnel, it makes it easier to project your sales pipeline. For example, 50% of leads will buy into the first offer (free). 50% of those buy-ins will get the $7 widget. 30% of those will pay $50. And %20 of those will pay $200. But to actually double your conversions, you need to focus on the top first. Then push boundaries to create a vulnerable connection. We’re learning that customers all over are wanting something authentic.

Let’s see how doubling the conversions will double sales:

Current Sales Pipeline:

1000 in Traffic

40% Conversion Rate

400 Leads

10% Conversion Rate

40 Sales @ $100 per widget equals $4000

Doubled Sales Pipeline:

1000 in Traffic

40% Conversion Rate

400 Leads

20% Conversion Rate

80 Sales @ $100 per widget equals $8000

Double Sales Price

Doubling your sales price is extremely difficult to do, especially if you are already established in an industry. But it’s a way to double your sales! For example, Netflix just increased it’s price 10% for some of its memberships. Even though, that only equates $1-2, many were outraged while others were okay. Mckinsey & Company says that, “Pricing right is the fastest and most effective way for managers to increase profits.” There are many variables, including timing and value, that need to be assessed before you double your sales price.

Goldilocks Sales Method – Building Your Sales Pipeline

Regardless of whether you want to double your traffic, leads, or conversions, it’s essential that you now how to forecast your sales. After all, it’s all about profitable sales. This not only protects the cash, inventory, operations, and sales teams, but it protects the executive team from uncertainty.  Click here to rebuild your sales pipeline and project accurately with our Goldilocks Sales Method whitepaper.

It's all about profitable sales

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It's all about profitable sales

0

Spot a Zombie Company

Last week, I talked with several lenders, investors, and entrepreneurs. One of the topics that kept coming up was their client’s problems wasn’t cash – even though their clients tried to convince them of it. While cash was an issue that needed to be addressed, the problem instead lies in the leadership. A few weeks ago, we discussed how zombie employees are destroying your company. But those zombie employees have developed a zombie culture! Here’s how to spot a zombie company and identify if you are one of them.

spot a zombie companyHow to Spot a Zombie Company

In any type of therapy group, the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem. Identification is crucial if you want to change. Therefore, we are walking through how to spot a zombie company. As it is so prevalent in our business society, it’s becoming more and more difficult to disguise.

Stay ahead of the curve and download our 3 Most Powerful Tools for free! Don’t sit back and watch your company spiral into a zombie company

#1 Status… And You Know It

Have you ever seen a company that boast it’s #1 and everyone around knows it? These companies get to the top, become prideful, and then eventually, they are overrun by zombie employees. If every single person in your company says the exact same thing, then you’re in big trouble. In order to be successful, you need people to go against the grain. That’s how innovation happens.

Enron, for example, was Fortune Magazine’s “America’s Most Innovative Company.” But nearing the collapse of their empire, innovation came to a halt as the executives became more greedy and created a culture of secrecy. They knew they were #1. So, the executives challenged anyone trying to innovate or make changes to the company. Both employers and employees lost sight of the mission and vision of their company. As a result, both parties caused (or would have caused) the death of the company.

“Do you know what it takes to make an ethical decision in the face of a group of people who are willing to go the other direction? It’s one of the most single vulnerable acts of our lives.” – Brené Brown

spot a zombie company

Happy Go Lucky

Happy go lucky is a term that means that people are cheerfully willing to have no concern for the future. Many can easily identify the difference between authentic happiness and fabricated happiness. The later wreaks of inauthenticity and feels gross. When a company culture is always happy, it may be an indicator that it’s a zombie company. In this case, you may find that both employees and employers are:

  • Ignorant of anything bad going on
  • Blindly doing their jobs
  • Hiding something from others
  • Shutting down any negative statement or critique
  • Saying positive things all the time

There’s a huge difference between a company that everyone loves working for and a company where everyone is happy. You cannot expect your employees to be happy every single day. Life happens. So if it seems like life isn’t happening at a company, then it could mean bad news.

They Don’t Change

Zombie companies simply don’t change or allow for change to happen. Because they are so laser-focused on their vision and mission, they neglect the changing world around them. Technology is changed every single day. What worked a month ago may not work today. Remember Borders? It was a popular bookstore. But while Barnes & Noble and Amazon were taking advantage of new technology (Nook, Kindle, etc.) and building an e-commerce platform, Borders did not at first. By the time they did start to change, it was already too late. While there were many other financial issues that needed to be addressed in Borders for it to survive, the key is that zombie companies don’t want to change.

Look around in your community. It’s relatively easy to spot a zombie company as the demand for change is becoming increasingly prevalent. Many leaders get overwhelmed by change, so they simply stop changing. But they are also killing their company. As the financial leader of your company, you must be willing to allow change and create change in your company.

spot a zombie company

They Know Everything

Zombie companies are comprised of “know-it-alls.” Whether it be the employers or the employees, they think they have everything under control, know everything, and don’t want to learn. What do your customers want? If the response is “we know everything already”, start running. Truth is… You don’t know your customers. They are changing every single day. Like I said before, technology is changing constantly. As a result, your customers are too. Businesses aren’t in business without your customers. So you need to be talking with your customers daily.

A couple years ago, news spread eventually but it took time to spread. Now, news spreads like wildfire and at times, it can be very overwhelming. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, online news sources (NY Times, Wall Street Journal, etc.) force feed you content every second of the day. While you may know a lot of things, you don’t know everything. But zombie company’s think they know everything. And that’s a problem.

Challenge each of your team members to question everything you do and why you do it. Call up your customers. Learn how to improve productivity or improve cash flow. Innovate you finance, operations, and sales departments.

Is Your Company a Zombie Company?

The biggest question of the hour… Is your company a zombie company? Have we described you in the above paragraphs? We have good news… You have identified that you have a problem. And there’s a solution to reverse the effects of being overwhelmed by zombies.

Be a Financial Leader

The best way is to be an effective financial leader. At The Strategic CFO, we pride ourselves in developing financial leadership in our clients as we consult with them and coach them. Like we said before, some companies think they have a cash problem or inventory problem or economic problem… But in reality, it starts with the leadership. A fish rots from the head down, so therefore, you as the financial leader need to be a more effective leader, improve profitability, and improve cash flow.

Improve Profitability

You have set your prices, have your costs, and out comes profit. But to not slip back into old habits, you need to think of profitability improvement strategies. Click here to access one of our 3 Best Tools includes our Pricing for Profit Inspection Guide. Improve profitability by shaping your prices (and economics) to result in profits.

Improve Cash Flow

We say it frequently because it’s true… Cash is king. As a leader, you need to have your finger on cash at all times. The worst thing (and unfortunately, a common issue) is that the executive team expects cash to be there because they made their sales mark. But if someone is not watching it, it could end badly. Click here to download our 25 Ways to Improve Cash Flow whitepaper, along with our other 2 most powerful tools, to learn about cash flow improvement strategies.

Be a More Effective Leader

Zombie companies lack effective leadership. You can create success through financial leadership. That’s what we as a company lives and breathes everyday. Be a more effective leader and access our 3 best tools to start growing your company.

spot a zombie company

Strategic CFO Lab Member Extra

Access your Strategic Pricing Model Execution Plan in SCFO Lab. The step-by-step plan to set your prices to maximize profits.

Click here to access your Execution Plan. Not a Lab Member?

Click here to learn more about SCFO Labs

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