Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Retailer Reinvigorated!!

This article, originally posted by Level Management Partners in 2015, illustrates how EvaluSys tools are used to deliver value to business owners.



One of the CEOs who attended The Entrepreneurship Institute’s (TEI) Charlotte President's Forum event in December 2012 owned a chain of retail stores. This was the second business venture for Frank, the company owner. In 2005, Frank sold his first company for a handsome profit.  He and his wife had the financial security needed to retire comfortably.  Like many successful entrepreneurs, they found retirement to be boring and purchased a struggling Charlotte retail operation in 2007.

Frank quickly turned around the struggling $3mm retail business and made a profit in 2008.  He knew there were other opportunities to purchase similar unprofitable businesses and by 2012 Frank had 4 profitable locations in three southeastern states doing $13mm in revenue.  Unfortunately, day to day management of the business took a heavy toll on Frank.  It wasn't fun anymore and Frank contemplated selling the company and giving retirement another try.

After registering for the TEI President's Forum, Frank invested 15 minutes taking the Business Wellness Checkup™, a service TEI offers nationwide through a strategic alliance with EvaluSys® and Level Management Partners.  Frank found the Checkup results to be quite interesting and signed up for a Checkup Review meeting facilitated by Tom Bixby, President of Level Management Partners and founder of EvaluSys®.

During the hour long Checkup Review meeting, Tom and Frank discussed the top strategic goals for Frank and his company, reviewed Frank's progress against those goals, and focused attention on Checkup-diagnosed issues likely to be barriers to meeting Frank's goals.  Several critical issues were exposed, and Frank decided to hire Level Management Partners to perform a deeper diagnostic examination using the EvaluSys® Business Wellness Diagnostic Series™.

Frank was extremely busy and was concerned the diagnostic process would take up a great deal of his valuable time.  Tom tailored the program to Frank's needs by spreading the diagnostic series out over a 5 week period, prioritizing the evaluation to focus on the most urgent issues first.  This ensured that Frank would need to allocate no more than 3 hours per week to the program.

The Diagnostic Series examined management practices in Executive Leadership, Business Planning, Financial Planning & Control, Human Resources, Management / Supervision, Exit Planning, Marketing, Sales, Product/Service Innovation and Business Process Quality.  Tom reached out to members of his local Business Wellness Advisor Network to invite them to participate as subject-matter experts as Frank and Tom reviewed evaluation results during weekly review meetings.  The Network advisors who sat in on the review meetings did an excellent job helping Frank understand the implications of the diagnostic results, the relative urgency of taking action and possible solutions to identified problems.  Frank liked what he heard from the Network advisors and asked for their help in implementing the needed solutions.

After the 5 week program was completed, Frank had gained renewed enthusiasm for his business.  He had a clear vision for what needed to be done and had the expert resources identified to make it happen.  He has great confidence in his ability to grow the business to over $50mm in revenue within 5 years and is excited to see that vision realized.

This amazing transformation began when Frank invested 15 minutes taking the Business Wellness Checkup! 

Learn more about the Business Wellness Checkup

Friday, October 18, 2013

Satisfy or Upset People – Your Choice

By Bert Holeton, CEO, The Mastermind Group, an EvaluSys® Business Advisor Member

“Best Way Electric, may I help you?” said Bill.

“I want to talk to someone about the poor service that I have received from your company yesterday,” said Mrs. Peterson. “I think your company may have taken advantage of me.”

“Well, Mrs. Peterson, I am sorry you are dissatisfied with our service. Could you please tell me what happened?” said Bill.

Mrs. Peterson went into a rather lengthy description of what happened. As she was talking, Bill looked up the ticket from her job and then attempted to summarize her key points as he had been taught.

“Now based on what you just told me, you were expecting to be charged a minimum on-site fee, not an hourly rate for five hours, and you also expected our repairperson to arrive in the morning rather than the early afternoon. Do I have that correct?”

When Mrs. Peterson agreed, Bill continued. “I see by our ticket that we did call you at 11:15 to tell you our person, Hank, was delayed at an earlier call. Is that what you remember?” asked Bill.

“Yes, but I had a commitment in the afternoon that I had to break because I waited for your repairperson,” lamented Mrs. Peterson. “Also, when I first called your customer service person to see if I should use your services, she indicated that it would probably just be a minimum call based on my request for a three way switch to be installed and a wall plug to be changed.”

“Well, we show that Hank explained to you that he discovered a short and faulty wiring in your walls, and to be safe that required some immediate repair to take your home out of fire danger. Because of the danger to you, Hank spent over 5 hours to test the wiring throughout the house and do some rewiring in the junction panel,” Bill explained. “I don’t mean to be dramatic, Mrs. Peterson, but we may have saved you a fire and possibly your life.”

Mrs. Peterson was quiet for a few moments. “Well, Hank was very nice, he did explain to me what he discovered and the expanded time and cost of the project. He also gave me the choice for him to do the work or stop. Naturally I wanted him to make things safe. Hank stayed after his normal quitting time to finish the job. I guess it is just tough for me to pay $795.00 for parts and labor on my fixed income when I was expecting to pay no more than $150,” said Mrs. Peterson.

 “Mrs. Peterson, if I got your bill reduced 20% would that satisfy you, and more importantly, would you call us again if you need any kind of electrical support in the future?” asked Bill.

“Well that seems fair, Bill, thank you so much,” said Mrs. Peterson. She hung up with a smile and put the sticker from Best Way Electric on her refrigerator - just in case.

Similar scenarios happen multiple times daily for most companies and families. This formula covers many situations in most aspects of our lives. This formula is:
 

 
If a customer expects service at a certain level but received something less (or different), then he or she will be dissatisfied.

Just like a customer, if you, or your spouse, or children expect a situation to be a certain way but reality delivered something less (or different) then someone usually gets upset.

Verbal, undocumented “understandings” may result in someone having their intentions thwarted, their expectations unfulfilled, or their communications not delivered. None of which is satisfying and all of which result in someone being upset or disappointed. Hence the phrase: “Under-promise and over-deliver.” Mathematically, Satisfaction can only result in this formula if the number for satisfaction equals 1 (one) or greater.

In the case of Best Way Electric, the customer service person that first set up the engagement with Mrs. Peterson was trying to win her business by indicating that it would probably be a minimum charge. This customer service person set Mrs. Peterson’s expectations for a potentially smaller bill without making it clear that in case other things are discovered the costs might be higher. She would then be given the choice to go ahead with the work or decline. It was a good thing Hank reset expectations on the job.

Mrs. Peterson had her intention thwarted, thinking this job would be started in the morning so she would be free to schedule her afternoon. Her expectations of a minimum charge were unfulfilled when she got the bill for $795. She did, however, call the company and deliver her communication. The statistic I have repeatedly heard is that for every complaint or compliment a business receives about nine (9) go unreported, or not communicated.

Setting the right expectation requires clear, understood communication about agreed upon and appropriate deliverables. The deliverables are documented in a written “contract” and verified by all affected parties, when signed.

After a few Mrs. Peterson events, Best Way Electric adopted a prestart “contract” that explains all the policies and customer rights. This prestart contract is read and initialed by every customer before any work is started. Furthermore, whenever a new phase of work is discovered, the repair people are trained to explain to the customer the need; costs and time required and get agreement which is verified by the customer’s initials, before going ahead.

Whether you have a “contract” with a customer, or with your son or daughter, it must have three key elements:
  • what is supposed to be delivered;
  • when it will be delivered; and
  • an agreed upon value or price.
Initialing or signing confirms everyone’s agreement and understanding.
When the deliverables are fulfilled per the contract, the Reality should be that the Expectations were met and Satisfaction should result. The resulting Satisfaction formula will equal one or greater.

With this formula always in mind, you can bring satisfaction to most of the people in your life more often, which may also bring you greater satisfaction.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -  
 
Bert Holeton (CMC, CPVA, CPBA) is an EvaluSys® Business Advisor Member and the Founder and CEO of The Mastermind Group, Inc. The purpose of The Mastermind Group, Inc. is to support leaders of organizations and businesses to achieve and sustain success. Since 1980 Mr. Holeton has consulted with over 60 companies in 14 industries ranging in size from startup to Fortune 100. He continues to consult all over North America and now resides in Leavenworth, www.the-mastermind-group.com

Sunday, June 24, 2012

EvaluSys for CPA Firms

Two key concerns common to CPA firms are client retention and having consistent and diverse revenue streams. For many, introducing business advisory services is a solution to both concerns. Yet many firms are slow to adopt these new services because they are uncomfortable transitioning to the "Trusted Business Advisor (TBA)" role with clients.

In a May 2012 article in the Journal of Accountancy (click to read), AICPA's Lindsey Ferguson lists many benefits of becoming a TBA, including improved relationships, client referrals, consistent revenue and more.  Lindsey also speaks to the challenges associated with transitioning to the TBA role.

At EvaluSys, we help CPA firms successfully transition to the TBA role by providing diagnostic tools to identify and describe critical management issues impacting client business performance. Our suite of fully hosted management diagnostics will expose a broad spectrum of advisory service needs ranging from Business Exit readiness to Product / Service Innovation. EvaluSys opens up a whole new channel for engaging and retaining business clients, driving advisory services growth while minimizing selling costs.

When used as an integrated part of your client engagement process, EvaluSys will help you:


  • Ask the right questions to reveal critical business issues impacting client profitability and goal achievement
  • Maintain a consistent and repeatable discovery process to ensure a outstanding client experience
  • Become a vital partner in your client's future succes
  • Uncover important client needs you can satisfy directly or indirectly through your network of referral partner
The diagnostic tools offered by EvaluSys help CPA firms make the transition from tax and accounting service provider to trusted advisor easily by using the Business Evaluation Checkup™ to identify general areas of improvement opportunity.
  • Simple set up - even simpler to use with clients
  • Primer serves as the conversation starter
  • Diagnostic results serve as a call-to-action for clients
  • Natural progression into deeper diagnostic examination as a billable advisory service
If you would like more information about EvaluSys diagnostic tools and how they can help a CPA firm transition to a trusted advisor role, please visit EvaluSys.com.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Swing The Hammer!

If you want to drive a nail, you have to swing the hammer!

A hammer is a useful tool to drive nails, but it can't do it on its own.  You have to take action.  Pick up the hammer.  Yes, you do have to take aim at your targeted nail head, but aiming alone won't get it done.  You have to swing that hammer!

At EvaluSys, we're thankful to have developed a strong community of Business Advisor members since we launched back in July 2009.  They became EvaluSys members because they understood the necessity of identifying a client's core management issues before prescribing a course of action.  The EvaluSys Business Evaluation™ has proven to be an effective tool to quickly and reliably diagnose a broad range of management issues, saving time and money for both clients and advisors.

Following the hammer analogy, Advisor members must act to use EvaluSys management diagnostics with their clients before that tool can help them be more effective in improving business results, for both their clients and for their own advisory practice.  Registering as a Business Advisor Member is like picking up the hammer.  It's a great start!  If you are a business advisor of any flavor and you haven't registered at EvaluSys.com, you should begin there.

The next step would be to take aim. For EvaluSys, that could mean examining your current client list looking for any where you suspect they haven't reached their full potential. Advisor members have begun to employ the Business Wellness Checkup™ as a way to take aim at the management areas of general concern, and to identify clients who could benefit most from further diagnostic assessment.
 
Then it is time to swing the hammer and use the Business Evaluation process to identify business improvement opportunities for review with your clients.  Diagnostic results will provide you with a list of suggested actions, supported by valuable insights on how the issue may be impacting the client business and potential benefits of taking action.

If you are a business advisor who is looking for ways to inject new life into your advisory practice or your client's business, take action!  Swing the hammer!  Use the EvaluSys Business Evaluation™, providing valuable insight that is making a profound difference for companies across the United States and beyond. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Where Do I Begin?


If you are a business owner/executive and are not sure where to begin to improve your management practices, or are a business advisor who is looking for a quick and easy way to know where client challenges may exist, the EvaluSys Business Evaluation "Primer"™ is now available as a free online service of EvaluSys®!

The "Primer" evaluation (https://Primer.EvaluSys.com) draws selected diagnostic material from the EvaluSys Business Evaluation™ to help identify areas of potential management weakness (marketing, sales, leadership, business planning, human resources and much more) worthy of more detailed examination. The "Primer" takes only about ten (10) minutes to complete, so busy business owners can easily fit it into their schedules.

Business advisors, coaches, investors, consultants and others who help to educate client business owners on management best-practices should sign on to your EvaluSys Business Advisor Portal account today (register at EvaluSys.com) to set up to integrate the Primer into your diagnostic toolkit.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Is Your Business Check Engine Light On?

Have you ever taken your car in for service because the Check Engine light was on? I am sorry to say that I have had that experience too many times over recent years.

The first thing the Service Manager says is "we'll run a diagnostic on it to find out what is going on and let you know." Those diagnostics are typically $70-$120 or more. Sometimes I consult the Owner's Manual or research possible causes on the web. If I find a possible cause, I'm tempted to skip the diagnostic and just replace the "thingamajig", hoping to save the $100. I'm tempted to do that, but so far I've always gone ahead with the diagnostic. As it turns out, the problem has never been the "thingamajig" but something completely different!

As a consultant to business owners for many years, sometimes the client would talk as if their company's "Check Engine" light had begun to flash. I would listen carefully as they describe their problems. Many times they would say they heard about a couple quick fixes on the Internet, from friends, or from other business owners. If you add up all the time and money they invested trying to fix a problem they had not yet diagnosed, I'm sure they would have been way ahead by diagnosing the problem before committing to a cure.

If you own an under-performing business and are willing to invest in repairs to get your company running like a top, start with a business management diagnostic. You are sure to learn a great many business improvement ideas in areas like Marketing, Sales, Business Planning, Executive Leadership, Financial Planning & Control, Human Resources, and more.

Your best bet would be to contact a local business coach or consultant (visit http://www.imcusa.org/ to search for a certified management consultant) and ask them if they offer the EvaluSys Business Evaluation™. If they are not yet EvaluSys members, tell them it is easy to register at EvaluSys.com.

It’s never a good idea to run either your car or your business while its Check Engine light is on. Consult an expert who can diagnose your problems and get you on the road to high performance!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Be the Referral Partner of Choice

Do you want to be the referral partner of choice for other consultants or business advisors in your market? My personal experience tells me that people look to establish mutually beneficial referral relationships, and will focus their efforts on passing referrals to people who they believe are best equipped to return the favor.

How do you become the referral partner who is recognized as best-equipped to identify well-qualified opportunities for professionals who send referrals to you? How can you absolutely convince those professionals that you are capable of uncovering truly relevant issues and needs of the businesses they send you even if you don't possess any competence in their area of specialization?

I met with an experienced business coach recently who works to make sure his referral sources are aware that he uses EvaluSys management diagnostics with his prospective clients. When he receives a referral from them, he will make sure that prospect completes the diagnostic in their area of management and will introduce them to that prospect as a trusted resource to help them understand and address any issues discovered. EvaluSys gives him the edge he needs to earn the confidence of the current and future strategic partners, and be that "referral partner of choice".

Do you have to be a business coach or consulting generalist to use EvaluSys with prospective clients? It certainly doesn't hurt, but is isn't at all necessary. If you advise clients exclusively in one or two management areas, you can lead with those diagnostic modules, then follow with other diagnostics as a way to help those businesses reveal a broad spectrum of management issues. All you need to do to build those strong referral relationships is to encourage the completion of all diagnostics and make the referral when diagnostic results reveal important client needs.

For more information about using EvaluSys to be the "referral partner of choice" in your market, visit EvaluSys.com and email Sales@EvaluSys.com to arrange a personal consultation.