About Us.News.Contact Us
CEO Success Blog. The blogosphere for Successful Business Owners.



CEO Roundtable

August 24th, 2009

How Superior CEOs Create Prosperity in any Economic Environment  

Thursday, September 24th 8:15 - 10:15AM, Breakfast  



Tuesday, September 29th 11:45AM - 1:45PM, Luncheon


Exclusively for CEO’s, Presidents, and Business Owners

What: This is no time to be alone. In these uncertain times, business owners who are members of The Alternative Board have a distinct edge. Instead of facing critical issues and challenges alone, they work on their businesses in collaboration with other successful CEOs and Presidents using a proprietary process, world class assessment and planning tools, professionally-facilitated Board meetings and coaching sessions to ensure that critical success factors, essential metrics and revenue goals are accomplished.

In fact, 75 percent of TAB Board members reported increased revenues in the past six months despite today’s turbulent economic situation.

Join us for lunch and hear from successful local business owners, who are TAB members, to discuss how The Alternative Board is helping them and prosper in today’s turbulent environment.

When you become a TAB member, you can expect:
• Meaningful business solutions and emotional support from owners just like you
• Different and refreshing perspectives on the common challenges all owners face
• Accountability to and from a board of peers and your business coach to help you achieve both the personal and professional levels of success you desire

Location: Chase Bank - Directions provided upon registration

Cost: Complimentary

Group helps each other thrive in marketplace

August 24th, 2009

By Richard Ryman • rryman@greenbaypressgazette.com • August 9, 2009

Jim Overly has an issue. He’s found a way to get more business into his Cyber Works computer repair shop, now he has to figure out how to get the work done.

He’s got an architect, an engineer, a blue print shop owner and a jeweler to help him. They and others are members with Overly of one of The Alternative Board’s local strategic boards, a gathering of noncompeting businessmen who share ideas, make critiques and generally act as a support group and sounding board. In essence, an alternative board of directors to companies not big enough to have a board.

“Ultimately, we make our own calls,” said Joe Pankratz, owner of Avenue Jewelers in Appleton. “It’s very, very beneficial to know multiple perspectives instead of one. You get the comfort factor that you are not out in left field because you react to something emotionally.”

Overly’s strategy is summed up by his advertising slogan, “48 hours or free.”

His computer sales and repair shop guarantees that any computer repair or upgrade will be done in 48 hours or the work is free. He has four computer techs and a limited physical space, but business has already increased and usually doubles in the months following Christmas, which is what he’s planning for now.

“We have to maintain the same niceness and ability to get things done even though we are doing it twice as fast,” he said. “I don’t want to keep adding techs. I don’t want to work twice as hard for the same amount of money.”

After quizzing Overly pretty thoroughly, suggestions flowed: use a triage system, use prices to control flow, think about what to do next when competitors begin matching 48 hours or free.

“I definitely got great advice from the other guys. One of the things we do in that meeting is throw out stuff we are doing, thinking about doing or doing and it’s not working,” Overly said. “I liked some of the ideas. I’ve already given them to my service manager to run by his guys.”

Alternative Boards are franchised to business consultants, who recruit members, lead meetings and provide one-on-one coaching sessions. The board to which Overly belongs is administered by Michael Audit, president of Benchmark Consultants Inc., Oshkosh. Audit and his partner, Jim Marshall, oversee three groups each.

Audi said the optimum size for a group is seven to nine members. In deciding to invite new members, he looks for a willingness on their part to be open to change and for chemistry, which is critical to a successful group.

“It’s really an appreciation that ‘there is more potential in this business and I need to get it,’” he said.

View Full Article

Bookmark the CEO Success Blog!

Peer Coaching a Near Religious Experience

August 11th, 2009

Accountability to each other really works

Rick Spence, Financial Post  Published: Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How do entrepreneurs learn from each other? And how do you get them to do the things they want to do, and need to do, but never seem to find time for?

Last week’s column focused on one answer to those questions: peer advisory boards. These are confidential forums in which owners of non-competitive businesses meet regularly through a trusted facilitator to share problems, explore solutions and encourage each other to keep going.

Last week, I told you how I was invited to sit in on the meeting of one such group, an Oakville, Ont., chapter of The Alternative Board, a Colorado-based group that manages peer boards across Canada and the United States. Although these meetings are strictly confidential, I was allowed to observe the process on behalf of the Financial Post as long as I didn’t name names.

The first hour involved basic leadership coaching and member updates. After that, things got serious. Facilitator John Womack (the only participant I’m allowed to name) asked his members what progress they had made in the business plans they’ve been working on for the past month.

Howard looks guilty: His plan called for a 10% sales increase for this year. So far, he’s been struggling just to stay even. He’s been working on introducing some new products, but the launch has been delayed. And he’s been meaning to work with his partners to complete a shareholder’s agreement, but no one has had time to sit down and get ‘er done.

View Full Article

Bookmark the CEO Success Blog!

Strategy Support Network Opens in UK

July 6th, 2009

Financial Times

By: Andrew Bounds

View Full Article

Bookmark the CEO Success Blog!

Strategic Course Changes Turn Potential Disaster Into Success

June 15th, 2009

Course changes start by revisiting your company vision and making revisions based upon a new set of realities

By Allen Fishman

Times are tough for small and mid-sized businesses. Economic factors outside your control may even be threatening your company’s survival. The approach you take to confront these challenges can mean the difference between success and failure.

The economy is a threat not within your control. But you can take charge of how your company responds to this threat. Historically, business owners who make strategic course changes and adopt a planning process and the leadership techniques to turn potential disaster into success.

An error many business owners make is to counter a recession with panic or knee jerk reactions. They head straight for the Company Action Plans and push and pull, trying to reshape old plans to fit new economic pressures. But course changes take more than just shifting your plans. Those plans need to lead towards your vision of success and your current vision, the one you were shooting for before the economic crisis hit, may no longer be realistic.

A company vision is typically a long-term dream of success. Course changes start by revisiting your company vision and making revisions based upon a new set of realities. Company survival may require radical changes, but more often, a single or less drastic adjustment to your business model is all it takes to achieve your vision. You need to spend time identifying your Company SWOTs (the strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats that can benefit or hurt your success).

The SWOTs will give direction upon which to build the plans to execute successful course changes. 

First rule, put it all in writing: your Company Vision, your SWOTs and your company plans. Written documentation will also help you clearly articulate course changes to your employees so there is no confusion over the changes and how you intend to make them happen.

For many business owners, course changes in this economy will include a strategy for what costs to cut and what deals to offer. Get creative like the company that offers a discount to first-time buyers or the technology company that offers customers extra features for free rather than slash prices. Remember, it’s a mistake to cut back sales efforts during a recession. Instead, see what other areas can be cut back to redirect funds to your sales budget. And don’t try to copy someone else’s business model. You don’t know what part of that model created the success. If it were that easy to replicate a winning model, Starbucks never would have stayed on top of the game for so long.

Before making any changes, consider the following:

What is the evidence urging the change?
What are the intended results and measures?
What challenges can I anticipate?
What have I learned from similar course changes?
What will effect the greatest change?

Business owners can often be their own worst enemy when it comes to proactively addressing roadblocks that hinder course changes. Lead with confidence and don’t be afraid to admit when you make mistakes. Clinging to the wheel of a sinking ship just to prove you were right is a guaranteed route to failure. If you’ve got a company culture in place, make sure you are living it. It’s not just there for employees to follow, and how can you expect them to respect a culture if you don’t. And if you don’t have a company culture, get busy making one, preferably one that positively embraces change.

View Full Article Here

Bookmark the CEO Success Blog!