Being an Owner, BExDO=Have, Growth, Leadership, Learn to Earn, Ownership

Our next speaker was the amazing Sheri Riley, author of “Exponential Living – Stop Spending 100% of Your Time on 10% of Who You Are”

Her presentation included many BFOs:

  • What will you give up to grow? If you don’t give things up, you limit your capacity to grow.
  • Personal development fuels professional growth
  • Our skills and talents can take us to levels of success that our character can’t sustain
  • Personal development is LEADERSHIP

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Her book includes a road map to the title subject, Exponential Living

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The balance of Sheri’s presentation was about the five steps to Living Your Power

  1. Perspective – “I don’t know” is not the truth, it clouds your vision
    • “Be realistic with your goals and unrealistic with your thinking and your effort.” – Paul Martinelli, President, The John Maxwell Team
  2. Ownership – What are you focused on?
    • When looking at peoples to do lists it was found that
      • People didn’t remember why 1/3 of the items were on their lists
      • 1/3 of the items were for others, and
      • 1/3 were chronologically out of order
    • Most suffered from FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out
  3. Wisdom – What is your plan?
    • Determine your 1 to 3 MOST important NEXT steps
    • Ask yourself, “Am I chasing opportunities that are actually distractions?
  4. Engagement – What adjustments do you need to make to implement?
    • Presence is not enough, being present is the key
    • Multi-tasking is a lie!
  5. Reward – How will you remain consistent?
    • Don’t walk away from a goal because the plan isn’t working
    • Be committed to the goal, be committed to consistency, be flexible with the plan

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  • Broaden our definition of success
  • Eliminate the fear of success

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Brad Sugars returned to the stage as our final speaker of BEF.  He discussed reaching critical mass:

  • You must grow into your role and goal
  • Wisdom comes from the application of knowledge
  • Commitment – with bacon & eggs
    • The chicken is a participant
    • The pig is committed!
  • The concept of BE x DO = HAVE
    • Applies to a person
    • Applies to a couple
    • Applies to a team
    • Applies to a company

At the awards dinner the evening of the second day, one of the award winners had a different spin on one of our PowerPoint slides:

Instead of You have to learn more to earn more,

It’s not about what you earn, it’s about who you become.

If you wish to discuss any of the BFOs or concepts presented in this 4-part series, my colleagues and I are just a phone call, email to website inquiry away.  You simply have to take ACTION!

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Adaptability, Blinding Flashes of the Obvisous (BFOs), Business Fundamentals, Continual Improvement, Growth

The second day of BEF kicked off with Michael Losier, author of “Law of Attraction – The Science of Attracting More of What You Want and Less of What You Don’t.”  Among the many BFOs were:

  • Contrast – The brief observation of what you don’t want will bring clarity to what you do want
  • The Law of Attraction is like a Google search, refine the search until you find what you are looking for.
  • To invoke the Law of Attraction, refine your Words->Thoughts->Vibes->Results

Our next speaker was Stephen Hightower, President & CEO of Hightower Petroleum Co.  Mr. Hightower was profiled in CNBC’s “Blue Collar Millionaires”, he went from cleaning toilets in his parent’s janitorial business to founding a multi-million-dollar oil company.  One of his big breaks occurred when his company was chosen to provide all the fuel that is put into new cars coming off GM’s production line.  At the time, he didn’t have the credit nor the supply chain to satisfy the contract.  In fact, he needed to triple his capacity.  His search for credit and supply led him to the following BFO:

  • “If the opportunity is big enough, you can find a supplier to support it.”

Having the right relationships has enabled his company to now supply the fuel for most of the cars produced in North America. The additional BFO’s from Mr. Hightower’s presentation included:

  • As long as you don’t die, you have the opportunity to do something different
  • “Exposure gives you the ability to see what is possible.”
  • “90 % of my customers are being called upon by someone else.  100% of my customers were once customers of someone else.”

This last BFO from Stephen Hightower was so powerful and valuable that it covered my BEF investment several time over.  We all have competitors, thus, to succeed for the long haul, we must CONTINUALLY exceed our customer’s rising expectations.

Stay tuned for the next installment of BFOs from the 2019 BEF.

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Blinding Flashes of the Obvisous (BFOs), Customer Loyalty, Employee Engagement, Growth, Leadership

Continuing with Brad Sugars’ presentation.  Brad listed some of his favorite 5 Ways strategies (in his order of preference):

  • Margin:
    • Don’t just raise prices, continually educate your customers and team as to your value proposition
    • Don’t discount – instead of giving away cash, give away value (make it special)
  • Conversion Rate:
    • Training, training, training
    • Make a benefit list – the top reasons customers should buy
    • “you can’t outsell your competitors if you don’t know them.” – Learn as much as you can about what they do well and not so well
    • Flowchart your sales process
    • Use Critical Non-Essentials (CNEs)
  • Average $ Sale:
    • Training, training, training
    • A/B/C/D customers – guide your customers, or send some of them to your competition
  • Number of Transactions:
    • Constantly build your database
    • Rebooking
    • VIP programs
    • Special offers & events
  • Lead Generation:
    • Video testimonials
    • Professionally built website

“Marketing is the life-blood of the business.”

Our next speaker was the very inspirational Dr. Jen Welter.  Dr. Welter is the first female coach in the NFL.  She coached the inside linebackers for the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals.  A few key BFOs are:

  • Don’t live life looking in the rearview mirror
  • Be defined by what you do, not by what people are willing to pay you
  • “You are the producer, director, and lead actor of your life.”
  • “Why fit in when you can stand out?”
  • People listen when you whisper

We finished day one with a presentation from Richard Maloney, Founder and CEO of Engage & Grow Global.  Richard’s presentation revolved around the subject of employee engagement; its definition, costs, and its cure.  Among the many, many BFOs presented are the following highlights:

  • “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” – Theodore Roosevelt
  • Definitions of the different levels of employee engagement

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  • According to a 2017 Gallup survey of companies in the US 69% of employees were disengaged (a 1% improvement from 2016)

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  • Disengagement looks like this

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  • And a Gallup poll concluded that an engaged workforce yields tremendous benefits

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  • Richard outlined the 6 Steps to employee engagement

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A few more key BFOs

  • “If you don’t measure, you lose treasure.”
  • Resolve disagreements within your company quickly – get the “splinters” out before they become infected
  • A great question to regularly ask your team is – “What around here needs to improve to become number one in our industry?”

Stay tuned for the next installment of BFOs from the 2019 BEF.

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5 Way Formula, Adding Value, Blinding Flashes of the Obvisous (BFOs), Business Coaching, Consistency, Leadership, Success

For the fourth year in a row, the Business Excellence Forum (BEF) grew and exceeded the previous years in attendance, presenters and content.  This year there were more than 700 business owners, executives, team members and business coaches in attendance in Charleston, SC.  With that many attendees, there was an abundance of formal and informal exchanges of ideas, strategies, success stories and best practices.

This year’s forum had an extensive list of keynote speakers whose presentations yielded many Blinding Flashes of the Obvious (BFOs) and new ways of looking at things.  The following are some of the BFOs that struck a chord with me, all of which will enhance the value I bring to my clients.  I am sure that some of these will have a similar effect on you.

The event began with Dr. Mark Thompson and Dr. Bonita Thompson, authors of “Admired – 21 Ways to Double Your Value”.  Their presentation was about “Being The Most Admired Brand.”   They presented the five factors needed to be an admired brand:

  1. Who do you admire?
    • We admire people with the same values as us
    • We all need “Power Partners” – mentors
  2. Productive PARANOIA
    • Steve Jobs 1.0 – was fired from Apple. At that time, he was ambitious, arrogant, and lacked humility
    • Steve Jobs 2.0 – re-tooled himself and built Apple into one of the most valuable companies in the world

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  1. Value-Creators – If your house burned down, would you:
    • Rebuild the same House?
    • Using the same Process?
    • With the same Team?
    • What about your business? Does your business create Value?
  2. Never-ending Mission – four parts
    • BHAGs – Big Hairy Audacious Goals
    • OKR – Objectives and Key Results
    • Simplicity
    • Urgency – Creates Learning & Growth

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  1. Deliberate Practice – 6 Parts

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  1. Redefine Success – What is your definition of Success?

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They concluded with the secret to passionate growth:

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And Number 7 Gratitude.

Our next speaker was ActionCOACH Chairman and Founder, Brad Sugars.  Under the often-repeated mantra of going back to basics, Brad presented some reminders and updates to the Six Steps to Massive Results seminar.  Highlights include:

  • Don’t fall in love with your product or service – break out of your rut and continually improve and innovate
  • It is no use building your marketing if you can’t keep the customers – make sure you can consistently deliver
  • With the internet and social media, marketing has shifted toward labor, away from spend
  • In the ActionCOACH concept of Test & Measure – testing has become extremely easy because of all the statistics that are available
  • Use the ActionCOACH 5 Way Formula backwards, from Profit up – 5 years, 4 years, …

Stay tuned for the next installment of BFOs from the 2019 BEF.

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Adding Value, Being an Owner, Business Coaching, Delegation, Leadership, TEAM

The cover story in the current (January-February 2019) edition of Entrepreneur Magazine is a profile of Michael Strahan (Link to the article).  Not being a daytime TV viewer, or a NY Giants fan, I was not very familiar with him.  Until I read the article, I was almost totally unaware of Michael Strahan’s many accomplishments after retiring from the National Football League.  There are a few things we can learn from his business career after his playing days were behind him.

It Is What It Is Until It Isn’t – Not unlike many pro athletes, Strahan had no plan what he would do once the game ended for him.  Nonetheless, he piled up an impressive playing record; fifteen seasons (the average NFL playing career is only 3 years).  That level of longevity speaks to a dedication to be the best defensive end he could be.  He gave his all to his football career until it was over.  Are you totally engaged in your business?

Deal With Pressure – After the NFL, Strahan went into sportscasting.  Leaving football introduced the concern and possibility the he would “suck” (his word) at something.  “You don’t want to be the weak link.” He said.  He realized that facing a 350-pound opponent who was trying to smash his head in was more pressure than “shaking a dude’s hand and asking him a few questions.”  He put the pressure of a new role into perspective.  Are you putting the day-to-day pressure you face in your business into perspective?

Build Your Team – Along the way, Strahan, influenced by his career in professional football, a team sport, assembled a very effective team.  As he said in the article:

“I understand that it’s a bigger team than just you on the camera.  The most important people are the ones behind the camera.”  He went on to say, “You understand how important the support system is in sports, and that has carried over to me in business.  Because there’s nothing worse than feeling that you do a job no one values.  Each job is important – I don’t care if you’re cleaning out the garbage cans or working the phones or running the company.  Everybody has value, and football taught me to make people feel that value to get the best out of them.” (emphasis added)

Great insight toward building an effective TEAM.

If you want to build a highly effective team for your business, a team that will enable you, your business and the team itself to bring amazing value to your customers and community, my ActionCOACH colleagues and I are ready to help.  All you must do is pick up the phone, tablet or keyboard and contact an ActionCOACH business coach.

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Adding Value, Being an Owner, Lead Generation, Marketing, Success, Unique Value Proposition

I often ask my clients to answer, “Why should I be your customer (client or patient) (CCP)?” from the point of view and value proposition of their ideal CCP’s, not their point of view.  That question is also featured in many of my seminars and workshops.  In fact, I posted a blog in October 2015 entitled “What is Your Product or Service?” which expanded on that very important question.  I just finished an article in the December 2018 edition of Builder magazine entitled “Closing The New vs. Existing Divide” by Vincent Salandro which offers another very practical take on this subject.

While focusing in on the factors that lead home buyers to buy newly constructed homes rather than existing homes, the article presents a statistical approach to understand home buyer preferences and how a builder might increase their market penetration.  The article quotes data from the Zillow Group New Construction Consumer Housing Trends Report 2018 to make a strong case for developing a very deep understanding of the value proposition of the ideal customers of new home builders.

The Zillow Group report found that while 38% of potential home buyers considered buying a newly constructed home in 2017, only 11% purchased one.  In delving deeper into the data, the author expands on many of the factors that would be useful in refining a builder’s definition of their ideal customer.  Some of the factors included where:

  • Age – new home buyers tend to be older
  • Ethnicity – 74% of new home buyers self-identified as Caucasian/White
  • First-Time buyers vs. Moving Up or Downsizing buyers
  • Geography

The article goes on to look at the top fourteen reasons buyers purchase new homes.  Such factors as:

  • Everything is new/never used – 48%
  • Ability to customize features of the home – 23%
  • Ability to have smart home features – 6%

These were a great look at new home builder’s customer value proposition.

Finally, the article looked at how new construction home buyers shop for their home.  Most who purchase newly constructed homes relied on technology, 68% using a laptop or desktop and 46% using mobile devices to shop for their home.  Only one-third of new home buyers used mobile, much less than buyers who purchased existing homes.

What does this have to do with your business?  To answer that, I have a homework assignment for you.  I suggest you ask yourself the following questions:

  • How well do you understand your ideal Customer, Client or Patient? – When is the last time you gathered any market statistics that might be used to refine who your ideal CCP is?
  • How well do you understand ALL the various factors that make up your ideal CCP values? – Have you asked your CCPs why they buy from your company?
  • How well do you understand how your ideal CCPs found you? – Are you “hanging out” in all the places you should?

My colleagues and I are well equipped to assist you to better define, understand and find your ideal customers, clients or patients.  The better you are at serving them, the more successful you will be.

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Delegation, Uncategorized

I can’t believe that it has been four years since my last blog post about effective delegation.  I find this fact surprising because effective delegation within a business is one of the most important foundations of long-term success.  Without delegation at all levels of a team, the company and team members will not maximize each of their potential to create value for themselves, their customers (clients or patients), their company, their market and their community.

Following are the nine keys to effective and successful delegation:

  1. Present the desired result and confirm it is fully understood. If you ever listened to your pilot communicating with air traffic control while flying, you would have noticed that the pilot doesn’t just acknowledge the controller’s instruction.  The pilot always repeats the instruction back to the controller.  That insures the instruction was fully understood.  When you delegate, it is imperative that the person you are delegating to, repeats the desired result back to you.  Ask questions to make sure that there is complete understanding of the desired result.
  2. Present guidelines or limits as to how the result is to be achieved. Define the “playing field,” their authority to contact, direct or contract with other departments or outside resources they may need.  The company’s CPA or attorney for example.  Is the project or task confidential?  If so, what level of confidentiality is to be followed.
  3. Discuss the resources that are available. Budget, team, equipment or space must be clearly defined.
  4. Establish a timeline. Discuss time constraints or deadlines, both internal and external.  In situations where there is flexibility, buy-in can be achieved by asking “When can you have this completed?”
  5. Make yourself available if assistance is needed and requested. Make it clear to the delegatee that you are available if they ask for assistance.  And make it clear that such a request will not be held against them.  One common example of required assistance is to overcome the resistance of people in other departments within a company to respond to the delegatee because they do not have a high enough title.
  6. Set accountability and KPI’s to measure progress toward the goal. You cannot manage something if it is not measured.  Setting measurements supports Key 8 and eliminate disappointment and surprises.
  7. Discuss the consequences both good and bad related to the desired result. This is the opportunity to present why the desired result is important.
  8. Periodically follow up. Without follow up questions, such as “How’s it going?” or “Are you on schedule?” or similar, there is only abdication, not delegation.  I have observed many instances of failure due to lack of follow up.
  9. Do not Jump-In to rescue. You may need to assist when a project goes off the rails.  However, if you jump-in and take the project over, you are doomed to having this repeat on future projects.

Remember
“Successful delegation has more to with the delegator … not the one being delegated to.” – Darren Hardy

The ActionCOACH DelegationRICH workshop expands and details this subject.  If you want to get leverage of your and your team’s time, knowledge and talents, my colleagues and I will be happy to assist you to become a world class delegator.

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Adding Value, Being an Owner, Continual Improvement, Culture, Growth, Success

I am re-reading “Built To Last” the 2002 book with the subtitle of “Successful Habits of Visionary Companies” by Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras.  In Chapter 9, entitled Good Enough Never Is (I borrowed it as the title of this blog), the authors make the following key points:

  • The critical question asked within many of the visionary companies cited in the book is “How can we do better tomorrow than we did today?”
  • The companies in the book institutionalized the asking of that critical question as a way of life.
  • The visionary companies attained their extraordinary position because they were very demanding of themselves, never content to cease building and improving.
  • The author’s research clearly supports a strong correlation between the success of the visionary companies and the concept of “continuous improvement (CI)”, in some cases going back more than 100 years (way before CI became a management catchphrase in the 1980s).
  • Visionary companies put mechanisms of discomfort in place as a defense against complacency.
  • While taking the long-term view, the visionary companies did not back away from pushing for current growth at the same time they pushed for growth in the future. In other words, they didn’t plan for lower sales this year to fund higher sales next year.
  • The visionary companies consistently invested for the future.

These key points and several others were nailed down in the book with specific examples from the author’s research of both the visionary companies and the lower performing “comparison companies.”  For instance, in the case of Marriott (the visionary company) and Howard Johnson (the comparison company) they point out that in 1960 Howard Johnson was one of the best-known American companies.  J. W. Marriott, Jr. said at the time that he hoped that the company he had inherited from his father could one day be as successful as Howard Johnson.  By 1985, Marriott was seven times the size of Howard Johnson.  The book credits this to “Marriott’s relentless self-discipline as a continuous improvement machine versus Howard Johnson’s complacency.”  Marriott instituted mechanisms to stimulate improvement, including:

  • “Guest Service Index” reports – a major KPI based upon customer comment cards and surveys.
  • Annual performance reviews for every employee – EVERY EMPLOYEE.
  • Incentive bonuses.
  • Investment in extensive interviewing and screening of potential new hires.
  • Management and employee development programs.
  • Investment in a corporate “Learning Center.”
  • Employing “Phantom Shoppers.”

In comparing Motorola with Zenith, the author’s point out that Zenith squandered its reputation for quality by becoming complacent.  Zenith was the last company in their industry to invest in solid-state electronics, printed circuit boards and was late to get into color TV.  As an aside, I was in Chicago last month and noticed that the former Zenith headquarters building was being demolished.

So, considering this, the questions I want you to ask yourself are:

  • What “mechanisms of discomfort” can you create to defeat complacency in your company?
  • What are you doing to invest in the future of your company? Leadership development? R&D? Enhanced recruiting & training? Technology?  Before your competitors do.
  • When business takes a dip, does your company continue to invest for the future?
  • Does your company’s culture not accept “comfort”, or do you constantly work to do better tomorrow?

You may be thinking that your company is not nearly as big as Marriott or Motorola (now part of Zebra Technologies).  They all started as small companies but adopted these concepts very early in their history.  You can too.

Both the good news and the bad news from the author’s is

“Good old-fashioned hard work, dedication to improvement, and continually building for the future will take you a long way.”  There are not shortcuts, magic potions or work-arounds.

“Success is never final.”

My colleagues and I at ActionCOACH are ready to assist you to build your company to last.

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Adding Value, Being an Owner, Ownership

One fact I often site is that on average, 10,000 baby boomers in the USA turn 65 every day.  This has been going on for the past seven years and will continue for another eleven years.  This fact presents two major opportunities to the business world:

  1. What products or services does this huge portion of the population need as they become “senior citizens?”  And they are living longer.
  2. Many Baby Boomers are business owners. Their businesses will eventually be sold, transferred, or they will use some other form of exit in the coming years.

This leads me to the main point of this blog … preparing businesses and business owners (even if they are not Baby Boomers) for their exit, even though they have no plan to exit soon.  Here are the top six reasons you should prepare your business for exit:

  1. Maximize – A business that is prepared for the owner’s exit will be much more valuable than a business that is dependent on the owner’s day-to-day contribution to operations. During ActionCOACH training we learned that a business owners’ product is the business, not the product or service of the business.  Therefore, we coach our clients to invest a major portion of their time toward working “ON” their business, rather than only working “IN” their business.  An owner’s prime responsibility is to design and create a business environment that enables their team to succeed.
  2. Money – A business that is prepared for the owner’s exit will be more profitable than a business that is totally, or partially dependent on the owner’s involvement. Owners need to design their operations to maximize the leverage of their and the team’s time and talents.
  3. Time – The owner of a prepared business will have more time and freedom to pursue other interests, be they business or personal.
  4. Harmony – We all seek work-life harmony. A well designed, prepared business enhances their owner’s ability to achieve work-life harmony.
  5. Contribution – A well prepared business will deliver more value to its customers, clients, patients, team, owner and community.
  6. Protect – A business that is designed and built for the owner’s exit will provide protection to the business’ team and the owner’s family. There are too many instances of businesses that failed after an owner’s disability or death.  The potential for destruction of value, jobs and fortunes is reason enough for you to prepare your business for your exit.

One of the main focuses of the ActionCOACH coaching process is preparing our clients and their businesses to be sold.  If you wish to prepare your business for your exit and earn more money until you decide it is time to exit, my colleagues and I are ready to assist you.

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5 Way Formula, Being an Owner, Business Stress Tests, Customer Loyalty, Customer Service, Leadership, Proactivity, Raving Fans

One of the most important concepts my colleagues and I at ActionCOACH coach our clients on is being proactive.  Everything from our GrowthCLUB (90 Day Planning Workshop), our use of the ActionCOACH Business Chassis (5 Way Formula), to the alignment consultation we use to start each of our client’s coaching programs, is aimed at promoting proactivity.  Unfortunately, too many of the businesses I am introduced to operate on a reactive basis, reacting on a daily, sometimes hourly, rhythm of solving crisis after crisis after crisis.  The consequences of operating in reactive mode are many; lack of growth, low company morale, low or no profit, high levels of stress, and in some cases, bankruptcy!

Chief among the steps toward proactivity is to periodically Stress Test your business.  Here are a few of the tests you must perform:

TEST Explanation
What if this works? “What if this works?” is one of my best coaching questions.  You cannot achieve continuing success without preparing for it.  This doesn’t mean starting a second shift before your sales increase, for example.  It does mean having the plans and processes for starting a second shift prepared as part of introducing your new product.
What if a key part of your business goes down? Machinery breakdowns, illness of key team members, storms, key team retirement or resignations, etc. are a fact of business life.  How much cross training and employee development is part of your daily routine?  How many strategic alliances have you developed?  Do you have succession plans?  Being prepared is a major responsibility of business ownership and leadership.
What is my customer retention? Low customer retention, and/or a low customer referral rate are leading KPIs, indicating a need to proactively redesign your operations.  Simply, if you are not at minimum, satisfying your customers, you have a big problem.  Of course, your goal should be to consistently WOW your customers.  Customers who are only satisfied are not loyal, raving fan customers.

 

The results of these stress tests and others, whether good or bad, should lead you to proactive activities.  My colleagues and I at ActionCOACH are ready to assist you to stress test your business and to implement proactive processes.  All you need to do to start your proactive journey is contact us.

 

Work on your business, not just in your business.

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