Sunday, December 9, 2018

Cigars With Eric

Anyone who’s followed my blog knows that I have a real affinity for fine cigars. I am constantly looking for opportunities to indulge my passion.  Fortunately, I was able to satisfy that interest several times this week with friends and business associates.  It was my meeting with Eric on Monday that was most enjoyable and therefore memorable.

For the past few months, we have been trying to schedule time for a cigar and a beer at his favorite neighborhood cigar bar, Highland Cigar Company.  I enjoyed our first meeting there and have been looking forward to a return visit.  I was pleased that we were able to schedule time Monday afternoon.

The first thing I noticed when I entered Highland Cigar was that it was much larger than my last visit. They’re obviously doing well as they expanded into an adjacent space, increasing their footprint by half.  Clearly, Highland Cigar is a popular place that’s doing well.

Eric arrived first and secured a couple of comfortable chairs.  After a friendly greeting, I headed for the humidor to make my cigar selection.  However, Eric stopped me and said that he brought a couple of his favorites for me to try. That was nice. One was a Rocky Patel, and the other, a Perdomo. Both featured Maduro wraps.

We did not have an agenda to discuss business issues.  It was meant to be a way to ease into the week with a relaxing conversation and to get to know one another better.  Even so, there was one issue that I wanted to discuss with Eric; a follow-up to a brief conversation from Friday’s monthly ITB Partners Members meeting. Before the meeting, I told Eric and two other colleagues about the prior days “lunch with four interesting people.”  I began our meeting by embellishing on Friday’s set-up.   I told him I was most impressed by our host and the concept of the lunch. I went on to say that I planned to refer him and our other colleagues to John, (not his real name) so that they would have an opportunity to meet him as well.

Eric, on the other hand, wanted to talk about options for a permanent office space, where we could gather more easily, even spontaneously to conduct business.  He was thinking of a virtual office, co-working space.  Our options include WeWork, Intelligent office, Regus, Industrious, Liquidspace, and Servecorp.  Having recently spent time in an Intelligent office location, I was excited about our conversation as well. I was totally engaged with Eric.  He went on to say that his son and daughter-in-law conduct their business from a WeWork office in Philadelphia.  When Eric mentioned his son and daughter-in-law, I saw an opportunity to steer the conversation away from our business interests.

At that point, I redirected the conversation toward a personal discussion beginning with Eric’s background.  You could say that I went into an executive recruiting mode.   My executive search experience has helped me refine my listening skills.  I have learned that getting to know someone requires patience to listen to them and ask follow up questions for clarification.  Asking questions serves to keep the conversation moving and demonstrates a genuine interest in the other.  It is how bonds of trust are created.

I remembered that Eric was originally from the Philadelphia area, however, I did not recall much about his education and early career experience.  I learned that Eric was a music major in college, a classical guitarist. He went on to say that by the age of 27 he was the Music Director for Hart college.  He told me how he met his wife, and his decision to change careers from music to project management, and later, earning a master’s degree from George Washington University.  I asked if he still plays the guitar.  He said he does and showed me a promotional photo of his trio.  He performs with another guitarist and a vocalist.  They had a gig scheduled for Friday night.  One question led to another and before long he was showing the work of an artist friend, Max Zorn.  Max creates incredible images using brown packing tape.  We talked about his travel through Spain with his wife: The walk of northern Spain also known as the Way of Saint James, then a more recent visit to Scotland.

The cigars and beers with Eric were enjoyable and relaxing.  Getting to know and understand Eric on a more personal level was, as the commercial goes, “priceless.”
Thank you for visiting our blog.
I hope you enjoyed our point of view and would like to receive regular posts directly to your email inbox.  Toward this end, put your contact information on my mailing list.
Your feedback helps me continue to publish articles that you want to read.  Your input is important to me so; please leave a comment.
Jim Weber, Managing Partner
ITB PARTNERS
Jim.Weber@itbpartners.com

Saturday, June 23, 2018

On C-Level Recruiting: Letter of the week.

I received a letter from a CEO in my network advising me of a recent situation where he was the runner-up in a COO search.   I edited his letter to eliminate redundancy, but the gist of the content is intact.  My friend’s input is on-point and self-evident.  I think you will find it instructive.

Dear Jim;

“I recently had the opportunity to interview for a COO position with a food company.  I truly enjoyed the Leadership Team and would have loved to be their choice.  I was a very close second place, so I wanted to ensure that my comments aren't formed by disappointment or vindictiveness.  I will share 3 areas of focus, as I believe that they should apply to any selection process, especially at the executive level.  They are:”

     1-  Choosing and preparing the selection process.
     2-  The selection process.
     3-  The decision process.

“This company did work together with an outside resource, it appears, to put together a robust job description.  It was well done and thoughtful.  I believe that this step is clearly the first one to take at any level, but like so many companies, it was never referenced throughout the selection process. “

“Who is to be involved in the process and determine their role and preparation is the next critical step.  Should an assessment be part of the selection criteria, and if so, who is involved in shaping this critical piece?  Do assessments truly improve the selection process?  Finally, does the organization establish an effective and unbiased selection matrix to help it make the decision?  I will answer these questions in the next two phases for this situation, but I am convinced that my experience is very typical with well-intended decision makers.”

“It should be noted that this company does not have an HR department or lead.  I find this fact unfortunate but not all that unusual in smaller, emerging companies.  The internal lead working with the search firm was part of the leadership team but ran another department.  She was pleasant, helpful, and responsive, but she is not an expert in this area.  More reason to use the Search Firm to its fullest.” 

“My first contact with the company was a typical phone screen which I was told would be conducted by the functional lead in charge of this process.  It was an excellent conversation, but honestly, they were not very prepared and there were several awkward transitions between the two interviewers.” 

“Gratefully, I was asked to move forward with the process which meant taking an assessment which they called a "test."  It's always an attention getter for me when this word is used.  It is a clear sign that the leadership team doesn't understand this part of the process and that the tool being used is probably not well thought out.”

“Again, I was pleased to be asked to participate in the final interview process, as one of the finalists for the COO position.   Trying to understand the format, I learned the names and positions of the people who would participate in the f2f interview portion of the selection process.  As it turned out, all seven (7) of these people joined me in the conference room except one member who joined via a conference call.  We talked for over 3 hours without interruption and covered a bunch of meaty topics.” 

“While I really liked the format, I was told that I was the first one to go thru it.  I had the distinct feeling that those in the room really didn't know what their role was to be in this interview. “ 
“While I truly enjoyed this leadership team and the process, the last area to discuss is the decision-making approach.” 

“I come to this conclusion:  the company does not have an internal resource today that could advise the group on how to enrich this process and most importantly, didn't utilize the outside resource that they hired to help them find the best candidateToday's CEO's taught the importance of selection processes (talk the talk) but rarely "walk the talk."  In this case, they committed to the time but did not have the expertise to optimize this commitment.  Most importantly, they chose not to use the resource at their disposal that could have helped dramatically.” 


Thank you for visiting my blog.
I hope you enjoyed my point of view and would like to receive regular posts directly to your email inbox.  Toward this end, put your contact information on my mailing list.

Your feedback helps me continue to publish articles that you want to read.  Your input is very important to me so; please leave a comment.


Jim Weber, Managing Partner
ITB PARTNERS
Jim.Weber@itbpartners.com


Current Assignments
1. COO- Northeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company - Completed
2. VP Operations - Southeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company - New
3. CEO- Northeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company - Completed
4. Corporate R&D Chef, Atlanta-based Home Meal Replacement Company - Complete
5. Area Supervisor - Legacy Pizza Chain, Carolinas - Completed
6. Operating Partners - Legacy Pizza Chain - New
7. Controller - Atlanta-based Consumer Products - Digital Company - Completed
8. Sr. Staff Accountant - Atlanta-based Not-for-profit - New











Sunday, June 17, 2018

Speaking To The FENG

Speaking engagements are an excellent way to expand one’s exposure and network.   I enjoy sharing my experience and learning from the audience.  Public speaking opportunities are a win-win proposition for freelancers.  This is a good month as I have two scheduled speaking engagements.

My corporate experience trained me to present quantitative data, usually financials, in charts and graphs.  The objective was to "be accurate, be quick, and be gone."  They lasted about 20 minutes, one slide per minute. The point was to show up, present the argument and then get off the stage.  The purpose was to explain results and gain approval for a proposed course of action.  Of course, the presentation was designed to connect with the audience. Today, my goal is to influence my audience by providing useful information, reinforcing my status as a subject matter expert.  My presentation style has changed with the times.

Now, my speaking engagements are designed to facilitate a discussion.  Today the slides are not the focal point, but the backdrop for the presentation.  I am expected to tell a story without constant reference to PowerPoint slides, ticking off bullet points.  I rather enjoy this presentation style. I provide useful information by leading a discussion and learn something in the process. After all, my audience is usually comprised of senior executives who hardly need a lecture.  

That's the way it was this week when I presented to The Financial Executives Networking Group, Atlanta Chapter, (The FENG). The FENG is an association of senior-level finance and accounting executives, mostly Chief Financial Officers and Corporate Controllers.  Most are in career transition, but not all.  I was invited to speak about my book, Fighting Alligators: Job Search Strategy For The New Normal.

My plan was to tell them how the job market has changed for senior managers, especially for baby boomers in the Digital Age.  My message was to embrace a broader range of opportunities, supported by the realities of the current economy including shorter job tenures, greater opportunity with smaller, emerging companies; and the predominance of private equity groups.  I advised them to embrace technology, especially LinkedIn, but to focus on networking as their primary search strategy.  In short, my presentation was about getting baby boomers to think differently about their career options.

I presented this subject by speaking about the evolution of my executive search practice.   I spoke of the changing needs of employers and of new opportunities, particularly the growth of Private Equity Groups.  We discussed the trend to outsource many job functions and how that facilitated the growth of emerging companies.  I explained that over time, more of my clients began asking for independent consultants and contractors.   As this was my personal experience, I did not need a PowerPoint presentation to guide me through the material. Instead, my slides were used as a backdrop to help the audience internalize my key points. 

I told them of my journey, moving from a traditional corporate environment to an independent consultant providing executive recruiting services.   I explained that my business evolved into coaching job seekers, especially with respect to opportunities in freelancing, and then helping my clients find independent consultants.  Technology has helped facilitate the growth of freelancing for both the client and the independent consultant.  That led to an extension of my business, connecting freelancers to prospective clients.  I advised my audience to consider freelancing as a career option.  
  
The conversation with The FENG was stimulating as there was a lot of participation.  In fact, at the end of the discussion, several people approached me indicating their interest in freelancing as a career option and becoming affiliated with ITB Partners.  In the following days, I continued to receive positive feedback and requests to connect on LinkedIn.  I guess you might say my presentation was a success.  When you are scheduled for a speaking engagement, present your message as a story.  Use your PowerPoint slides as a backdrop, not as a primary focal point.  You will be pleased with the result and generate more invitations to speak.


Thank you for visiting my blog.
I hope you enjoyed my point of view and would like to receive regular posts directly to your email inbox.  Toward this end, put your contact information on my mailing list.

Your feedback helps me continue to publish articles that you want to read.  Your input is very important to me so; please leave a comment.


Jim Weber, Managing Partner
ITB PARTNERS
Jim.Weber@itbpartners.com


Current Assignments
1. COO- Northeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company - Completed
2. VP Operations - Southeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company - New
3. CEO- Northeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company - Completed
4. Corporate R&D Chef, Atlanta-based Home Meal Replacement Company - Complete
5. Area Supervisor - Legacy Pizza Chain, Carolinas - Completed
6. Operating Partners - Legacy Pizza Chain - New
7. Controller - Atlanta-based Consumer Products - Digital Company - Completed
8. Outplacement Assignment - Atlanta-based Manufacturer:  Complete













Sunday, June 10, 2018

The Making of a Great Brand - By Brad Taylor


As I recently enjoyed a family vacation at the fabulous Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, I was reminded of the building blocks of a great brand. In this case, the brand is The Salty Dog, and it is indeed a great brand that is loved by many because it: 1) is grounded in great, authentic storytelling, 2) consistently demonstrates a commitment to product quality and customer satisfaction, and 3) uses multiple communication outlets and brand extensions to provide for more meaningful consumer engagement opportunities. If you have ever been to Hilton Head, you have surely seen, and likely consumed this brand in some shape, form, or fashion. Let’s examine what makes the Salty Dog brand such a great one.

Great Storytelling

The Salty Dog brand stems from the mythical story about a dog named Jake who rescued his master, John Braddock after their fishing boat, the Salty Dog, was sunk by a sudden storm off the shores of Hilton Head Island. As the story goes, Jake saved his master’s life by swimming for three days safely back to shore with John holding onto Jake’s collar. This engaging mythical story has become the foundation for the brand, and various chapters of the story are cleverly shared with consumers as they engage with different components of the brand.

Clearly, the central figure of the story is Jake, the dog that saved the day. Jake has, rightfully so, become the central icon of the brand and is the primary element of the brand’s visual identity. Jake’s image is adorned on everything from restaurant logos and menus, to those famous t-shirts and hats that almost every visitor to Hilton Head leaves with, and all kinds of dog and beach-related accessories. And, the story of The Salty Dog is consistently told with each and every interaction with the brand.

The Salty Dog team has done a masterful job of engaging consumers in the story of Jake and have, smartly, invited consumers to extend the myth by sharing their own stories and pictures of their pets wearing Salty Dog gear. It is safe to say that the story of the Salty Dog extends well beyond the beaches of Hilton Head Island.

Commitment to Customer Satisfaction

While authentic storytelling is core to the brand, the Salty Dog team understands that great brands must also consistently deliver against the promise of product quality, customer satisfaction, and surprise and delight. There are numerous proof points here, starting with the invitation from Jake himself for consumers to easily provide feedback about their experience with the brand at www.saltydog.com/survey. The Salty Dog team also consistently uses special contests and sweepstakes, like the “Lucky Receipt Contest” which rewards random consumers who have purchased something with full refunds, or the “Lucky 8’s Contest” which rewards random consumers who have engaged with the brand via numerous digital outlets with 8 free t-shirts! And, of course, they offer a money-back guarantee on all purchases and make returns and exchanges “easy and fuss-free”. These are all examples of standing behind the brand and inventing ways to surprise and delight consumers to drive further engagement.




Smart Brand Extensions

What started as a single t-shirt design and one local café operated at South Beach has grown into an absolute “destination” for visitors to Hilton Head Island, and a globally accessible brand via the web. The Salty Dog is now synonymous certainly with South Beach in Sea Pines Plantation, and arguably with that of Hilton Head Island at large. This is thanks to very smart brand extensions into numerous restaurants, shopping, and entertainment solutions for vacationers. The original Salty Dog Café has been pleasing guests for 31 years with great lunch and dinner solutions featuring Salty Dog and Jake branded favorites, in an unbeatable setting along the docks of Braddock Cove. The outdoor tropical bar complete with live entertainment and famous Salty Dog branded cocktails is always a crowd pleaser. The brand has extended its offering over the years to satisfy demand with a second eatery
called “The Wreck of the Salty Dog Café” which continues the great storytelling that made the brand what it is. And, there’s Jake’s Salty Dog Pizza and the Salty Dog Ice Cream Factory to meet those consumer needs. When it comes to shopping, the Salty Dog T-Shirt Factory is the destination in South Beach. It is a small venue but packs a tremendous selection of those famous Salty Dog t-shirts, sweatshirts, and accessories for the beach, dog, and home.

There’s a second retail store called Jake’s Cargo which is a bit bigger and offers an expanded selection of Salty Dog merchandise, as well as more storytelling via live macaws named Captain, Cherokee, and Kiwi. Lastly, the brand offers a variety of daily Salty Dog Music cruises on a 63-foot catamaran complete with a full bard, island-inspired cuisine, and live music.

No matter where you turn or what your needs or interests are, the Salty Dog is there to deliver with great solutions and storytelling. I can speak from experience that no visit to Hilton Head Island is complete without at least one engagement with the Salty Dog brand, and, of course, one more t-shirt, sweatshirt, beach towel or hat to add to the collection!

In conclusion, the Salty Dog is a great brand that is loved and consumed by many thanks to great storytelling, a commitment to deliver an extraordinary customer experience and satisfaction, and multiple venues to engage both physically and virtually with the brand to help extend the brand’s story!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brad Taylor is a foodservice and CPG marketing veteran with over 34 years of progressive experience in leadership roles at The Coca-Cola Company, Pizza Hut, Inc., and in the advertising agency industry. Brad has consistently led teams to achieve strong B2C results through a keen understanding of how to effectively position and activate brands directly with consumers and through deep collaboration with B2B partners including customers, franchisees, strategic alliances, and marketing services partners. Brad has direct experience solving marketing challenges with leading brands including Circle K, Coca-Cola, Disney, Domino’s Pizza, HMSHost, Pizza Hut, Sodexo, and others. Additionally, Brad is a skilled orator and facilitator and currently serves as a part-time marketing faculty member at the Goizueta Business School at Emory University and at the Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University.


Thank you for visiting my blog.
I hope you enjoyed my point of view and would like to receive regular posts directly to your email inbox.  Toward this end, put your contact information on my mailing list.

Your feedback helps me continue to publish articles that you want to read.  Your input is very important to me so; please leave a comment.


Jim Weber, Managing Partner
ITB PARTNERS
Jim.Weber@itbpartners.com


Current Assignments
1. COO- Northeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company - New
2. VP Operations - Southeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company - New
3. CEO- Northeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company - Completed
4. Corporate R&D Chef, Atlanta-based Home Meal Replacement Company - Complete
5. Area Supervisor - Legacy Pizza Chain, Carolinas - Completed
6. Operating Partners - Legacy Pizza Chain - New
7. Controller - Atlanta-based Consumer Products - Digital Company - Completed
8. Outplacement Assignment - Atlanta-based Manufacturer:  Complete













Sunday, June 3, 2018

In The Age Of Doing More With Less: Embrace Automation

The digital age is creating massive change as well as new opportunity. We are challenged to do more with less. Of course, this isn't a new phenomenon, but the demand continues unabated. That said, we are all expected to maintain peak productivity in this chaotic environment.  Our responsibility is to adapt.  Automation is the solution.

Considering the requirements to manage my business, I could become overwhelmed by the effort to keep up. I maintain two major lines of business; an executive search practice and a business connecting freelance consultants to prospective clients. I facilitate two networking groups and write a weekly blog post.  I am the business manager for my wife’s residential construction company and have other consulting clients from time to time.  Additionally,  I am active in business development activities including networking events and speaking engagements. It is safe to say that I have a number of irons in the fire.  The demand on my time is probably not much different from most of you, and yet we manage.

The good news is there are options to help me manage my work, including a virtual assistant who updates my social media marketing efforts.  I am dictating this article on my iPhone using Evernote‘s voice to text capability. This is a fabulous tool which helps me shorten the time to complete each article.  Evernote is active on all of my computers.  It is a cloud-based system, synchronized across all of my devices  

My number one time suck is managing email.  I have ten email accounts which I use to segregate personal and business correspondence.   This is the foundation of my time management strategy.  The first step is to set priorities for a follow-up response.  The number one priority is to address emails from clients, particularly those with current search assignments.  I use both Microsoft and Google products,  to automate functions that classify and prioritize each.  Using the "Rules" function in Microsoft Outlook I create processes to automatically direct email to their specific folder.  Using Microsoft Flow, copies of attachments, i.e. resumes, are automatically added to a specific folder in Microsoft OneDrive.   This is another valuable time saver!

At the beginning of each search assignment, I create a system to capture details from interested candidates and classify them by their relative match to the search criteria. Surprisingly, the capabilities of Microsoft outlook are well-suited to this task.  My first step is to set up a "color-coded category" in my address book for the client and each particular assignment.  A V-card is created for each candidate, assigned to the appropriate category.  Each v-card includes notes indicating their suitability for the job. The address book provides functionality to record contact with the candidates, including interviews I conduct and those conducted by the client.  I can translate this data into a spreadsheet to help monitor the progress of each assignment, and capture relevant statistics.  Using this spreadsheet I can send individual or mass emails to the candidates to recap the status of the search assignment.  

Using Microsoft Flow, email attachments usually resumes, are automatically copied to a OneDrive folder I have established for each search.  OneDrive allows me to synchronize and access my work from any of my four laptops and iPhone.  

Most unsolicited resumes are sent to a dedicated email address.  Each job seeker receives an auto-response message acknowledging receipt of their resume with my promise to review their credentials against my current assignments.  I invite them to become connected to me on LinkedIn and to sign up for my e-letter.  I even make a shameless plug for my book, Fighting Alligators: Job Search Strategy For The New Normal. 

And finally, a big shout out to YouTube, which has become my go-to resource for training videos to use these tools.  To meet the demand on my time I must employ tools to enhance my productivity.  I suspect that you do too.


Thank you for visiting my blog.
I hope you enjoyed my point of view and would like to receive regular posts directly to your email inbox.  Toward this end, put your contact information on my mailing list.

Your feedback helps me continue to publish articles that you want to read.  Your input is very important to me so; please leave a comment.


Jim Weber, Managing Partner
ITB PARTNERS
Jim.Weber@itbpartners.com


Current Assignments
1. COO- Northeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company - New
2. VP Operations - Southeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company - New
3. CEO- Northeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company - Completed
4. Corporate R&D Chef, Atlanta-based Home Meal Replacement Company - Complete
5. Area Supervisor - Legacy Pizza Chain, Carolinas - Completed
6. Operating Partners - Legacy Pizza Chain - New
7. Controller - Atlanta-based Consumer Products - Digital Company - Completed
8. Outplacement Assignment - Atlanta-based Manufacturer:  Complete










Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Responding To Chaos In The Workplace.

I had an interesting time facilitating a discussion at our monthly members meeting this week. Our primary topic was on business development so one of our members teed up an issue that was vexing him.  He explained that he has an engagement which he really enjoys, however, the situation is chaotic.  The organization is in flux and the employees are fearful of the CEO. This member was looking for input to navigate through the cultural dysfunction and improve his performance in the engagement. I thought that was an excellent conversation starter because it is a real-world issue, not some irrelevant hypothetical.  More to the point, the easiest business development opportunity is to sell more to existing customers.  It was a lively discussion which included input from all in attendance.  The best suggestion was to evaluate his goal for the engagement, an obvious starting point for any decision.  

I continue to be fascinated by the way people make decisions, especially in business. I understand that many have been trained to use quantitative methods while others approach decisions based on intuition or gut feel.  The best decision makers, in my experience, integrate the empirical with the subjective.  During our discussion, it became obvious that our Consultant had missed some opportunities created by weaknesses in the client's culture.  One thought was to present his work to the employees, demonstrating its value to the company as a whole, and to the individual employees.  That one action would have clear benefits by aligning the employees with the goals of the company while improving morale.

As I was trained as a financial analyst, I am more comfortable working with hard data. The use of statistics, linear regression, company values, and discounted cash flow analysis where my tools of the trade.  I learned early on that quantitative analysis was a good foundation, however, that was only the starting point for my superiors.  To arrive at a final decision they evaluated the opportunity based on their experience, corporate objectives, and appropriate risk factors.  I viewed their process as a combination of experience and gut feel.  Also, I am interested decision-making by people in their private lives, but that is topic for another day. 

At the end of the discussion, I provided perspective from my experience as an executive recruiter. I spoke to a very common introduction from job seekers,  who tell me they are looking for a highly ethical, stable environment, with a healthy culture, selling a respectable product or service.  I told our members that the first thing that I must do is to disabuse these folks of that lofty goal as most employers are managing chaos.  Most companies are under tremendous pressure to maintain relevance in the face of disruptive start-ups and technology.  They are fighting for survival.

Reasons for chaos in the workplace.

  1. Every company is struggling for market share
  2. The pace of change is accelerating
  3. There is a major breakdown in internal communication
  4. The influx of millennial’s is complicating the situation.
  5. Tenures are short are getting shorter

These factors are creating significant opportunities for our consulting business.  By incorporating these dynamics into our work we provide a value-added benefit to our clients.  As with any product or service, good work is rewarded with additional work.  At the beginning of this post, I said that the easiest way to grow one's business is to sell more goods and services to existing customers.  In conclusion, if one is to consider ways to provide value-added services to their client, they would do well by helping the client minimize the impact of these five factors creating chaos in the workplace.

Thank you for visiting my blog.
I hope you enjoyed my point of view and would like to receive regular posts directly to your email inbox.  Toward this end, put your contact information on my mailing list.

Your feedback helps me continue to publish articles that you want to read.  Your input is very important to me so; please leave a comment.


Jim Weber, Managing Partner
ITB PARTNERS
Jim.Weber@itbpartners.com


Current Assignments
1. COO- Northeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company - New
2. VP Operations - Southeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company - New
3. CEO- Northeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company - Completed
4. Corporate R&D Chef, Atlanta-based Home Meal Replacement Company - Complete
5. Area Supervisor - Legacy Pizza Chain, Carolinas - Completed
6. Operating Partners - Legacy Pizza Chain - New
7. Controller - Atlanta-based Consumer Products - Digital Company - Completed
8. Outplacement Assignment - Atlanta-based Manufacturer:  Complete







Saturday, May 26, 2018

Making Time For Business Development: Look For Leverage

This week has been unusual for me, at least in one respect. I did not have the typical amount of appointments or scheduled phone conversations.  Even so, I closed one deal to place a Fractional CFO with a new client.  That by itself would qualify as a Great Week!  After all, signing new clients is a primary objective.

No, this week was unusual because I was able to spend more time in the office, catching up on important administrative tasks. I prefer to complete administrative tasks, like accounting and bank reconciliations, after hours or on the weekend. That frees up time to focus on higher value-added work during normal business hours, especially business development activities.  It’s not as if I’ve gotten behind schedule on these tasks, but the available time was welcomed. 

So, I spent most of the week working on business development activities, including recognition for one of our consulting clients.  This client is a residential remodeling company who just won an award from the Atlanta Architects Organization.  I updated our website News Page to reflect their award, with links to the press release and the client's web page.  Also, I scheduled an email blast to add additional weight behind their success.  Finally, I added the profiles of two new consultants to our website and announced their affiliation with ITB Partners via my email marketing platform.  These digital marketing efforts are key components of our business development strategy so I gave them the respect they deserve.


The added time in my schedule provided an opportunity to think about my time management effectiveness.  Working as an independent consultant requires one to continually evaluate the way we use our time. As I have said, a vital yet time-consuming activity is related to business development. Obviously, this includes the activities I mentioned earlier; email marketing, social media marketing, blogging, and public speaking opportunities.   These tasks are fundamental for any Independent Consultant pursuing a "Subject Matter Expert" strategy.  However, the most productive business development activity is networking.  Networking is a face-to-face activity required to expand one's base of contacts.  As more people learn about you and your capabilities, they become motivated to contact you when they have a need. 

I’ve heard that Independent Contractors must spend up to 20% of their time engaged in business development activities. That is one full day per week.  It may be a good statistic as business development is a high priority, but one full day each week seems like a lot of time.  I believe you can appreciate my motivation to find a productive solution to this need.  Employing a successful business development program is so important to me, I have designated it as the primary topic of conversation for next week's Monthly Member Meeting.  

Frankly, leveraging our Members time to support their business development efforts is a primary benefit offered by ITB Partners.  Granted, our members still need to engage in networking activities, however, we help them find public speaking opportunities and execute an electronic marketing program on their behalf.  This allows them the flexibility to spend their time more productively.

At ITB Partners, we understand the dilemma faced by the independent consultant.  Without an affiliation with a larger service provider, they are burdened by the full cost of time and financial resources to support basic corporate infrastructure and business development.  We created a model that leverages their resources and integrates them into a network incentivized to connect them with consulting opportunities.  Our Members, Independent Contractors, minimize their time on the lower value-added marketing functions to focus on networking and client services.   We believe it is an ideal model for the New Normal.

Thank you for visiting my blog.
I hope you enjoyed my point of view and would like to receive regular posts directly to your email inbox.  Toward this end, put your contact information on my mailing list.

Your feedback helps me continue to publish articles that you want to read.  Your input is very important to me so; please leave a comment.


Jim Weber, Managing Partner
ITB PARTNERS
Jim.Weber@itbpartners.com


Current Assignments
1. COO- Northeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company - New
2. VP Operations - Southeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company - New
3. CEO- Northeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company - Completed
4. Corporate R&D Chef, Atlanta-based Home Meal Replacement Company - Complete
5. Area Supervisor - Legacy Pizza Chain, Carolinas - Completed
6. Operating Partners - Legacy Pizza Chain - New
7. Controller - Atlanta-based Consumer Products - Digital Company - Completed
8. Outplacement Assignment - Atlanta-based Manufacturer:  Complete