Tag Archives: Specialty

How Do You Improve Your Company Presentation? Four Points

Situation: The CEO of a specialty company that is a leader in their market asked the group to review the company presentation. The members of the group were asked to put themselves in the place of a potential customer or investor. How do you improve your company presentation?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Don’t assume that the audience has a sophisticated understanding either of the company’s market or its technology. In any pitch either to a new prospect or for funding there will be individuals in the audience who are not experts. The pitch needs to deliver a message that any listener can easily translate to any colleague.
    • Give brief examples from the experience of current customers to make the technology and its advantages concrete.
  • What is the problem that the company solves?
    • State up front: What is the pain – why is it there? How does the company’s solution address this pain? What’s the impact?
    • Show market potential and explain why the company’s solution will be a home run.
    • What makes the company’s solution unique and gives it a sustainable advantage?
    • Assume Ignorance – KISS – Keep It Simple Silly!
    • The presentation should be high level, easy to understand, and crystal clear in 5 minutes.
  • Establish credibility by summarizing current success and list the names of current customers.
  • For presentations to investors have ready answers for the following questions:
    • How the funding sought accelerate development, and what is the expected return that this will produce?
    • Assure that timelines are realistic, particularly for a ground-breaking technology.
    • Do not be vague in answers to questions like “what is your market share?” Answers must be crisp and believable. If additional documentation is required to validate company estimates have a back-up slide in the presentation to address this. Keep the explanation in the back-up slide simple, even if the analysis is complex.
    • Add an expectation of return on investment. What equity will the company give for an investment of $X. State the company’s pre-money valuation as a believable number. Then give an estimated 3-year post money valuation with $X investment. Investors will discount anything number given but will not want a range.

Does Your Company Have the Right Focus? Three Alternatives

Situation: The CEO of a specialty service company is curious about whether they have the right internal focus to drive their business. Their internal focus statement is to the most competitive, most responsive company in their market with high profit per job. One school of thought calls this focus the Main Thing driving the company. Does your company have the right Main Thing or focus?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Look at the tie between your Main Thing and your financials.
    • Determine an appropriate measure of efficiency – for example, billable hours per field worker per day.
    • Look at cost per field worker versus efficiency.
    • Ask what will generate the profit to grow to the level that the company has established as the revenue target.
    • If you can boost the gross margin on services, this provides far more benefit than merely cutting expenses.
    • Look for market niches that support higher prices without a parallel rise in either expense or risk exposure.
    • Do leadership and staff have the right skills and talents to support growth objectives? What can be done to enhance skills and talents?
    • Consider the following – By increasing efficiency and margins from 16% to 20% on $10 million of job revenue, the company can increase the operating margin by $400,000. If certain staff cannot work within a more efficient structure, you may want to move them to jobs that are less critical to the business. Having the right staff in the right seats is critically important to bottom line results.
  • Look at the company’s customer selection criteria. Using the 80/20 rule – 20% of customers generate 80% of revenue and/or profits. How do you improve customer selection?
    • Rank all customers on measures of profitability of their business, payment time, and most importantly future business potential. Focus on customers with the highest scores, and “fire” low scoring customers.
  • Focus on cash flow: Look at early pay options or discounts to speed payment from large customers.
    • Incorporate a schedule of values in all contracts as an addendum to prompt earlier payment.
    • In proposals, include a payment schedule and finance the receivables through a factoring company – particularly in the case of slower paying or less desirable customers.

How Do You Assure Consist Reliable Service? Six Solutions

Situation:  A company has remote employees who are on a wide variety of schedules. Retaining great employees is a challenge, and with this consistent service due to turn-over. How do they improve the relationships that they have with remote employees? How do you assure consistent reliable service?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Guarantee employee income for a period after they lose a client and as you seek another assignment for them. Limit your exposure by setting hurdles – an employee must have served the company for X time to qualify for this benefit.
  • Create your own “down time” bank. Say you pay an employee $10. Give them $9 and put $1 into a bank so that you can pay them once they lose their current client. The fact that their bank is limited to the amount of these contributions creates an incentive not to draw down the bank.
  • Offer a paid day off per month of service.
  • How do you shift your business from commodity to specialty, as a value add business?
    • What Peace of Mind features could you provide to your clients to create added value and stickiness? For example, can you provide a portal into your system so that clients can access information on the services that you’ve provided, or enhance their ability to communicate with their own clients? What about access to time schedules, account notes, etc.
    • Look for a solution that will shift the industry.
    • Look at menu driven packaging and pricing options. Examples include discount pricing for purchase volume commitments or iPads for a significant level of investment.

How Do You Respond to a New Big Competitor? Four Strategies

Situation: A company has just learned that a new, much larger competitor is moving into their market. They are concerned that this may severely impact their growth and even their existence. How do you respond to new competition in your market niche from a much larger new entrant, particularly if the new player comes in with a low pricing strategy to buy market share?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Take a lesson from those who survive a move by Walmart into their territory:
    • Boutiques and high service specialty stores survive Walmart – especially those that focus on personal service. Walmart does not provide the level of service that you find in one of these stores and doesn’t know their customers as individuals. Boutiques may lose some price conscious customers, but these are not the customers that provide good margin to them.
    • Use your personal knowledge of the marketplace and your long term relationships to your advantage – including your reputation with existing customers when going after new customers.
    • You may remain more profitable than the larger company, especially on a per transaction basis, based on your knowledge of the territory or business niche. Walmart can’t tell you the best product to perform a home repair.
  • Focus on your strengths in the market, and don’t assume that all large companies are Walmarts. Walmart has a unique set of talents and a tightly controlled process. This may not translate to other markets – especially services which are very personal.
  • Research the reputation and business practices of the new entrant in their other territories. What are they known for, and what are their weaknesses? You may be able to learn this by networking with their current competitors and customers.
  • If you are a multi-generation family business, consider promoting your “old world skill” and established reputation and expertise.