This Home page provides a sequential post look at my Blog posts. The tabs accumulate posts by the various things I do. C Level Services is my company that offers fractional CFO services and the CEO Alliance Organizational Transformation Program. Forever Diamond Service is our small family business that helps engaged couples afford Bigger and Better Diamond Engagement and Wedding rings for LESS.

Best Success Advice I Can Think Of

Are you interested in Success in Life?

You can choose to have success.

At the risk of every other post on this blog being completely downhill, here is the BEST tidbit of advice I can think of. This is not some feel good psycho blabber, but rather good old meat and potatoes practical advice you can implement immediately!

Where there is UNITY God commands a blessing!

That’s it?

Yep!

First of all it sounds simplistic. That is because it is! If it were too complicated we’d never get it:-) It is a core principle stated in many ways throughout the whole bible. Unity is the basis of God himself as the Trinity. He says others will know Jesus is truly sent by God by our unity. He calls the church to oneness and unity. Families to unity. Men to unity with one another. So it is simple because it is a foundational principle.

And it works in business, family, friendships, church and on and on.

Plus, it is something we can choose. We choose how to take comments and discussions and what motives we ascribe to others.

This week at work I saw several instances of conflict between co- workers. Usually caused by poor communication and the poor communications were cause by people not trusting each other’s motives so taking offense when none was intended. Then conflict occurred that involved more people picking up offense for the original parties, and on and on.

But when all parties are pulling in unity – amazing things start to happen and the fruit is BLESSINGS.

So today- try this little test. Choose to ascribe good motives to everyone you come into contact with and see the results.


Turnaround Secrets – Cash In

72450__280x280_072450-lime-green-white-pearl-icon-alphanumeric-dollar-signIs your company in trouble?

Join the crowd. The economic recession has put many well run and successful companies on the verge of closing their doors. Layoffs are the norm. Summer jobs for young people are almost non existent. Slashing payrolls have left many homeowners trying to figure out how to keep their homes. Consumer confidence continues to slide and the cycle continues to worsen.

There is hope! There are proven principles to follow in order to stop the slide and in fact be an early turn around success.

I have been involved in several successful turnarounds and will begin a series about these principles and share specific things you can do to survive through hard times.

The first principle is “Cash In“.

Cash In means that every person in the organization must focus on bringing cash into the company. SHOW ME THE MONEY! This must become a primary focus. It starts at the top and must permeate through to the lowest levels of the company. I can not repeat this mantra enough!!!! CASH IN- SHOW ME THE MONEY.

Everything the company does must be rebuilt to make this CASH IN a key metric for survival and turnaround success.

Here are some specific steps and tactics:

1. Build a business model that shows the cash generated or used each month. A business model is NOT a business plan and it is NOT a budget and it is NOT a simple spreadsheet of income and expenses. Without a true business model, you will likely fail!

So what do I mean by a business model? I mean a model you build that recognizes the key Metrics (success factors) of your business and their interrelatedness. If you sell more of X what else changes? When does the cash come in and when does it go out? Are you selling more and enjoying it less because your accounts receivables are growing? The business model should have a page of assumptions that are all in one place so it is easy to do “What If Analysis”. If you change any assumption how does my cash change? The model needs to be built at the detail level so that it provides each month a projected amount for each item on your general ledger. The model needs to be built at a foundational level that shows your UNIT ECONOMICS. Businesses are built on units. A unit may be a location for a franchise; or a publication for a publisher; or a crew for a remodeler; or a product for a manufacturer. Determine how to make each unit function better, faster, cheaper and then replicate the units. But you can not use up cash on a unit and make it up on the volume!

You will want to compare your actual results with the model each month and take the time for a continuous improvement process on the model. How did the model compare to actual results and how does it need to change to do a better job of projecting results? This is a never ending process.

But it yields some amazing results- You sleep better at night; you will understand your business better every month; you will find yourself creating new strategies that improve your Cash In; your outside parties of interest (BOD, investors, banks) will have more confidence in the business; you will deserve the confidence.

What are the benefits of a true business model? A business model lets you brainstorm creative strategies to improve your business. The end point of the new strategy run through the business model is simply, “did I get more Cash IN”? The model lets you target a unit and figure how to make the unit run more efficiently, and bring more CASH IN; then you can develop strategies to expand into more units.

Unless you are running a very simple one product, one person home business, no one can keep all the interrelationships in mind without a business model. I have seen many times where a trusted professional advisor gives reasonable advice, except it is WRONG!

Rather than go into more steps and tactic to bring more Cash In, let me share to an important Turnaround Secret:

You can not survive by cutting costs alone! Cost cutting always lags the economic realities your company faces. The slide and slope is always faster than you can react to… and if you try to react too fast without a business model, you will makes killer mistakes. Negativity is like a shot in the head to a company.

The ultimate Cash IN machine is knowing your business model and interactions between key metrics; understanding your unit economics and fine tuning them; and then…

Developing creative strategies to do more business. The survival and success answer is always about how to do more business that brings Cash IN.

Don’t get me wrong, cutting fat and renegotiating lower costs is very important. I look at every line item and religiously hack away at the cost of our business- but not at the expense of the business model and our unit economics. We have renegotiated and bid out every cost from our phone and internet and other connectivity costs all the way down to the cost of our landscape service. You can get some great deals by companies hungry to generate Cash IN. But cutting 10 or 20 or even 30 or more percent of these costs can not make up for a significant slide in sales.

But here is the good news. All this work to reduce the monthly overhead and improve the unit economics and gain better control and understanding of the business creates a CASH IN MACHINEthat will become very profitable when the consumer confidence does come back!!! Your business can be one of the remaining survivors that will increase market share and prosper in the days ahead.

Check back for more principles and specific strategies and ideas that are proven winners in the CASH IN sweepstakes…..


Building a Professional Network

linked-in-ebookI have been on LinkedIn for several years and have recognized its a beneficial place to build a professional network of contacts.

Unfortunately, I never put much effort into building my connections.

I procrastinated.

Recently, I decided to put some effort into building professional connections and begin doing a better job of managing my lifelong network of friends and business associates.

In the midst of that process, I came across this nice easy to read e book written by Jonathan Milligan, an executive recruiter from Florida. I could give you a summary, or share some of the ideas, but decided the best way for you to respond is to go to Jonathan’s blog and request your own free copy.

Here is his table of contents:

Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Build an Online Network
Why You Should Consider LinkedIn
Linkedin Step #1: Optimize Your Profile!
Linkedin Step #2: Grow Your Network Fast
Linkedin Step #3: Value Your MIC’s (Most Important Connectors)
Linkedin Step #4: Develop a Game Plan
Linkedin Step #5: Track Your Progress
Conclusion 

This is an excellent TO DO LIST of step by step process to building your professional network on LinkedIn.

This is a great guide for anyone, not just a CPA or finance professional!


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Change a Child, Change the World

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 *****

 Are you looking for a worthy Cause to support with your finances and or time?

I have found one for you!

 My friend Howard Unger is president of Operation Smile and just invited me to have a tour of its headquarters in Norfolk, VA.

I told Howard he must be a good fisherman, because he set the hook then reeled me in.

Operation Smile is a cause based organization and what a cause- changing the lives of little children. OS operates worldwide from modest facilities in Norfolk to provide facial plastic surgery on children scarred from birth. The before and after pictures and videos are compelling.

You can see others on their web site, http://http://www.operationsmile.org/about-us/videos/. WARNING, don’t look at these unless you are willing to have your heart stirred!

As a Christian, I feel this is the kind of mission where the rubber meets the road and men and women and children of many faiths can work together in unity.


OMPL Vol 1: 1 – God’s Opens Up His Message For Today

God spoke to me like a streaming video download and said, “Occupy My Promised Land.” (OMPL)

I was getting ready to teach an equipping hour class on a new book I had just finished, Marketplace Christianity (see review in this blog). The Holy Spirit sped me through a revelation of what God’s plan for the earth in the coming days looks like and how I am to be involved.

The short and sweet version is – God plans for each of us to be marketplace ministers listening to the Holy Spirit every place our foot steps to occupy our personal part of the Promised Land by bringing His Kingdom into every circumstance.

This video is a good start to understanding the Gospel of the Kingdom.

In the book of Matthew, Jesus tells us how to pray, “Our Father who are in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…”

God gives us a divine human cooperative to fulfill. He has prepared works for us to do. These He prepared even before the creation of the universe and then He made each of us speficically with the gifts, talents, and even flaws to do these works.

All this is so amazing to consider… Let meditate on this revelation for a little while!


Loser – The New Winner

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I hate to Lose! 

No, I really HATE to lose!

In sports its been my hardest task to lose gracefully. In close contests I wanted to be the one to take the last shot or be up to bat with the game on the line because I knew how much coming through meant to me, and wasn’t always sure of others.

Am I connecting to some of you?

In business situations this can be a help in not giving up in hard times. It can also lead to conflict when someone on the other side of a negotiation gets into a win/lose attitude rather than a win/ win attitude.

And in my marriage, my avoiding conflict until backed into a corner then coming out with guns blazing to WIN was a dysfunctional pairing of attributes. Rather than building up my wife I was tearing her down. I was supposed to love her like Christ loved the church, who gave Himself up for her that He might present her spotless and blameless before God. I used that with my daughters dates, but didn’t always live it out in day to day life. Probably still don’ do this as good as I should.

So I do hate to Lose.

Unfortunately for me, that’s not how God feels.

 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

The Kingdom principle is that its the losers who are the winners!

 So much of what I read in the Bible could be changed out with Loser. God loves a cheerful giver (loser); The poor in spirit (losers) will inherit the Kingdom of God; Love your wife like Jesus loved the church who gave His life (loser); ……You can probably give a bigger list.

But this LOSER is someone who is willing to Lose his own rights to benefit others, to exhibit sacrificial love for others, to build others up, to bring glory to God.

So I’m trying to learn the Kingdom principle that Loser is the new Winner because in God’s Kingdom is the ultimate fulfillment of the old saying. “He who laughs last laughs best!”

 

 

 


Up is Worth Going Out!

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My son in law Zach has a review of UP on his blog, http://takeyourvitaminz.blogspot.com/2009/06/up-review.html#links

My wife and I took one of our “adopted” grandkids to this last night and thought the movie was great. It held both our atttention and Raymie’s attention (7 year old boy). That is a pretty good feat!

It had enough action and humor to keep me engaged and Kathryn also shed tears in a couple of places just because the movie was so touching.

I would highly recommend this for children down to any age that can sit for 1.5 hours!


Servant Leadership

I was reading the first Chapter of “David”  by Charles Swindoll and he raises an interesting point about our teaching regarding servant leadership in evangelical circles.

How often do we hear Servant leadership but in our heads it looks like servant Leadership? We take Cap S and small l and turn it into small s and Cap L, when in fact Jesus doesn’t really use leadership in His teaching, just the SERVANT part.

“I came not to be served but to serve and to give my life a ransom for many.”

“He who would be first must be last and vice versa.”

In God’s Kingdom it seems leadership isn’t a place to strive for but rather is earned based on service and love and granted by God through Jesus.

And Jesus, what an example. He came to serve and when he is leaving earth for a season He is able to say, “All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to Me.”

There is a lesson here that i need to learn and take to heart! (small i on purpose:-)


Marketplace Christianity by Robert Fraser

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*****

This book was a catalyst that helped change the direction of our entire church.

We are now directing our energy 24/7 into the marketplace seeing our job as equipping ordinary people to change the world. That started a little over a year ago.

After reading MC I taught an equipping hour class and was led by the Holy Spirit to an incredable revelation about what God is doing around the world to prepare it for Jesus return.

More on that later- now for the book itself.

Robert Fraser tells about his crisis of confusion. Led to be a minister for Jesus but he found the only open doors to be in business. His journey ultimately leads to the realization that he could do more for building God’s Kingdom as a marketplace minister in his business than as a pastor in a church.

Bob combines his encouraging journey and stories with practical applications to help us take our faith into the marketplace.

But be forewarned- you will want to respond after you read this book. I used it to teach a 12 week equipping hour class and have given it to a number of my business friends.


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Get In The Drivers Seat Of Your Business Or Church

 

acts-logo*****

A friend of mine, Bruce Woodard, has developed a great service for small businesses and churches. Geared for those business owners and pastors who don’t want to become accounting or tax experts but realize they need help to do these things right. So who can you trust? You can trust ACTS.

ACTS is a better, faster, and cheaper financial management tool, that helps you put more cash on your bottom line!

ACTS is your Business’ GPS, finally putting you in the drivers seat of your business; PLUS its pennies on the dollar vs your other options.

Like your GPS for driving, you can easily see where you have been and better yet where you are heading so you can plan your most effective route for your business; plus it’s available anywhere you have an Internet connection for you and your business advisers.

ACTS online financial management system manages your accounting process, gives you valuable tax and cash flow information, helps you control your banking and credit card functions, and provides you a MENTOR to help you walk through financial mine fields. You’re never alone!

(Clients tell Bruce that ACTS helps them sleep better at night!)

Acts also provides other services like incorporating your business, handling your payroll and payroll tax reporting, tax planning, and doing your personal and company tax returns. All of this can be built into one monthly fee, no more big tax preparation bills all at once.

As a FREE add on benefit, ACTS has a large library of training videos and provides regular updates on current events that can affect your business finances and taxes.

Interested? Call Bruce and tell him you are interested in taking over the Drivers Seat of your business that you heard about in Tom’s Blog.

He’ll give you a special 20% discount.

Call Bruce at 407-834-0337


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