Most seemingly good ideas never survive the walk through the boardroom door. What appears to be a great idea in the meeting turns into a real stinker in the outside world. Why would Kodak think it could sell copiers, when it sold cameras and film?
Conglomerates succeed when they buy and sell companies that have value. Conglomerates fail when they buy companies that have value. Value is like fog in a light breeze.
If you become successful, stick with the fella that brought you to the dance. Ride a successful product or service for as long as it is successful. Then toss it without a qualm and without hesitation. “We can turn it around” usually means going from performing poorly to going into the toilet.
Assets belong on a balance sheet. They make bankers happy. Acquire assets by making money, paying down liabilities and investing wisely.
Salespeople must know their products and their customers. No cold calls. Every potential customer contact should be, at the very least, a lukewarm call. The salesman must know what he has to sell and if the contact might, at the very least, have a need to purchase it. Anything else is a waste of two people’s time.
Ego costs money. Executives that must have memberships in this group or that organization cost the company more than they bring in. Sponsoring tournaments, golf outings or sports stadiums are useless for adding to a company’s bottom line. All they do is drain cash that could be used to increase profitability. No one ever bought a Sprint cellphone because they sponsor NASCAR racing.
Some people shouldn’t sell. Some people shouldn’t greet. Some people shouldn’t add. Recognize that the talents that people have may not fit with every position they apply for or that you would like them to hold. Put the round peg in the round hole if you want maximum performance from your employees. If you cannot find a hole, you need to look harder.
Most companies waste a lot of time looking back. From comparative financials, to not reviewing processes and procedures on a regular basis, to evaluating employees and not setting goals for them. It’s easier to see the road we’ve traveled but you have to look ahead to get anywhere. We do not drive our cars backwards for a reason. Why run a business that way?
The best way to reward an employee is to ensure that he is treated fairly, in compensation, in work rules, in disciplinary matters and in the day to day interactions of his job. An employee will tolerate a lot of problems in his job as long as he knows that he’s being treated fairly and that his employer places a priority on that employment practice.
I have spent over thirty years in the business world. Nearly 25 years has been as the senior accounting manager, CFO, Controller, Business Manager, for a number of firms. These are some of the lessons I have learned as businesses I worked in or worked with grew and prospered, or suffered setbacks and losses.