The Next Version

Date:September 1, 2016

The Next Version ...

We’re fast approaching the end of our fiscal year which will mark our 8th year in business. A great deal has happened in these past eight years and I wanted to take a moment to reflect. I also wanted to take an opportunity to ask myself ‘what next?’.

What’s the next version of 4Growth?

First, reflection. We’ve learned a great deal about entrepreneurs and general business management. We’ve learned that, true to our tagline, experience matters. A core principal Mark and I set out when we founded 4Growth was that of ‘active’ participation. We saw an opportunity to use our business experience to help others manage their business, however, we didn’t just want to do analysis. We wanted to roll up our sleeves and get dirty. We wanted to look inside the business and see it from the inside as well as give it some perspective from the outside. We’ve enjoyed many of our assignments and some stick out – Tell Us About Us, Systemgroup, Web Canada, Softchoice, Epilepsy Canada, Informat, Trecata and SNAP Newspaper Group. This past year, both of us have been involved in long term projects at Berg Chilling and Mister Coffee. These are rewarding and challenging general management opportunities, especially trying to affect change.

If anything, I think I’ve learned the most about two things: change management and sales productivity. Working with many of our clients, helping them address change is very difficult. Companies develop a ‘way of doing business’ and despite market, product or customer changes, they find it most challenging to change their organizations to meet these conditions. Change is a very tedious process.

The other challenge that just never seems to go away is one of finding the most productive means of finding new customers and taking them through any sales process to an end result. That result is simply the acquisition of a new client. Despite a plethora of expert salespeople on the planet, every company I meet tends to think they know how to sell and it’s just one salesperson away from success. From my experience, finding a solution like Occulus, a tool that expertly allows you to predict the probability of winning a sale and winning it on time has been a most pleasant blessing. Still in its infancy, the Occulus solution continues to be right. That’s correct, it’s right almost 100% of the time. It provides the rigor that’s needed to win any large opportunity and it can keep any sales team on target.

I’ve also learned about partnership over these years. That lesson was learned from my esteemed co-founder and colleague Mark Edwards. Mark’s experience in running an accounting practice was invaluable in providing a template for managing a consulting firm. We’ve had a great many smart guys at 4Growth. I’ve learned the hard way that being just ‘smart’ isn’t always a recipe for success. The commitment, dedication and hard work that’s required to be a partner is extraordinary. The ability to sell is paramount. Consulting isn’t about delivery. If you can’t find a client, you can’t deliver the ‘smart’ stuff you know.

As we enter our next fiscal year, I’m trying to determine ‘what is the next version?’ Should it be more of the same? Should we focus on general management? Should we focus on sales effectiveness? Should we focus on mergers and acquisitions? I’m not 100% sure. If you have any ideas, feel free to call me. I’d welcome your advice. 

 

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Date:September 1, 2016