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Execution without Strategy OR Apple pie without Apples

January 20, 2013

I invite you to read the attached article from Strategy & Business.

Strategy or Execution: Which Is More Important?

Bottom line, whether Big corporate business or Small entrepreneurs, the argument is the same.  The impact however can be felt so much quicker & harder in the smaller company. The larger company will ultimately feel the pain too, but the turning radius on such a big unit can be painful & cumbersome.

The last 18 months I have been consulting with smaller privately held companies.  It has been a huge eye opener. Some have great services/products, some are swimming in the red ocean, some are in the blue ocean. They are all passionate, generally hard workers, very controlling, but not sophisticated nor open minded… (Sorry!)

90% of these entrepreneurs have the same 2 common flaws …

1) No true Strategy for Implementation –   Owners say “I know this product / market better than anyone,  I know what I’m doing”  (so Trust me!) Ouch!

2) No Exit Strategy – They can’t honestly answer ‘Why are we in business?’   Easy question, but real thought provoking answer required.

No wonder the failure rate for so many small businesses across the United States eclipse 70% with in the first 10 years.  If you think that’s a good run, I beg to differ – broke is broke, especially with no Exit strategy on your own terms.

There are so many analogies to illustrate the frustration so clearly seen from afar.  These are so called ‘leaders’ who folks are counting on, who have either a great idea,  charisma or passion that shines through…

– I think of Custer’s last stand… Charge!!!
– How about a star running back in football, saying “just give me the ball” Not telling / knowing his teammates blocking scheme.  Tackled for a loss!
– Consider a Chef (or short order cook), who ‘makes due’ with what s/he has to bake a cake, instead of having all the needed ingredients.  Chopped!

Sometimes folks get lucky, but the majority of the time they fail.  All too often they think they know the problem too… “We just need more sales. My cash flow is so poor.”   “Hello McFly” -Those are ‘effects’ not the ’causes’.

You can have ‘mediocre’ Execution without Strategy, (more luck than skill in most cases.)  Is that why you’re in business – for mediocre results??

For cleaner, more efficient, more robust & beneficial Results, (Execution), Strategy planning, development & implementation is required – & you shouldn’t do it yourself.  Seek expert advise.  The up front investment will be well worth the Execution / Results for the long term!

By the way this is a key difference between a CFO versus a Controller.  A large part of a CFO’s role is strategic. The Controller is more of a scorekeeper & provides reports on the execution, good or bad.  While the Controller lives in the black & white – following the rules; the CFO needs to think ‘outside the box’… what are the acceptable shades of gray, pushing the limit both internally & externally to grow the company’s top & bottom line as well as cash position with the short & long term positions balanced.

Your Strategic CFO/COO should be…

– Your Right-hand man.

– A Devils advocate, challenging you.

– Your Editor, helping you perfect your product’s cost & pricing.

– A Watchdog, protecting you from: yourself, mitigating risk, appealing deals fiscally questionable.

– A Conductor, making sure all depts & disciplines, vendors, lenders & executives are all on the same train headed toward your goal.

Big corporation or small family owned business – Benefical Execution requires Real Strategy.

Continued Blessings,

Chris O’Connor
“Your Trusted Alternative to a Full time CFO/COO”

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